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- "I didn't bring it in; it got inside on its own. They always will, the dead and the living because we're in here… and the ones out there, they'll hunt us, they'll find us, they'll try to use us and they'll try to kill us. But we'll kill them. We'll survive, I'll show you how. You know I was thinking... I was thinking how many of you do I have to kill to save your lives, but I'm not gonna do that ... you're gonna change. I'm not sorry for what I said last night, I'm sorry for not saying it sooner. You're not ready, but you have to be, right now, you have to be. Luck runs out."
- —Rick to the Alexandria residents at the meeting[src]
Rick Grimes is the protagonist and a survivor of the outbreak in AMC's The Walking Dead. He is a former police officer of the King County Sheriff's Department, who was shot in the line of duty and fell into a coma, only to wake up and find himself in the midst of the zombie apocalypse. He travels to Atlanta, Georgia, searching for his wife, Lori, and his son, Carl, who have traveled to Atlanta with Rick's best friend, Shane Walsh, in search of a safe-haven. After he finds his wife and son, along with a group of survivors, he gradually takes on the role of their leader and becomes hardened, doing whatever it takes to survive in the newly-formed harsh world.
Rick worked as a King County Sheriff's Department deputy in King County, Georgia, along with his partner and long-time best friend, Shane Walsh. Wounded in the line of duty, he was in a coma when the apocalypse occurred. When he awoke alone, he set off in search of his wife, Lori, and young son, Carl, and along the way discovered what had happened to the world.
Rick is typically calm, smart, and a good friend and father; but he will often stubbornly cling to his personal strong moral code, which has resulted in numerous bad calls and extra stress within the group. Rick's greatest fault, perhaps, is his uncanny ability to place responsibility on himself and set for himself goals that are impossible to reach. This has, on various occasions, put Rick at ends with both Lori and Shane, and often weighs heavily on his mind. Despite his faults, his combat skill and general care for all members of the group have led him to be looked up to, and allowed him to take the leadership role within the group. Rick is strongly nonreligious, admitting to never having been much of a believer and instead puts his faith in his family and the group-members around him.
He is shown to be incredibly protective of his group and their well-being, having engaged numerous threats, even other living people, to keep them safe. His moral compass is challenged in many ways and he, in an attempt to prevent more death and loss, begins to shut everybody else out following the death of his best-friend Shane at his own hands. Despite this, Rick is able to use his leadership skills and combat abilities to keep the group alive for many months following the destruction of the Hershel Greene's farm, where they were taking refuge, and lead the group in taking the abandoned and overrun West Georgia Correctional Facility, using seemingly desperate survival tactics they had come to learn on the road all winter.
After the death of Lori, Rick becomes very emotionally unstable, and it is not until just before the group learns of the Woodbury threat that Rick comes back to his senses, although evidently Rick has become a ruthless, uncompromising leader of survivors, contrasting his high moral code and values in the previous seasons. Following Andrea's death as a result of the Governor, Rick seems to have regained much of his old self and finally begins to trust other survivors and accept them into the prison. Over the six months between the third and fourth seasons, Rick relinquished his leadership position in order to focus more on raising Carl. As the fourth season goes on, Rick's leadership starts becoming a request from many of the other group members, most notably Daryl Dixon. After the Governor returns and attacks the prison, Rick becomes distraught and remorseful of the loss of the prison, the death of Hershel, and what he believes to be the death of his daughter Judith. He becomes more protective of Carl and gets into a few arguments with him. After Rick reunites with Michonne, he loosens his grip on Carl a bit and allows himself some time to rest, albeit only temporarily.
As he, Carl, and Michonne evacuate the house they were residing in as a result of a group known as the Claimers and comes across a poster pointing to Terminus, he decides to take the chance and see the apparent sanctuary. Rick realizes who he is when he is found by the Claimers, who resolved to track him down after he killed one of their group members, Lou, to escape from the house. He ultimately comes to terms with his brutality, which he thinks he has put away for good, after he ends up biting out the jugular of Joe, the leader of the group, and stabs Dan, another member of the group who attempted to rape Carl, to death. After that night, he explains how he knows of his two different personality traits and how he has settled his mind knowing that by turning to brutality, he has kept his son safe and he has kept his friends alive.
After arriving at Terminus, Rick has accepted his leadership position for which the group respects him. He holds no conflict in his mind anymore and does not doubt his decisions; and from his teachings by Hershel whom he came to view as a mentor (as well a father figure towards him), Rick now understands that he can still retain his humanity by protecting his friends and has personally stated that he views his group as his family. His darker side is shown through his brutality and he does not hesitate to kill someone whom he views as a threat, fearing he or she will come back and harm his family (based on what happened to Lori when Rick failed to kill Andrew, a prisoner whom Rick locked in a courtyard of walkers and presumed was killed). Also, during Season 5, Rick has developed massive trust issues towards any strangers that he and his group come across, even if they seem timid and harmless; he has a long and hard time trusting Gabriel Stokes and Aaron, even threatening to kill them once or twice if they did anything that would harm his family and friends. His trust issues are so strong that he even suspects Aaron's apple sauce to be poisoned before Judith can eat it, before an offended Aaron points out, while Aaron himself is tied up, that killing Rick's daughter in front of him would only lead to Aaron getting killed by Rick. Aaron tries telling Rick that his trust issues are exaggerated, but Rick remains stubborn and makes it clear that he is now a man who doesn't take chances anymore, and forces Aaron to eat the apple sauce to prove that it's safe for Judith to eat. In the end, Aaron and Gabriel (for the most part) prove that they are not threats.
Relying on his former police skills and survival tactics, Rick has become a battle-hardened survivor who will protect his family without question: In many ways, Rick has become like Shane, ready to kill without a moment's hesitation and not trusting anyone except for his group, and knowing that in the world that it is now, there are very few good people left and if you don't fight for your survival, then you will eventually die. In addition to his acting like Shane, Rick also obtains a few similarities to other primary antagonists that he has encountered and killed (or whom other members of his group have killed) in the past, particularly the Governor, Joe, and Gareth. However, unlike Shane, the Governor, Joe, and Gareth, Rick retains some of his humanity and honor for the sake of his family and friends, and looks to his friends for guidance in making sure that he doesn't completely lose his sanity, a direct contrast to these other antagonists who have almost completely sacrificed their humanity in favor of personal survival by any means necessary, unchallenged power and control over other survivors and giving into their worst inclinations for their own benefit.
Rick had a grandfather who fought in the Second World War. One day Rick asked him about the notion of killing Germans but his grandfather declined to answer and insisted that it was best Rick did not know as it was "grown up stuff". Rick later related to him during the apocalypse.
Rick had a decent childhood and thus had a close relationship with his father whom Rick personally viewed him as 'profound' man who always had wise advice to give in difficult situations, something that Rick attempts to do for his own son, but is not always successful. He grew up alongside his best friend Shane with Rick acting as the more subdued of the pair, he had few girlfriends during his years of high school, in contrast to Shane who was always the centre of attraction to girls.
Later Rick and Shane both went to college together for police administration and became employed sheriff deputies at the King County Sheriff's Department. Initially as a 'rookie' Rick arrested a 19 year old teenager convicted of murdering his girlfriend but effectively managed to 'sucker the jury' during which he cried through the interrogation as well as the court trial, eventually the case was dropped due to lack of 'insufficient evidence' and thus the boy was set free, however two weeks later he shot another woman.
He and Lori met at a young age and, after dating for a short amount of time, married and had a son named Carl. They lived as a family in a typical suburban neighbourhood. On Sundays Lori often made pancakes which Rick humourlessly described as 'just the worst'.
Over time Rick and Lori's marriage became increasingly strained due to Rick constantly distancing himself from her, hesitating to open up about his feelings and instead absorb himself in his work; which as a result led to various cracks in their relationship as well as harsh words directed primarily from Lori questioning whether or not Rick cared about his family or not.
Rick and Shane sit in a police cruiser and converse about "the difference between men and women". After the humorous conversation, Shane asks Rick about Lori, which Rick is reluctant to answer, but ultimately explains how he feels like he and Lori are drifting apart and how he feels about Carl and how he's dealing with it. After their talk, a police call comes in, asking assistance. As soon as Rick and Shane arrive, they lay out road spikes, fall back to the other squad car that followed them, and wait for the criminals to arrive. Rick berates one of the more incompetent officers about his readiness. He watches as the criminals' car hits the road spikes, it flips over multiple times and he slowly makes his way out with his revolver drawn. He yells for one of the criminals to put their weapon down, but is ultimately forced to start shooting back. He is hit with one of the bullets fired and falls to the ground. Shane runs to him to check if he's alright, which he is due to having his Kevlar vest on. After telling Shane to never tell Lori what just happened, another criminal crawls out of under the car and shoots him in the shoulder, which causes an incredible amount of pain and puts him into a coma.
Rick regains consciousness to talk about the vase, unaware of the passage of time. He looks around and realizes that he has been there for a long time. He investigates the building, which proves right away to one abandoned, and encounters his first undead group of zombies barred into a locked room. He makes his way down a few flights of stairs and finds an EXIT sign above a door. He moves through the door and witnesses a horrid sight. Rows of bodies in body bags, in which some are on flatbed trucks. Having seen this, Rick is horrified and flees the hospital. In a nearby park, he encounters a severely deteriorated zombie with nothing left of her lower body but trailing bones and organs. Shaken, he returns to his home to look for his family. Unable to find any sign of them, he sits outside and is suddenly hit in the face with a shovel by a boy — Duane Jones — who initially mistakes him for a zombie.
Rick later wakes up tied to a bed. The boy's father, Morgan Jones, checks Rick for zombie bites or a fever, either of which could indicate that he is turning into a zombie himself. After deciding Rick is not a threat, Morgan frees him and shares what information he has regarding the zombie apocalypse. The following day, Rick tells Morgan that his family are missing and that they are most likely alive (based on family photos that had been taken from the house). Morgan and Duane tell Rick that they might have set off to Atlanta where the CDC has set up a quarantine zone. Rick takes Morgan and his son to his former Sheriff's headquarters, where the trio use the emergency generator to power up the station. They take hot showers and clean out the armory. As they depart, with Rick heading off to Atlanta while Morgan and Duane stay behind, Rick gives Morgan a rifle and a walkie-talkie and says he will broadcast every morning. Before he leaves, he encounters fellow officer Leon Basset a zombie and dispatches him. He then returns to the park where he encountered the badly decayed zombie, apologizes for what has happened to it, and shoots it in the head.
While on his way to Atlanta, Rick sends out a broadcast via his radio. The transmissions are received by a camp located just outside the city, but they are unable to send a response to warn him of the situation in the city. Among the survivors are Rick's partner Shane, his wife Lori, and Carl. Rick later runs out of gasoline; he approaches an abandoned gas station, where he encounters a pre-adolescent female zombie, the zombie walks towards Rick so Rick shoots her. Unable to find any gas, he abandons his car on the highway and heads out on foot. He approaches a farmhouse, where the occupants are dead in an apparent murder-suicide. Rick finds a horse nearby and rides it to Atlanta, carrying the sack of guns from the police armory.
Rick arrives in Atlanta and finds the city in an extreme state of devastation. He then searches the streets on horseback, finding an overrun military blockade. Rick hears a helicopter pass overhead and tries to follow it, but rides straight into a horde of walkers. The undead swarm Rick's horse, toppling Rick and making him drop the sack of guns. While many of the zombies swarm around the horse, tearing it apart and eating it, Rick scrambles underneath an abandoned tank. With zombies crawling after him on both sides, Rick shoots several of them, then places the gun to his temple. Looking up, he sees an open hatch underneath the tank and crawls inside. The walkers surround the tank as Rick seals himself inside. After firing his revolver into the head of an undead tank crewman; therefore deafening him due to the confines of the M1 tank and then sealing the top hatch, Rick is safe—but trapped—in the tank. A voice comes over the radio sarcastically calling him a "dumbass."
The voice on the radio advises him to make a run for it while they are distracted eating Rick’s horse. Rick takes a gun and a grenade off the dead soldier in the tank then opens the hatch. He jumps from the tank and runs down an alley, shooting walkers as he goes. Quickly, he meets up with the person who radioed instructions to him, Glenn Rhee. Rick follows him to a ladder, which they climb to safety, and then down a staircase to an alley, which is free of all but a few walkers thanks to a bus blockade. When the two reach street-level, two other people wearing riot gear emerge and beat down the walkers. The group rushes inside a Bradbury’s department store, where Rick meets other survivors: Andrea, Jacqui, T-Dog and Morales. Outside, walkers press against the store’s front doors and the glass begins to crack
On the roof, Rick and the group find Merle Dixon, a middle-aged redneck, firing at walkers with a rifle. T-Dog chastises Merle for wasting bullets and attracting more walkers. Merle scoffs at him by saying he'd never take orders from a “nigger”, which sets off a fight between the two. Merle beats T-Dog and presses a handgun to his forehead, but Rick intervenes, hitting Merle with the butt of the rifle and handcuffing him to a pipe. “Things are different now,” Rick tells Merle. “There are no 'niggers' anymore, No dumb-as-shit white trash fools either; there's only white meat and dark meat. It's US and the dead; we survive this by pulling together, not apart.” Morales tells Rick there is no refugee center, which was “a pipe dream.” They are with a small group of survivors staying outside the city, but T-Dog cannot reach them on the radio. With the streets no longer safe, Rick suggests they try to escape underground. Jacqui, who formerly worked in the city zoning office, says that the building might have access to the sewers.
Glenn and Morales head to the basement while Rick and Andrea stand guard at the front of the store. Andrea spots a necklace with a mermaid pendant. Rick encourages her to take it. As Andrea pockets the necklace, walkers break through the exterior glass doors and begin pounding on the interior doors. Morales and Glenn arrive to report that the sewer is not an option because of a walker feasting on a rat and the tunnel is barricaded by bars they can't get past.
Back on the roof, Rick spots a cube van at a nearby construction site. The ignition keys should be nearby, Rick theorizes, but they need to get past the walkers undetected. The group explains that if they hear you, see you or smell you, they eat you. Rick latches on to the scent idea. Wearing rubber gloves and rain jackets, Rick and Morales drag a dead walker in from the alley. After acknowledging the man’s lost humanity, that he used to be just like the rest of them, Rick grabs an axe and hacks apart the body. He and Glenn then smear the corpse’s guts on their jackets. Before leaving, Rick tosses T-Dog the key to Merle’s handcuffs.
