Rick Grimes Is Disappointed In His New Son? His Reaction Reveals The Walking Dead’s Future

Warning: This article contains spoilers for episode 5 of The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live.


  • Rick’s disappointment over RJ wanting an ax hints at a future where he takes drastic steps to shape a better world for his children.
  • The use of weapons by RJ and Judith goes against Rick’s vision of a peaceful future, causing him to rethink his goals.
  • Michonne’s comment about RJ may motivate Rick to make bigger moves, potentially taking over the CRM for a safer future.

After years of build-up, Rick Grimes finally finds out about his son, but one scene in The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live suggests he may be disappointed in RJ, which sets up the future of the franchise. Although Michonne didn’t initially tell Rick about his son in their Walking Dead spinoff, she finally reveals the truth in episode 4 before they attempt to go home together. Learning about RJ is naturally a lot for Rick to take in, especially as he still seems to be struggling with the death of his first son, Carl, after all these years.

Michonne helps Rick overcome his troubles and the protagonist seems much more like himself in episode 5. This leads to him having some funny quips and bringing up past memories. Rick even references the toothpaste scene from The Walking Dead season 6 that helped spark his relationship with Michonne, proving he is back to his best. However, with Rick focusing on getting home to his family, his children are clearly on his mind, and one scene suggests Rick may be disappointed in his new son. This subtle moment could indicate what The Walking Dead‘s future may look like.

Rick Is Quietly Disappointed That RJ Would Want An Ax For A Present

Rick’s Reaction About RJ Wanting An Ax Was Far From Enthusiastic

Image via AMC

During episode 5, Michonne mentions RJ would want an ax as a present, which Rick reacts to with visible disappointment. As they joke about potential gifts, Michonne rejects the idea of giving him a souvenir with the word “Junior” on it and says he might be ready for an ax instead. Rather than laugh it off, he replies with a disappointed look and says, “Is that who he is?Rick’s tone suggests the idea of his eight-year-old son using an ax isn’t something he’s overly fond of, and that he is slightly concerned about the idea.

Although Rick helped teach Carl how to fight, Carl was thrown straight into the thick of the apocalypse where everyone was still learning how to adapt. Given Carl Grimes’ death still hurts Rick in The Ones Who Live, the idea of his other son following in his footsteps naturally hurts him. Rick hasn’t had the opportunity to raise RJ, and while he trusts Michonne and the other survivors, teaching him how to fight at such a young age clearly isn’t the path he would’ve chosen for his son, proving just how much the protagonist has changed over the years.

RJ & Judith Using Weapons Isn’t The Future Rick Wanted To Create

Rick Clearly Doesn’t Want His Children Growing Up In Such A Violent World

The walking Dead Daryl RJ Judith

RJ and Judith’s use of weapons goes against the future Rick has been trying to create. After the war with the Saviors, Rick wanted to achieve peace and stop further bloodshed, which is why he spared Negan’s life. Given how many lives the war cost, Rick hoped to move on and create a new world that just allowed kids to be kids. Since Carl had to grow up using violence to survive, Rick didn’t want the future generations to suffer this same fate and attempted to change things. Unfortunately, Michonne’s comment about RJ suggests this vision hasn’t been successful.

After Rick’s disappearance in The Walking Dead season 9, he didn’t get the opportunity to try and achieve his goal. He was beginning to build a peaceful future before the bridge incident but being traded to the CRM prevented Rick from overseeing the next steps. The Whisperer War would likely have disrupted things anyway, but there is no doubt Rick feels some sort of regret about not getting to raise his children. Knowing they are using weapons and may have to kill in the future is the opposite of what Rick wants for RJ and Judith’s childhood.


A Throwaway Walking Dead Spinoff Line Hints At Solving The Franchise’s Apocalypse

The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live hints toward a problem bigger than the zombie outbreak, but the spinoff already mentioned a solution in episode 1.

Rick’s Disappointment Sets Up A New Future For The Walking Dead

Rick’s disappointment about RJ using an ax may lead to a new future for The Walking Dead. Throughout his time in the franchise, Rick has been nothing short of ambitious, always striving to build a better world. The success of communities like Alexandria, The Kingdom, and the Hilltop are all proof that Rick’s visions can be successful, even if some of these communities were already thriving without him. Despite this, he is clearly not happy about the direction his children’s lives are heading, which may lead to Rick making even bigger moves to create a better future.

This could set up Rick taking over the CRM in The Ones Who Live‘s finale. While the Commonwealth is a big enough community to help create a safe and positive environment for future generations, the size and scale of the Civic Republic presents an even greater opportunity. If he were to destroy or take over the CRM and turn them into a more peaceful group, it would potentially solve the problem more permanently. Rick’s leading such a large community would ensure a wide-scale level of safety, and it would allow his children to grow up without requiring weapons or violence.

The Ones Who Live
airs Sundays on AMC and AMC+.

Episode #

Episode Title

Release Date



February 25



March 3



March 10


“What We”

March 17



March 24


“The Last Time”

March 31

The Walking Dead The Ones Who Live TV Show Poster

The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live

Created by Scott M. Gimple and Danai Gurira, The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live is a sequel spin-off series in The Walking Dead television franchise. The series picks up some time after Michonne departs from the original series, as she searches to be reunited with her lover, Rick Grimes. Meanwhile, Rick finds himself amid another war between the living and the dead.

Andrew Lincoln , Danai Gurira , Pollyanna McIntosh , Lesley-Ann Brandt , Terry O’Quinn

Release Date
February 25, 2024


Streaming Service(s)

The Walking Dead

Scott M. Gimple , Danai Gurira

Scott M. Gimple