How could Rick have trusted the Scavengers on The Walking Dead?

Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes, Pollyanna McIntosh as Jadis - The Walking Dead _ Season 7, Episode 16 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC
Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes, Pollyanna McIntosh as Jadis - The Walking Dead _ Season 7, Episode 16 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC /

In the season 7 finale of the Walking Dead, the Scavengers betrayed Rick Grimes and his group. But how could Rick have trusted them in the first place?

Rick’s enigmatic smile after discovering the Scavengers was one of the highlights of season 7 of The Walking Dead. Watching it again after the finale, however, one is struck by the dramatic irony of this image. Indeed, the finale saw the Scavengers turn on Rick to join Negan – to the surprise of very few people but the Alexandrians, it seems.

The reactions of fans and critics to the Scavengers were mixed. Some were highly amused by their monosyllabic speech and weird haircuts. Others were less enthusiastic and questioned the credibility of having a group of people evolve into a weird-looking, dirty version of Tolkien elves mixed with Star Trek, with a language of their own after only a few years of zombie apocalypse.

What most fans agreed on, however, was the level of trust inspired by this bunch of weirdos and their leader, Jadis. And that level of trust was, well… not very high. Now that the very predictable betrayal has occurred, we are left with many questions…

When did Rick turn from Distrustful Rick to Way-Too-Trusting Rick?

Rick was once so distrustful of anyone that he almost killed Aaron when Alexandria’s “scout” located the group of survivors and offered to take them into his community. Yet, suddenly, Rick decided to bet everything on a hasty alliance with a group of people he had absolutely no reason to trust.

AMC via (Uploader: Cass)
AMC via (Uploader: Cass) /

His victory over spiky-gladiator-zombie had proved to Jadis that Rick was a resourceful, brave man with true fighting spirit. As for Jadis, what had she done to prove herself worthy of trust? The answer is, actually, nothing.

Jadis was clearly unapologetic about her group’s philosophy: “we take, we don’t bother”. Hardly a trust-inspiring motto. It seemed perfectly clear from the start that she did not care much about defeating the Saviors. She was only willing to join Rick out of sheer pragmatism and self-interest. It only seemed sensible, then, to reserve judgment on her true loyalties.

Why didn’t Rick try to find out anything about The Scavengers?

The fact that the Alexandria group had never come across the Scavengers was, in itself, already rather weird: we knew that some people like Aaron and Daryl had been scouting the area around Alexandria. Yet, somehow, they missed this massive garbage village and its inhabitants. Were they so good at sneaking around unnoticed?

Brion (Thomas Francis Murphy), Tamiel (Sabrina Gennarino), Jadis (Pollyanna McIntosh) and Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) in Episode 10Photo by Gene Page/AMC
Brion (Thomas Francis Murphy), Tamiel (Sabrina Gennarino), Jadis (Pollyanna McIntosh) and Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) in Episode 10Photo by Gene Page/AMC /

What was even more puzzling, though, was Rick’s failure to try to get more information about the Scavengers after striking the deal. After all, the plan involved getting “a lot” of firearms to give them over to a group of strangers. Making sure that they were not going to use them against you or give them over to the Saviors seemed the least of precautions.

Yet, as far as we know, Rick did not do anything to try to track the Scavengers’ whereabouts. He did not try to find out whether they’d had any dealings with the Saviors and what their relationship to them might have been. He simply decided to act upon the assumption that they would want to fight the Saviors – wishful thinking, at best.

At what point did Jadis agree to join Rick’s rebellion?

Was anyone else as puzzled as I was to see Jadis and her “army” arrive in Alexandria to fight the Saviors? Last time we’d seen her, Jadis had simply asked for “more” guns. True, she had said that if more guns were brought, she would fight. She had seemed as unenthusiastic as ever, though, and we never saw the delivery of guns happen. ( Which was a strange choice from the writers, by the way, after all the build-up…)

Surely someone must have run off to Jadis to tell her that the Saviors were coming, and that she needed to bring her army to Alexandria ASAP? We didn’t see this either.

What’s more, given that the odds did not seem to be in Alexandria’s favor with Negan finding out about their plans, why would the reluctant Jadis finally accept to fight alongside Rick? Didn’t that seem a little suspicious to Rick? Strangely enough, no, but it probably should have.

Why did no one in Rick’s close circle see any of these red flags?

Of course, there is one way to explain away all these points : Rick was mostly driven by desperation. Beggars can’t be choosers. Rick was so desperate to get help that he took whatever came his way. The trauma inflicted by Negan may also have impaired his judgment.

Still, Rick was not alone. True, Daryl, whom he often relied on for advice in times of doubt, was locked up in Negan’s cell. But Rick still had other people around him that could have been more clairvoyant.

Rosita and Tara - The Walking Dead, AMC
Rosita and Tara – The Walking Dead, AMC /

Rosita did seem rather unimpressed with the Scavengers. Her sarcastic comment about finding “new best friends” gave episode 709 its title. However, she simply muttered to herself and did not particularly try to talk Rick out of betting on Jadis.

It was more surprising to see no objections coming from Michonne, who had often shown herself to be wary of strangers. Even worse, instead of pointing out that it was probably unwise to trust Jadis, Michonne enthusiastically joined Rick in his efforts to bring her “a lot” of guns. Did Michonne’s “honeymoon” with Rick dull her senses and disable her distrust radar?

Can Rick still be a credible leader after this?

More from Undead Walking

This leads us to the last question: can Rick’s credibility as a leader recover from this? The probable answer is, yes. First, it would be difficult for any of Rick’s buddies to blame him for trusting the Scavengers, when none of them had spoken up against it.

What’s more, Rick’s big scene in the finale was his refusal to submit to Negan, even when Carl’s head was about to get bashed in by Lucille. This suggests that the writers probably intend to make Rick stronger in the future.

This however, does not mean that no one will challenge Rick. As made official by the final scene, there are now three leaders: Ezekiel, Maggie, and Rick. Ezekiel and Maggie were the ones who saved the day eventually, and Maggie, not Rick, was the one making the inspirational victory speech.

Next: What keeps The Scavengers together?

What do you think? Did Rick prove himself to be a bad leader by trusting Jadis? And will anyone challenge his leadership in the future on The Walking Dead?