Negan managed to break Rick, but the fierce leader that we know and love returned at the end of The Walking Dead Episode 8, and seems to be completely reinvigorated to take down Negan
Everything came to a head in The Walking Dead's mid-season finale. We caught up with Carol and Morgan, Maggie and Sasha at Hilltop, and of course Alexandria where Negan and the Saviors have been terrorizing the once-Safe Zoners. Alexandria is completely under Negan's thumb, and ever since the Season 7 premiere it seemed like there was nothing that Rick could do about it. Speaking to AMC, Andrew Lincoln explained his character's state of mind in the first half of the season, saying, "This is such a new regime that he actually doesn’t have the stomach for the fight – certainly not during the first half of the season – and I think he feels real guilt over the choices that he’s made with the Saviors. He takes it all personal. I think we see a man who has not given up, but who has certainly realized that there’s a new formidable man with an incredibly powerful army, so his only answer is to acquiescence."
However after everything that went down in the mid-season finale, Rick reaches a tipping point and we see the Rick Grimes that we knew come to the forefront again. Lincoln went on to explain, "I think the episode is very much a realization from Rick’s point of view. He’s made this deal and is trying to live under this new regime. He just risked his life in the most ridiculous manner possible for Negan and then Aaron, who showed great solidarity in that decision, gets beaten almost to death in front of Rick’s eyes. Then, he witnesses the deaths of two of his fellow citizens, Eugene gets taken away and Rosita gets scarred in front of him. He’s powerless in all areas and he realizes that he can’t live this way. I think the realization happens before Michonne’s call to arms because it’s implicit when he says 'I know that now.' I think he takes himself away to Morgan's cell and it’s relevant that he’s there in that cell to try to find some balance."
The actor continued, "I think he’s realized that he’s living on his knees. He’d rather die standing up on his feet than kneel for the rest of his life – and their lives. That’s pretty much what Michonne says to him. It’s a very powerful realization throughout the whole episode that this is never going to work. The deal that he’s made will always be broken, and Negan is not a man of his word. He will continue to squeeze until there’s nothing left." So now, fans can look forward to seeing Alexandria, the Hilltop Community and the Kingdom team up to take down Negan, as teased in The Walking Dead Season 7B trailer. Are you happy to see that Rick will no longer bow down to Negan?