Warning: this article includes spoilers from the midseason finale of The Walking Dead (season 8).
The Walking Dead is one of the most popular television series on cable, and it’s one of the most watched shows on television, period. The dystopian story has a few interesting characters, but it’s mostly popular for its mix of action, zombie gore, and memes of Rick Grimes, the show’s main protagonist, just going, “CARRRRRL.”
Which brings us to an important question. Is Rick, the only real dad left on the show who has living children, a good dad? After all, he cares about Carl and Judith. He even gave Carl his hat. But is he a good dad?
Rick is very much a crappy dad. First of all, even though it’s a dangerous world, he keeps putting his family in dangerous situations. He’s always starting fights, and it’s usually because he doesn’t get to be in charge anymore somewhere. It’s like he’s asking for his kids to get killed in front of him, which as far as dad movies go, is not a great one.
Secondly, how much time does he spend with his daughter? She’s a baby, and he’s been onscreen with her, what, maybe ten minutes all series? Whenever you see Judith on screen it’s all but guaranteed she’s with someone else. Being an absentee dad is also not a very good dad move.
And finally, while he was off getting himself thrown into a junkyard jail, his son Carl got, you know, bit by a zombie. So he’s going to die.* Letting your kid get bit by a zombie while you’re away is the ultimate bad dad move.
And that means that Rick Grimes, hero of The Walking Dad, might be good at killing zombies. But he is very bad at being a dad.
*We assume. Still, that’s not the point.