Rick and Thorne standing in a red light and looking strong in the walking dead the ones who live

One Heartbreaking Aspect of ‘The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live’ Brings a Comic Storyline to Life

Rick Grimes may be one of the most iconic comic book characters who isn’t a superhero but that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have changes to his “lore.” One of the biggest changes came when the Governor (David Morrissey) didn’t take Rick’s right hand on The Walking Dead.

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In the comics, Rick loses his right hand when the Governor demands information of Rick that he is unwilling to give. If that had happened in the original run of the show, it would pose a longstanding issue in filming with Andrew Lincoln and the money it would take to CGI it. Instead, Robert Kirkman and company decided against the move to save money and ultimately just didn’t feel strongly enough about it overall.

It left fans wondering if Rick Grimes was going to come out of the apocalypse with both of his hands or not. So when The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live geared up, so did the theories that Grimes would lose his hand this time around. And they were right, sort of.

Spoilers ahead for the first episode of The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live

In the first episode of the series, titled “Years,” we watch as Rick loses his left hand. Which is decidedly not his right hand. Not only that, but the reasoning behind it is significantly different than the comic storyline. This time around, Rick is with the Civic Republic Military (the CRM) and they have him handcuffed. In that moment, Rick sees his only chance at escaping them to get back home to Michonne (Danai Gurira) and Judith (Cailey Fleming) since he doesn’t yet know about RJ (Antony Azor).

Sawing off his own left hand (the one handcuffed), Rick does it and tries to flee the CRM to get back home to Alexandria. He’s unsuccessful but the loss of Rick’s hand gave fans that arc they wanted.

A comic storyline brought to life

Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes - The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live _ Season 1, Episode 1 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC
(Gene Page/AMC)

What makes Rick cutting his own hand off even more tragic than the Governor taking it from him is that it was, in that moment, all in vain. Rick was fighting to get back home but he was still with the CRM. So him cutting off his hand was for what? To just have to learn how to fight one-handed in the apocalypse?

That moment shows that there was going to be nothing that stopped him from getting back to his family, even if it meant losing his own hand. And that’s why it is heartbreaking that he doesn’t succeed. For all his attempts, Rick Grimes was still stuck and imprisoned with people who “saved him” on the bridge. They didn’t let him blow up but they were keeping him away from the ones he loved.

So Rick losing his hand in The Ones Who Live holds much more weight than it frankly would have during his time with the Governor. Because watching this man who desperately wanted to get home fail? That’s a version of Rick Grimes I am fascinated to be on this journey with.

(featured image: Gene Page/AMC)


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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.