Outside, Rick and Glenn shuffle through crowds of walkers unnoticed. A rainstorm then passes over them, washing the guts off their jackets. Their human smell unmasked, walkers immediately attack the two. Fighting them off, Rick and Glenn run to the construction site, hopping a fence that is blocking access. Once Glenn tracks down the key, he and Rick speed away in the van. Rick orders Glenn to radio the group to get ready for pick-up. To lure the walkers away, Glenn drives off in a red sports car, which Rick has hot wired after setting off its alarm. With the walkers lured away by Glenn, The group heads down while T-Dog debates reluctantly decides to try to free Merle but slips due to the wet roof. With nothing else he can do and Merle angry due to T-Dog dropping the key, T-Dog again reluctantly puts a heavy chain lock on the doors so the walkers won't get at him. T-Dog runs downstairs just as the walkers break through the glass doors of the department store. Rick pulls the van up and the group piles in just as walkers make their way through. Having escaped the chaos at the store, T-Dog admits to the others he dropped the key, leaving Merle trapped on the roof.
Morales advises Rick not to dwell on Merle’s abandonment. When the van arrives at the camp, the group embraces with their families while Rick hesitantly stays in the car for a few moments. He later emerges, seeing Lori and Carl and the three of them share a tearful reunion.
Later, around a campfire, Rick describes the disorientation he felt waking up in the hospital. Lori explains she was told Rick would be transported to Atlanta, but it never happened. Rick thanks Shane for saving them. He volunteers to deliver the news to Daryl Dixon about his brother, as does T-Dog, who is wracked with guilt for dropping the key. Later on in their tent, Rick tucks Carl in and then crawls into bed with Lori. They reflect on past mistakes and the second chance they have been given. Lori returns Rick’s wedding ring, and the two make love.
The next morning, Rick tells Lori he plans to return to Atlanta for Merle. Lori is shocked, but they are interrupted by Carl’s screams. Finding Carl unscathed, Rick, Shane, Jim and Glenn run past him to a clearing where a walker is devouring a deer with crossbow bolts sticking out of it. The four men beat on the walker until Dale arrives and decapitates it. Daryl then emerges from the woods and laments that the walker ate his hunted dear. Finding the walker head still alive, Daryl fires his crossbow at it, then heads into camp looking for Merle. Shane tells Daryl that Merle did not make it back, Rick chimes in, confessing he left Merle handcuffed to the roof. Daryl pulls a knife, but Rick disarms him with the help of Shane who puts him in a sleeper-hold to restrain the violent hunter. With the door to the roof chained securely shut, Rick tells Daryl, Merle is likely alive, Lori then states that Rick is going back to Merle.
Back in his uniform, Rick prepares to leave with Daryl. Shane questions his decision to risk his life for Merle. Shane argues that they need everybody to protect the camp in case more walkers show up. What they really need, Rick contends, are more guns, which he would be able to retrieve from his dropped bag. Rick also needs to collect his walkie-talkie from the bag so he can warn Morgan away from the city. Shane gives Rick the last of his bullets for Rick’s revolver.
In Atlanta, Rick, Daryl, Glenn, and T-Dog return to the department store. They cut through the chain on the stairwell door and emerge onto the roof. On the ground, a hacksaw sits beside a severed hand that belongs to Merle, with bloody handcuffs hanging from the pipe above.
An enraged Daryl points his crossbow at T-Dog, but relents when Rick pulls his revolver. They then follow Merle's trail of blood to a kitchen, where Sterno cans burn next to an iron steak weight crusted with skin—the result of Merle cauterizing his stump. Rick agrees to help Daryl search the streets for his brother. "Only if we get those guns first," T-Dog says. Glenn outlines a plan to retrieve Rick's bag: Daryl will watch his back from the store's alley, while Rick and T-Dog cover a second alley two blocks away.
On the street, Glenn runs toward the tank. Back in the alley, a teenager named Miguel approaches Daryl. Daryl trains his crossbow on Miguel, who begins screaming. Glenn grabs the bag of guns — and Rick’s hat — then runs back toward Daryl. Rick and T-Dog, hearing Miguel’s screams, also head for the alley. Two men named Jorge and Felipe, who have also come for the guns, then jump Daryl. The men turn to Glenn and start beating him. Daryl then fires an arrow in Felipe’s butt. They throw Glenn in a car and drive off—leaving Miguel and the guns behind. Rick then takes Miguel and asks him about the men that he was with, Miguel refuses to speak to Rick. Daryl tries to tell Miguel that his brother's hand was a result of "the last guy who pissed him off" and throws the hand on Miguel as he starts to panic. Daryl then threatens to cut off his feet by telling he is "going to start with the feet this time". Rick fends Daryl off and asks Miguel that all he wants to do is work something out with his gang. Later on Miguel leads Rick, Daryl and T-Dog to an abandoned factory, where the leader of the group called “G” emerges. Rick proposes trading Miguel for Glenn. G demands the bag of guns, threatening to kill Glenn if they do not hand it over.
Rick then escorts Miguel into the warehouse carrying the guns on his back. Rick cuts Miguel loose and demands G hand over Glenn. Felipe and Miguel’s grandmother shuffles into the middle of the stand-off, asking Felipe for help with "Mr. Gilbert." She notices Rick’s uniform and begs him not to take Felipe away. Rick tells Felipe’s grandmother that Felipe is helping him find a missing person. Abuela leads Rick into a nursing home auditorium, where several elderly people—and Glenn—are grouped around an asthmatic man. Felipe helps the man with an inhaler.
After giving them a few rifles, Rick, Glenn, T-Dog, and Daryl walk back to the cube van, but find it missing. Back at the RV, a walker tears into Amy’s neck. Rick, Glenn, Daryl, and T-Dog arrive and quickly shoot the remaining walkers.
Rick stares at a sunrise over Atlanta as he tries to reach Morgan on the walkie-talkie, discussing what has happened to him ever since they departed from one another. Rick, Lori, and Shane discuss how to handle Andrea as she continues to cradle Amy’s body. Rick tries to approach Andrea but she pulls a gun on him. Around the same time, Jim reveals his bite wound to the group. Rick thinks the CDC might be able to help Jim, and suggests relocating there. Shane, however, thinks the army base in Fort Benning — 125 miles in the opposite direction — is a safer bet. Daryl heads toward Jim with his pickaxe and tries to take a swing. Rick points his gun at Daryl’s head and prevents him from taking action. Rick and Shane later dig graves near the campsite. A deeply frustrated Shane reminds Rick that he and the others who accompanied him to Atlanta to find Merle should have stayed so they wouldn't have lost so many people. Rick counters that without the guns he brought back, the losses might have been worse.
The survivors stage a funeral. Privately, Rick asks Lori if she blames him for not being there when the camp was attacked, and to support his decision to head for the CDC. She does not blame him exactly—not like Shane does—but she does not know if she can follow him to the CDC on blind faith. In the RV, Rick tells a feverish Jim they are going to get him help, but Jim is delirious. Outside, Shane asks Lori to convince Rick the CDC is a bad decision, cautioning her about choosing her marriage over peoples' safety. When Rick emerges, Lori announces that they should follow Rick's plan.
Rick, Shane and Dale depart to sweep the forest for walkers. Alone, Shane tries to convince Rick to change his mind. He's outraged when Rick appears to show a lack of compassion and gratitude for all he's done over the past few days, and for a brief few moments, aims his gun at Rick who's wandered off into the woods. Glaring, he drops the gun, and then notices Dale watching him. "Jesus," whispers Dale. Back at camp, Shane announces that he thinks they should trust Rick's instincts and those that agree would be leaving for the CDC in the morning. At dawn, Rick tries to reach Morgan to advise him of their plan. En route to the CDC, the RV's radiator hose bursts. While Shane and T-Dog drive ahead to find a replacement, Rick checks on Jim, who is in agony. They say their goodbyes and leave him to die next to a tree at his request.
Rick's caravan approaches the CDC, where hundreds of bodies lay dead on the ground. The group quietly approaches the building, which is locked and shuttered. As night time approaches the group begins to panic and Lori says that they can't be that close to the city after dark as walkers begin to rise. Rick catches sight of the security camera's movement but Dale thinks he "imagined it" and slams on the shutters, screaming for help as Shane drags him away. The shutters open at the last minute and drown everyone in light.
In a flashback to the early days of the outbreak while Rick is still in the coma, the hospital is getting overrun and doctors are seen fleeing in terror or getting executed by the military, leaving Shane by himself with Rick. Shane tries to get Rick to wake up but a nearby explosion causes a power-outage and Rick;s life-support machines die. Shane is forced to run but, holding out on hope that his friend might still wake, he barricades the door with a gurney before fleeing, indirectly saving his life.
In the present, Rick and the other survivors file into the CDC lobby as Dr. Edwin Jenner meets them at the door. Jenner agrees to allow them in — provided they all submit to a blood test. Rick agrees, and they follow Jenner to the building's basement control center. Later, the group feasts in the CDC cafeteria, jovially drinking wine and liquor, jubilant about finding a safe place. Jenner shows the group around the building, directing the children toward the recreation room and imploring everyone not to waste electricity. Rick stumbles drunkenly into the control room, where Jenner is working. Rick thanks Jenner again. He admits to Jenner that he never let on to the others what he really thought, but he knew they were running out of options. Rick stumbles into bed with Lori and sees that she is been crying. He assures her she doesn't need to be afraid.
The next morning, when Jenner arrives, he leads the group to the control center, where he displays brain scans from "Test Subject 19," who was infected and allowed the process to be recorded. Jenner admits he does not know what the disease is or how to treat it, and that he's lost contact with other facilities. Rick, Shane, T-Dog, and Glenn head to inspect the generators while upstairs, the building's air cuts off. In his office, Jenner stares at a photograph of a woman, asking her to understand that he did the best he could and hopes she would be proud of him. The panicked survivors confront Jenner, who explains the building is shutting itself down.
When the building runs out of power it will self-destruct — a "decontamination" protocol to keep dangerous infectious diseases from escaping. Jenner tries to convince Rick to accept his fate. Rick demands to know why Jenner stayed if he did not think there was any hope. "I made a promise," Jenner says, to his wife — Test Subject 19 — to keep going as long as he could. She was one of the finest scientists in the world; if anyone could have done something about this, it was she. Jenner eventually opens the door, but maintains that they still won't be able to get past the lock-down upstairs. He shakes Rick's hand, pulls him close, and whispers into Rick's ear.
In the CDC lobby, the group finds the doors locked and pounds helplessly on the windows. Carol pulls the hand grenade that Rick found in the tank in Atlanta from her bag. Rick detonates the grenade, blasting out one of the glass windows. The survivors run to the cars. From inside the RV, Lori sees Dale and Andrea emerge from the building. Jenner and Jacqui hold hands and watch the others evacuate on the security monitor. The CDC erupts in a fiery explosion. Dale and Andrea rush to the RV. Shaken, Rick starts the engine, and the caravan drives away from the smoldering rubble.
Rick stands atop a roof in Atlanta, talking into his radio, addressing the static as if Morgan Jones is actually there. He tells Morgan how Atlanta isn't safe and the CDC was a dead end. He is about to mention what Jenner told him just as they were leaving the CDC but decides against it, instead saying that the group is heading toward Fort Benning and that he is signing off. The group finally leaves Atlanta, starting a new journey. As they continue south of Atlanta, they come across a large sum of parked and crashed cars, blocking their path, just as they begin navigating through, the radiator in the RV is blown. At first, everybody is concerned about being left in the middle of the nowhere, but soon they realize that they can scavenge supplies from the abandoned cars and also find a new radiator for the RV.
Rick and Dale keep watch as the group starts to find supplies. Dale spots a walker approaching from behind the cars, Rick prepares to shoot it with a sniper, but they soon realize that it's actually an herd of more than thirty walkers approaching. In danger, Rick silently orders the group to hide under the cars. After the herd pass, Sophia is attacked by two walkers and then runs into the wild forest, Rick in hurry runs after her, he tracks these walkers and finally reaches Sophia. He then tells her to hide in a tree and wait for him there, "If I don't come back, head back to the highway the same way we came, keep the sun on your left shoulder." Rick moved the walkers away from Sophia and then ended up killing them. After finding no Sophia under the tree, Rick head back to the highway, and much for his disgust, he discovers that Sophia didn't came back either, so she is lost in the woods.
Rick, Shane, Daryl and Glenn decide to investigate the area. Daryl is an expert tracker, so Rick decides to try to find Sophia with him while Shane and Glenn distract the rest of the group with simple tasks at the highway. Rick and Daryl keep tracking Sophia through the wildness, but they end up losing her trail. They came upon a walker, after killing it, Rick notices that it fed recently, so they decide to open his stomach to make sure he didn't bit Sophia. They return to the highway by the sunset, Carol curses Rick for leaving her daughter alone in the woods. By the next day, Rick and the rest of the group go tracking Sophia once again. They find a tent in the middle of the forest, but no signs of Sophia nowhere near it, a bell began to ring nearby, the group decide to follow the sound and they soon find a church. Yet again, no signs of Sophia, the sound of the bell was actually a timer.
Rick doubting his leadership and father-ship. He decides to split the group, Daryl leads a group back to the highway while Rick, Carl and Shane kept investigating the area for a little longer. Rick does something he admits he never done before, he enters the church and asks God to send him a sign that he will be able to find Sophia. Soon after Rick, Carl and Shane are in the forest once again, they find a deer and Rick tells Carl to go touch it. As Carl approaches it, they all hear a loud gun shot, and a bullet going through the deer and hitting Carl's chest.
