Home Entertainment Rick’s Gnarliest ‘Walking Dead’ Moment Is More Shocking Than You Remember

Rick’s Gnarliest ‘Walking Dead’ Moment Is More Shocking Than You Remember

Clearly, we can’t get enough of The Walking Dead, as it feels like every week we are blessed with the announcement of another spinoff or franchise update. Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) ventured to Manhattan in their spinoff The Walking Dead: Dead City and Norman Reedus‘ Daryl Dixon heads to France in The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon. Plus, our fearless leader Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) is getting a spinoff of his own with Danai Gurira‘s Michonne in The Ones Who Live. There have been plenty of The Walking Dead moments that left us watching through our fingers and occasionally gagging into our popcorn, but one moment stands out as perhaps the show’s gnarliest. No, it isn’t when Negan killed Glenn (Steve Yeun) by bashing his skull in with a bat, the neck-slicing trough at Terminus, or the moment we realized The Governor (David Morrissey) was keeping his reanimated daughter alive. This moment we are talking about occurs in the Season 4 finale, and it involves teeth.

‘The Walking Dead’s Season 4 Finale Pushes Rick Grimes

Image via AMC

The moment in question is especially gnarly since it happened at the hand —or mouth— of the typically level-headed Rick Grimes. This is, of course, in the Season 4 finale, “A,” when Rick, Michonne, and Carl (Chandler Riggs) are ambushed on their way to Terminus, and Rick takes action to protect his son by biting into a guy’s neck, ripping out his jugular vein, and spitting the whole messy mouthful out onto the ground. This moment was obviously shocking because of its graphic violence, but it also was a scenario that changed Rick Grimes forever and showed us just how far he was willing to go to protect his family.

So, how did Rick end up on the side of the road with his son in peril and some guy’s neck in his mouth? At the beginning of Season 4, after being forced to leave the prison that they’d come to call home during Season 3, the group is dispersed and are all trying to make their way to Terminus. Terminus was a refuge that promised sanctuary and community for all, and while it turned out to be a cannibal cult full of murderers, nobody knew that at the time. With The Walking Dead crew scattered in the wind, they didn’t know who was dead and who was alive, and Rick had every reason to believe that most of his friends and his baby daughter had been either killed or eaten by walkers. Long story short, when they’re ambushed in the middle of the night by the Claimers, Carl and Michonne are really all that Rick has left, and he is not screwing around.

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As Rick’s cross-bow-wielding bestie Daryl Dixon had become unwillingly involved with the Claimers after the fall of the prison, he was also now in danger as he tried to bargain with the gang to save his friends’ lives. The Claimers’ leader, Joe (Jeff Kober), tells Rick that in retaliation for him killing one of their men a while back, the Claimers are now going to beat Daryl to death, rape Michonne and Carl, and then finally kill Rick. When one of the men starts to get physical with Carl and pins the terrified teen to the ground, Rick is totally disarmed and understandably horrified, making a split-second decision and tearing into Joe’s neck with his teeth. This shocks the rest of the Claimers into submission, and they’re quickly killed by Daryl and Michonne, with Rick going up to the man who threatened Carl and essentially gutting him like a fish.

Rick Grimes Was Never the Same After That ‘Walking Dead’ Moment

Image via AMC

While he had always been fiercely protective over his family, this moment really showed the audience that there was nothing that Rick Grimes wouldn’t do to save his son. It also showed Carl just how much Rick was willing to sacrifice to keep him safe, and fairly enough, it kind of freaked him out. The iconic throat-chomp reminded us that Rick’s devotion to Carl has the potential to bring out both the absolute best and the absolute worst in him, whether he’s killing people in order to protect him, or sparing them in order to honor Carl’s wishes for peace. Nobody can really blame Rick for what he did, but nobody can deny that it was a level of brutality that we’d not yet seen from him.

Now, if you’re going to have your leading man rip a guy’s jugular out with his teeth, you’d better make it look good. Cue Greg Nicotero, The Walking Dead‘s key special effects makeup artist and one of the executive producers. Working on TWD as well as a number of other horror projects, Nicotero clearly knows his way around a bloody neck. Andrew Lincoln revealed that Nicotero came up to him before shooting the big scene and asked, “Chicken or beef,” regarding what meat Lincoln would rather have to tear into in place of real human flesh. Following the old adage that everything apparently tastes like chicken, Lincoln went with the former, and Nicotero fired back with a real toughie: cooked or uncooked. Once it was established that raw chicken would look way better on camera, the choice was made, and Lincoln found himself shooting at 4:30 in the morning with a mouthful of raw chicken and fake blood. Actor Jeff Kober, who played Joe, also put on the performance of a lifetime as he choked to death on his own blood while also managing to convey the mind-numbing shock of “Did this guy really just bite my throat out?”

The cast’s full commitment clearly paid off, as the brutal scene has become one of the most iconic moments on The Walking Dead. Evidently, desperate times call for desperate and disgusting measures, and in biting Joe’s jugular vein right out of his neck, Rick Grimes proved once and for all that there’s nothing that he won’t do when it comes to defending his family. The Walking Dead’s core mantra has always been that “It’s not about the zombies; it’s about the people,” and this scene cemented the show’s idea that while zombies are scary, people are way scarier.

The Big Picture

  • One of The Walking Dead‘s most shocking moments is when Rick Grimes bites into a man’s neck to protect his son.
  • This moment showcases Rick’s willingness to do anything to protect his family and how it affects his relationship with Carl.
  • The cast’s commitment and the special effects makeup made the scene one of the most iconic moments in the history of the show.



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