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12 Times Rick Grimes And His Group Were Basically Villains On 'The Walking Dead'

Updated February 4, 2021 3.6k votes 461 voters 33.7k views12 items

List RulesVote up the most messed up things Rick and the group did as the 'good guys' on 'The Walking Dead.'

The gray area of morality in The Walking Dead means that even the main protagonists can be seen as antagonists. Calling the likes of Rick Grimes a villain - the "hero" for many seasons of the show - may seem extreme, but under a certain amount of scrutiny, an argument can definitely be made to that end. This was pointed out by Negan, who claimed that everyone's done terrible things in the zombie apocalypse and they're the good guys from their own perspectives. This is certainly true, as Rick and his group are easily villains if seen from an objective context. Revisiting particular moments certainly outs them as less-than-heroic people, with many things they've done bordering on outright horrific.

Here are the times that Rick and his group did messed-up things and earned the tag of "villains" themselves. 

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  • 1

    Carol Torments Sam With Fear And Paranoia, Causing His Demise

    In Season 5, a child named Sam finds Carol snooping around in Alexandria. Wanting to keep him quiet, she threatens to take him and tie him to a tree so that the walkers will eat him. She then goes into excruciating detail about how the walkers will tear his flesh, to the point where Sam becomes deathly afraid and becomes a recluse too scared to even leave the house.

    In Season 6, episode 9, "No Way Out," Sam tries to escape the walkers with his family but gets flashbacks of what Carol told him, causing him to have a nervous breakdown. This causes the walkers to go after Sam and eat him alive. His mother and brother try to help and are eaten, as well, making their ends a direct result of Carol's antagonism of Sam, as he never recovered from her threats.

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  • 2

    Rick Lets The Orange Backpack Man Be Devoured By Walkers

    Photo: AMC

    In Season 3, episode 12, "Clear," Rick, Michonne, and Carl drive by a man with an orange backpack who begs for them to pick him up as he won't make it by himself. Rick simply drives past the man without helping. They later stop for a few minutes along the way - where the man tries to catch up to them - but make sure to drive away again while the man screams for help.

    At the end of the episode, the trio drives past the same road and sees the pulped and mangled remains of the same man, having been devoured by walkers. Proving just how cold Rick and his group are, they stop the car this time just to collect the dead man's backpack, then drive away. Had they helped him, the man wouldn't have had to suffer such a grisly fate.

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  • 3

    Carol Kills Sick People Without Showing Remorse

    Photo: AMC

    In Season 4, episode 2, "Infected," Tyreese finds his girlfriend Karen and her friend David burnt to a crisp. The identity of the culprit is unknown until Carol admits to Rick that she took their lives. Her justification is that the two were likely infected with the flu - which later caused much of the community to perish - and she didn't regret this decision.

    However, many people did recover from the illness, meaning Karen and David had a chance to pull through. Regardless of their demise, people got sick anyway, so Carol's actions were for nothing. This makes Carol a remorseless monster who ended lives based on speculation rather than giving Karen and David a chance to live - not to mention going as far as burning the remains of people she eliminated.

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  • 4

    Carl Takes The Life Of A Boy Who Surrendered

    Photo: AMC

    In the Season 3 finale, Woodbury citizens flee after their ambush of the prison doesn't work out. Carl finds a teenager and holds him at gunpoint, demanding he toss his side arm away. When the boy hesitates and takes a little while to comply, Carl shoots him point-blank. 

    He had no idea if the boy was about to try to retaliate and was always in the dominating position, meaning this was a straight-up act of cruelty from Carl. In Season 8, Carl writes a letter to Rick and admits that taking the boy's life was unjustified. 

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