Why Was Rick Smiling On ‘The Walking Dead’?


Is Rick Grimes just a really happy guy, or is there a particular reason he had such a big smile on last night’s episode of The Walking Dead?

That was an interesting new episode of The Walking Dead last night. “Rock in the Road” marks the first steps Rick takes in his quest to go to war with Negan. To stand a chance at winning, he’s going to need some allies to go up against the massive numbers of the Saviors.

Beginning with the Hilltop, negotiations with Gregory don’t go smoothly. But you couldn’t expect a coward like Greg to be so eager to jump into a war with Negan. Asking King Ezekiel for help doesn’t go that much better. Zeke does allow Daryl to hide in the Kingdom, but he’s unwilling break his peace with Negan. It seems getting more soldiers for the war might be more difficult than Rick thought.

While the search for allies comes up short, there was more bad news for Alexandria. Father Gabriel was missing, having taken the town’s food and fled. But he oddly left behind his bible, with a note leading to his whereabouts. While investigating the area, Rick’s group is totally surrounded by a large group of strangers with guns.

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But, curiously, Rick remains completely calm. In the closing moments of the episode, he even brandishes a big smile on his face. We haven’t seen Rick smile like that in a long time — so what has him so happy?

For some viewers, it looks like Rick’s eyes focused on a particular person just before he smiled. Does that perhaps mean he sees a familiar face in the crowd? If someone he knows is in this group, that would diffuse the situation pretty quickly. Could it be Heath, who’s been missing since Season 7A? Or even Martinez, from all the way back in Season 1? Maybe it’s someone Rick knows who hasn’t been on the show yet — like his brother Jeff, who has his own one-off The Walking Dead comic book.

Why so serious?

Any of those theories are possible. But I’m thinking Rick is not smiling because he sees someone he knows. I get the impression he just sees the value in the group of soldiers he sees before him. These people, if they’re in the area, probably have some knowledge about Negan. It helps that they’re apparently well-trained and well-armed. If Rick can convince this new group to join him in his battle against the Saviors, they could prove to be an incredibly powerful asset.

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Does Rick see a powerful new ally, or is it a familiar face from the past? Let me know what your opinion is in the comments below.