It seems there’s a lot of disturbance over the whole Rick/Jessie “No.” incident on tonight’s episode of The Walking Dead. It seems that interpreted it differently than some, so if I may, I’m weighing in.
Now, I am not a writer for the show, I don’t know what they actually meant with it (no one but the writers will with any certainty), and I can’t assume I’m right with what I’m about to say, but for the sake of playing devil’s advocate, here it goes:
The scene in question goes something like this:
-Rick’s talking about how he could keep Jessie and her sons safe if she’d leave her husband and join him (off topic, but it kinda sounds a little like someone we recognize from seasons one-two, doesn’t it?)
-Jessie asks him something along the lines of “But would you do this for anyone (else)”?
-Rick, after hesitation and a pause mutters “No.”.
What I took from this was this:
Jessie asks Rick if he’d go over the top to help someone if it wasn’t her, and Rick says no, he’d only go this far for her. It wasn’t a matter of “I wouldn’t help anyone else?”, but “I wouldn’t do THIS for anyone else.”
People seem to be freaking out because they inferred that Rick said he wouldn’t help anyone else. As we know from his past actions, that’s dead wrong, and I believe that a simple misunderstanding of context in the scene is to blame. It’s definitely a weird scene, shit happens.
What I think needs to be addressed here is the context. The scene involves a surprise visit, Rick, an inadequate amount of personal space for avoiding a sense of intimacy, Jessie (who undoubtedly have some sexual tension together), and an empty room (until her abusive husband creeps in like the #porchdick he is). It’s a very intimate scene (well, until the two gents start trying to viciously murder each other, that is), and thus, shit gets serious.
I interpreted Jessie’s question not as “Would you only help me ever?”, but as “Would you go to this extent with anyone, or am I special to you?”, which hints at asking if his interest in her is genuine (in my eyes). If he said “Yes”, then he would have been implying “No, you’re not special to me.”, which isn’t true. He had to say yes if he wanted to confirm his romantic interest in her. Could he have said “I’d do this for you because I love/care for/have feelings for you”? Yes. Would that have been totally out of character? With 99% certainty, yes. Rick is undoubtedly a passionate man, but he isn’t one to get all soft and pretty with words like that. He’s a man of action, as we all know.
Because he’s a passionate man, he has done special acts for specific people special to him before. Would he bite out a dude’s jugular to save Tara? Probably not. Would he still try to save Tara? Absolutely. He went above and beyond to protect and save his son when some idiot threatened to lay an ugly finger on the son of Rick Fucking Grimes. That’s what love does to people. We go above and beyond because we love love them. It doesn’t mean we wouldn’t help others, it just means we’d give an extra 10-7 billion (biting into a dude’s jugular etc.) percent when it’s someone we love.
It’s the “train switchbox” moral dilemma where you have to cloose to save x strangers (usually 1-5) or your lover/mom/dad/sibling/grandma/etc. all over again. It’s human nature to want to save those dearest to us more than the average person. If you wholeheartedly believe you’d save a stranger or two over someone (or give the same level of commitment to saving both) you love if you found yourself forced to choose, then
i) you probably don’t really love the person in question
ii) are totally lying to yourself or
iii) are more akin to Spock’s folk than ours.
Love clouds the mind/judgement of a human like nothing else (except maybe hatred). We go above and beyond when we love someone (or feel like we love someone), and Rick was admitting to that tonight.
So my conclusion is this:
Rick didn’t say that he wouldn’t help other people, but rather that he was putting in extra effort for Jessie because of his feelings for her. He’s still Rick Grimes, he’s just added the words “in love” as a suffix to his name.
Should he be doing this while still wearing his old wedding ring for Lori? Nooooooooooooo, but that’s a topic for another post.