EINTKILFEverything I Need to Know, I Learned From Rick GrimesJessica Tholmer

I am watching The Walking Dead all wonky. I am halfway through season two, and halfway through season four because I watch the new episodes every week even though I am watching the series in proper order from the beginning at the same time. So… no spoiler alerts for me if you can, but I shall warn you that there are spoiler alerts in this post.

EINTKILF Rick Grimes

1. Leave no man behind.
…unless he becomes a walker, then forget about it.

In all seriousness, though, Rick is highly criticized for focusing on trying to save so many other people -people that may not seem worthy of being saved. Though it is frustrating to see Rick take off to go assist in the survival of people he barely knows, what kind of a leader would he be if he only focused on the people right in front of him? Personally, I would prefer my husband to stay by my side instead of trying to save, as Shane snidely comments, “a drug dealer,” but you know, leaders gotta lead, y’all. Plus, if I was half as bad of a wife as Lori is, I would not feel comfortable making demands of my loving husband, but I digress.

2. Work as a team, but have a leader.

Or BE a leader. (Do you guys think Rick is a Leo? Personally, I think he is probably a Taurus or something, but anyway…) I love that Rick is all about working as a team. Obviously teamwork requires leadership, though, as any good retail-working employee probably knows. Especially if we are talking zombie apocalypse stuff – which we are right now, just in case you think I’m referring to the 1995 film The Walking Dead – because the team you plan on relying on will change drastically throughout your days on Earth. Having a leader helps deal with tragedy and confusion. Having a hot leader like Rick helps deal with stubborn rebelliousness because it is easier to follow a hottie.
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3. Tell your wife stuff.

There is an intense scene between Rick and Lori when she gets pissed at him for not telling her that Hershel expects their group to leave his farm after everyone is well. Now, as I implied earlier, I don’t really care for Lori, so I don’t feel bad that Rick does not share every tiny detail of every hiccup in the plan, but I do expect my husband to tell me everything. That is to say, I WILL EVENTUALLY expect that because I do not have a husband right now.

…also, Lori is a super hypocrite because, at the time of this fight, she has yet to tell her husband that she is pregnant. With someone else’s baby.

4. Discrimination is not a thing.

“Look here, Merle. Things are different now. There are no [terrible racial slurs] anymore. No dumb-as-sh&*-inbred-white-trash fools either. Only dark meat and white meat. That’s us and the dead. We survive this by pulling together, not apart.”
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You go, Rick Grimes.

5. Protect your family at all costs.

Even though that jerk of a self-proclaimed best friend of Rick’s seems to think only he does the saving of Lori and Carl, it is simply not true. Not only does Rick protect his family, he has created and maintained a relatively functional (most times) group to protect his family with as well. Lori and Carl are safe most of the time because of the foundation Rick has built, and obviously even though all even-just-kind-of-good things come to an end, for awhile there, Rick’s family was doing alright.
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Even currently, Carl and Rick are still surviving, even though Carl is going through a bit of a rough spot as an angsty preteen. Regardless, Rick has raised him to remain equipped and knowledgeable and able to take care of himself, as well as the people he cares about. And Lori… well, let’s just say I know she isn’t in the current season, so obviously she died along the way. I’m sure it wasn’t Rick’s fault.

6. Keep your friends close…

…oh come on, you know the saying. I have never been a huge fan of that old adage because I am a huge fan of my enemies being nowhere near me, but regardless, I understand the sentiment behind it. Keeping your enemies close keeps your instincts keen and your defenses up. I am not necessarily implying that Rick keeps his enemies close intentionally, but I am saying that currently and for basically always, Shane is not a trustworthy person, and Rick is not an idiot. Put your hands together.

7. Take no prisoners.

One of the first things I remember about Rick is that he shoots a young girl in the head. I mean, she is a walker, but it immediately sets him apart from any accusations of being too soft… even if he is later accused of being too soft, it’s like… you jerks didn’t see him defeat that cute child walker.

On a serious note: I would straight up never be able to shoot a kid, even a zombie kid. I am too soft to be a leader in the zombie apocalypse, though, not to brag, I did take one of those internet quizzes that said I would survive, so.

8. Avoid causing panic.

Rick: You don’t know what it’s like out there. You may think you do but you don’t. It’s only a matter of time. There’s too many of those things. My boy, my wife, I never told them what I really thought. I never even hinted, just…just kept it in, kept us moving, kept it in, kept us moving.

Take it from Rick and/or that quote I love from When Harry Met Sally: “You’re going to have to try and find a way of not expressing every feeling that you have, every moment that you have them.”

Because all over-sharing of emotions in a time of panic does is ensure more panic! Duh! Fake it ’til you make it, guys!

9. Courage is a necessity.

Speaking of (gulp) shooting child-size walkers in the head, in one of the most emotional episodes of The Walking Dead – or pretty much anything – the big reveal comes when Sophia, who had been missing for the entirety of season two, stumbles out of Hershel’s shack full o’ dead people who he had previously considered “sick.” It is the worst moment. It is heartbreaking, not just to see Carol (Sophia’s mother) fall to the ground in Daryl’s arms, but to see the faces of all of these people who had held out hope for so long.

Rick’s group had just shot and re-killed all of the walkers Hershel had been protecting in his shed, no problem. But when Sophia walks out, unexpectedly, quietly, almost innocently, no one knew what to do. Rick, who had even tried to respect Hershel’s naiveté, steps up, gun in hand, and shoots that little girl in the head. It is a tough move. Rick shoots the little girl in front of her mother and his own son, who calls himself Sophia’s best friend.

That’s courage, though. Making choices that other people do not want to make, steadfast and with confidence.

10. Hope is always an option.

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Not the most hopeful expressions, gents.

Hershel: But when Shane shot Lou in the chest and she just kept coming, that’s when I knew what an ass I’d been, that Annette had been dead long ago and I was feeding a rotten corpse. That’s when I knew there was no hope. And when that little girl came out of the barn, the look on your face? I knew you knew it too. Right? There is no hope, and you know it now, like I do. Don’t you? There is no hope for any of us.

Rick: Man, how many times we gonna have to do this? Look, I’m done. I’m not doing this anymore, cleaning up after you. You know what the truth is? Nothing has changed. Death is death. It’s always been there. Whether it’s from a heart attack, cancer, or a walker. What’s the difference? You didn’t think it was hopeless before, did you? Now there are people back at home trying to hang on. They need us, even if it’s just to give them a reason to go on, even if we don’t believe it ourselves.

I cannot really say more than what Rick said to Hershel that day in the bar, but I can say that I love that speech, and I love Rick, and I think hope is the most important thing to hold onto in this world. Whether you are having a hard day at your dead-end job, or you are in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. Hope is a choice, and a necessary one at that.

Never give it up, kiddos.

Featured image via fanpop, Rick’s group image via gothic.net, Merle and Rick image via thewrap.com, Hershel and Rick image via blog.zap2it,  

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  1. Never leave a man behind? You wouldn’t last long in the zombie apocalypse. But I see your points for, you know, real actual life ;)