The popular AMC television series, The Walking Dead made its debut in 2010 with a very limited audience but has grown in the six years to become one of the most popular television programs to date. The television series is based off a series of graphic novels created by Robert Kirkman, who is also in charge of story synchronization between the graphic novels and the on-going television series. The beginning of the story that is The Walking Dead, begins from the perspective of a single individual Rick Grimes, a police officer waking up during the zombie apocalypse after lying in a coma for an undetermined length of time. The story introduces more and more characters as Rick Grimes begins to explore the landscape of the undead world, though the whole viewpoint coming from Rick Grimes' perspective shows Rick as 'the new sheriff in town' when conflict begins to appear on every front for Sheriff Rick Grimes. Once Rick Grimes established a core group of survivors who also became essential in keeping each other alive, the conflicts only became bigger in scale on the television series. The point isn't known as to when the popularity for The Walking Dead reached its peak but it happened early on in the series' conception. Fans have been captivated by Rick and company on The Walking Dead, whether it is the story telling or the fan-favorite characters making incredible appearances every week, the television series has succeeded in bringing fans back for more every year. The Walking Dead has already been expanded into a two separate spin-off series, one of which is on AMC as well, Fear The Walking Dead. The loyal following behind The Walking Dead most definitely has to do with fans being invested in the character's development and well-being in the brutally violent world of The Walking Dead, one character that fans have been invested in since the beginning of The Walking Dead may not be the same person he was at the start of the series; that is Rick Grimes. It's already been said and it is a clear fact that the television series, The Walking Dead, is centrally about Rick Grimes' life and the people's lives Rick is involved in either by association or relation. Despite the series investing more time to a wide variety of characters, Rick still manages to hold the spotlight in a large diverse cast of spectacular actors/actresses. And Rick Grimes' time in the spotlight has portrayed him as the main protagonist/hero in the story but based on Rick's newfound view on life and survival during the more recent episodes of The Walking Dead, he may twist fans' interpretations of what a hero and a villain really are in the world of The Walking Dead.
Season 6, Episode 13 of The Walking Dead focused on Carol and Maggie's escape from Negan's group of Saviors. The episode concluded with Carol and Maggie freeing themselves only to be seconds away from being rescued by Rick and co. The last few seconds of the episode showed Rick trying to get answers out of Negan's soldier, Primo. Primo was uncooperative and Rick saw Primo's unwillingness to cooperate as Primo being of no use to him anymore so Rick shoots him point blank. Yes, Primo was a member of The Saviors and appeared loyal until the very end but Rick's bluntness and brutality in slaughtering a man says something about where his character is going. We've already seen Rick charge his group into a sleeping camp of survivors and kill them in their sleep, which might not have been all that necessary; it could be argued that Rick's tactics could have been utilized without so much bloodshed but that's a conversation for another time. Rick Grimes has gone from being able to solemnly put down an undead friend to viciously slaughtering people in their sleep, he has undergone a transformation that has been teased but no one could have expected Rick Grimes to take the turn he has taken.
The television series, The Walking Dead has been teasing this development for Rick Grimes with all the heartache and losses he's had to face but the turn for Rick Grimes might be worse than Rick Grimes turning into a walker. The turn i'm speaking of is Rick Grimes' turn to cold-blooded killer, Rick has been showing less hesitation with every kill he feels he has to make. Soon, Rick won't be showing any hesitation and start killing individuals without consulting the rest of his group; Rick does show motivation to keep his group intact as well as a community for his family but his motivation stands on Rick's sole belief that any threats in the new world need to be handled with extreme prejudice which has also been teased by other members of Rick's group showing disapproval for some of Rick's actions. Today's episode of The Walking Dead showed another seemingly cold-blooded character shedding some light on who they 'really' are. Carol shined tonight, showing her audience that she isn't some ice queen capable of icing whoever she wants. Carol has only killed out of necessity, Melissa McBride, the actress who plays Carol showed a side of her character that we didn't know existed with her line "...this is what I was afraid of." as Carol holds a gun up to her previous captor. To what Carol was referring to in being afraid of, was that Carol feigned fear of her own death only to show that Carol really feared killing others. The previous episode of The Walking Dead, Season 6 Episode 12, also showed Carol holding a small notebook with the initials of every living person she's killed and Episode 13 revealed her admitting that there were probably more than she counted. But the important fact is showing Carol caring about the people she's known, those she's had to kill for her to survive and to keep the people she cares about alive proves that Carol hasn't been as blunt as she's shown herself to be. Carol is caring and protective of her family, which is Rick and co., she shows more of the qualities of a leader than Rick does at times and she may be the one to lead the group if Rick ever falls on to a dark path which just might happen.
Back to Rick's stage of development, the most recent episodes of The Walking Dead television series has shown Rick to be the most brutal we've ever seen, possibly the most brutal person alive in the world of The Walking Dead; no counting Negan who we haven't seen yet. It's not possible for Rick to go any further with his degrees of brutality unless he's driven to it by a force like Negan. Negan was introduced in the graphic novels sided with the television series, The Walking Dead, as the main antagonist for the story once Rick and co. establish a functioning community at Alexandria, which is where the television series and graphic novels are currently synced according to timelines. Rick hasn't faced anyone like Negan yet but Rick's willingness to go through with everything he's willing to do just to get rid of someone like Negan makes him more of a villain than Negan. Negan is a villain and yes he is guilty of some heinous actions in his graphic novel history but he hasn't spanned the map of The Walking Dead world to kill everyone he deems a threat nor has he tried. However, it seems Rick is intent on killing anyone and everyone he sees as a threat and with 'threat' being such a fluid term in the world of The Walking Dead, anyone and everyone might turn into a threat to Rick Grimes which would definitely make Rick the main antagonist of the story rather than the protagonist. Are Rick's actions proving that he may be revealed as the villain towards the close of The Walking Dead? Rick Grimes has had to suffer loss and watch close friends die in front of him, but his actions do not justify the means he is using now on The Walking Dead television series. The means to kill anyone who stands in his way make Rick a villain, a villain that fans have come to adore as a hero but still a villain. If Rick Grimes were taken out of the context of the world of The Walking Dead and was portrayed in another post-apocalyptic world doing the same things he's doing now, he'd definitely be the villain of the story. Despite Rick changing into a character like The Governor, he still has some humanity left in him. Rick hasn't re-instituted his Ricktatorship nor has he tried to kill or expel anyone that has fought back against him, and his consistent willingness to do the 'hard things' has kept his group alive alongside of him. It has to be said that Rick Grimes is a good man but a hero, not so.
The villain/main antagonist in the world of The Walking Dead is constantly changing, Season 6 has been filled with multiple threats which also set the stage for Negan's introduction as the main antagonist for Season 7 of The Walking Dead. Teases have been provided by the creators behind The Walking Dead as to what Negan will bring with him, and fans are terrified; Negan will indeed be a threat to Rick's group in Alexandria but when and if Negan meets his end on The Walking Dead, Rick could be set up to be the next antagonist of the series. Rick has already made it abundantly clear that he'll do anything to keep his family/friends alive. Were Rick's closest friends and family to be murdered or taken from him permanently, that would definitely set the stage for Rick to go on a self-destructive mission in becoming the next villain for The Walking Dead.
Do you think Rick has the potential of being an 'acknowledged' villain on The Walking Dead? Leave your thoughts below. The Walking Dead, created by Robert Kirkman, airs Sundays at 9PM.