Rick runs with Shane and Otis through a field, he carries a shot and unconscious Carl in his arms. Otis tells Rick to keep running in this direction and he will find a farm, and he has to talk to a man named Hershel Greene. After Rick reaches the farm, Hershel and his daughters put Carl on a bed and start to give him medical treatment. After explaining everything that happened, Rick decides he needs to get to Lori, to tell her what has happened, but Hershel's daughter Maggie volunteers to find her and bring her to the farm instead. After removing one of the bullet fragments from Carl, Hershel informs that he needs medical supplies so he can remove the remaining fragments and close the bleeding, or Carl will soon die from blood loss. Rick volunteers to find the necessary supplies, but is replaced by Shane, who tells Rick that he needs to stay put for Carl. Otis also volunteers to go with Shane, trying to redeem himself to Rick and Carl. Later on, Rick and Hershel are having a conversation about the apocalypse, when Maggie arrives with Lori, who is shocked to see her son lying in a bed unconscious from a gunshot. Rick apologizes for letting this happen. After calming down, Rick and Lori have a conversation with Hershel about his experience to perform the surgery on Carl, but they are shocked when Hershel reveals that he is actually an veterinarian.
By the evening, Rick and Lori meet with Glenn and T-Dog as they arrive at the farm, they give their regards to Carl. Having a discussion with Lori about their situation, Lori wonders whether Carl should even live, saying that it's better for him to leave this world instead of watching more people die, while Rick becomes deeply upset and wants a future for his son. They are happy when Carl finally awakens but soon goes into a seizure and their fear returns. Hershel gives them an ultimatum, Carl doesn't have more time left and they need to perform the surgery urgently. Shane miraculously returns with the supplies needed in time, but Otis didn't make it back. Rick is very grateful, unaware of Shane's lies about what truly happened to Otis. Hershel is able to perform the surgery and Carl is finally safe. After the moment of relief, Rick and Hershel comforts Patricia, Otis's wife, as Shane watches them from the hallway.
Rick sits by Carl, and Carl wakes up, only to ask about Sophia. Rick tells him she's okay, even though she still is missing. Maggie shows Rick and Shane a map of the area, and Rick is happy that they finally can organize the search for Sophia. Hershel tells Rick that he donated too much blood for Carl and needs to rest, Shane also can't go around for too long since he is injured from his trip for the medical supplies. They decide to wait a day before going back to the search. Hershel and Rick are talking later on, and Hershel says he expects the Atlanta Survivors will leave once Carl is in fit condition and they find Sophia. Later on, Rick and Hershel are seen once again, having a discussion as to whether Hershel will reconsider. Hershel also reassures Rick that he is a commendable father after Rick confesses to having lied to Carl. Rick is at Carl's side at the end of the day again as he awakens, and they share some conversation. Rick reveals that he lied about Sophia being okay, and Carl forgives him. Carl jokes about being happy that he and Rick have been shot. Rick gives him his sheriff hat and tells him to rest some more as Lori walks in. They hug as Rick puts away his police uniform and badges.
Rick is seen continuing the search for Sophia, laying out a map of the terrain and setting the group up in parties to go and continue looking for her. Jimmy approaches Rick and tells him that he wants to help and claimed that Hershel said it was okay for him to do so. He also allows Daryl to borrow one of Hershel's horses to help cover more ground to look for Sophia. Later, he and Shane are seen continuing searching the woods for her while discussing their old high school days and girls they liked. Shane then changes the subject and says that they are wasting time trying to look for Sophia since it's been several days since she was first originally lost and as a police officer, after 72 hours, the case gets colder (less likely to find the missing person). Rick and Shane head back to the farm where Rick asks Lori if Shane is correct in stopping the search. Lori convinces Rick otherwise comparing Sophia to if it were Carl that was missing and Rick decides to keep on searching, however, he is approached by Beth Greene, she says that Hershel wants to talk to him.
Rick talks to Hershel, who complains about Rick taking the young Jimmy out in the woods and also taking one of his horses without his permission, they agreed that Rick needs to control his people while Hershel controls his since Rick and his group won't be staying at the farm for very long anymore. Later, Andrea spots a walker approaching the farm and everyone is alerted and prepared to go kill it, when in fact they discover it was Daryl, covered in mud and blood after an accident with Hershel's horse; Andrea didn't notice it was him though, and shoots him anyway, grazing Daryl with a bullet. Rick and Shane helps Daryl back to the house and gets him medical attention from Hershel. Daryl reveals that he found Sophia's doll by the river, giving Rick even more hope of finding Sophia. After he joins everyone for a well prepared meal and has a quiet and awkward dinner with both his group and Hershel's group of people.
Rick and Shane both continue to plan for the search for Sophia as he allows the training of the Atlanta survivors and Hershel's people with the usage of guns and weapons. He and Lori decide that Carl should begin to learn how to shoot now and joins everyone with practice. Lori later confronts Rick about how Hershel still wants everyone to leave the farm soon and begs him to get Hershel to change his mind. Later, Rick finds abortion pills in his tent, fearing for the worst, he goes in search of Lori and finds her by the dirt road. The two have another argument after Rick finds out that Lori is pregnant and how she tried to get it aborted. They argue and Rick tries to convince her that the baby is worth keeping and knows about her relationship with Shane, but he forgives her since at the time she thought he was dead.
During breakfast, Rick and the group finds out from Glenn that there are walkers locked in the barn. Rick is concerned about their safety, he wants to talk to Hershel about this, but Shane suggests that they open the barn and kill every single walker. After calming everyone down, Rick convinces the group to wait for him to negotiate with Hershel. Rick talks to Hershel about the barn and the possibility about having his group stay at the farm, during the conversation, Hershel says that he is not changing his mind about Rick leaving the farm, Rick responds that Lori is pregnant and they can't leave the farm, Hershel needs to reconsider. After leaving the house, Rick notices Shane inspecting the barn and tries to tell him that they just need more time to make a decision but Shane is insistent on either they clear out the barn to stay or let it be and leave the farm. Later, Rick and Andrea plan yet another search for Sophia when they are interrupted by Hershel when he asks for Rick's help with something.
While walking into the forest, with Hershel and Jimmy, Hershel says that if Rick and his group intend to stay, they have to handle walkers in his special way which is to trap and escort them back to the barn at the farm. Two walkers are stuck in the mud and Rick agrees and helps escort the two walkers back to the farm. As they approach the barn, Shane (who was giving the group weapons against Hershel's rules and preparing to kill the walkers in the barn) spots them, he explodes with anger and frustration and shoots the walker that Hershel is holding. Rick can't stop Shane because he is holding another walker, Shane opens the barn and release the walkers inside. The Atlanta group get in line with him to kill all the walkers as they pour out from the barn, Shane shoots the walker Rick is holding in the process.
As the Greene family watches in horror, a last walker leaves the barn, and it's the reanimated Sophia. Everyone is shocked and saddened until Rick realizes what has to be done; he gets his gun, points it at Sophia's head and pulls the trigger.
After the barn massacre, Shane starts yelling at Hershel, blaming him about Sophia, Rick tries to stop him. Hershel tells the group to leave the farm immediately. Rick then becomes angry at Shane, because Rick had been handling the situation well before Shane ruined it, Shane calls Rick delusional and storms off. The group decides to bury Sophia, Annette Greene and Shawn Greene and burn the other walkers. Rick is disappointed since he got the group in danger looking for Sophia while she was inside the barn all the time. Everyone, except Carol, attends to the funeral of Sophia, Annette and Shawn. Later, after Beth goes into shock, the group discovers that Hershel is gone and finding his flask in his bedroom, Maggie suggests that he is at a local bar in town, Rick and Glenn decide to look for him. Rick has a conversation with Glenn about his romance with Maggie, telling him not to be afraid of telling her how much he likes her. As the night falls, they arrive at the town and find that Hershel is indeed drinking at the bar.
Rick tries to convince Hershel to go back to the farm because his daughter needs him, but he refuses, having lost all hope after the barn massacre. Hershel explains that he spent his whole life trying to raise his daughters to his beliefs only for Rick to show up and destroy everything. He says that Rick and his group are like a plague, and Rick insists that Hershel can't have lost all of his faith. After the conversation calm down, Hershel decides to go back to the farm with them. As the three are about to leave, two survivors, Dave and Tony, walk into the bar. They share a drink as Dave tells them of his journey across the country looking for a safe place, having found Fort Benning destroyed and mentions that Nebraska is a possible safe place. Dave tries to convince Rick and Hershel to let him and Tony move to the farm but they don't agree. The tensions begin to rise, Dave, after numerous failed attempts to convince Rick to let them join his group, draws his pistol. Rick quickly kills him with a shot to the head, and then turns and kills Tony.
After the killing Dave and Tony, Rick, Hershel, and Glenn are about to leave but instead get pinned down in the bar by three members of Dave and Tony's group: Nate, Randall, and Sean. Rick tells them that Dave and Tony pulled their guns out on them first, but the group begin to shoot. Rick tells Glenn to check the back exit. After hearing shots coming from the back, Rick asks Hershel to cover Glenn as they leave through the back door. Sean spots Glenn and starts shooting, just to get shot by Hershel in the chest, Rick and Hershel notice that Glenn is not moving, he says he thinks Glenn was hit. Rick finds out that Glenn is just frozen behind a dumpster and approaches him. Randall spots them from a roof and starts shooting at them. While they take cover, Nate appears in the street inside his car and tells Randall that the gunfire attracted walkers into the town, Randall tries to jump from the roof but fails, Nate apologizes and leaves town, leaving his friend behind. Rick decides to investigate and he discovers that Randall accidentally fell and impaled his leg on a fence spike. Rick, Hershel, and Glenn argue about saving him and how to do so. Hershel suggests to put him down from misery.
The walkers slowly begin to close in on them so they decide to try to amputate his leg, but do not have enough time. Before the walkers can devour Randall, Rick lifts Randall's leg off of the spike, tearing his calf muscle. Rick, Hershel and Glenn returns to the farm by the morning, with Randall blind folded in the backseat as a hostage. The group argues on what to do with Randall, Rick says that they will fix him up, wait for him to heal and then drop him off to defend himself. Shane thinks that he will tell his group where the farm is and this will start a war. Hershel reminds Shane that it is his farm and while he is there he needs to keep his mouth shut. While Lori and Rick are in a tent Lori tells Rick that she thinks Shane killed Otis, that he is dangerous and if Rick doesn't do something about it they may all be in danger.
One week after the events of the previous episode, Rick and Shane drive down a country road. Rick stops the car short of their destination — 18 miles away from the farm — to confront Shane: Rick knows what happened with Otis, and he knows about Shane's affair with Lori. Rick asks Shane if he believes Rick is unable to keep his family safe. "You can't just be the good guy and expect to live," Shane replies. "That is my wife, that is my son, that is my unborn child," Rick says. He would do anything for them. Rick opens the SUV to check on Randall, who's bound, gagged, and blindfolded in the trunk.
Back on the road, Rick makes plans for the coming winter, explaining that they have to conserve ammunition and stockpile food. Shane listens passively, staring out the window at a lone walker ambling through a field. Rick drives past the 18-mile mark, looking to leave Randall somewhere he'll have a chance. He pulls up to a public works station surrounded by a fence. A walker in police uniform approaches. Shane draws his gun but Rick stops him. Rick cuts his finger and wipes blood on the fence. When the walker presses his face against it, Rick stabs it in the head. "Gun's quick, easy," Rick says, "but there are other ways to do this." A second walker in uniform approaches, and Shane follows suit.
After checking if the place is secure, Rick siphons gas as Shane examines the policeman's bodies, noticing they haven't been bitten. Rick points to scratches that likely caused their transformation. Rick and Shane drag Randall to the pavement. Rick drops a knife on the ground as he and Shane walk away, Randall begs them not to abandon him, trying to explain he's a normal guy. "I went to school with Maggie for God's sake!" he screams. Rick and Shane freeze. "He knows where the farm is," Shane speculates, drawing his gun. Rick tackles Shane as he pulls the trigger, forcing Shane to miss Randall. Rick argues he needs time to think about what to do. Shane counters that Randall could lead his people to the farm and accuses Rick of putting Lori and Carl in danger by sparing him. "I don't think you can keep them safe," Shane concludes. The two best friends begin brawling. Shane topples a motorcycle onto Rick, briefly trapping him. He goes to Randall and aims his gun, but Rick tackles Shane before he can fire. Frustrated, Shane grabs a wrench and hurls it at Rick. Rick dodges the wrench but it goes through a building window which causes dozens of walkers to begin pouring out through the broken window. Rick hides under a corpse as Shane flees the onslaught.
Rick empties his gun as walkers pile on top of him. Shane barricades himself in a school bus against the walkers. After getting the bodies off of him, Rick finds Randall trying to escape, they notice Shane trapped in the school bus, Randall complains that Rick can't save him after the beating they gave each other, Rick agrees and decides to leave Shane for the dead and he drags Randall to the SUV. From the school bus, Shane watches as his partner abandons him. Rick stops to take the weapons off the two dead policemen, but after looking at the corpses, he remembers about him and Shane being best friends before the apocalypse.
In the bus, Shane is losing ground to the walkers when the SUV bursts through a nearby gate. As Randall drives, Rick leans out the window telling Shane to run to the back of the bus as he shoots the walkers. Shane runs to the back of the bus and dives into the SUV, the three finally escape the public station. Back on the road, Rick and Shane restrain Randall and toss him in the trunk once again. Alone, Rick admits he'll likely kill Randall — but he's still going to think it over. "That is my wife, that is my son, that is my child," Rick repeats. "You wanna be with us, you gotta follow my lead." Rick returns Shane's gun to him. "It's time for you to come back," Rick says.
After Daryl reports back to the rest of the group that Randall's group is well armed and in large number, Rick declares Randall a threat, and that he must be killed. "You can't just decide on your own to take someone's life," Dale objects, begging Rick to give him time to talk to the group and find another way. Rick agrees to give Dale the rest of the day, if he manages to convince everyone that this is the best idea, they will let Randall live. Lori finds Rick tying a noose in the barn. He asks if she supports his decision. "If you think it's best," she says, asking what happened on the road with Shane. "He won't be a problem anymore," Rick answers. Carol comes in informing them that Carl was arrogant with her. Rick chastises Carl for talking back to Carol about how people who believe in heaven are idiots, Rick then says "Don't talk, think.". As the sun sets, Rick again asks Lori if she thinks he's doing the right thing. Lori nods. The group gathers in the house. Rick asks if anyone thinks Randall should be spared. Dale is disappointed that nobody, except for Andrea, agreed with giving Randall a chance. While holding his tears, he says that Rick and the group completely lost their humanity, on his way out, Dale tells Daryl that this group is broken.
