WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for the latest episode of AMC's The Walking Dead.
The Walking Dead, Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard’s ongoing comic book saga of survival horror, has always kept its main focus squarely on the character of Rick Grimes. Even in recent years, when the series has undergone several shakeups that move the focus on some secondary characters (most notably the villainous Negan), the comic always swings its eye back toward to Rick and the choices he’s forced to make for the greater good.
AMC’s adaption of the comic more or less does the same thing. Actor Andrew Lincoln, who portrays Rick in the show, remains top billed and still calls the shots. But the biggest difference between how the comic handles Rick and how the show does is how several big character moments are handled (or rather, how they are not handled).
When Rick Grimes Should Shine
The latest episode episode, “Do Not Send Us Astray,” is a prime example of the show stealing Rick’s thunder. During this episode, we learn that the infected weapons will indeed turn those wounded by them when Tobin is injured by one and dies shortly thereafter. Later, in the midst of a confrontation, Dwight, who has been working with the Alexandria camp behind Negan’s back, shoots Tara with an arrow that is presumed to be infected with walker blood. As far as the audience is meant to believe, the arrow he used will to have the same effect on Tara as the infected knife had on Tobin.
However, fans of the comic are likely more than a little confident in Tara’s survival because on the page, this ordeal happened to Rick. During the “All Out War” story arc of the comic, Rick is shot in the side by Dwight, much to Negan’s delight. With Rick presumed dead, Negan and the Saviors approach the Hilltop Community gates and demand to speak to whoever is now in charge. Here, much to Negan’s surprise, Rick Grimes marches out like a gladiator. And while the readers of the book knew Rick was fine, Negan did not, and the moment he realized his mistake was fantastic.
Given how the show is known for focusing on individual characters more frequently than the comic to the point where key protagonists are absent for several episode stretches, this could have been an incredible reveal on screen. Now, however, it looks like we may have lost the chance for it to happen.