AMC's 'The Walking Dead' returned last Sunday for its fourth season, re-introducing us to our favorite characters -- some of whom were in radically different positions than when we left them. Mainly I'm referring to Rick, who had served as the group's fearless leader for the show's third season before stepping down after the pressure of the job, mixed with the death of his wife and impending sociopathy of his son, became too much. When Sunday's Season 4 premiere picked up, Rick was working as a farmer in the prison, leaving the governing duties to a committee while he focused on raising his son and infant daughter.
But really, how long is that gonna last?
"That's the internal background for a lot of the first half of this season and very much the story of the show," star Andrew Lincoln, who plays Rick, told The Hollywood Reporter. "Rick's responsibilities are, first and foremost, for his two children. That's what he's realized and that's why he's renounced leadership. He's not part of the council. He doesn't even get involved in [supply] runs anymore. He's renounced the brutality of the world for the sake of his children. Because of the pressure that's been put on the group in a very new and smart way, the group is splitting and getting paranoid and worried. And Rick is once again getting pulled right back into the center of things. You'll see in episode three -- it's 'Oh, my god!'"
Describing Rick as a "retired cop," Lincoln shared his belief that the former head of the Ricktatorship is "repressing his demons. He's healing and he's been healing the last six months since his breakdown and losing his wife. It's baby steps but he's doing a good job of it. He's trying to make it work and trying to believe in Hershel's way and that you can trust again: You can love and you can grow things and nurture things."
That's certainly a message that the pessimistic 'Walking Dead' won't let last for long.
'The Walking Dead' airs its next episode, "Infected," Sunday night at 9/8c on AMC.