By the evening, Rick, Shane and Daryl bring Randall to the barn and put him on his knees. Rick asks if he has any final words. Randall cries, begging for his life. As Rick raises his gun, Carl enters the barn. "Do it Dad," he says. Shocked, Rick lowers his gun and orders Randall taken away and Shane storms out of the barn. Rick brings Carl back to the camp and tells Lori what happened. "He wanted to watch," Rick says. "I couldn't." A scream is heard from the field and everybody is alerted, Rick orders Carl to go inside as he and the others run to investigate what's happening. Daryl gets to the scene first, where a walker is on top of Dale, tearing into his stomach. Daryl stabs the walker in the head, then shouts for help. Dale's intestines are spilling out of his body; he goes into shock. When Hershel arrives, he reports that Dale can't be saved. As Dale writhes on the ground, Andrea begs Rick to put him out of his misery, and Rick takes out his gun, but can't bring himself to shoot Dale. Daryl takes the weapon, aims it at Dale's head and shoots him.
By the morning, the group hold a funeral for Dale and Rick announces that they are going to prove him wrong by showing that the group is not broken and they can still work together. Rick and Daryl plan to take Randall to the nearby town and leave him there. Shane approaches Rick saying that he needs to have a word with Carl, but Rick declares that his main concern is disposing of Randall. Shane tells Rick that Carl told him that he saw the walker that killed Dale earlier the previous day, but was too afraid to get into trouble and didn't tell anybody. Carl also gave Shane a gun that he stole from Daryl's bike, Shane storms off complaining that Randall is more important to Rick than Carl. Rick goes to the barn and talks to Carl, he encourages him to keep hold of the gun, as they no longer can live without taking action, "I am going to die. Mom. There's no way you can ever be ready for it." When Rick and Daryl prepare to leave, T-Dog is sent to get Randall but discovers that the barn is empty and Randall is missing. While investigating the scene, Shane arrives with his nose bleeding, stating that Randall broke out of the barn and hit him with a rock while he was taking watch.
Rick assembles a group of four which included Glenn, Daryl, Shane and himself to go out in search for Randall, he orders everybody else to lock themselves inside the house and wait for them to come back. While in the woods, Rick and Daryl notice that Shane is strangely agitated, Shane insists that they need to split into teams and search through the forest for Randall. Rick and Shane end up splitting from Daryl and Glenn. As the night fell, Rick notices the strange behavior from Shane and picks apart his story, he comes to the conclusion this was a ruse to lure him out into the field, where Shane would kill him. Rick turns around and tells Shane that nobody will believe him if he goes back to the farm without him and without Randall. Shane explains that he killed Randall earlier and have everything planned to fool the rest of the group into believing that Randall actually killed Rick. He tells Rick he is a better father than he is and that him returning only messed things up. Shane orders Rick to raise his gun so they can end this once for all.
Rick refuses to defend himself, telling Shane that he's going have to kill an unarmed man. Rick makes it seem as though he's handing Shane his weapon, once his gun is in Shane's hand, Rick pulls out his knife and stabs Shane in his heart, "This is on you, not me! You did this to us, not me!" Rick screams. Shane then dies in his arms. As Rick tries to cope with what just happened, Carl appears, shocked to see Shane dead. He aims his gun at what at first we assume to be Rick, but is actually a now zombified Shane. Carl pulls the trigger, killing the reanimated Shane. Rick looks back confused. The shot alerts a mass herd of walkers, Rick and Carl bend over to check the corpse of Shane while not noticing the wave of zombies approaching in the horizon.
After killing Shane, Carl asks Rick what exactly happened. Before he can answer, Rick notices the herd of walkers approaching and tells Carl to run to the barn. They lure the walkers there and set fire to the barn, killing many. From the roof, they are able to signalize to Jimmy as he drives the RV so they can jump on it. After getting down from the RV, Jimmy is killed by walkers, Rick and Carl are forced to run into the forest. Later, they arrive back to the farm, saving Hershel as walkers were closing in on him. Rick asks where the rest of the group is, Hershel answers that everybody left the farm. They decide to also flee the farm, as it is swarming with hundreds of walkers; Hershel initially wanted to stay, stating that he is not going to leave his farm behind, but eventually leaves with Rick and Carl.
As the sun rises, they reach the vehicle jammed highway from the beginning of the season, they notice no one else has returned. Carl fiercely demands that they go back to find Lori, but Hershel says that keeping Carl alive is more important. As Rick weighs each option, Lori, Glenn and the other survivors arrive. Everybody is happy to see each other alive, they go to the body count: Jimmy died in the RV, Patricia died while trying to leave the house, Shane was killed by walkers (as far as Rick told the group) and Andrea was caught by walkers while saving Carol, but they don't know if she was indeed bitten. When Daryl suggests going back to find Andrea, Rick immediately shoots it down immediately claiming that "we're not splitting up again." The group decide to depart from this area, try to look for another safe heaven where they can live. As the sun sets, Rick's vehicle runs out of gas, prompting him to suggest to the group that they spend the night in some ruins nearby. Everybody starts to panic, saying that is not safe to spend a night on the road, Daryl tells Rick that he and Glenn found Randall reanimated in the forest when they split up from him and Shane. They ask what happened during the last night.
Rick reveals the secret Jenner told him back at the CDC: everyone is infected. Many of the group are angry with Rick, notably Glenn and Carol, for keeping this hidden from them. The revelation of Jenner's secret leaves many of the group having a distrust with Rick (except for Hershel and Daryl, who still trust Rick's judgment). He later tells Lori exactly what happened to Shane, horrifying her. She refuses to let him get near of her and Carl. During the night, while sitting around a campfire by the road, the group is talking about going their separate ways, a noise in the forest startles everyone, they start to complain with Rick about camping in this place, prompting Rick to finally snap and reveal that he killed Shane at cold blood to save the group. He offers anyone who doesn't want to go with him are free to leave. He waits, and when no one gets up to leave, Rick snarls "You stay, get one thing straight: This isn't a democracy anymore." Rick then leaves to investigate the noise. Unknown to any of them, a prison complex looms in the horizon.
Seven months have passed since the final events of the second season, Rick has seemingly been forgiven by the group after the events that transpired, and once again, earns their trust. He has also seemingly taken charge of the group. Rick and the group stumble upon an abandoned house, killing all of the walkers inside and deciding to stay there for a while, Lori's pregnancy is already in an advanced state. The group sit down in silence in the living room but this is short lived when another group of walkers begins to approach the house, causing the group to flee. On the road, Rick discusses with Hershel that they need a place to stay for a few weeks, so Lori can delivery the baby without many problems. They decide to leave this area of Georgia since it's swarming with walkers. While going hunting with Daryl, they stumble upon an overrun prison. Rick realizes it's the perfect place to stay. The group head to the prison entrance, noticing that there are not too many walkers on the field, they can stay there for the night if they close the courtyard gate. Rick manages to shut the gate while the rest of the group distracts and kills the walkers. The group camps in the secure prison yard for the night, Rick reveals his plans to take over the prison, since the place must be stocked with food, weapons and medicine. Lori pleads with Rick to let the group rest for a few days; Rick rebuffs Lori, revealing that while Lori has forgiven her husband, Rick is still bitter towards her.
The next day, Rick and the rest of the group clear out the remaining walkers in the courtyard, cleaning out the entrance to the prison. They find a secure cell block inside, called Cell Block C. Once again, Rick rebuffs Lori when she tries to thank him. The group finds riot gear, flash grenades, and other useful equipment. Rick, Maggie, Glenn, Hershel, and Daryl decide to explore the prison even deeper, to look for the cafeteria and infirmary. They make their way through several corridors only to be ambushed by a group of walkers. Glenn and Maggie are split from the group, but Hershel insists on going back for his daughter. Hershel finds Glenn and Maggie, but is bitten in the lower right calf by a stray walker in the hallway. The group tries to takes Hershel to somewhere safe, and they end up finding the locked cafeteria and break in. Acting quickly, Rick amputates the lower portion of Hershel's right leg to keep the infection from spreading. Noticing that they need to stop the bleeding quickly, Daryl spots five figures watching them and he points his flash-light at them, revealing that they are actually living prisoners.
While Maggie works to stop the bleeding, Rick, Daryl, and T-Dog quickly put Hershel onto a gurney and take him back to Cell Block C, ignoring the five prisoners (Axel, Tomas, Big Tiny, Oscar, and Andrew). However, the prisoners follow them to the cell block and a stand off occurs between the prisoners, T-Dog, and Daryl with Rick intervening. Rick tells them about how the world has been completely overrun by walkers (as the prisoners had no knowledge of the outside world). Outside, a stand off occurs between Tomas and Rick because Tomas wants him and the other survivors to leave, seeing that the prison belongs to the prisoners, not them. Rick cuts a deal to help the prisoners secure a separate cell block in exchange for half of the prisoner's food. While bringing the food the Cell Block C, Rick notices that Hershel is still out, he pulls Glenn aside and tells him to act quickly in case Hershel dies. While Rick, T-Dog and Daryl are taking the prisoners to another cell block, they are forced to fight their way through a small group of walkers, Big Tiny is scratched on his back. Rick tells him that there is nothing he can do to help Big Tiny with this infection, and then shortly, Big Tiny is killed by Tomas.
Rick gets unnerved when a blood-spattered Tomas gives Rick an icy stare. Once they reach the room before the cell block, Tomas ignores Rick's warning and opens up both doors, causing a herd of walkers to rush in. During the fight, Tomas tries to kill Rick twice by swinging his weapon too close to him and pushing a walker towards him. After the walkers are cleared, Rick confronts Tomas once again. He mocks Tomas by saying that "shit happens", and slams his machete on Tomas' head, killing him instantly. Andrew runs away, but Rick catches him and locks him on the outside where walkers are roaming. Rick decides to let Axel and Oscar (the last of the prison survivors) live, they leave them at Cell Block B and goes back to Cell Block C. Rick holds Hershel's hand as he awakens and thanks Lori for saving Hershel's life. He meets up with Lori outside and touches her shoulder, being the first time in months that he touches her. He then claims that the group is grateful for her saving Hershel, and walks away without making eye contact.
While planning to burn all the corpses from walkers the group killed inside the prison, Rick and the others receive an unexpected visit from Axel and Oscar. The two prisoners tells them that Cell Block B is a haunted place and they rather leave the prison than live in that place. After consulting Daryl, Rick decides to let the prisoners leave, as it was part of their agreement, even though T-Dog is against this decision, saying that kicking them out of the prison is a death sentence. While Rick, Daryl, and Glenn went out to get wood to burn the corpses, walkers start to invade the prison courtyard, forcing the group to split up. Rick and the others recruit Axel and Oscar to help them kill the walkers and they found out that someone broke the latch on the gate that protected the group from walkers getting in. He thinks that either Axel or Oscar committed the crime, which allowed walkers to enter. Soon after, a loud prison alarm is heard and Rick, Daryl, Glenn, and the two inmates make their way to the generator room to shut off the walker-attracting sound. Rick is then attacked by Andrew, the inmate that Rick left out in the prison yard to be devoured by walkers, but somehow managed to survive. Andrew is then shot in the head by Oscar. On the way back to the courtyard, they find T-Dog's corpse being devoured by two walkers, which Rick can barely look at. After regrouping and realizing that there are still people missing, Rick demands to search for Lori, but hears an infant crying, which is Lori's newborn child; much to Rick's shock as he only sees Carl and Maggie returning with his newborn baby, but not Lori. Upon learning that Lori is dead, Rick sobs hysterically, before collapsing and releasing all his grief for the loss of his wife.
Rick appears to be furious and mentally deranged as he picks up an axe lying in the prison's courtyard. He heads into the prison to find Lori's body, and slaughters "a dozen, two dozen" walkers along the way. Glenn follows Rick inside and attempts to convince Rick to rejoin the group outside, saying that Rick doesn't need to do this alone. Rick is unresponsive until Glenn touches him, and then Rick slams Glenn against the wall. Rick calms down, whips Glenn away, and then walks off without saying a word. When Rick reaches the boiler room, he discovers that Lori's body is gone, sees a knife, and picks up a bullet. He follows a blood streak to find a seated, bloated walker in a stupor from overeating. Rick shoots the walker in the head before stabbing its stomach multiple times. While collapsed in a daze on the floor of the boiler room, he distantly hears a baby wail and a phone ring. Confused, Rick notices a phone nearby and goes to answer it.
Rick picks up the phone receiver and hears a woman's voice on the other end. He is told that she is part of a large group who haven't experienced any walkers or deaths and are safe. When Rick pressures her to reveal more, she hangs up. Rick then reunites with the rest of the group to check up on Carl. When Glenn volunteers to assist Rick in dragging bodies out of the boiler room, Rick walks away. He is later confronted by Hershel, who offers his condolences to Rick about Lori's death. Rick tells him about the woman on the phone and says she'd call back in two hours after talking with the others in her group; Hershel offers to wait with him, but Rick declines. When the phone rings once again, a man from the group asks how many people Rick has killed; he answers four. After asking why he let Lori die, Rick refused to answer. The man hangs up, leaving Rick confused and enraged. Later, a third person is on the line and calls Rick by name. Scared, Rick immediately hangs up and back away from the phone. Later, another person calls, Rick hesitates, but answers it anyway. The person reveals herself to be Lori and all the others who had previously called were Amy, Jim, and Jacqui. Rick breaks down and tells Lori that he had never stopped loving her and says he didn't want her to die. Realizing this was all part of an hallucination, Rick hangs up the phone. Later on, he goes back to the cafeteria and holds his newborn daughter for the first time. He goes outside to get some fresh air, but witnesses a strange figure approaching the prison along a bunch of walkers. As he takes a better look, he realizes that it's a woman covered in walker's guts outside the Prison gates and carrying the supplies from Glenn and Maggie.
