Walking Dead, Rick and friends have done nothing wrong!

Well mostly, Rick did go a little nuts after arriving in Alexandria and waved a gun around and had a trusted friend to knock sense into him. He also made some foolish or callous decisions before like kicking out Sasha and Carol and leaving the hiker.

But even in the first example he turned out to be right, the wife beater turns out to be a psychotic killer that murders Reg with a sword. And the Alexandrians are laughably unadapted to life, trying to fist fight a zombie years into it?!

The show seems to be asking us if Rick is becoming a monster because he kills in self defense, or to stop his son and female friend from being brutally raped and murdered.

This is so far away from being say a violent cannibal it almost seems like a straw man argument against the right of self defense.

Maybe its just me but I’d bite off the ears of hundreds of people wanting to rape and murder my loved ones and never wonder about losing my humanity.

Rick hasn’t crossed the line which Shane had crossed (Shane had targeted Rick with his gun, threatened Dale, left Otis to die, etc.).

The writers seem to toy with us by having other characters be revolted by Rick’s actions or at least question them, and have Rick preach toughness, but he’s still not evil or even an anti-hero yet, IMHO.

Survival is the name of the game, but Rick doesn’t practice a cold, calculated survival of the fittest philosophy. He has more loyalty to his crew than someone like Shane, The Governor, or the Wolves, and usually attacks in self-defense or justified paranoia.

He’s not a monster yet at all, just more tough and protective* and I doubt he will be since he’s the star of the show, truthfully.

*Early Rick was very wishy-washy and ethical, like Travis from FEAR THE WALKING DEAD.

Rick has made mistakes, usually in situations where he doesn’t have all the information. Rick has also become somewhat desensitized to violence and killing, which he had to since in the world he lives in being able to kill is a necessary survival skill. He’s become more ruthless, but, again, that was necessary to survival.

That’s true of everyone else in his merry band of survivors because that’s how they became and continued as survivors. In the first seasons walkers evoked horror and fear in every one of these people. Now they knife them in the head or shoot them in a more matter of fact manner and just keep going. They figured out that walkers/rotters/biters/roamers/deaders are stupid, slow-moving targets vulnerable to a live, able-bodied, alert human being. Of course, if said human being is injured, ill, somehow disabled, or not paying attention they can still kill you. Or if said human being is overwhelmed by a herd.

His group of survivors are also capable of killing live humans in self-defense - because if they weren’t they wouldn’t be alive. They’ll scavenge the detritus of other peoples’ lives and eat roast dog if they have to in order to survive.

The thing is, they live in a different world than we do. What they do would be criminal/anti-social in our world. Because they grew up in our world they do occasionally react badly to what has changed, and things they have to do they were brought up to believe are wrong. Kids, like Carl, even more so his sister Judith, are going to have less conflict because, as said in one episode, growing up is getting used to the world. The adults still have enormous problems knifing/shooting their dead in the head to prevent their reanimation. Carl was not unaffected by shooting his dying/dead mother (he did, after all, partly grow up in our world) but he seemed to do it more readily than the adults, and I’m not sure Rick could have done it at all. By the time Judith is an adult shooting the dead in the head, or knifing them, will be seen as just another funeral ritual, like closing the eyelids or washing/dressing the body or embalming or cremation in our world.

But Rick could turn into a monster. A lot of other people did. Everyone still alive in that world has a heaping big case of PTSD, those who have survived and extended period outside a fortified enclave like Alexandria even more so.

Here is what bugs me, there is a way to write this with real moral ambiguity and real questionable situations where we can actually question is Rick and co in the right here?

What about a raid on another unaggressive compound for needed food or medical supplies? Have the voices of “reason” be better than cartoon character straw pacifists.

But the way it is written now is almost laughable with characters agonizing over putting down zombies and people trying to murder them multiple times.

I’d question this claim, pretty much every bit of violence they have visited on a human being is clear self defense. Easily the edgiest thing so far is the murder of wife beater dude, but only after he went crazy and killed leader woman’s husband for no real reason.

I thought Carol did not need do the look at the flowers incident, could have left her. But that would have been less merciful.

