WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for The Walking Dead #186 by Robert Kirkman, Charles Adlard, Stefano Gaudiano, Rus Wooton and Cliff Rathburn, on sale now.
The Walking Dead comic has been an even bigger emotional roller coaster than usual lately. This is due to Rick Grimes and his alliance meeting and interacting with the Commonwealth, a utopian society that's everything places like the Kingdom, Hilltop and Alexandria ever dreamed of. It's like having a normal life again, although the classism and elitist nature of the place has riled Rick's people up.
We've seen several of Rick's companions take issue with the society and how it's structured, which resulted in a plot to stage a coup brewing in recent issues. However, all of this comes to a dramatic halt when Rick takes a gun to another of the franchise's major characters, blowing that person's brains out, forever altering the path his crew's on.
The build-up to this moment is really suspenseful and filled with so much political tension. With civil and social unrest bubbling at every corner, it's clear the lower-class folks in the Commonwealth want change, goading Rick's crew to stage a takeover as they extend their visit. Rick doesn't like how Pamela, the Commonwealth's leader, runs her ship, but Michonne, who moved there to be with her daughter, tries convincing him otherwise.
Team Rick keeps getting more and more disgusted as each day passes, though, which culminates in a very egotistical showing, where Pamela fakes a zombie slaughter. She makes it look like she loves getting her hands dirty, but it's all a show as her minions and soldiers are the ones risking their lives. Eventually, when Michonne deceives Rick and organizes a meeting between her new leader, Rick and Dwight, things come to a boiling point in this chapter, aptly titled "The Powder Keg."
As Rick and Dwight (who has made it no secret he wants to take control) argue about the hostile takeover, Pamela and her bodyguards overhear and intervene. Dwight loses his cool, sadly, pulling a gun on Pamela, reminding us that he still has that mentality Negan indoctrinated into him as part of the Saviors. It's obvious Dwight has an itchy trigger finger and, before he can fire, Rick splatters his brains all over the walls.
It's a death that will surely change the story big time for a few reasons. Pamela leaves, feeling validated by Rick and slyly thanking him for taking her side. Rick's incensed, as he believes he's chosen the wrong side, and he also berates Michonne, as he thinks her actions caused him to murder Dwight. However, it's a pretty dumb decision by Rick, because he could have shot Dwight in the hand or somewhere else to incapacitate him, rather than killing him. He was on Dwight's blindside, so he could have gotten away with it.
Instead, he takes out someone he's groomed as his right-hand man, and who's helped protect the alliance with full dedication. It remains to be seen how he'll explain this back home, as Dwight was beloved for his heroics after he redeemed himself. Instead, there's now a wedge between Rick and Michonne, Alexandria has lost its deputy and Rick is basically a cold-blooded killer. More importantly, the veil has now been lifted, as Pamela knows she can't trust the alliance anymore.
She's faking her appreciation, and rightfully so, because recently Rick and company have come off shady, like villains, reminding readers of characters like the Governor and Negan himself. Well, now Rick's officially become the very thing he hates -- a man who can no longer broker peace through words, and is left to resort to violence. With Dwight gone, one has to wonder just who else Rick's willing to kill to maintain the facade of peace, or worse, who's still willing to follow him as a leader in the new world.