Rick is staring at Michonne outside of their fence, surrounded by walkers. Undeterred, Michonne takes out a few walkers when her scent is exposed, but Carl and Rick assist in taking out the rest, as she passes out. After hoisting her over his shoulder and carrying her inside the prison, he lays her down and provides her with medical treatment from Hershel. He questions her over Glenn and Maggie's whereabouts, and she explains that they were taken by one of The Governor's henchman and that The Governor is the sick leader of a town nearby called Woodbury. Later, Rick formulates a plan to attack Woodbury and retrieve Glenn and Maggie. On the way out of the prison, he and Carl decide on the name Judith for the baby. Rick, Daryl, Michonne, and Oscar then commence their journey to Woodbury. However, on the way, they are overtaken by walkers on foot and are forced to take shelter inside the home of a hermit. The hermit, apparently unaware of the apocalypse, bolts for the door, but is run through by Michonne, before being tossed to the walkers as a distraction while the group made their escape. Later on, at night, they finally came upon Woodbury's gate, crouched behind crashed cars, and surveyed the area.
With the help of Michonne, Rick leads the group into Woodbury to recover Maggie and Glenn from their confinement. They manage to silently capture and interrogate one of the guards, but he is unaware of what's happening. After hearing gunshots, Rick and the group head to the sound's source, finding Glenn and Maggie about to be executed. They throw in flash grenades from the prison, blinding all of the henchmen and during the confusion, they manage to take Glenn and Maggie to a safe place. However, Michonne leaves the group and wanders into Woodbury by herself. When Daryl learns that his brother Merle is a resident of Woodbury after Glenn reveals that Merle was the one responsible for kidnapping and brutally beating him, Daryl yearns to speak with his brother. Rick refuses, as it is too risky to make contact with any resident. They decide to leave and another shootout between the Woodbury soldiers and the group ensues. During the shootout, Rick notices an hallucination of "Shane" walking through the smoke and Rick stares, transfixed. "Shane" fatally shoots Oscar, and Rick retaliates, shooting him in the head. Upon inspection, Rick discovers that it was just an ordinary Woodbury soldier. The group moves to escape, but notice that Daryl has fallen behind. While waiting for him outside, an injured Michonne arrives after ditching the group during the rescue mission. They hold her at gunpoint, asking her what was she doing, but she offers to help locate Daryl.
Rick and Maggie once again break in and attack Woodbury, successfully rescuing Daryl and Merle as they were forced to fight each other in a death match. After escaping and reuniting with Glenn and Michonne, Merle begins insulting the group, but Rick pistol-whips him unconscious. They decide not to bring back Merle because of his attitude, and also decide not to include Michonne because she is too much of a loose cannon. Daryl refuses to leave Merle behind and, despite Rick's protests, abandons the group. Glenn is also angered at Rick for not killing the Governor during the attack and focusing more on rescuing Daryl, who abandoned them. Rick informs Glenn that rescuing Daryl was the main priority. Rick also informs Michonne that once she is patched up, she is on her own. Back at the prison, Rick has to decide the fate of a recently-arrived group led by Tyreese Williams, who offer to do anything to help and agree to stay out of Rick's hair. Rick rejects the idea, but Hershel argues that it might be the best decision to include them since they are short on manpower (following Oscar's death and Daryl's absence). While Rick is deciding their fate, he starts hallucinating once again. He witnesses a vision of Lori, causing him to lash out at it. Everyone there believes he is yelling at Tyreese's group to leave, prompting Glenn to rush them out before Rick attacks them.
By the next day, Rick is still in a deranged state, witnessing multiple visions of Lori. He leaves the prison and follows his dead wife, with Michonne standing by and watching him. He is then confronted by Hershel, who asks him to come back and bring order and stability, since Glenn is not in the best state of mind to take control of the group. Rick declines, heading back into the woods. The Governor and his group ambushes him and opens fire on the prison. Rick is forced to take cover, returning fire to the attackers. A truck full of walkers run down the prison's gates and fill the yard with walkers, putting Hershel's life in danger. Rick tries to go around the gate to save him, but walkers attracted by the gunfire surround Rick before he can make it to the entrance. Out of ammo, he is pinned to the fence by three walkers, but before they could infect him, the Dixon brothers return and save his life. Noticing that Michonne and Glenn managed to save Hershel's life, Rick stares darkly at the prison's yard, once again overrun by walkers.
The group discusses what to do about Woodbury following the attack. Rick tries to wander outside, but Hershel yells at him to get his head clear and do something instead of simply walking away. Listening to Merle's advice that the Governor must have soldiers watching the prison, Rick goes out and scouts the prison's yard, finding out that there is in fact Woodbury soldiers watching them from behind the trees. Carl comes out and advises Rick to stop being the leader for now because he deserves a rest and suggests letting Hershel and Daryl lead for a while. When Andrea shows up at the prison, Rick lets her in, and them slams her against the fence and searches her while demanding to know if she came alone. Andrea tries to make peace to avoid any more bloodshed, but Rick and the others make it clear that they want revenge against both the Governor and Woodbury. Andrea says that the Governor wanted to negotiate and Rick and the others fired at them, but Rick reveals that the Governor indeed attacked the prison first, exposing the lie that he had told her about Rick's group attacking them. The negotiation ends when Rick storms off after Andrea refuses to allow them inside of Woodbury. Andrea then departs in a prison car given to her by the group. Rick also gives her a handgun and a knife before she leaves should she decide to murder the Governor herself. Later that night, while Beth is singing by candlelight, Rick tells Hershel that he is going on a weapons run and wants to bring Michonne and Carl along with him.
Rick goes on a run with Carl and Michonne, which leads them into Rick's hometown. On the way, they notice a man by the road begging them to stop the car, but they simply ignore him. Carl shows that he's concerned about bringing Michonne with them, since she is not part of the group. They arrive in King County and enter the armory of the Sheriff's Department, only to find out that all the weapons were taken. Rick knows where to find more guns in the main street. To their surprise, the main street has a strange set of traps, when a walker is shot in the head. They look up to find that a stranger on a roof has them at gunpoint. They have a short shootout, Rick orders Carl to get to the car and wait for him, Michonne tries to sneak upon the mysterious man, but he disappeared. Rick is confused when the man shows up again in the street, shooting at Rick while he takes cover. Carl ultimately shoots the stranger in the chest. Rick pulls off his shirt, which reveals he was wearing body armor. He then pulls off the stranger's helmet, revealing that it's Morgan Jones. They take him inside the building, while avoiding booby traps. The three notice that Morgan has an immense stockpile of weapons and begin to put them in bags to take them to the prison. While Rick is reading several sentences Morgan wrote on the walls, he finds the walkie-talkie he gave Morgan when he left King County. Rick remembers about his intentions of finding Lori, but soon he notices a writing on the wall that says, "DUANE TURNED". Rick decides to stay and wait for Morgan to wake up and check if he's okay.
While Michonne and Carl go on a run to find a crib for Judith, Rick apologizes to the unconscious Morgan. During a moment of distraction, Morgan wakes up and takes a knife taped to the side of the bed. He attacks Rick and ultimately stabs him in the upper-left chest. Rick points his gun at Morgan's head, and the man begs Rick to kill him, Rick realizes that Morgan is not in a sane state. Rick ties up Morgan and tries to remind Morgan that he knows him, while the latter yells out "you're wearing the skin of a dead man" over and over. While Rick bandages himself up, Morgan repeatedly asks Rick to kill him. Rick proceeds to hold up the walkie-talkie to jog Morgan's memory and he begins to remember. He immediately lashes out at Rick for not using the radio every morning like he promised, while Rick insists that his group kept being pushed inland and thus unable to constantly maintain contact. Morgan bitterly tells Rick what happened to Duane. Rick tries to convince Morgan to go to the prison with them, where it's safe, but Morgan notices that they are taking a lot of guns, meaning that someone else wants the prison. Rick states that they are going to win this war, but Morgan refuses to join them, saying that Rick and everyone in his group will die "by either teeth or bullets."
While putting the guns in the trunk of the car, Rick asks Carl how it went with Michonne, Carl answers that "she might be one of us". Rick, Carl and Michonne leave King County, as Rick watches Morgan preparing to burn the corpse of walkers caught on his booby traps. On the way back, they notice the remains of the man they had seen earlier by the road, they stop to pick up his backpack and move on.
After a meeting being set up by Andrea, Rick rides out with Daryl and Hershel to an abandoned farm store to discuss peace terms. Rick and the Governor finally meet face-to-face for the first time. The Governor assures that he only wants to talk and in a gesture of good faith, he removes his pistol, hangs the holster up out of arm's reach and calmly sits in a chair; he invites Rick to do the same, but Rick just holsters his gun and continues to glare. Unknown to Rick, the Governor has taped a gun under his side of the table. Andrea storms into the barn, complaining that the Governor started the meeting without her; Rick says that he knows everything about the Governor: the raids, the heads in fish tanks and that he attempted to rape Maggie. The Governor asks Rick for his terms, and he hands the Governor a map of the area: Woodbury takes west of the river, the prison takes the east and the two groups will not interact or trade with each other. The Governor scoffs at the offer and says that he wants the prison survivors to surrender to him. Rick says that if he wants a surrender, then "come and get it". Andrea interferes telling both men to calm down, but the Governor asks her to leave him and Rick to discuss this privately. As Andrea leaves the barn, one of the Governor's henchman, Caesar Martinez (who is waiting outside), closes the door.
Rick and the Governor start to insult one another about their respective positions as leaders. Incredibly they show some level of respect for each other, although Rick calls him a town drunk for killing Axel and running down the prison's gates. The Governor asks if Rick ever misjudged someone, and says that he knows about the possibility of Judith being someone else's daughter. He says that if he just leaves Rick's group alone, his people are going to think he is weak. "That's your problem", Rick says. The Governor shares a story about the day his wife died: he was at work when he received a call from the hospital telling him that she died in a car accident. He muses that earlier in the day, his wife left him a message asking him to call her back but he never managed to do so. "What did she want?", the Governor asks. Rick remembers about Lori's death and becomes visibly rattled; the Governor notices this and smirks. He gets up and tells Rick that this fight will go down to the last man, but tells Rick that there is a way out: he promises Rick can have anything he wants if he gives up Michonne.
Rick tries to talk the Governor out of this idea, saying that he is called "The Governor", but he worries about some vendetta and that this is beneath his level. And even if he gives up Michonne, he doesn't trust that The Governor will keep his word about leaving them alone. Nevertheless, the Governor tells Rick to think about it, giving him two days to decide what to do. Rick, Daryl, and Hershel head back to the prison. After reuniting the whole group inside the cell block, Rick gives the word, "I met this Governor, [...] He wants the prison, wants us gone, dead. [...] We're going to war". Rick heads outside, Hershel follows him and Rick reveals that he lied to the group; the Governor wants Michonne, but he doesn't trust the they will be left alone after giving her up. Rick asks Hershel if he is willing to sacrifice his daughter's life for Michonne; a confused Hershel asks him why he is asking that. Rick says that he's waiting for Hershel to try to talk him out of this.
Rick is seen keeping watch in the guard tower of the prison. When Andrea tries signalling Rick, the Governor tackles her. Rick notices a strange movement in the woods and looks over with his sniper rifle, but after further investigation, he dismisses it.
While outside with Hershel and Daryl, Rick informs the latter about the Governor's offer. They both try to dissuade Rick from giving up Michonne, but Rick insists it's their best shot at saving lives. He decides to ask Merle what he thinks of the offer and finds him inside Cell Block B looking for drugs. Merle scoffs after hearing Rick will hand Michonne over and suggests that he use a thick cord or cable to tie her up with, "something that she can't bite or wriggle her way out of." He questions Rick about giving up Michonne without knowing if the Governor will even leave them alone, and mocks Rick for not having guts to do the job himself. While wandering outside, Rick finds a cable to bind Michonne when Lori appears on the catwalk. "You're not there," he mutters, cradling his head. When he looks up, Lori is still there. Realizing that he can't go through with it, Rick throws the cable away and leaves. He goes inside and tells Hershel that "the deal is off."
After looking around the prison with Daryl and not finding either Michonne or Merle, they realize that Merle took Michonne to the Governor as per the deal and goes to bring them back; Daryl stops Rick and says that he's a much better tracker and goes alone, telling Rick to have everyone ready for war when he comes back. Rick then sets up a meeting with the entire group inside the prison, where he tells them the truth about the deal of giving up Michonne. He says that he changed his mind, but Merle already took Michonne and Daryl went off to stop them but admits that he doesn't know if it's too late. He recounts about what he said after the destruction of the farm: "It's not my call. I couldn't sacrifice one of us for the greater good because we are the greater good," he says. "I'm not your Governor. We choose to go. We choose to stay. We stick together." Rick then goes to the guard tower and while looking through his carbine rifle, spots a figure approaching the gates. He sees that it's Michonne coming back alone without Daryl or Merle.
Rick and the survivors are seen packing up their supplies and loading it into several vehicles, Glenn approaches Rick and tells him about Carl being upset with their plan, but Rick tells Glenn that Carl is just a kid and he will understand it. While doing a final sweep of the cell block, Michonne comes up and thanks Rick for allowing her into the group. Rick and the rest of the group hide as the Governor and the Woodbury army arrive at the prison well armed and in large numbers. The Governor notices that the prison seems to be empty and he leads his army into the tombs. There they trigger several flash grenade traps as well as the prison's alarm system, attracting walkers to flood the corridor. As they flee the tombs and head outside to regroup, Glenn and Maggie ambush them, catching the Woodbury army by surprise and forcing them to flee.
Rick and the others celebrate as their plan to scare off the Governor worked, but since the possibility of the Governor returning still exists, they decide to chase him down. As they check on the rest of the group, Rick is told by Hershel that Carl killed a Woodbury soldier after he had surrendered his weapon; Carl assures Rick that the soldier attacked them, but Hershel insists that he saw that Carl shot the soldier in cold blood, causing Rick to worry. As they prepare to pursue the Governor, Rick sees another vision of Lori up on the catwalk. He then asks Carl about the shooting. Carl admits the Woodbury soldier had indeed surrendered his weapon before being shot. Still, he says, "I couldn't take the chance," pointing out that Rick's choices of letting people live constantly caused the death of many people in the group, such as letting Andrew and the Governor live, which caused the deaths of Lori and Merle respectively. Carl says that he did what he had to do and walks off; Rick hears something hit the ground and notices that Carl dropped his old sheriff's badge.