If you mean theft or looting of supplies, a good attorney could argue need.

I want some real moral ambiguity to chew, the spin off Fear actually did deliver on this in the final episodes. I liked how the audience was split on whether what happened was justified or not, that was cool.

I’m a little handicapped in this discussion because I’m only in season 5 of WD, and have only seen the first episode of FtWD - I’m dependent on Netflix for viewing and that means I’m about a year behind the current episodes. So I’m not entirely sure I’ve seen all the episodes you folks are talking about, and just keep it in mind I haven’t seen the most recent stuff (I am also fully aware there may be spoilers in this thread, so if I trip over one that’s my problem, not yours).

You’re right, everything done by Rick’s group is arguably self-defense (except Abraham beating Eugene unconscious for lying that one time). That part of what makes them good guys - they aren’t marauders. The average person IS going to have a hard time with killing other people, that why soldiers require training and even in combat some have trouble bringing themselves to kill other human beings.

I’d still argue some of it skirts the line of reasonable. That’s part of the tension - is or isn’t someone going to snap and go over the line? Darryl with the Claimers, for example - in some ways he fit in with them very well, if they hadn’t attacked Rick with him along he might well have gone on with them. Michonne was heading towards batshit crazy when she showed up with her two “pet” walkers. Carol - who used to be weak and submissive and crazy-protective about her child - has killed live people who were part of the group (to stop sickness from spreading) and a child (to keep her from killing again). Rick, who had a career dedicated to protecting others and defusing conflicts is having to kill people (yes, in defense) and has actually lead raids (again, in self defense). Carl shot his own mother which is a big taboo in most societies, even if he did it to save himself, his newborn sister, and potentially everyone else in the group. Even though he knew his mother would not want to turn and hurt her family, that could not have been an easy thing to do.

What keeps these folks on the side of good is that they keep questioning the rightness of their actions. If they stop doing that, that’s when they’ll take a moral fall. They are constantly having to do violent, horrible things to stay alive. They are all traumatized.

Actually, one of the horrible things about this show, when you stop to think about it, is that humanity as shown is losing people faster than they’re being replaced. Even if there weren’t cannibals eating people or marauders raping people to death, the population replacement rate would still be perilously low. Either people are going to group up effectively or they’re all going to die out.

So far, Rick’s group is the only one we see enduring, and even they have a scary turnover rate. They’re doing well enough to keep Judith alive, which has got to be hell between getting her formula/toddler suitable food and the problem that human babies cry when they’re the least bit unhappy, which can be deadly in their world. You don’t see a lot of other kids, much less infants, in this world. There should be more, because women are having sex and/or getting raped and I doubt there’s much effective birth control left (condoms, if you can find them, which are far from perfect). Where are the babies? I think we all know the answer to that - either cannibal food, or walker food.

The only kids that will survive are the ones like Carl, who are taught how to kill from an early age. I see Darryl as a sort of adult version of what a lot of them will be - pragmatist survivalists, stealthy, and ruthless. I sort of miss Merle, he was a good contrast with his brother. In many ways they were alike, the chief difference being Merle only really gave a damn about himself and Darryl is still able to care for others even if he has trouble showing that in most circumstances.

In a way, Darryl shooting the possum just outside Alexandria is a good example of this. I get the feeling that if it had been Merle he would have said “I’m hungry, this is my dinner”. Darryl said “we brought dinner”. For all that he’s a loner, he’s also part of a group and understands the give-and-take of being in a society.

Rick and the Governor are paired up, too - they both are ruthless in defending their group, they can and do exile people, execute people, enforce entry requirements and rules… but the Governor largely does it from self-interest, he builds a group around him to use for his own protection. Rick builds a group, but he’s also part of the group and will put himself at risk to protect it. Rick is capable of showing forgiveness, mercy, and changing his mind, his listens to those in the group instead of simply dictating.

You could probably keep going down the list, pairing members of Rick’s group with people they’ve met along the way.

