Atlanta is past. The Governor, Gareth, and Dawn Lerner, all killed. A new locale brings new crises, and a new nemesis. This begins part III, an appreciation of Rick Grimes in The Walking Dead, season's 5 and 6 first half.
The season 5 premiere, titled, "No Sanctuary," after a brief pause, engages explosively with no let up until the end. Rick's primal nature is present, who eyes Gareth the leader of Terminus, a community of cannibals. Gareth had to be mystified by Rick's defiance, even though he had the upper hand in the slaughterhouse scene as Rick, Glenn, Daryl and Bob were all bound, leaning over a trough and about to be killed. Gareth asks Rick what he had in a duffel bag, and had hidden, before Rick, Daryl, Carl and Michonne all bypassed the entrance of Terminus, and had instead stealthily slipped in. No answer came from Rick. Until Gareth threatened Bob with torture first, then Rick (Andrew Lincoln) reveals the list of weapons, finally saying, "There's a compound bow and a machete with a red handle. That's what I'm gonna use to kill you."
After getting his answer, Gareth gets back to the business of "institutionalized evil" spoken by Scott M. Gimple, writer of the season 5 premiere and showrunner of The Walking Dead. On the AMC follow up show Talking Dead hosted by Chris Hardwick, with celebrity fan and guest Conan O'Brien, it was Scott Gimple who explained, "You can't argue with institutional evil." Such as the previous scene where Bob (Lawrence Gilliard Jr.) pleads with Gareth.
Usually whenever Rick acts boldly, Hardwick has always been known to inquire about Rick's comportment, who asks Gimple if Rick is grounded. "I think he's very grounded. It's not out of madness but out of necessity. He has these people around him that he loves now. And they are not going to be fooled anymore," says Gimple. After the rescue of Rick and his group by Carol (Melissa McBride), it's in episode 3, titled, "Four Walls and a Roof," when Rick and Gareth meet again. Gareth led a group at night to attack six of Rick's people inside Father Gabriel's church. Yet Rick, along with Glenn (Steven Yeun), Maggie (Lauren Cohan), Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green), Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) and Michonne (Danai Gurira) all got the jump on the six Terminans Gareth, Martin, Theresa, Albert, Mike and Greg.
After Albert and Mike were taken out by gunshots, four Terminans were left. Gareth pleads. Yet Rick says, "You'd do this to anyone, right? Besides, I already made you a promise," before he takes out Gareth with the red handled machete. Michonne killed Theresa, Abraham killed Greg, and Sasha killed Martin, the man who threatened to kill baby Judith in front of Tyreese.
"He has these people around him that he loves," Gimple said about Rick. And it's one of the constant themes throughout The Walking Dead, that Rick's people are his family. In episode 12, titled, "Remember," the first day when Rick's group enter the Alexandrian fortified community, none of them had imagined such a place could ever exist in an apocalypse. A community of luxurious spacious homes, equipped with running hot water and electricity from solar power. "Lori and me, we used to drive through neighborhoods like this, thinking, 'One day,'" Rick said to Daryl (Norman Reedus), as both spoke on the porch of one of two new digs given to them.
Rick's group are those he protects as if they are his family. Having stated so, during an informal videotaped interview with the Alexandrian leader Deanna Monroe (Tovah Feldshuh) within her spacious living room. In fact, the former congresswoman from Ohio was so impressed with her session with Rick, that she says, "Sounds like I'd want to be part of your family."
It didn't end there. Later that day, Deanna visited Rick at his new home. Expecting to see Rick, Carl (Chandler Riggs) and baby Judith, and perhaps a few others, she was floored to see all 15 together on their first night within the spacious living room. "Staying together. Smart," says Deanna. "No one said we couldn't," Rick responded, who earlier told the others they would all sleep in one house on their first night. "You said you're a family. That's what you said. Absolutely amazing to me how people with completely different backgrounds and nothing in common can become that," Deanna said to Rick while also gazing around at the others.
And that's the beauty of The Walking Dead. A sentiment reaffirmed by actor Steven Yeun in the February 6, 2016 Entertainment Weekly article by Dalton Ross, titled, "Steven Yeun on why Glenn has yet to kill another human on The Walking Dead." Within, the actor states, "Oftentimes I watch our show, and I'm like, 'This is the most unlikely group of people that have ever existed, people that would never be probably friends in real life, but somehow they got brought together and they got to see that all of them are made of some similar strands.' And that's a concept that's always going to prevail in this group and in our show, which is that survival is not an individual struggle, but it's a group struggle."
And prevailed they have with Rick. As The Governor was taken out by Michonne in season 4, Gareth taken out by Rick in season 5, followed by Dawn Lerner taken out by Daryl. All three who were living nightmares of humanity, and all finally vanquished from the face of the earth.
In episode 13, Deanna gives a welcoming party for Rick's group, also inviting the neighbors. The moment after Noah (Tyler James Williams) arrives, he's ready to leave. "I think I'm gonna head out," said Noah. "No, no. You're not bailin. We're in this together man," said Glenn. "You're here with us now. You're here with family," Maggie reassures. And Noah stayed.
The mid-season 6 finale was high caliber. Everyone of Rick's group at Alexandria, with Daryl, Sasha, Abraham and Glenn, being absent, were all helping the Alexandrians, and to save Deanna's dream. Three episodes before, as the community held on after the barbaric Wolf attack, while also surrounded by a horde of walkers, Deanna asked, "What I wanted for this place, was it really just pie in the sky?" speaking to Rick. He reassured, saying, "No," for later in season 5, Deanna had shared with Rick about her vision of building a thriving civilized society.
Family, Deanna's vision, both of which face a threat by a new nemesis on the horizon, named Negan. Hinted at, in the January 15, 2016 Entertainment Weekly article by Dalton Ross, titled, "Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman calls Negan 'an atomic bomb that's going to be dropped on the show'". Which is just another way of saying, "we all haven't seen nothing yet."
Anytime there's a discussion about Rick there's always some mention about his dark side. There's a scene in the film Avengers: Age of Ultron, where the heroes rest at Hawkeye's wooded retreat. Tony Stark/Ironman and Steve Rogers/Captain America are both chopping wood. Stark tells Rogers that he doesn't trust a man without a dark side, talking about Steve Rogers. Stark himself, accepts having a dark side. Rogers then replies to Stark that he just haven't seen his, Steve Rogers, dark side yet. All heroes have dark sides, because all heroes are human.
In the film Creed directed by Ryan Coogler, there's a scene when Rocky has Adonis Johnson Creed to face a mirror in the gym. "You see this guy here staring back at you?" says Rocky. "Yeah," Adonis replies. "That's your toughest opponent. Every time you get into the ring, that's who you're going against. I believe that in boxing, and I do believe that in life, okay?" says Rocky, before he adds, "In other words, don't worry about Conlan. He's just in the way." After that scene, a Native American prayer came to my mind, "I seek strength not to be greater that my brother, but to fight my greatest enemy, myself." Rick knows himself, and that should give him an edge over Negan. This ends Part III, an appreciation of Rick Grimes of The Walking Dead.