Rick, Michonne, and Daryl leave the prison in pursuit of the Governor. They eventually come across the entire Woodbury army dead by the road next to their vehicles. As they look around, they discover Karen, the lone survivor, hiding in one of the assault vehicles. She reveals thattThe Governor murdered everyone for no reason whatsoever, and they decide to go after him in Woodbury. They arrive there at nightfall, encountering Tyreese and Sasha and laying down their weapons. Rick and Karen explain that the Governor killed everyone and they came to end this war, but Tyreese says that the Governor didn't return to Woodbury.
When hearing from Tyreese that Andrea successfully escaped from Woodbury, Rick mentions that she never made it to the prison and suggests she could still be in the town. They head to the interrogation room where Glenn and Maggie were kept and notice a pool of blood under the door. They find a walker dead and Andrea fatally bitten. When she asks if Judith, Carl, and the rest of them are alive, Rick replies, "Us. The rest of us." She asks Rick to hand over his gun so she can kill herself, saying "I know how the safety works"; after some hesitation, Rick hands her his revolver. Michonne stays with Andrea as Rick, Tyreese, and Daryl head outside and wait for her to commit suicide. In the morning, Rick and the group return to the prison along with with a school bus filled with the eighteen remaining Woodbury survivors, including Tyreese, Sasha and Karen. Carl approaches Rick and asks what is this about. "They're gonna join us," Rick replies as Carl walks off. Rick then looks up at the catwalk and Lori is nowhere to be seen, signifying that he believes he made the right decision.
Rick first appears at the beginning of the episode when he exits Cell Block C to work in the farmland located at the courtyard of the prison. While digging the dirt, Rick finds a pistol and looks at the walker infested fence while holding it in his hands. However, he unloads the weapon and throws the clip and the gun into a wheelbarrow and continues with his work. He is approached by Carl and the two check on Violet, a pig that they were going to use for food, but that they find on the ground motionless, apparently suffering from an illness. When Michonne returns, Rick and Carl open the fence for her, and she gives Rick a shaving machine for his face. Later, Rick decides to check the walker snares outside the prison and is convinced by Hershel to bring his gun. In the forest, Rick hides from an apparent walker, but he discovers it to be a living woman named Clara. Clara asks Rick for help, as she and her husband haven't eaten for days, so Ricks gives her some food. Noticing Rick's state, Clara finds out from him that he is in a camp and asks to join it. Rick tells her that he has to ask her and her husband three questions to allow them entrance so Clara decides to bring him to her shelter, but Rick warns her not to try anything. On the way, Clara tells him how she ended up in the forest and how her husband always cared and saved her from everything. When they arrive, Clara begins talking to her husband but Rick doesn't see anyone else and then Clara attacks him with her knife. However, Rick tackles her and holds her at gunpoint. He finds out that her husband was killed and reanimated and needed living food to eat. Finally deciding that she didn't have what was needed to survive, Clara stabs herself in the stomach to join her husband, in front of a crying Rick. In agony, Clara demands for the three questions. Rick tells that they were "How many walkers have you killed?", "How many people have you killed?", "Why?". She answers the first two but to the final she says "You can't come back from the things you have done". Clara then dies and Rick returns to the prison. He tells his experiences to Hershel and also tells him how her final words had left him some doubts about the things he experienced and did.
Rick is first seen with Carl tending to the pigs where Carl asks for his gun and to help with the walkers at the fence but Rick tells him he wants him to focus on helping with the garden. After their conversation, Cell Block D is attack by walkers and Rick rushes over to help. Rick takes out many walkers and saves many survivors.
After the attack, Rick along with Hershel, Dr. Subramanian, Daryl, and Bob examine an undead Patrick's body and discuss the cause of his death being sickness. Rick then lets Carl, Maggie, Michonne know about the whole ordeal. Once Maggie spots one of the fences caving in, Rick rushes over to help kill the walkers. The walkers are too hard to deal with and are crushing the fence. Rick thinks with his head and deduces that the pigs he was farming were the reason behind Patrick's death, because Violet had died from sickness and the boar Rick encountered had also died of sickness. Rick, with Daryl's help, sacrifice the pigs by luring the walkers away from the fence to feast on them.
After the whole situation has slimmed down, Rick begins to burn down the pigs enclosure to stop any chances of the possible virus still being around. At the same time, he gives Carl his gun back and takes out his Colt Python for protection. Rick then burns his shirt in the fire.
Rick was seen together with Tyreese, Daryl, and Carol in the courtyard were the burned corpses of Karen and David were found. After a brief discussion what to do to stop the unknown person later revealed to be Carol, Tyreese attacks Daryl and then Rick, but he managed to strike Tyreese down in rage. Rick visibly shocked about that what he done leaves the courtyard. Rick was later seen again with Carol. They discuss if they clean the pipe for fresh water at that day or the next day. Rick comes to conclusion that they will clean it the next day. Later Rick visits Tyreese outside where he digs graves, he apologize for what he has done but Tyreese is still mad at him. Rick is then seen investigating the deaths of Karen and David. Later he is seen asking Carol if she killed them, where she then replies 'Yes'.
Rick and Carol head to a suburb to find food for the group as supplies at the prison are running low. Rick and Carol meet a couple named Ana and Sam, and they all decide to work together to find food. Carol tries to explain to Rick why she murdered Karen and David. Later on, they find Ana's death body, and Sam is nowhere to be found. As they are about to leave, Rick locks the car doors to prevent Carol from entering. When she asks why, he responds that Karen and David may of lived, and she had no right to kill them. He then kicks her out of the group and tells her that she is not allowed back at the prison. Rick then gives Carol ammo, food and gas for a car, and they say their goodbyes. After, Carol drives away and Rick gets ready to go back to the Prison himself.
Rick is seen driving back from his run with Carol. When Maggie opens the gate to the prison and asks him about the now banished Carol, he tells her the truth about the deaths of Karen and David, asking her not to tell anyone else. Rick is then later seen meeting up with Carl, telling him that he must continue to stay with the separated prison survivors and giving him food from his run. Later, Rick witnesses Hershel stabbing a corpse in secret, asking him why he is keeping it hidden, to which Hershel replies that the survivors do not need to be constantly exposed to things like that. Rick then tells Hershel about Carol and asks him if things will ever be like they were before, to which Hershel says that they won't. When Maggie is struggling to keep the walkers surrounding the prison from overrunning the fence, Rick helps her to reinforce them with lumber. When a gunshot is heard from the cell blocks, Rick dismisses Maggie to help. When the fence is about to break, he request help from Carl, who aids him in killing the walkers pouring through the fence. The next day, he is seen with Carl in the gardens, where they share a moment, before the camera reveals that the Governor is watching them from afar.
Rick briefly appears in this episode, being watched from a distance by the Governor.
Rick has a heated argument with Daryl about banishing Carol after her murdering Karen and David. When Rick mentions that he doesn't know how Tyreese will respond when he finds out, Daryl insists on talking to Tyreese right away. Tyreese shows them a dissected squirrel, insisting that there is a psychopath among them, who is responsible for feeding the rats to the walkers at the fence and killing Karen and David. When Rick tries to explain that he knows who killed Karen and David, The Prison is rocked by an explosion.
Outside, it turns out that the Governor is outside the fences with his tank and his militia. Philip asks Rick to come down to talk with him about leaving the prison to the Governor and his new group, or everyone will die. He brings out Hershel and Michonne (who were captured by Philip while burning the bodies of the dead ill), and threatens to kill everyone if Rick and his group do not leave before sundown. Rick pleads that everyone can live next to each other in the prison because there is enough room for all of them. Irritated, Philip takes Michonne's katana and holds it to Hershel's neck, thus threatening to decapitate him if Rick does not comply. Rick turns to Tara and others of Philip's group, asking them if this is what they want. When he tells them that they can come back from the things they have done before, and that no one is too far gone, Philip initially retracts the katana from Hershel's neck, but then mutters "liar" and partially decapitates Hershel.
In fury, Rick shoots at the Governor, hitting the latter in the arm, before being forced to run to hide behind the overturned bus, due to the returning gunfire from Philip's army. While doing so, Rick sustains a gunshot in his thigh. When Philip and his army moves into the prison building, Rick tackles him and starts a fistfight. However, Philip eventually gains the upper-hand and savagely beats Rick up, before attempting to choke him to death. Rick nearly passes out, when, suddenly, Michonne stabs Philip through his chest with her katana. Rick goes back into the courtyard of the prison to find Carl, when two walkers approach him. However, before they can attack an unarmed Rick, Carl dispatches them with a lever action rifle. When they look for Judith, they find her baby carrier soaked in blood, implying that walkers devoured her. Devastated, Carl shoots the nearest walker with all of his remaining ammunition, prompting Rick to stop him. Carl leads Rick away from a burning prison, which is now overrun by walkers, attracted by the sounds of the battle. Rick, badly injured, leans on Carl and tells him not to look back as they leave the burning prison in the distance.
Rick and Carl come across a bar while walking from the prison, finding a few supplies before coming across a house in the neighborhood, where they reside. Rick takes notice of his son's hostility towards him while pushing a sofa up against the door. While sleeping on the couch, his falls into unconsciousness and Carl tries unsuccessfully to wake Rick up the next day. Carl then begins to rant, scolding Rick for underestimating Carl's survival skills, as well as failing to protect Judith, Hershel, Lori, Glenn, Daryl, and says that he would be fine if Rick died. Carl departs and raids a nearby house for food, but returns after he barely escapes being killed by a walker in the house. Rick wakes up and Carl, thinking his father has turned, cannot go through with killing him and tries to commit suicide by allowing Rick to kill him for being wrong about thinking he would be better off on his own. Rick wakes up, telling Carl to go outside and keep himself safe. The two hear a knock at the door, and Rick gets up and looks through the peephole to see Michonne. Rick keels over with laughter, telling Carl that it is for him.
Rick and Carl have reunited with Michonne. The following morning, Michonne asks Rick if they will stay in the house that they are living in, to which Rick responds: "we´ll wait and see." He also thanks Michonne for making Carl laugh, stating that he hardly remembers that sound. Later in the day, Michonne says that they need to get new supplies so she and Carl will go out. Rick wants to come as well, but Michonne insists that he stays home and rest due to his injuries. Rick relents and hands Carl his revolver and asks them to be back at noon. He then goes upstairs and lays down on a bed and reads a book but falls asleep. Later he wakes up and hears voices coming from downstairs. He quickly realizes that the voices are not Carl or Michonne's and has little time to react as he hears someone coming up the stairs. He jumps up, grabs a bottle of water and rolls under the bed. One of the bandits, named Tony, enters the room and after some walking around, he lays down on the bed and falls asleep. Len enters the room and calls to Tony, saying he wants the bed. They argue and eventually get in a fight which ends with Len pinning Tony to the ground and strangling him. As he blacks out, Tony sees Rick and tries to tell Len but passes out before he can. After the fight, Len moves to go back to sleep, but is called downstairs, which gives Rick time to grab what he can and sneak to another room. Rick tries to escape by opening the windows but is unable to do so without making noise. He runs back to the other room, trying to sneak out but Len walks upstairs so Rick hides in the bathroom. As he closes the door, he turns his head and sees Lou on the toilet. They start to scuffle and Rick eventually gets the upperhand and strangles him. He grabs Lou's machine gun and manages to get out by a window after taking a jacket from the house, and sneaks up to the porch where Joe is smoking. He prepares to attack him so he can escape safely, but before he can strike, screams are heard from the inside due to Lou reanimating and assailing one of the men inside. Joe curses and heads inside, much to Rick's relief. He escapes and encounters Carl and Michonne who have just returned from their supply run. The trio leave the area together. Later, they walk down a railroad and encounters a sign where it says: "Sanctuary for all. Community for all. Those who arrive, survive. Terminus." They pause for a moment and then decide to continue walking.
Rick is seen with Carl and Michonne, walking the train tracks while Carl and Michonne are walking on the rails, doing a bet to see who will last the longest without falling off. Carl wins, and gets to pick which of the last two chocolate bars he wants. The three then continue down the tracks to Terminus.
Rick, Carl and Michonne are sitting by a fire and go to check their snare trap for animals, where they find they have caught a small rabbit. Soon, the three hear cries for help and Carl takes off further into the woods with Rick and Michonne giving chase. They find a man struggling to fend off a herd of walkers, but don't do anything as they are outnumbered and it's too late to save the man as walkers cave in, devouring him. That night, Rick and Michonne discuss Terminus while Carl sleeps in a car.
All of a sudden, Joe and his group ambush Rick, Michonne. Meanwhile, Carl is ambushed by Dan at the car. Tony recognizes Rick and the group realizes he killed Lou. After a tense countdown, Daryl appears and tries to put an end to the scene. Daryl says that they are good people but Joe responds by telling Daryl that Rick killed their friend. Joe calls Daryl a liar and calls for the group to beat him. Joe informs Rick that they are going to rape Carl, then Michonne, then beat Daryl to death, and then finally kill Rick. While Dan tries to rape Carl, Rick heatbutts Joe, who was pointing the gun on him. Joe fires on reflex (and misses). Rick manages to punch Joe but Joe counters with his own punch knocking Rick to the ground. As Rick gets up, Joe locks Rick in place by grabbing Rick, pinning his arms and holding him still. Joe then asks, "what the hell you gonna do now, sport?" Rick answers by biting his neck open, eventually killing him. This death acts a distraction for Billy, Harley and Tony allowing Daryl and Michonne to easily kill them. Rick, face splattered in blood, angrily mutters "he's mine", marching towards Dan and stabbing him repeatedly, killing him. The next day, Rick is seen sitting by the car, face and hands covered in blood as he stares off in the distance, trembling. Daryl gives him a rag and wets it in water, so he can clean himself up as they head to Terminus.
On the outskirts of Terminus, the groups split up with Daryl and Rick and Carl and Michonne. Rick places his Colt Python in a duffel bag full of guns and buries the bag in the woods outside Terminus, just in case the Terminus people are up to something and the four sneak over the fence into a large room where Gareth, Alex, and a broadcasting Woman are. Gareth has them put down their weapons and frisks them, welcoming them to Terminus and warning them not to try anything stupid as Alex shows them around. While meeting Mary and being offered food, Rick takes notice of items in the Terminus survivor's possession such as Glenn's riot gear, Daryl's poncho that Maggie was wearing, Bob's khaki cargo pants, the hitchiker's orange backpack (that Glenn took from the Prison) and Hershel's pocket-watch. Realizing something is wrong, he takes Alex at gunpoint, demanding to know where their people are and why their group has the pocketwatch, riot gear and poncho. Everyone in the area (except for Carl, who is frozen in fear) draws their weapons in response. Gareth arrives and asks Rick what he wants while Alex screams for the other members of his group to lower their weapons. Rick demands for Gareth to answer his questions or Alex would die.
