'Walking Dead': Is Rick Too Far Gone?

The Walking Dead S05E08 Rick Still - H 2014
Gene Page/AMC

The Walking Dead S05E08 Rick Still - H 2014

Is Rick Grimes, The Walking Dead's beleaguered former sheriff, too far gone?

In season five's midseason finale, Rick (Andrew Lincoln) brutally hit Sgt. Bob Lamson (Maximiliano Hernandez) with a car after the cop attempted to run and warn Dawn (Christine Woods) of the rescue mission. The brutality doesn't end there. Rick then winds up shooting and killing Lamson, muttering the same words to him that cannibal king Gareth (Andrew J. West) told Lawrence Gilliard Jr.'s Bob Stookey at Terminus: "You can't go back, Bob."

See more 'The Walking Dead's' Most Shocking Deaths

"That is from the comic book. That is the genius of Robert Kirkman. That scene is [based on] Rick hitting Martinez with the RV after Martinez has escaped from Rick, Michonne and Glenn coming back to the prison [in the comics]," showrunner Scott M. Gimple tells The Hollywood Reporter of the origins of Rick and Lamson's collision. "It was a long time ago, but it was something we never got to get to, and it seemed like it was a key piece in Rick's development." 

Read more 'Walking Dead' Boss Defends the Group's "Tragic" Loss, Previews What's Ahead

While the theme of season five has been exploring if Rick and company are "too far gone" from basic humanity, Gimple says the events that have transpired — including Gareth and the cannibals eating Bob as well as Dawn's hostage approach at the hospital and Beth's (Emily Kinney) death — will have a massive impact on Rick moving forward.

"This is all going to push Rick and cement him even further in a much more aggressive, no-nonsense stance toward the world," Gimple says of the group's leader, who with the rest of the group will be mourning Beth. "He simply isn't going to take any chances anymore."

See more 'Walking Dead' Comes to Life: From Comics to the Small Screen

Following encounters with The Governor (David Morrissey) that resulted in Hershel's (Scott Wilson) slaying and the showdown with Dawn that left Beth dead, Gimple admits it's fair to expect Rick to take on a tougher approach along the lines of his run-in with Lamson to any new threats.

"Rick will be darker, but it's all to keep his family safe and his people safe," Gimple explains. "That's an incredibly humanistic thing. You don't want to be the human on the other side of that equation."

As for the theme of the remaining eight episodes of season five, Gimple previously told THR that it will answer the question of whether the group — including Rick — is really too far gone.

The Walking Dead returns for the second half of its fifth season Feb. 8 on AMC. Watch a preview of what's to come, below.

Email: Lesley.Goldberg@THR.com
Twitter: @Snoodit