'The Walking Dead' recap: Time for a Rick break

'The Walking Dead' recap: Time for a Rick break
Andrew Lincoln is Rick Grimes in "The Walking Dead." (Gene Page / AMC)

So after Sunday's "The Walking Dead" are we all still on Rick's side? Or can we agree that maybe it's time for our longtime hero to hang up his badge and cool his heels until he can start thinking a bit clearer?

Many of the simmering tensions lying under the surface since the Survivors' arrival in Alexandria came to a full boil at the end of the episode, titled "Try," with Rick's middle-of-Main-Street freak out. Finally, he'd had enough of Pete, the town's surgeon and spousal abuser, and the two of them went to town with a full-on, knock-down, drag-out fight. True to Rick's Western-style sheriff stance, this brawl had Rick and Pete crashing out onto the street through a window like all the good saloon fights of the oaters' golden age.

Rick didn't kill Pete, but he came darn close. But he did succeed in killing any last shred of trust Deanna would put in him. That fight laid bare so many false beliefs that have been part of  Alexandria's shaky bedrock. Deanna argued she was a good leader because of her ability to read people well. Yet, she failed to see what a dangerous jerk her son Aidan could be and she also failed to understand just how much of a loose cannon Rick would turn out to be. And Rick, who argued passionately that the community should be a Ricktatorship because they didn't know what they were doing, revealed himself to be unhinged. Yes, Pete was an abuser, but he also happened to be abusing the woman Rick found himself crushing on hard-core. Would he do this kind of intervention for anyone, Jessie asked. Or was he doing this because he fancied her? It's likely the latter, but old Rick probably would have handled any kind of abuse in a more even-handed manner.

Instead, we got a blood-drenched loony ranting in the middle of the street before God, his own son, most of the rest of the community and a bunch of Walkers who would probably express some kind of embarrassment if they could articulate themselves. If he was a long shot to lead the town before, there's no way he'll get that chance now, even with Carol and Darryl on his side.

He also lost a key ally in Michonne, who apparently had enough of his dangerous ranting and pistol waving and just clocked him to put some punctuation to the episode. Michonne arrived on the scene a bit mentally unstable herself, as we were reminded via flashback, but she's come through the darkness and reached a more stable plane of existence. While others around her are descending into that murky interior space, like Sasha and now, Rick, Michonne seems to have found herself. And if that means a de-emphasizing of Rick for a few episodes in favor of a more rounded Michonne, I'm all for it. She's one of the best characters on the series, but in many episodes this season, she's done little more than stand around as part of the group.

If I were to guess, I'd say that Rick will be excommunicated from Alexandria but meet up with Morgan, the other longtime survivor, who we've seen periodically on the trail of the Survivors. And with that, the Walter White-ing of Rick Grimes will be complete. His arc from the last good cop to wild-eyed, villainous mad man has pretty much been completed. Remember when the Governor lost his own followers? Rick's headed down that same path.

Others in the group have found more productive ways to integrate. Carl seems to be finding first love with Enid. And Sasha has taken to hunting the Walkers, when she's not up in the clock tower. Rosita, and to a lesser extent, Michonne, express concern about this behavior, but it seems apparent that Sasha can mostly handle herself, and she appears to be the only person in the entire community with an interest in getting rid of as many walkers in the vicinity as possible. How is that ever considered a bad thing? If I'd been a resident of Rick's prison last season, I would have been one of the people walking the fence all day stabbing Walkers. The fewer of them to run around and bite, the better. Always.

One more episode this season and chances seem good that the recently swollen cast will undergo a rapid contraction soon. There are way too many Walkers lurking outside the walls and though there's been talking of reinforcing those walls, no action has been taken. These people are awfully trusting and Rick, even when he's wrong, always ends up being right.

Just, please, no more revolving doors.

Follow me on Twitter: @patrickkevinday

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