After an unknown Terminus resident shoots and kills Alex, a shootout ensues with Rick, Michonne, Carl and Daryl fleeing. They make it to the back entrance of Terminus, but are outnumbered as Terminus residents line up the fences, guns aimed at them. Gareth orders the four of them to lower their weapons. After this, Gareth calls them by specific code names to walk towards the boxcar: Rick (Ringleader), Daryl (Archer), Michonne (Samurai) and Carl (Kid) in that order. Inside, they find Bob, Maggie, Sasha, Glenn, Tara, Abraham, Rosita, and Eugene. Abraham remarks that they won't be there for long, which Rick remarks "No" and says that "They're gonna feel pretty stupid when they find out." Abraham asks what the Terminus group is going to find out and Rick responds with "They're screwing with the wrong people."
Rick and the others create makeshift weapons to fight off their captors, but the Terminus guards instead drop a flashbang grenade into Boxcar A, and drag Rick, Daryl, Bob, and Glenn out. They are taken to the slaughterhouse and lined up bending over a pig trough, where Rick recognizes Sam amongst others brought in. He watches as Sam is brutally murdered by the guards, followed by the other three captives Sam was with. Before Glenn can be executed, Gareth comes in and threatens Bob so Rick will tell him what was in the bag he buried before entering Terminus. Rick tells him what's in it and adds that he will kill Gareth with a machete in the bag. Just as the butcher is given the green light to kill Glenn, a explosion caused by Carol distracts the guards and Gareth leaves the area. Rick, having snuck a shiv of wood up his sleeve, uses it to cut his bonds and brutally slaughters the guards before untying the others. He makes the point of ordering them to let the guards turn, and after discovering their cannibalism, Rick orders the group to kill any Terminus resident on sight.
The four fight their way back outside, and Glenn forces Rick to unlock a container with a survivor inside. However, the survivor is half-crazed and eventually stumbles into a walker which promptly eats him. Rick kills a guard, steals his machine gun, and then uses it to shoot several other people of Terminus, making a point to not kill them and instead let the walkers take them. The four of them return to Boxcar A and free their friends, and the entire group quickly makes its escape as the Terminus residents fire back. A bullet hits Gareth as the group makes their way out of Terminus.
While in the forest outside of Terminus, Rick proposes they finish off the surviving Terminus residents, which many members of the group disagree with. Suddenly, Carol reveals herself to the group. Rick learns she was the one who caused the explosion which led to their escape. She leads the group to the cabin where she, Tyreese and Judith were hiding out, and Rick and Carl are happily reunited with Judith. The group moves away from Terminus, and Rick scratches out a Terminus sign, changing the wording to "No Sanctuary".
After the destruction of Terminus, Rick along with his band of survivors are walking in the woods; upon resting, he confronts Tara and says he knew that she was with the Governor. He explained the reason why he tried to talk to her, that was because he knew she didn't want to be there. Tara visually glad that Rick forgave her, and when Rick asked her whether or not she saved Glenn's life, she tells him that it was Glenn who saved her. "Well, that's how it goes with us," Rick jokes as he fist bumps with Tara. He then tells her to eat because they have a long road ahead.
The group keeps moving from place to place, before eventually setting up camp in the woods just as the night comes. Rick talks to Carol, told her that he still doesn't know what she did to the Terminus residents in order to save him, and the others, and tried to explain to her why he banished her back in the days after the revelation of her being the killer of Karen, and David. Carol shuts him down, as she said that he said she can survive and she did. Rick visually feels guilty as Carol gives him the watch he lost to Sam. Rick told about what happened to Sam, how he was killed in front of him, and he was about to give Ed's watch back to Carol, but Carol refuses. Before they end their conversation, Rick asked to Carol will she have him and the others. Carol nods, and Rick thanks her for he decision before taking off, returning to his family.
The next day, Rick and the others are still in the woods, looking for a possible sanctuary. As they walk, Daryl informs Rick about what occurred last night; he felt someone was watching him, and Carol. A scream of help is heard from afar and Carl convinces Rick to help them. The group rushes toward the screams and finds Father Gabriel Stokes being attacked by walkers. After killing the walkers and rescuing him, Rick searches Gabriel for weapons and finds nothing. Rick asked him the three questions that he had asked others who had wanted to join his group.
- "How many walkers have you killed?"
- "How many people have you killed?"
After hearing that Gabriel is a priest (and not killing a single walker), Rick asks if he has a shelter they can use. Gabriel offers to bring them to his church that's located close by. While traveling there, he jokes on about leading them to a trap, so that he can steal all of the squirrels that Daryl owns. After seeing Rick and Daryl glare at him, Gabriel mentions that his humor leaves a lot to be desired, escalating Rick's distrust towards him.
Upon arriving at the church, Rick demands Gabriel give him the keys in order to scout the interior of the building (despite Gabriel's earlier claims that he was alone.) After confirming that no one else is there, Abraham tries to convince Rick about going to DC with them. Since they found one of the church buses to be in working order, they should go immediately. Rick declines, and said that they need to find as much food and ammunition as possible, much to Abraham's disappointment. Rick then asked Gabriel where did he get all the canned food he has. Gabriel told him that he got it from a food bank in the nearby town. Gabriel offers to draw a map that will assist them to the place, but Rick still doesn't trust him. He refuses and says Gabriel is coming with him, Sasha, and Bob instead. Before leaving, Rick talks to Carl, telling his son about his distrust towards Gabriel. Despite his father's fears, Carl thinks Gabriel is not a bad guy because not everyone can be bad. Rick then leaves after telling Carl to stay cautious.
On the way to the food bank, Bob tells Rick that he needs to say yes to Abraham's offer on going to DC. Rick says he doesn't believe everything could be undone and that what happened, happened. Bob tried not to resonate with Rick, telling him that the life they have right now, is just a nightmare, and nightmares always end.
The group arrives at the food bank and discovers a hole in the floor, leading to a flooded basement containing both food and walkers. Sasha suggests a plan to use the racks on the basement as shields from the walkers. Rick agrees, and they executed the plan. After awhile, Rick realizes that Gabriel is gone after a walker he recognized spooked him, causing him to run away from the group. Rick informs the others that they have to get to him, and protect him. They eventually are able to reach Gabriel and Rick saves Gabriel from the walker who cornered him.
On their way back to the church, Rick is seen along with Michonne pushing a trolley filled with canned foods. Rick asked about whether she misses her sword. Michonne replies no, and told him that she misses Andrea, and Hershel instead. Rick is visibly saddened when Andrea's and Hershel's names are mentioned.
As everyone is unloading the provisions, Rick asked Tyreese about his son's whereabouts. After finding out where he is, he tells Carl that they're back and he should get some food. Carl tells his father about something first before going back into the church; leading him to the back wall of the church, he shows Rick some scratches on the windows arcs that read "YOU'LL BURN FOR THIS'.
The group throws a feast and Abraham takes this as an opportunity to convince Rick's group to join him go to DC. Hearing what Abraham said, and thinking about his daughter and son, Rick finally agrees. While the others are celebrating, Rick walks towards Gabriel and sits by him. He thanks him for his hospitality and laughs a little when Gabriel says that wine is just wine before getting blessed. Rick says he knows Gabriel is hiding something from everyone and tells him that if whatever it is that he is hiding hurts his group or family. he'll kill him.
After hearing that Bob has disappeared (and noting that Daryl and Carol are gone as well), Rick is convinced that they are being watched by an unknown party and Gabriel is in league with them. Gabriel denies any involvement in their absence and any ties to an outside group. After being forced by Rick when he asks what happened to that girl he saw as a walker and the "You'll burn for this" on the side of the church, Gabriel finally reveals his secret: he locked the church doors and refused to open them for members of his congregation, being forced to listen to them screaming for help as they were devoured by walkers. He believes Rick group has been sent to kill him as he is damned and begs for Rick to kill him. After Bob is dropped off in the churchyard by Gareth and the Terminus survivors, Rick gets into a heated argument with Abraham; Abraham wants to leave for Washington because the threat that could possibly kill Eugene while Rick refuses to go until Carol and Daryl are found. Eventually, a truce is made and Rick questions Bob where he was taken. After finding out from Gabriel several possible locations, Rick takes Glenn, Maggie, Tara, Abraham, Michonne and Sasha with him and head out to find Gareth. However, they double back and find that the remaining Terminus survivors have infiltrated the church. They sneak back in undetected and wait for an opportune moment to strike.
As Gareth is aiming his gun at the door where the others are hiding, Rick shoots and kills Mike and Albert, as well as shooting off two of Gareth's fingers. He approaches the wounded Gareth who pleads that if he, Martin, Greg and Theresa are let go, their paths will never cross again. Gareth tells Rick that he doesn't know what it's like to be hungry and asks why he didn't kill him during the shootout. Rick coldly remarks that they didn't want to waste any bullets and, pulling out the machete, claims that " I already made you a promise." Rick immediately strikes Gareth with the machete, hacking him to death as revenge for torturing Bob and for killing/eating countless survivors. The next day after the Terminus members are killed, Bob talks to Rick, who thanks him for taking him in and advises him that the nightmare may end, but it doesn't have to end who they are. Bob finishes by saying that if he doesn't think the world will change, all he needs to do is look at Judith and have hope. Abraham gives Rick a map to Washington D.C. which reads "Sorry for being an asshole earlier. Come to Washington. The new world's gonna need RICK GRIMES". Rick, Carl, Judith, Tyreese, Gabriel, Sasha and Michonne stay behind to wait on Carol and Daryl.
Rick appears in a flashback just after he has abandoned Carol for killing Karen and David, and indirectly mentioned by Daryl, when he tells Noah he has many people to get Carol, and Beth back.
Rick and his group added wood on windows for bearer. Michonne wanted to go but Rick said he owns it to Carol a lot more. Rick says goodbye to Judith and Carl and prepares to go to Atlanta to save Carol and Beth. Meanwhile Rick and his other group are on the road to Atlanta. Rick explains the plan at the Hospital floors saying, then Tyreese wants to do some kind of even trade, but Rick said this will work. Noah runs to get the cops attention then Rick wants the cops to drop their gun then the cop ask the way he's holding his gun ask him are you a cop. then more of them show up and they all started firing then Sasha shot the tire and they all run to vehicle but they were gone and they found walkers. Then Rick came back just in time to help Daryl and points his gun at Bob. then the cops explain their plan won't work they said Dawn is smart they said just let them go and will make a trade and this will be over. then Rick talks to bob then he said Dawn won't make a deal she won't compromise, then Rick walks away and rethinks his other plan.
The episode starts with Rick chasing after Officer Bob Lamson, who is running away after having escaped captivity. Rick takes a police car and chases him down. After making several failed requests for him to stop, Rick rams into Lamson, crippling him, and get out of the car to finish the job. Bob tells him that they could still work things out, to which Rick replies, "can't go back, Bob." Lamson tells Rick he's become too detached, but Rick shoots and kills him mid-sentence. "Shut up," he says, as he gets in the car.
Rick returns to the group in Atlanta and informs Daryl of the situation. Daryl suggests the trade will still work, as Dawn was threatened by Lamson. Shepherd and Licari also believe in the trade, as Lamson was their only hope at anything else working.
Later on, Rick appears on the street and meets up with Officers McGinley and Franco in order to parley. He informs them of Licari and Shepherd's incarceration, Lamson's death and Noah joining up with them, recommending the two groups trade: Licari and Shepherd for Beth and Carol.
Rick and his group go to Grady Memorial to make the trade. In a single hallway, the old Atlanta survivors stand across from the Grady survivors. Rick and Dawn warily work out the trade, with Licari and Shepherd switching places with Beth and Carol. However, Dawn also requests Noah return as her ward. Rick at first objects to this, but Noah makes his decision and goes to join Dawn. However, Beth interrupts the deal and attacks Dawn, getting shot in the head in the process, which leads to Dawn also getting shot by Daryl. A shocked Rick takes part in a stand-off between the two groups. Shepherd manages to calm the situation down and end it. Rick makes one final proposal: anyone who wants to leave can come with them.
Rick leaves the hospital with his group and is reunited with the others in a bittersweet moment.
After the death of Beth, Rick ran for a supply run along with Glenn, Sasha, and Daryl. He checked an abandoned truck, cleared it out, and found nothing.
Later that night, Rick had a conversation with Noah, who told him that Beth was supposed to go with him to where his community was. It was walled, and had 20 people. Rick asked him where it is. Noah answered that it's far away. despite it's being far away. Rick decided that the place Noah mentioned would be their next destination, telling the group that if it turns out to be right, then it's a long journey they have to take. Glenn asked Rick what if the place is not there anymore. Rick talked Glenn out of it by telling him that they will keep moving on, before being added by Michonne who said, "Then we'll find a new place.".
Rick and his group are sitting on the road waiting for Daryl, Maggie, and Sasha. When driving on the road Rick and the others ran out of gas and start walking on the side of the road. When they walk Rick says few words to Daryl when they walk. Then Daryl wanted to go somewhere for a minute then Carol wanted to go with him. While still walking they see few walkers. Then when they stop near the bridge they see a small group of walkers. Rick proposed that they shouldn't attack the walkers and instead toss them off the hill. Then they still keep moving, but they found a few cars out in the middle of nowhere. Then Rick and his group sit and wait tell Daryl comes back, meanwhile 4 dogs came out of know where then Sasha shot the dogs then they start barbecuing and eating them. After they got done eating they keep moving then they found water but they didn't want to test to see if it was good, but Eugene insist on testing it out, but Abraham knocked the water off of Eugene hands. Then they felt rain dropping then they all started laughing and having fun but they felt a tornado coming, but Daryl found a barn and they all head over there seeing if it's save then they all started to relaxing at Night then Rick starts explaining about his grandpa when he was in war then he started saying that this is how we survive, that we are The Walking Dead. Then when Daryl was up he looks outside and see lots of walkers starting to barge in then Rick and everyone started to block the entrance. The next morning Maggie wakes up to see Rick sleeping and Judith awake.
