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Charting Rick Grimes’ Descent Into Madness

Rick Grimes, the protagonist of AMC’s The Walking Dead, has made one hard decision after another and committed acts that would otherwise be deemed heinous if every moment weren’t a test of survival. Arguably, though, it was all for the safety of the people he cared about.

From the first episode of the series to now, we’ve seen the former deputy’s moral foundation break down like the flesh of the undead that are constantly after him.

On top of being a survivor and walker-killing machine, though, Rick’s also been known to drop a good speech and the occasional burn. So, to appreciate those moments, here’s a list of Rick Grime’s best lines from The Walking Dead.

“I’m sorry this happened to you.”

The first walker that Rick encountered, face-to-face, when he woke up from his coma was torn in half and slowly crawling its way through some grass. At first he runs away from it in fear, unable to comprehend what’s happened while he has been asleep. Later, he’s able to shoot the walker known as “bicycle girl” after apologizing for what she’s been through.

Note: “The bicycle girl” is actually a woman named Hannah that was the focus of a series of webisodes that showed how she died and became a walker.

“I’m doing stuff, Lori. Things.”

Facing the brink of extinction can be pretty hard on a marriage. Rick and Lori are proof of that. They’d been through a lot and never really talked about any of it. So, when Lori tried to talk about things, Rick let her know he was already doing “thangs” and wasn’t interested.

“I hear Nebraska’s nice.”

It says a lot about the world when the biggest threat to your survival isn’t the weather conditions, lack of food, or even the zombies trying to kill you, but other people looking to take advantage of you. Rick meets two travelers named Dave and Tony. For a while, they’re all chummy and talk about all of the places they heard were supposed to be apocalypse sanctuaries (such as Nebraska) until Dave asks if the two can come back with them. Wisely not trusting them, Rick says no and says they can go ahead and find out about Nebraska for themselves. Then things get messy and shooty and the adventures of Tony and Dave end abruptly.

“This was you! Not me! You did this to us! This was not me! Not me! NOT ME!”

When Rick came back from his coma, he had some serious family drama to work out. Everyone assumed he was dead so his best friend hooked up with his wife and may very well have gotten her pregnant. So when Rick came back and everything went somewhat back to normal, Shane got pretty jealous. Eventually, that envy consumed him and the two former best friends couldn’t occupy the same space.

“Let’s get one thing straight. This isn’t a democracy anymore.”

For a while, Rick dealt with an internal battle of whether or not he really wanted the leadership position he naturally gravitated to. But once he made up his mind that was the end of it.

“Sh*t happens.”

The second to last person you want to have around in a crisis is someone that only looks out for his or her own skin. The last person you want around is one that’s willing to sacrifice someone else to get what they want, i.e. Tomas. Tomas had it out for Rick from the jump. Not only did he intentionally try and kill him, twice, but he only had the lazy excuse of “Shit happens” to show for it. So, when everything was done, Rick gave Tomas a taste of his own.

“Oh no, no, no….”

I’ll admit it. Out of context, Rick losing his composure and yelling out “Oh no, no, no” is a little funny – maybe more than a little. But then you have to remember that he’s grieving and then you start to feel like a bad person. Then you remember that this is all happening in a television show and start to laugh again.


“Either way, I don’t pretend to be a governor.”

A lot of the exchanges between Rick and The Governor can be summarized as post-apocalyptic pissing contests. Early on in their conflicts, Rick decided to be the bigger man and have a sit-down with the self-proclaimed Governor of Woodbury. But he could only swallow his pride so long before he threw all of the shade Phil’s way by reminding him that he didn’t win any elections.

“We let go of all of it and nobody dies. Everyone who’s alive right now, everyone who’s made it this far, we’ve all done the worst kinds of things just to stay alive. But we can come back. We’re not too far gone. We get to come back. I know we all can change.”

The lack or intensity of Rick’s faith in humanity and trust issues pretty much depends on how recently someone tried to hurt his people. At this point, the group had had its longest period of relative peace since the zombie infestation had started. So he was all for trying to forgive and forget when the Governor tried to take over the prison a second time.

He’s mine.”

Remember what we said about having to watch out for people more than zombies? Scenes like this is the reason why that’s true. A group of survivors threatened the entire group, including Carl, and it looked like Rick wasn’t going to be able to do anything about it. Before long, a switch went off in his head and he did what he had to and then some.

“They’re (screwing) with the wrong people.”

When Rick has his caveman beard going he is not to be “screwed” with. Especially when it comes to his family and closest friends. Season 4 of The Walking Dead ended with the group being trapped in a train car. Up to this point, the group had been through a lot, so they were tested and proven. They didn’t know how they’d make it out, but they knew they would.

Note: The uncensored version of this clip seems a lot more appropriate, given the circumstances.

“There’s guns in it. AK-47. 44 Magnum. Automatic weapons. Nightscope. There’s a compound bow and a machete with a red handle. That’s what I’m gonna use to kill you.”

Telling man how you’re going to kill him when he could kill you at that instant takes some serious confidence. Rick Grimes took Babe Ruth’s called shot to a new level by telling Gareth exactly what he wanted to hear, with something he surely didn’t to top it all off. Keep in mind that Rick’s a man of his word.

“We tell ourselves that we are the walking dead.”

Yes! He actually said it!

Okay, so, some background info. In The Walking Dead comic series, Rick delivered this same line a long time ago and it was a pretty big moment. Anyway, no one is going to be nearly as jazzed when Cliff Curtis tells his family to “Fear The Walking Dead” and then winks at the camera and plays some air guitar.

“If they can’t make it… then we’ll just take this place.”

By the time Rick and his group had found another safe haven, they’d learned from the past. This was too good to lose or let anyone mess up. So Rick decided that, if they needed to, the group would take it over to maintain a good thing.

“You still don’t get it, none of you do. We know what needs to be done and we do it. We’re the ones who live. You? You just sit and plan and hesitate. You pretend like you know when you don’t. I wish things weren’t what they are, but you want to live? You want this place to stay standing? Your way of doing things is gone. Things don’t get better because you want them to. Starting right now we have to live in the real world. We have to control who lives here. If you don’t fight, you die. I’m not going to stand by–“

Hey, remember when Shane thought he was the only one who could keep people safe and delivered hard messages without thinking about how horrifying he sounded? Me too.

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