The Walking Dead's Season 7 premiere saw the breaking down of Sheriff in town Rick Grimes like never before. The man in charge of Alexandria was relentlessly forced to bow down to the new villain in town Negan.
Not only did Rick lose two of his closest friends but he said goodbye to all of his power and security. He and his group are now living under the oppression of Negan. However, knowing Rick Grimes, that simply cannot and will not last. If the group wants to see a change, everyone will look to Rick for an answer and strategy to get themselves away from Negan's rule.
Rick can't pull any groups back together without first putting the pieces of himself back in place. Speaking to Andrew Lincoln after the Season 7 premiere of The Walking Dead, ComicBook.com has learned Lincoln's perspective on how Rick bounces back from such horror.
"One of the great things about playing Rick is the fact that he seems, despite his breaking, he is still be able to pull himself off the canvas by himself or hopefully be helped up by family and loved ones around him," Lincoln said. "Perhaps the story that we tell in the season is the latter, that other people around Rick are able to pull him up again and make him live on. I think that there was a clue in the episode when it's a very tiny glimmer of unity still left in this terribly dark night when he says that he's our family too. That there is, in spite of this earth shattering event that's traumatized and continues to traumatize everybody in their own individual ways, I think that there is the tiniest sense of unity still in tact. In that there is hope. It's something that's always been I think in the DNA of the show."
Many expect to see Maggie Greene rise from the ashes as she has in Robert Kirkman's comic books and emerge as a leader. While it is certainly a possibility on the TV series, Lincoln is reluctant to comment in an effort to avoid spoilers.
Following Negan's brutal introduction, people are eager to point fingers at who is to blame. While some, including Jeffrey Dean Morgan, blame Daryl for Glenn's death, others see the entire ordeal as Rick's fault following his overconfident actions late in Season 6.
"I think guilt is never far away from Mr. Grimes's shoulder," Lincoln said. "I think that it's definitely, if you look through a list of characteristics, one of his chief engines would be guilt. I think one of this greatest strengths is the fact that he takes responsibility for everybody's livelihoods, it's why he's such a phenomenal leader, why people fall in beside and behind him. Also it's one of his weaknesses. I think he suffers as a result of that responsibility. Yes, I do think he feels culpable and also he showed a lot of hubris last year. He made some decisions that were, in hindsight, too gung-ho and probably crossed the line of these two family members of his. I'm not going to speak for any other character but I'm sure that there will be some sense of responsibility on Daryl's part, as well."