The Walking Dead Villains: Who ISN’T The Worst, Part 7

Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan, The Walking Dead -- AMC
Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan, The Walking Dead -- AMC /
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Richard - The Walking Dead 713, AMC
Karl Makinen as Richard – The Walking Dead 713, AMC /


Richard might just have one the most tragic stories in The Walking Dead. I don’t just mean sad, but literally like a Greek tragedy, where his attempt to avoid disaster ultimately becomes his undoing. But…it was also sad.

Richard’s story begins in a camp that sounds a lot like The Group’s original camp outside of Atlanta, or Martinez’s camp after abandoning The Governor. The camp wasn’t terribly organized, and its inhabitants weren’t, either. Richard saw the potential problems in the camp, but, believed there were more qualified people present who would certainly have tackled them.

And then, disaster struck.

Karl Makinen as Richard, The Walking Dead — AMC
Karl Makinen as Richard, The Walking Dead — AMC /

According to Richard, a fight broke out; In the ensuing chaos, so did a fire. The camp was engulfed in flame and Richard’s wife didn’t make it. As Richard told it, he fled the scene with his young daughter, hoping to put as much distance between them and the fire as he could.

Richard doesn’t go into too much detail but, the impression he gives is that, through some failure to act, his daughter Katy died in front of him.

These two events instilled in Richard a desire to be proactive. Once he got to The Kingdom, and grew to see it as a home, and its people as his friends, he was determined to not let it go the way of his original camp. For Richard, he wasn’t going to wait until someone else dealt with the problem, if he had the means to deal with it, he was going to do his best to do so.

This meant that, once The Saviors became a fixture in The Kingdom’s existence, he was determined to extricate them, however he could. He was not going to let The Saviors get to the point where The Kingdom couldn’t fight back.

To Richard, the best way of doing that was by getting King Ezekiel to realize how precarious The Kingdom’s relationship with The Saviors really was.

Karl Makinen as Richard, The Walking Dead — AMC
Karl Makinen as Richard, The Walking Dead — AMC /

He first attempted to get Morgan and Carol to help him, hoping that their friendship with King Ezekiel would get him to see that The Kingdom needed to take action to get rid of The Saviors. With both Morgan and Carol trying to leave their violent pasts behind them, they shot down Richard’s idea.

With that having failed, Richard sought Daryl’s help, hoping to ambush a detachment of Saviors. His plan, was that The Saviors would exact vengeance on whom they presumed to be the culprit, Carol; The hope was that, by seeing the way The Saviors treated Carol, it would spur King Ezekiel to action.

However, when Daryl realized that Richard sought to sacrifice Carol, Daryl, not surprisingly, abandoned the idea, telling Richard that if he wanted a sacrifice, he should do it himself.

Richard realized that Daryl was right: He couldn’t ask others to make the sacrifice. He tried one last time to show Ezekiel just how dangerous The Saviors were. This time, he intended to short The Kingdom’s delivery to The Saviors, expecting a violent response. He was right. Richard expected that Jared would carry it out. He was right. Richard expected that Jared would shoot him. He was wrong.

Jared didn’t shoot him, he shot Benjamin, instead; A wound he would not survive.

Karl Makinen as Richard, The Walking Dead — AMC
Karl Makinen as Richard, The Walking Dead — AMC /

One could fault Richard for his carelessness — I certainly did — but, you can’t fault him for his intentions.

For Richard, The Kingdom had become his home, and its inhabitants, his friends. After having lost so much when his original camp fell and then losing his daughter, all due to his failure to act, he couldn’t let that happen again.

Richard couldn’t let more innocent people die by being ignorant of the dangers around them, or because of the inaction of those capable of facing said dangers. He didn’t want The Kingdom to become another victim of The Saviors, but, to be ready and able to repel them.

Richard didn’t want to people to die. But, if The Kingdom didn’t see how dangerous The Saviors were, by the time they realized, it would be too late.

In the case of Benjamin, that was more about Richard’s failure to realize just how cruel Jared was. Richard hoped to do as Daryl suggested, sacrifice himself, that it would awaken The Kingdom to the peril they faced. Unfortunately, his miscalculation cost poor Benjamin his life.

Richard wasn’t a bad person, just a person trying to do right by his friends the wrong way.

Next: Some Things Can't Be Fixed