So here we are at issue #150: “Betrayed.” On top of a huge confrontation and demonstration of strength in Alexandria, we’re getting a lot of seeds planted for what’s to come down the line as Rick rallies the communities. It’s a good issue.
There’s been a lot of buildup to this one, being that it’s the 150th issue and we’ve seen big events play out in other issues, like the 100th, but at the end of the day, I enjoyed what I read.
To get a brief moment at the Hilltop done, we get Andrea spotting Carl and Lydia getting it on. Now it’s a quick moment, but important for a few reasons. It furthers the bond that Carl and Lydia have established and brings them closer in the face of this turmoil. They already had sex once before, so it’s not unexpected that they’d want to have some alone time again. Timing might not be great, given how the other communities want Lydia’s head, but hey, it’s not like she or Carl have much time to themselves anyway.
But then we’ve got Andrea. I might be mistaken, but I think this might be the first time she’s been made aware of Carl and Lydia having an intimate bond. As far as I know, the only adults who have an inkling of what’s going on between the two are Maggie, Jesus, and Dante. Mostly Hilltop folks. It looks like Andrea was ready to take a second look or possibly barge in on them, but decided to let the kids have their moment.
So ever since Rick decided to not retaliate against The Whisperers, various people within the communities have both perceived him as weak and pushed to get revenge. We saw last week that Olivia’s husband met up with Josh’s family and we see said husband lash out at Rick for his perceived weakness. And I’ve gotta say that the sequence of panels when Rick is beaten is eerily similar not just to Negan beating Glenn, but also Carl beating those two asshole kids that attacked him and Sophia.
But Rick obviously was going to make it through by biding his time. It’s not the first time that Rick has bitten someone and caused them to bleed out, as we saw with that one marauder when Carl, Abraham, and Rick were ambushed, but it might as well be his signature move at this point.
Rick is in a difficult place right now, as evidenced by his speech to the community. As leader, he takes the blame for anything bad that happens and any actions taken. For him to admit that he’s afraid, that he doesn’t want things to go back to the way they were before people started finding each other, is important. Rick and his group, despite the bad things they’ve done, have remained true to who they are. Their morality has been questioned, but they haven’t become outright villains.
And yet, they and everyone else around them have faced heartbreak. With these 12 new murders, it’s sensible that Rick would be afraid of going back to the old ways because he’s not looking for senseless violence. Although, it’s interesting he would say that, given that he killed a man in the same fashion that he killed another back when he and his group lived on their own as survivors.
But with so much peace and stability, Alexandria has become exactly what Rick feared it was when his group first arrived: weak and soft. They’ve had it easy for so long that their confidence is rattled when dealt a fatal blow. And despite the bloodlust still there, Rick and Eugene acknowledge that this standing army is a way to distract people from that anger and focus their energy on the goal of eliminating The Whisperers.
Plus, despite Rick being attacked, he’s not going to just kill anyone that opposes him, as he chose to let Josh’s father live. I thought he was going to kill him just for being involved, but as I reread this issue, I think of a moment in Schindler’s List when Oskar Schindler said that power is when we have every justification to kill and we don’t. Rick could have Josh’s father killed without a thought, but mercy can be a powerful weapon.
Had Rick killed Josh’s father to make an example of him, he’d be taking much more of Negan’s advice than necessary, but right now, Rick has given the rallying cry to his soldiers to wipe The Whisperers from the face of the Earth. He’s got the people by his side again, and Negan is certainly pleased that Rick took his advice, but it remains to be seen just how much Rick may allow Negan’s words to influence him. We’ll see.