Richard

richardfilmSecond and last character appearing in The Well, the second episode of The Walking Dead Season 7, is another prominent member of The Kingdom. While following King Ezekiel to learn how the community works, Morgan is led to the pigs’ livestock, where he meets Richard, portrayed by Karl Makinen. Richard is presented as quite a badass, being the one who takes care of the pigs to be sent to The Saviors, and who makes sure they only eat zombies so that they’ll be “full of slime” when the invaders eat them. He’s also the protagonist of a skirmish with the hateful Jared, one of the Saviors, and he effortlessly beats him…until he’s order to stay put and to take the other’s punches without reacting. It appears Richard will be quite a major asset for The Kingdom, and we’ll surely see him again: in the meanwhile, let’s take a look at the original one…with possible spoilers laying ahead.

As for most survivors, nearly nothing is known about Richard’s early life, not even his surname. He was born in or near Washington D.C., but it’s unknown whether he had any family or what his job was, but we can assume he had a relatively normal life…well, at least until the day of the Outbreak, when a mysterious disease infected everyone on the planet. The dead started to reanimate, hungry for the flesh of the living, and society rapidly collapsed, bringing the world to a widespread anarchy. Richard survived the first days of the plague, and joined a group which included also the eccentric Ezekiel, a former zookeeper who had survived thanks to his huge pet tiger, Shiva. The two became friends, and Richard supported Ezekiel when he founded his own community, cleaning up an abandoned school and transforming it into a fortress, building a wall around it and using the old schoolbuses to make it stronger. Using his experience in theatre, Ezekiel created a character for himself, “the king”, and organised the community like it was some sort of Camelot, calling it The Kingdom; understanding that it was all to make the survivors feel safe inside it and to fight away the anguish and the fear of everyday life, Richard supported this ruse as well, and he served in The Kingdom as Ezekiel’s right hand man, head of security and vice. richardcomics1Richard was King Ezekiel’s “eyes and hears” in the community, and he helped him rule it the best he could, and to keep it safe…something that he failed to do the moment The Kingdom was visited by The Saviors, a heavily armed hostile group that was controlling all the nearby communities. Negan, the head of The Saviors, had a simple deal to propose to The Kingdom: either they gave him half of what they produced on a regular basis, or they burnt the school to the ground and killed each and every occupant. With no real choice to make, Ezekiel decided to submit, and from that moment Richard had to stand the regular presence of Saviors coming to the community to exact their “taxes”.

Finally, after far too long a time of enduring Negan’s tyranny, a chance of rebelling against the Saviors arrived, in the form of an alliance that Ezekiel made with two other big communities, the Alexandria Safe-Zone, led by former sheriff Rick Grimes, and the Hilltop Colony, led by untrustworthy Gregory. The strength was in numbers, and Richard was sent by Ezekiel to Alexandria to organize the battle plans along with the other tacticians: during the first “war council”, Richard was the only representative of the Kingdom, while Rick, Andrea and Michonne represented Alexandria and Jesus and Kal represented Hilltop. Believing they could overcome Negan’s forces with a massive surprise attack to The Sanctuary, the Saviors’ stronghold, the warriors from the three groups organized their respective forces to form a huge army, coordinating each one’s strengths and weaknesses to create a formidable force. The day of the attack, an unpleasant surprised awaited the group: Gregory had betrayed the alliance, and had pled his and Hilltop’s allegiance to Negan, exposing the army’s arrival. With the surprise effect gone, the morale was down, but only eight people left the ranks, with the others keeping their grounds. After refusing Negan’s last offer of surrender, the battle began, and Richard and his men gave a fundumental contribution by killing a number of Saviors’ snipers. The noise of the gunfight attracted the attention of richardcomics2a massive herd of walkers, that invaded the battlefield interrupting the battle. Richard and the rest of the Militia retreated, but once they came back to The Kingdom they celebrated their victory, believing they had trapped the Saviors in The Sanctuary. Rick cut the party short, declaring that the war had barely begun: proceding further with the plan, Ezekiel, Richard and the rest of the survivors from the Kingdom received the task of attacking one of the remaining outposts, while the other two armies did the same with others. The true battle was about to begin.

Richard is a serious and professional man, a no-nonsense guy who understands the dire situation the entire world faces now, and tries his best to give a sense to at least a part of it. Loyal to Ezekiel and to The Kingdom, he’s one of the community’s leaders and one of their best combatants, a skilled soldier and a capable tactician. With his seriousness and uptightness, he’s a great balance to Ezekiel’s eccentricity and theatricality, the yin and yang that keep a community united and efficient.

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