At the start of The Walking Dead Season 4, The Ricktator we came to know and love was long gone and replaced with Farmer Rick, a quieter, gentler version of Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) who also has a fondness for piglets and his vegetable garden. Now that we're a few episodes in, Rick has "fallen off the wagon," as Hershel Greene (Scott Wilson) aptly put it, but even before Rick busted up Tyreese (Chad Coleman)'s face, he gave his son Carl Grimes ( Chandler Riggs) back his gun.
Rick tried his best to transfer his new zen attitude over to his kids, specifically Carl. As you may recall, Carl shot a young man in cold blood when he didn’t lower his weapon fast enough, even though it was clear he was surrendering. Rick was deeply troubled by this, and it was likely a large part of why Rick stepped back as leader and took Carl’s weapon away.
But with this new flu killing and turning many members of Team Prison within the walls of their new, Rick has become increasingly aware that burying your gun and forbidding your son to carry one isn’t a smart move. By the end of Episode 2, “Infected”, we started to see glimmers of old Rick return, as he even made the difficult decision to give Carl back his gun. And now that Carl has that firearm back in its holster, he seems pretty eager to pull the trigger.
As Andrew Lincoln explains in a behind-the-scenes video, below, this wasn’t an easy choice for the father of two. “Rick sees it as a failure, and he has to hand the gun back to Carl. His world view is that he’s responsible, so to have to give the gun back to him is an excruciating moment that Carl recognizes and has to leave his father alone because he knows how upset he is.”
While we tend to agree with Rick’s decision to arm Carl for his own protection, we can’t forget that it’s only been a few months since he killed a boy not much older than himself for no apparent reason!
Carl’s portrayer, Chandler Riggs has defended his on-screen counterpart and reasoned that Carl isn’t the sociopath people think he is, but we’re still not sure he’s ready to wield his own gun again. Maybe he can take Carol Peletier’s (Melissa McBride) knife classes instead?
Do you think Rick was right to give his son back his gun? Vote below!