Season 2 of “The Walking Dead” was deemed as the slowest season of the show, but it probably had the best character development. Shane Walsh, Rick Grimes’ partner before the apocalypse, had the most interesting character development of the season. He turned from a leader and loyal friend to a maniac, who questioned Rick’s leadership skills.

Ultimately, what Shane wanted to do was help Rick understand the post-apocalyptic world, that they had to kill people who seemed to be a threat to the group. At the time Rick was far too gentle and forgiving. He didn’t want to kill people; he wanted to save them. In season 2, the downfall of Rick and Shane’s relationship was the indifference they had when deciding whether they should kill Randall, a strange kid they stumbled upon outside of Hershel Greene’s farm.

Shane wanted the kid dead, but Rick didn’t.

However, over the seasons Rick has significantly changed. He has turned into what Shane wanted him to be, a cold-blooded killer. Of course, Rick handles situations much better than Shane ever did, but he has nonetheless been ruthless since season 3.

Reflecting back

Looking back at season 3, Rick took out a couple of surviving prisoners when the group took over the abandoned prison. He did not hesitate to kill them, slicing one in the head with a machete and running the other off to a room of walkers to meet his death (but that one was able to survive the walkers and returned to wreak havoc).

However, Rick became more of a cold-blooded killer in season 4 when he took out an entire group by biting one in the jugular vein and always stabbing another one to death.

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He then did not hesitate to kill the remaining Terminates in season 5, violently killing their leader with his machete.

In the latter seasons, Rick continuously did not trust anyone he ran into. He would either kill them or hurt them somehow until they could be trusted. For instance, when Aaron first found the group at the barn in episode 5.11, Rick did not want to trust him and gave him a nice beating before ultimately believing that Aaron was trustworthy.

During the first encounter with the Saviors, Rick had the same mindset – shoot to kill, no mercy. He kept the same mentality until he met Negan, who briefly tamed Rick. But, ruthless Rick is back, and he would stop at nothing to kill the Saviors.

A better version of Shane

Everything that Rick has been through has turned him into a better version of Shane. It slowly started in season 3, but Rick completely became cruel after The Governor’s attack on the prison. If Shane was still around, he would be extremely proud to see the type of leader Rick has become.

It obviously took Rick quite some time to adjust to the apocalyptic world, but he has fully been acquainted now. In season 2, he was still new to the apocalypse, whereas Shane was already experienced in that world. It’s insane that Rick had to ultimately kill Shane for that reason when he has now almost become the same version of him.

Maybe if current Rick was placed back into season 2, he would have handled the Randall situation differently, in a manner that would have satisfied Shane. Maybe Shane would have still been alive if Rick had this type of mentality earlier in the apocalypse.