Rick does not trust Aaron and all his ideas, knocking him out when he is explaining his community. He demands to know how many are in Aaron's group. After being informed Aaron has cars nearby, he sends Michonne, Abraham, Rosita, Maggie and Glenn to check it out, sending everyone else outside to scout the perimeter, then informing Aaron is the group is not back in an hour he will kill him. When Judith starts crying, Aaron offers him apple sauce for her but Rick doesn't trust it isn't poisoned. He makes Aaron try it first before giving it to Judith. When the group arrive back with Aaron's food, Rick still doesn't want to go to his community, but is persuaded by the others. Rick does command that they take a different route then Aaron wants, but at night on an uncleared road. Michonne talks to Rick, wanting him to take a chance with Aaron. Later during the trip, Rick rides with Glenn, Michonne and Aaron. He admires Aaron's license plate collection and questions the megaphone used to spy on them. They encounter a herd of walkers which jams up the engine, leaving them stuck. When a flare goes up and Aaron runs into the woods, they chase after him, fighting off walkers as they go. When Rick runs out of ammo, he uses a flare gun and then a machete to kill walkers. After dealing with the situation, they head towards the flare, finding the rest of the group, along with Aaron's boyfriend, Eric. Rick wants Aaron to sleep away from Eric, but Glenn persuades him not too. The next day they complete the journey to Alexandria, with him hiding a gun at a house nearby.
Rick refuses to surrender his gun at first when entering Alexandria, saying if he wanted to use it he would've. He is the first to be interviewed by Deanna Monroe, leader of Alexandria, and is hesitant about her letting them in. He is shocked by Aaron telling him the group get two houses to themselves, but still decides they should all sleep in one. After exploring the house he has his first hot shower and shaves his beard off. After being interrupted by a knock on the door, he opens it to find Jessie Anderson, who introduces herself and offers to cut his hair. The next day he explores the town and gets worried when he loses sight of Judith and Carl, running through the streets looking for them. After bumping into a sculpture being made by Jessie, she takes him to his children, who are talking to an old couple. He thanks her and agrees to let Carl go to Jessie's house to meet her son, Ron. Later that night, when he is out on a walk, he encounters Jessie's husband, Pete, who welcomes him to the neighborhood. The day after he leaves Alexandria and returns to where he buried his gun. After finding it missing and encountering Carl, they fight off a group of walkers and return to the community. After witnessing Glenn and Aiden Monroe's fight, he is assigned to be constable of Alexandria. Later that nigh,t he reassures Carol and Daryl that they won't get weak; and if the residents of Alexandria are, they'll take the place from them.
Rick, Daryl, and Carol are having a meeting in the woods outside of a house. They are considering heading back when a walker approaches. Carol kills it, and afterwards they see a 'W' carved on the walker's forehead. Later, Rick goes to check on Michonne and the two discuss Deanna's motives for making them constables. Rick and Michonne meet with Deanna and Maggie, where he recommends setting up a guard tower to watch for potential threats, human or walker. After the meeting, Carol comes out of one of the houses and ask Rick whether or not he is going to Deanna's welcome party for the group; he confirms that he will. When Rick, Carl, Judith, and Carol come to Deanna's house, Deanna introduces them to her husband, Reg Monroe. Rick and Reg congratulate each other on their respective achievements: Reg's construction of the wall, and Rick's ability to keep 14 other people alive outside the walls. Deanna decides to call it even. Later, Rick talks with Jessie, her husband Pete, and her son Ron. Sam, her other son, runs up and asks if they are out of cookies, and Rick assures him that he knows the the woman who made them (Carol) and might be able to get him his own batch. Sam gives Rick a stamp of the letter 'A' on his hand, like the other party guests have. Jessie. who is holding Judith, later tells Rick that she hadn't carried a baby for a long time. She returns the baby to him, and he kisses her on the cheek before she walks off. The next morning, Rick, Daryl, and Carol return to the same meeting spot as in the beginning of the episode. Carol procures some guns: Rick takes one, but Daryl refuses. Back inside Alexandria, Rick sees Jessie and Pete. She holds up her fist (stamped with an 'A') and he does the same. Rick walks on to the wall and listens to a walker banging on the other side.
Rick is first seen checking in on Jessie, whose owl sculpture has been destroyed by an unknown party. He tells her that he'll find the culprit for her. Later on Pete comes round to talk to Rick and is obviously drunk. After an awkward exchange Pete leaves, with Rick staring him down as he goes. After discovering that Pete is hitting Jessie, Carol talks to Rick to tell him he is going to have to kill him.
Glenn is seen with Rick, telling him what happened at the warehouse. Glenn says that they need to make it work but Rick says that the Alexandrians do not know what they are doing, or that they have not "caught up" with them yet.
Carol and Rick on speaking to each other on the porch of their house. Carol questions Rick if he has thought about what to do with Pete and tells him of how Sam locks himself in the cabinet and hears his parents fighting, later sees Jessie was unconscious and covered in blood as Pete was just sitting on the porch. Rick asks Carol why she cares what happens to Jessie. She retorts that he knows why with her and she has seen the way he has been talking and looking at her. Carol states that if the walkers had not gotten Ed, then she would not be standing next to Rick. But Rick replies that she still would.
Rick is standing next to the pond with the stolen gun that Carol stole from the armory. Pete runs by Rick and asks him if everything was alright. Rick menacingly tells Pete to "keep walking".
Rick confronts Deanna over the fact that Pete is abusing Jessie. Deanna reveals that she knew about the blunders and hoped it would get better. Rick says that it will not get better and it will get worse, but Deanna reminds him that Pete is a surgeon, and therefore serves as a vital part of Alexandria. Rick suggests that they lock him up and says that he will kill him if it does not stop. If Pete were to kill Jessie, then Deanna would exile him but Rick states that Pete would bring even more bad people and get revenge. Deanna says that they cannot execute him because it is a part of being civilized. Deanna warns Rick that if he does that, then he will get exiled.
Later in the day, Rick confronts Jessie in her garage. He reveals that he is aware of the strained relationship between her and Pete and attempts to offer her his help. Jessie, however, is reluctant, assuring him that the situation will get better and that it will only go downhill if he gets himself involved. She then begins to understand the reasoning behind why he is trying to help, and becomes indecisive before leaving Rick outside, closing the garage door behind her.
After some time to himself, Rick re-enters Jessie's house through the front door, and tries again to offer Jessie his help, saying that he will be able to keep her, along with her children, safe. Jessie asks whether or not he would do the same for anyone, and he replies that he would not. She then accepts his help, right before Pete arrives. Seeing the two together, Pete attempts to force Rick out of his house. He becomes aggressive and attempts to strike Rick before a fight ensues.
The brawl is soon taken outside the house and into the town square, where the entire community come out to witness the event. Both men are held down in an evenly-matched brawl, before Pete manages to gain the upper hand on Rick. Jessie attempts to intervene, but Pete smacks her away, enraging Rick and turning the tables in his favor before Deanna defuses the situation. Brandishing his gun, he insists that the community's way of handling problems will eventually get people killed, and that they should start controlling who gets to live in the community and who does not. After Deanna states that the fact had not been any more clear than it has in the current situation, Rick sarcastically asks if she is referring to him. He gives a profound speech about what should be done in order to keep the people safe, before he is knocked unconscious by Michonne.
Rick finally regains consciousness and is informed that Pete has been separated from Jessie, and that Deanna is planning to hold a town forum to decide whether Rick should be exiled from the town for his actions. Rick plans to attend the forum to defend himself, but he also makes a backup plan to seize control of the town in case things get out of hand. Rick then pays a visit to Jessie, who thanks him for his help, and Rick promises to protect her. Rick later admits to Michonne that he and Carol stole guns from the armory and tries to return the gun, though Michonne says she would not have stopped him, and that she knocked out Rick to protect him, not Alexandria. She also tells Rick she is confident that they can find a way to integrate with Alexandria, but she will still follow him even if they cannot. Rick later finds the front gate open, as well as evidence that walkers have been able to enter the walls. As he tries to find them he is ambushed by walkers but manages to kill them.
Meanwhile, the forum begins. Michonne, Carol, Abraham, and Maggie all speak in Rick's defense. Deanna then reveals what Father Gabriel had told her, about how Rick and his group are bad people willing to put themselves before the town. At that moment, Rick comes stumbling in with the corpse of one of the walkers he killed, demonstrating that Alexandria's walls alone will not be enough to keep the residents inside safe. He tells them that outsiders, both living and dead, will try to gain entry and reiterates his earlier point that the people of Alexandria must be ready to make tough choices, and that he will teach them to survive. Pete then arrives with Michonne's katana, angrily proclaiming that Rick does not belong in Alexandria. Reg attempts to talk Pete down, but is killed when Pete cuts his throat with the stolen katana. Abraham subdues Pete and a sorrowful Deanna gives Rick the order to execute Pete, which he does, shooting him in the head. At that moment, Daryl, Aaron, and Morgan Jones arrive and witness the execution.
Following Pete's execution, Morgan and Rick discuss the situation in the Safe-Zone. Rick informs Morgan that he does not take anymore chances, implying that precautionary measures will be taken with him as a new arrival. After the two of them talk, Rick informs Daryl of his plans to improve the Safe-Zone's security and convinces him not to go on any more recruiting runs due to their concern for larger problems; Daryl, however, feels differently about his decision to cease bringing in new survivors, insisting that recruiting missions should continue.
Rick enters one of the Safe-Zone's vacant houses to find Morgan practicing with his staff. He and Morgan discuss Alexandria and the circumstances surrounding his need to execute Pete. They head outside and observe Tobin and Gabriel digging graves for Reg and Pete, with Rick insisting that Pete be buried elsewhere, as the community should not hold "killers" within its walls.
Rick and Morgan take Pete's body several miles away from the community and bury it in the forest next to a large quarry. Overlooking the quarry, Rick and Morgan find it to be occupied by thousands of walkers. They soon find Ron, who had been following them after eavesdropping on their conversation at the graveyard, being chased by a small group of walkers. Rick tackles him to the ground in time to save him from both the walkers and falling several meters to his death in the quarry. Before returning to the Safe-Zone, Rick returns to Ron, who had been trying to leave, attempting to help him with a word of advice on survival; however, still bitter with him for executing his father, Ron refuses to listen.
Rick arranges a meeting with the community, explaining what he had witnessed at the quarry and the potential danger the herd served against the community. He enlists the help of several members who had volunteered to aid in his plan of ridding the quarry of the herd and leading them elsewhere, informing them of the barriers that need to be erected in order to keep them from straying and the different rendezvous locations.
The groups begin working on the walls outside of the community. Rick attempts to convince Deanna to allow the use of firearms within the community, before a group of walkers emerge from the forest towards the Alexandrians. After one of the residents, Carter, calls for assistance, Rick encourages them to defend themselves, preventing his group from intervening. As the residents stand paralyzed with fear, Morgan and the rest of the group jump in, killing the walkers. Morgan reminds Rick that they take no chances; Carter glares at Rick.
After Carter attempts to stage an intervention against Rick, Rick bursts into the house in time to find him pointing a gun at Eugene, who had heard his group's plans. Enraged, Rick disarms Carter and is about to execute him before deciding to let him go. When the topic is brought up during a later conversation between him and Morgan, Rick confesses that he wanted to kill him; he decided against it, believing that people like Carter, who lack the right mindset, will end up dying anyway.
Later, Rick meets up with Jessie in the armory, in search of a pack of flares for the next day. She admonishes Rick for his behavior towards Ron at the quarry and reminds Rick that Ron will not listen to him due to his grudge against him. Rick offers to teach Jessie how to protect herself using a gun, but she reveals that she had already enlisted Rosita's help for firearm training.
The next day, Rick, his group and the Alexandrians make it to the quarry to execute the plan of attack. As Rick outlines the plan to lure the herd away, one of the trucks acting as a barricade topples over the edge of a cliff, releasing the herd. The plan is put into immediate action, and everyone rushes to their positions. Over the course of the day, the plan goes accordingly, with the herd being kept at bay down the set path. However, as the groups head further down the road, Carter is grabbed by a stray walker and bitten in the right cheek. Rick rushes to his aid, killing the walker before tending to him. He attempts to keep him quiet in order to prevent drawing the attention of the herd, which is beginning to disperse toward the sounds of his desperate cries, before putting him down with a stab through the neck. He informs the rest of the team about the predicament before moving further down. As they observe the group leading the herd through the final checkpoint, they hear a loud horn blaring from a distance, drawing the back half of the herd away from the road and towards the Safe-Zone. Alarmed, Rick, Michonne and Morgan frantically rush back to Alexandria, tailed by the herd.
In the end, he gets attacked by the wolves, and kill two of them, before killing the other three. his RV is broke and he is swarmed by zombies, and his fate is unclear.
This list shows the victims Rick has killed:
- Leon Basset (Zombified)
- Hannah (Zombified, Out of Mercy)
- Summer (Zombified)
- Sophia Peletier (Zombified, Out of Mercy)
- Shane Walsh (Alive)
- Erin (Zombified)
- Thomas (Before Reanimation)
- Charlie (Zombified)
- The Piglets (Caused)
- Alex (Caused)
- Bob Lamson
- Pete Anderson
- Carter (Out of Mercy)
- Blond Wolf
- 4 unnamed Woodbury soldiers (Alive and Zombified)
- 9 unnamed Terminus residents (Caused or Direct)
- 4 unnamed members of the Wolves
- Numerous counts of zombies
- Rick is the first character in the television series to directly kill a living person (notably Dave) after the apocalypse. Although Shane was the first character, overall, who caused the death of a living character (Otis).
- Rick has stated that his blood type is A+, same as Carl's.
- Rick's clothes from the third season premiere can be purchased as an Xbox 360 Avatar outfit.
- Rick is one of three characters (along with Morgan and Carl) who appeared physically in the pilot and are still alive.
- Rick has killed the second largest amount of living characters on the TV series, with a list of at least 32 victims, only behind the Governor's figure of over 50.
- Robert Kirkman mentioned one of the reasons why Rick didn't lose his right hand yet like his comic counterpart is that the comic is made of stills, whereas one would have to watch Rick doing all the things one-handed, thus much more slowly, on the show.