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Walking Dead’s Rick Grimes: Father Knows Best for the Apocalypse?

rickHow do you raise children during a zombie apocalypse? Rick Grimes of AMC’s Walking Dead is figuring it out.

Last season’s huge finale left Rick resolute about restoring some semblance of civilization for his son who is becoming ever more accustomed to the new post-apocalypse morality: Kill or die. Or, if you do become a zombie, Die, and kill.

(Spoilers)

Now Rick has a newborn to contend with, but little Judith won’t be much more than a precious prop for a while. The real father-child dynamic has been playing out between Rick, the leader of our gang of survivors, and his 13-year-old son Carl since a disease broke out that killed and zombified most of the United States 3 seasons ago.

Rick’s young son left his childhood behind him completely last season after the gruesome and shocking death of his mother. He is getting so hard core. Carl is bothered less and less by the violence that surrounds him and is becoming a capable perpetrator of it as well.

When Carl’s mother was alive it was her contention that he needed to be protected from the harshness of their new world while Rick, his father, was always giving him more responsibility and expecting him to grow up and help out. Now Rick sometimes seems taken back by Carl’s stark cruelty. Rick uses violence as a means of restoring the pre-apocalpytic world, but it seems that Carl is forgetting the civilization Rick hopes to restore.

Carl’s tough resilience, while unsettling, does seem to be necessary in terms of survival. Look at Morgan Jones and his son Duane, the pair Rick met in Season 1 before he found his family. Morgan could not shoot the zombie version of his wife and his son was later killed by her. After these hideous losses Morgan barely holds on to his sanity. He doesn’t have what it takes to live in this world. When offered the chance to join Rick’s group at the prison, Morgan notices that Rick is taking a lot of guns. He claims that Rick, Carl, and his people will die either by bullets or by walkers and he refuses to join them. He simply can’t embrace the new morality, but he knows this is a weakness. When Carl approaches Morgan and tells him that he is sorry for shooting him earlier Morgan says, “Don’t ever be sorry.” Morgan knows his son would still be alive if he had been able to shoot his zombie wife. Conversely, Carl shot his own mother before she even turned.

It’s rough during an apocalypse.

The question is whether one can embrace this new life as Rick and the Governor have attempted to do without going crazy. Rick ventured close to losing it last season and it’s clear that the Governor is damaged goods as well.

Is it worth it to survive at any cost?

Photo Source: Walking Dead Wiki

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