Andrew Lincoln (Rick Grimes) discussed the huge shift in Walking Dead season 4 episode 9 (the midseason premiere) that finally aired on Sunday.
The shift takes place as Rick cannot take care of Carl. First cannot keep up with him and then he cannot kill a walker, so his son has to save him.
“It’s almost shot-for-shot from the comic, and it was always the most emotional part of the comic when I read it. I think everybody relates to that,” Lincoln told Entertainment Weekly.
The fundamental change in Rick and Carl’s relationship is highlighted when Rick tells him, “You’re a man, Carl.”
“It’s a massive thing, to feel that you’re a failure in your son’s eyes,” Lincoln said. “And behind all the fear and leaving him behind is the fact that he knows, he calls him out. He knows exactly what the boy thinks: He thinks I’m a failure and that I made the wrong call again and I cost everyone’s lives. Of course, he carries it. That’s Rick, that’s what he does. He takes responsibility for everything on the planet. It’s part of his curse but also his strength. That’s why people follow him.”
Carl gets so fed up with his dad following what happened at the prison and for the death of Lori and the presumed death of baby Judith that he tells Grimes while he’s sleeping, “I don’t need you anymore.”
“You couldn’t protect Judith, you couldn’t protect Hershel, or Glenn, or Maggie, Michonne, Daryl. Or Mom,” Carl said. “You just wanted to plant vegetables. You just wanted to hide. He [The Governor] knew where we were and you didn’t care. … They’re all gone now, because of YOU. They counted on you. You were their leader. But now, you’re nothing. … I’d be fine if you died.”
Carl does by the end of episode 9 realize that he still needs his dad.