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Rick Grimes Vs. Negan on The Walking Dead Season 8 Finale "Wrath" - Pictured from left to right: Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Andrew Lincoln - Photo Credit: Gene Page / AMC Rick Grimes Vs. Negan on The Walking Dead Season 8 Finale "Wrath" - Pictured from left to right: Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Andrew Lincoln - Photo Credit: Gene Page / AMC

The Walking Dead

Would Rick Grimes have spared Negan if he knew parole was possible?

Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

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If Rick Grimes had known Negan would be free to go in his absence, free to play dad to Judith while Michonne replaced him with Ezekiel… Does he still spare Negan?

Had Rick Grimes peeked into a crystal ball and witnessed the dystopian-like future of Alexandria in his absence, would he undo it all? Every day Rick Grimes is not around his daughter is a day she forgot about him a little bit more than yesterday. Rick’s despised rival becoming her adopted father figure and who she looks to for guidance. Memory alone pales to immediate availability, and Negan is available and willing to play dad. Rick’s promise of a life sentence for Negan reduced to parole for good behavior. Negan has accomplished what Shane set out to do minus Lori.

For those who’ve watched The Walking Dead’s Season 10 Comic Con Trailer, it’s clear Negan will go free from his cell to roam Alexandria… Meaning, it’s only a matter of time before he rebuilds his influence like The Governor before him. Sure, he might take a beating from Daryl but nothing he can’t handle. In the end, Rick placing Negan in the cell will be largely meaningless as Sanctuary’s top guy rewrites his own history. Maybe even Rick’s history if he chooses to. For how much longer will Judith keep believing Michonne’s stories about Negan against her own experiences? Especially, once Michonne starts kissing Ezekiel.

Michonne isn’t even Judith’s real mom after all, and she’s just entering that teenage rebellious phase. Remember how difficult Carl was toward Rick at Judith’s age (and even later)? A moment will come when Judith has to choose between the viewpoints of Michonne and Negan, and vote for him… She’s already ignored Michonne’s wishes before. If Rick Grimes knew Michonne had accepted a replacement in his place rather than continue the search, how would he react? He’s already been in the scenario with Lori once before. So again, go back to the epicenter of it all, The Walking Dead’s Season 8 Finale.

Rick Grimes has an opportunity to vanquish his opponent in Roman Gladiator-like fashion. The Saviors have surrendered, the war is over. Yet, Rick relents and spares Negan from his fate. There’s a saying, ‘first thought, best thought’ or ‘always go with your gut.’ If Rick Grimes ignores Carl’s dream right that second, there might have been true unity by those who fought The Saviors. No forced unity between opposing former front lines who balked at the dream. 

The idea two sides imprinted with the memory of the war and its casualties could live in harmony was likely a utopian daydream. Daryl tried desperately to make Rick see that as his best friend. Whereas Maggie had already lost faith in Rick Grimes permanently.  

If Rick Grimes could see the future of his decision… Would he change it? Would you?

Relive The Walking Dead Season 8 with the Blu-Ray on Amazon!  Rewatch the moment that determined The Walking Dead’s entire future timeline with one action on Season 8 Episode 16 (“Wrath”).


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