‘All-Out War’ Is In Full Effect: Here’s What Rick’s Group Needs To Win

Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes on The Walking Dead.To Win the War, Rick’s Group Will Need More Discipline


One of Rick’s biggest challenges in the coming war may not be Negan—it may be the lack of discipline his troops are showing. Discipline is totally necessary for battle, and right now, the independent, go-get-‘em spirit of Rick’s people is hurting the cause. It’s good that they are so passionate about bringing Negan down, but going off on their own, traveling alone in dangerous times—none of these are good ideas. Let’s look at some examples.


Rosita and Sasha

The Walking Dead

Rosita is angry—it’s personal for her, because of Abraham. She wants blood. But as she has stated, going into the Savior compound and targeting Negan is not a round-trip ticket. When Sasha suggested in 714 that they stay further away from the compound and try to make it out alive, and Rosita resisted, it made me wonder if Rosita has something of a death wish.

Rosita’s emotions are understandable, and being willing to sacrifice your life to kill Negan is understandable. But Sasha made an excellent point in 714, “The Other Side”: the group needs Rosita. She is one of the few people with military training, and that knowledge is crucial. So while even Rick acknowledges that they might lose a lot of people, and accepts that, to volunteer your life in such an erratic seat-of-your-pants fashion is irresponsible. Not only would it possibly kill her, but if she doesn’t kill Negan, it will cause horrible harm to the Alexandria community and their allies.

So what about Sasha? She is not as hot-headed as Rosita, but the same principles still apply. She is doing this for her, not for the group, because she wants personal revenge and doesn’t want to wait.

I like both of these women, and I am very glad that they were able to make amends with each other on this trip. But they both saw how many people Negan has. To think that either one of them, or even both of them, would be able to get past his protectors to kill him was unrealistic, and now Sasha has to figure out how to avoid being a pawn for Negan.
A personal assassination attempt on Negan is not a bad idea. But it needs to be done as part of a larger plan with the group. It needs to be one of the several options on the table, with everyone knowing the plan, the plan B to the plan, the plan C if plan B doesn’t work, rescue options, and all the other ramifications that go along with strategizing even one battle in a war. Winning a war takes many people bringing their best ideas, not just one or two going off on a solo tangent.



Melissa McBride as Carol and Lennie James as Morgan, The Walking Dead Season 7 Episode 14

There was one person on Twitter who proposed that the longer Morgan is separated from the Eastman peace stick, the closer he gets to Clear. It seems that person could be right. Morgan has killed Richard, although that may be part of his plan, more than just a return to his previous insanity. I hope so.

But he has also apparently decided to roam the roads by himself, killing any Saviors he meets along the way. Another talented, capable person is going on a potential suicide mission. While we might think any diminishing in the Savior numbers is good, there are several problems with this plan: 1. There are so many Saviors, one person by himself would hardly make a dent, 2. The minute he kills one or two, the message would get back to the compound that the Saviors need to travel in larger groups, and finally, 3. As with Rosita, if he gets caught, it will be very bad for the Kingdom.

Harassing and killing Saviors on the road could be a good idea. But again, it is best done as part of a larger strategy, such as cutting off their supply lines. The Kingdom, Survivors, and Hilltop could look at maps, plan which stretch of road will be targeted as which times, and switch it up so the Saviors can’t predict where an attack will happen. This would be only after they have good intel on which roads the Saviors use, and which spots on those roads provide the best line of sight and cover. The best hope for this kind of plan, and for the survival of its participants, is to work together.



Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon, The Walking Dead Season 7

Yes, Daryl. I know it’s hard to criticize our fan fave and Carol’s truest friend. But Rick told him to stay at The Kingdom for a good reason. He left on his own, and he did make it back to The Hilltop, but he was lucky. The Saviors were looking for him, and he knew that. To wander the roads by himself is foolhardy.

It is, again, a character making decisions based on how he feels, not based on the best plan or what is best for the overall effort. It is best for the group for Daryl to stay alive. He is tough, he is smart, and he is invaluable. The group—and we—would be devastated if anything happened to him.


A Better Way

Winning a battle, winning a war, takes everything the group has to give—both individually and as a team. Yes, it is necessary to have people who can come up with solutions on the fly, because battles rarely go exactly as planned. But any improvised problem-solving always needs to happen with the mission tactics, strategies, and goals in mind.

I’m sure Abraham is looking down right now and having a fit. He certainly wouldn’t want either Sasha or Rosita to act on their own, without protection and backup. It was Abraham who said that in these times, like-minded people need to find each other and stick together like glue. He’s right.

Saviors Outpost, The Walking Dead Season 6

Rick is an excellent military leader who can both give orders and listens to his advisors. I loved the way he both inspired and encouraged the whole town during the herd invasion of Alexandria. And the attack on the Savior compound was a “Seal Team Rick” success. The only problem was that because they didn’t have good intel, they didn’t realize that the outpost was only a small part of the Savior world. (See my previous article about the need for spies!) He needs to rally his troops so that they are acting in support of the overall goal, not just in support of their wishes.

I’m sure that Alexandria, The Hilltop, and The Kingdom will develop more coordinated efforts (and maybe Oceanside and the Scavengers). I guess we will see more of that in Season 8. I hope so because once they start working together, we are likely to see more success in removing Negan permanently from his brutal, apocalyptic, despotic throne.

What do you think Rick will need to win the war?

Stay tuned for find out on The Walking Dead season 7 finale airing on Sunday, April 2nd at 9/8C on AMC.

Susan Lehman

Susan Lehman is author of the book, Faith Fighting and Forgiving: Life Lessons from The Walking Dead. In her life outside of The Walking Dead fandom, Susan has worked in politics, higher education, on film crews and in real estate. She acted and directed in theatre for several years, and her personal interests include gardening and learning about religion and history. She is a happier putting seeds in the dirt than tweeting, but she is learning—s-l-o-w-l-y—about life on the web. Susan lives in a small town in Pennsylvania. Find Susan on Twitter here.

One Comment:

  1. I agree totally, Susan… but can you imagine how much less the show would be if peopled by the good fighting folk of Alexandria/Hilltop who do as they’re told?! Francine, Scott, Tobin, Bernie, Andy ~ they’re all going to be backing Rick up, but… and Jadis might have some alternative ideas too!!!

    Excellent post ~ and I like the idea of Abraham looking down on them and despairing! It’s all about the mission ~ we roll on!

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