A lot of the difference comes down to empathy - Rick’s group is still capable of considering how things look to the other side. “Eugene only has one skill, you’re angry with him for using it to survive?” They still capable of taking on dead weight - a liar with no fighting skills, a priest who is effing useless in a fight, an infant - because, for all their protests, it’s NOT just about survival for them. These are people who do, in fact, still want to be part of a society.

Long term, that is the only sort who have a chance of enduring - the trouble is all the other asshats and walker herds that could kill them before they succeed.

Funny you say this because last season I was fully in the corner of Deanna and Alexandria. Until the show turned them into idiots and pussies, nearly everything she said and represented, I was on board with. I even made the argument they were more successful than Rick and has group because they were able to survive with less violence, mental anguish and hunger.

However, the show’s thesis says otherwise; Alexandria was changed into a prize pig someone would slaughter and Rick was revealed to be 100% right…so it goes.

The Guvna’ was actually crazy I’d argue or deceiving even himself, attacking the prison when his stated goal was to take it made no sense. His attack ruined it as a safe place, and Rick even offered to share it. He could have let his group enter and left himself, based on what he knew of Rick’s group violence against them was not a good possibility.

Or you know take any of the millions of other abandoned structures without inhabitants.

Well, there’s always the problem of dead inhabitants in a lot of abandoned buildings.

The governor had to destroy Rick because he represented an alternative, and to the Governor an alternative meant his risked losing his group to Rick, leaving him naked in a deadly world. Again, it’s all about the Governor, not about building a society.

I haven’t finished season 5 yet, so maybe I’ll get back to you in a few days when I have. But from what I’ve seen, a lot of what let Alexandria survive was luck. Certainly, the guy running “patrols” was correct when he called himself a douchbag. He’s presuming to dictate to people who have survived in a walker-infested world for a couple years without having protective walls to retreat behind? Yeah, epic levels of douchery, although that’s also consistent with his age.

We see again and again that failing to view walkers at a dire threat gets people killed in this world. That doesn’t mean panic is appropriate, either, but you don’t play games with walkers.

Frankly, I’m not entirely sure why folks don’t simply kill every walker they come across, what’s with strolling by when you see one impaled on something or melted to a piece of pavement or whatever? Sure, I get that one’s whacking arm can get tired at times, but honestly, why leave any of them moving unless there is truly no choice? Probably a couple billions walkers in the world, every single one of them wants you for dinner, why wouldn’t you smash their skulls in?

I would agree that the Governor had to destroy Rick, because Rick represented an alternative… that one doesn’t have to be a murderer or utterly ruthless in order to survive. The Governor’s problem was that he slipped a cog after his family was killed, and he was determined to keep HIS people SAFE… regardless of what he had to do to someone ELSE’s people. And if those people decided not to submit to his control, for their own good… well, he wound up killing them when they mutinied.

And then wound up taking over another group, and going after Rick and his bunch in the prison, ostensibly for the benefit of HIS group… but as much for revenge and victory over Rick as anything, because he had to be RIGHT.

And it cost the Governor his life and most of his group.

Rick has danced around that same line; he’s lost his wife and many people he cared about… but he hasn’t actually gone CRAZY yet. Although he came close when Aaron turned up to invite him and his bunch to Alexandria, robbing and beating him … but not killing him… and ultimately releasing him when it turned out that Aaron was actually completely on the level.

The dividing line seems to be that Rick is willing to explore alternatives, as opposed to simply acting to ensure the survival of his group and family in the most pragmatic, ruthless manner possible. He is much nastier than the man he was before the Zombie Apocalypse, but he is not a ruthless, pragmatic killer who’d kill you here and now so Carl could have your corn dog.

Not yet.

Violence, yes, but remember the guy Rick wouldn’t help-- he was walking on the road as Rick drove by-- who ended up getting killed by Walkers? You wouldn’t do that in our world, but you would in his. The rules are different.

Whether of not they’ve taken actions that are wrong, they’ve sure racked up a list of actions that were dumb.

In reality, I doubt any of us would do better. It’s the difference between armchair quarterbacking and actually dealing with zombie hordes when you’re hungry, exhausted, and haven’t had a shower or a real bed in months.

Rick listens to advice from his group. I think it has been his best virtue. I just hope I never see another ninja zombie.