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Why Rick is a poor leader.

Ok, before you say it, yes i know im late to the party with regard to The Walking Dead.  However, fact is i rarely watch series when they are first airing on the TV as things like work, kids and a desire to shoot my friend over and over…on Playstation – are not conducive to the religiosity of weekly attendance that ongoing television series demand.

That said, I am in the process of marathon-ing The Walking Dead. I started series 1 last week and just yesterday finished series 2.  Let me just say, from the outset, that I think this show is fantastic. The following criticisms I have are not reflective of the show writ large, but just one character, Rick Grimes.  Let’s be clear, i write this not just because i love the show, but because this could actually happen people.

Ever since he joined the group in episode 3 (thus rejoining his wife and child) it was only natural that he would become the leader being a Sheriff’s Deputy. But then again Shane was also a Sheriff’s Deputy, but for the sake of argument lets just accept that Rick had seniority.

By accepting the role of leader of a group of survivors of a Zombie Holocaust (anyone else see that movie by the way?) Rick Grimes took on a responsibility that i will show he is not up to (as far as the first 2 series are concerned, as that’s where I’m at)

First thing as a leader of a small group of people who have thus far survived the Zombie Apocalypse (don’t think I’ve seen that one), has to realise is that no matter where you go, you are essentially perpetually behind enemy lines.  Those lumbering freakazoids with a penchant for treating your arm like a chicken wing are everywhere.  One thing you have to be cognizant of when you are perpetually behind enemy lines is that sooner or later you will have to bug out.  The ability to bug out when necessary requires preparedness, such as the need to have packed or be able to pack quickly, enough kit and provisions to last you a few days.

But there’s another element of preparedness that is required if you have to hightail it, and in a Zombie Nightmare (ooh that one looks good) this is probably the most important – you need to have decent cardio.  This is my biggest criticism of Rick.  He organised for those who needed it to get some shooting practice in, but in the 2 series i have watched thus far, he has not so much as organised a single cardio session for the survivors.  This is a particularly egregious oversight for a leader who recognised that these zombies do not run of gas in episode 1 of series 2 when he tried to rescue Sophia.
Im not expecting Rick to set up a gym, for cardio he doesn’t need to – although Dale quite clearly could have done with some strength training then maybe he could’ve dealt with that zombie a little better in episode 11 of the second series.  “He was 64!” i hear you cry. Doesn’t matter, does it Sly? (he’s 66, round of applause for that man please)

The absolute need for decent cardio in a Zombie Armageddon (haven’t seen that one either) was highlighted in episode 13 of series 2 when Andrea basically engaged in a cross country race for her life (with a bag of guns) and she’s breathing out of her ass.  But as i said earlier, Rick was aware that these freaks do not run of steam yet he never once sought to improve the overall fitness of the group.  The hunting and the gathering might help with functional strength but it won’t give them that cardio they need to have in their back pocket when the herd comes and the ammo is running out.

A second criticism of Rick, whilst not as serious, is why on earth did he not A-Team or MacGuyver one of the vehicles on the farm and outfit it with an improvised bucket or something for smashing down a herd of zombies.  Surely revving up one of those pickups with some kind of Zombie leg destroyer welded to the front, would have been a wise idea.  It may not kill the zombies, but you know what Rick, they’re a hell of a lot less dangerous when they can only use their arms to move.

My final criticism of Rick is even minor yet again.  I’m not entirely sure it qualifies as a drop holster, but nevertheless, he needs to tie that shit down.  I’m aware of the Western aspects that run throughout Walking Dead, but seriously Rick, if you wanna run best not to have your piece flapping all over the place.  That would also help with noise discipline Rick because we know these Zombies react to sound.  Not expecting you to have perfect fieldcraft Rick, but c’mon, you can’t expect the rest of the group to be on the ball if you’re not.

One final point – I’m sure I’m not the only one who noticed but old Rick didn’t seem to run out of gas when his son was shot, running him in his arms the whole way to Hershel’s house.  Yet he stuck Sophia under a fallen tree in a river cause he was tired?  I don’t think it qualifies as nepotism but it was cold Rick, cold.

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