When it comes to Rick Grimes ( Andrew Lincoln) remained the show’s star for nine of its 11 seasons on AMC, to a lot of mixed opinions. Despite being donned the leader of the group the second he found his wife and son after waking from a coma, Rick has never been immune to a dumb decision or two.
From his unpredictable rage to picking and choosing who he did and did not kill to his lack of friendship that nearly cost another man his life, as beloved as Rick Grimes is by the characters and viewers alike, he’s still behind plenty of dumb decisions that usually cost him and his group.
Things don’t exactly go to plan when Rick’s group makes it to the CDC in Season 1, nearly blowing up along with it by the end. But one thing Rick learns during their time there leaves him with a controversial decision to make that ultimately turns into a dumb one.
When Rick found out that the disease infecting people was already in everyone and would turn anyone into a zombie after death, he chose to keep it a secret until the end of Season 2, a decision that could have put everyone’s lives at risk for not knowing the specifics of what they were dealing with.
All in all, Rick was a good father to Carl ( Chandler Riggs) and Judith, but he also made plenty of dumb decisions surrounding children, the worst being when he left Carol’s ( Melissa McBride) young daughter Sophia ( Melissa McBride) in the woods by herself in attempt to keep her safe from walkers, promising he would come back for her.
Needless to say, when Rick returned for Sophia, she was gone, sending the group on a pointless, days-long search for the child that ended in finding her turned into a walker and needing to be put down, a scenario that most likely could have been avoided if Rick didn’t leave her in the woods.
Throughout Season 2, it became clear to most of the group that Shane ( Jon Bernthal) had a screw coming loose, leaving a man to die and allowing his anger for Rick’s return to build up. It cost him the family he believed he was creating with Lori ( Sarah Wayne Callies), Carl, and the new baby on the way.
After their blowout in a walker-infested parking lot, Rick was certain Shane wanted him dead, and he knew Shane’s plan all along when his so-called best friend lured him through the woods and into an empty field with plans of killing him. Going along with Shane until the last second almost cost Rick his life, and not going might have protected a young Carl from having to shoot Shane’s turned corpse.
Carol can be the bearer of some dumb decisions as well, mainly the time she chose to kill two of their own who had become sick, drag their bodies onto the roof, and burn them in hopes of no one finding out. It was a decision that snowballed into Tyreese’s ( Chad Coleman) angry rampage, Carol’s mental breakdown, and yet another dumb decision on Rick’s part.
Rather than keeping Carol’s secret and understanding her side of things, Rick took it upon himself to drive her far from their home at the prison and banish her, leaving her on her own. Fast-forward a few seasons, and Rick comes to defend Carol’s earlier choice, admitting he should have killed the two sick people himself, making his decision to kick Carol out a pointless one.
After all the trouble it took Rick, Michonne ( Danai Gurira), Carl, and Daryl ( Norman Reedus) to get to Terminus, it was understandable when the four were skeptical about the newfound community. While Rick was right to be wary of the people they later learned were cannibals, the dumbest thing he could have done was go rogue and pull a gun on them.
Just as the people of Terminus were welcoming the four with food, Rick noticed one had Hershel’s beloved watch, now owned by Glenn, and immediately whacked out his gun and threatened them until they revealed where their friends were. The following events would have been entirely avoided had Rick just stayed calm and devised a plan.
The friendship between Rick and Morgan ( Lennie James) has always been an important one to the series, from Morgan saving a clueless Rick in the first episode to Rick welcoming Morgan into Alexandria despite their newly-differing mindsets in Season 6 not too long before Lennie James hopped over to .
But the dumbest decision Rick ever made in the friendship department was not staying in contact with Morgan, his first post-apocalyptic friend. Rick promised he would keep in touch through the walkie-talkies, but as his group traveled, they lost connection, ultimately changing Morgan’s life.
Despite Aaron’s ( Ross Marquand) determination to bring Rick and his group into the Alexandria community, it took some time for the people of Alexandria to trust them, understand them, and accept their differences. The last thing Rick should have done was point a gun at everyone.
Granted, Rick was at his last straw, fed up with how weak the people of Alexandria were, and angry to learn Jessie’s ( Alexandra Breckenridge) husband was abusing her and their children and decided to get his frustrations out by beating up Jessie’s husband and then pointing a gun at all the onlookers, a thoughtless decision that almost wound up in him getting exiled.
It’s understandable that the community at Alexandria was getting low on food. Rick would do anything to protect his people, but not only did Rick’s plan to take out Negan ( Jeffery Dean Morgan). The Saviors backfire horrifically with the gruesome deaths of Glenn ( Steven Yeun) and Abraham ( Michael Cudlitz), but it’s very unlike Rick.
The new world took a toll on Rick, turning him into a killer of not only zombies, but Rick’s killing was typically justified, like ending The Governor’s life after he beheaded Hershel and offing the entirety of Terminus after they almost ate them all, but killing a heap of Saviors in their sleep was completely unnecessary and had life-changing repercussions for Rick’s group.
After everything, Negan put Rick and his group through in the Season 7 premiere alone — brutally murdering Abraham and Glenn, taking Rick into an infestation of walkers, and almost forcing Rick to chop his son’s arm off — every single surviving member of the group wanted their revenge.
In the Season 8 finale, the all-out war finally comes to an end, and Rick has his chance to end Negan for good, memorably atop a hill by a hanging stained-glass window. After a long-overdue showdown, Rick finally gets his chance to kill Negan and slices his neck with a shard of glass but stupidly allows him to live for the late Carl’s sake.
It was common knowledge to the fanbase that Andrew Lincoln was set to end his run as Rick in Season 9, and his way out of the show came as yet another dumb decision that only Rick could make.
After riding on horseback and getting impaled by a rebar, Rick blew up his beloved bridge to save all of those he loved back home, resulting in his presumed death and being taken to an unknown location by Jadis. Had Rick gone with Daryl instead of off on his own in the previous episode, his years-long disappearance most likely wouldn’t have happened.