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Spoilers below for The Walking Dead's latest episode are below.
Tonight's episode of The Walking Dead took some big leaps with several of its characters, as well as bringing in a formal introduction for the new group of junkyard-dwelling and potentially villainous miscreants. This squad is completely independent from the source material, so its involvement is currently really hard to gauge, but in testing Rick's strength and mettle as a possible partner in war against the Saviors, they put him in a situation where he sustained a gross injury to his hand that could possibly lead to him losing the appendage, as his comic counterpart did long ago.
Out of desperation to get Jadis and the Heapsters on the same anti-Negan side as most Alexandrians, Rick puts himself through a weird sort of hell by facing the spoke-faced and quasi-armored walker named Winslow. Without any proper weapons or means to defend himself, Rick has to get extremely crafty about taking the beast out, which he obviously does, since the AMC drama isn't going to make "Rick's death" one of the ways it flips the story from the comics. But in achieving his victory, the elder Grimes is like his son in suffering a hole going right through one of his body parts. Instead of an eye, though, it's his hand.
No mere scratch or wonky hangnail, Rick's new wound was enough to make my big toes curl inward, as his first attempt to deflect Winslow saw him push his palm down and around one of those helmet spikes, and it went all the way through. (Hopefully he didn't then again hurt himself on the glass he used to stab the walker.) The sequence made a point to show just how bloody that hand was, and the camera lingered on his other hand a little longer than it should have, and probably for some reason other than to scream out "Rick has one safe hand now," but I choose to believe the TV character will soon be taking on that most recognizable trait of his comic counterpart.
Hopes and faith aside, it's impossible at this point to tell if this was an injury so serious that amputation is the only answer. If it happened in the real world, a quick trip to the emergency room would take care of it, assuming no big nerves were hit; Rick showed no sign of there being further damage beyond the minimal problems. The doctor at Hilltop could possibly get some antibiotics and stitches to fix that wound right up without much of a problem, if Negan left enough medical supplies to do it. Hell, Rick is resourceful enough that he could use a hot exhaust pipe to seal both of the holes, though that wouldn't do much about infections setting in.
The subject of Rick's hand has come up in the past, of course, since The Walking Dead's creative team knows oh so well that readers have been waiting to see if the live-action series ever parts ways with that all-important body part. Clearly, none of those past situations ended in Rick losing his ability to properly work a finger-trap, and it's been said that the difficulties in pulling such a feat off, special effects-wise, wouldn't necessarily be worth everyone's efforts. But could that decision have been reversed? Has a renowned genius created some awesome hand-removing technology that doesn't cost anyone hours of post-production work?
If Rick would succumb to his injuries (in this respect), The Walking Dead would possibly be risking some comic fans' ire by replacing a comic moment as iconic as The Governor lopping off Rick's hand with infections or gangrene taking it. That's not exactly the most hardcore way to bring Rick closer to his comic self, but where the show is now, Rick has performed enough random badassery that losing his hand might not need to come from whatever current big bad is causing havoc. Plus, any attempt to fix his hand could just as easily bring about some other threat that takes his hand in an entirely unexpected way.
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