Since its monumental premiere in 2010, The Walking Dead has featured a massive ensemble of actors and actresses portraying some of the most memorable characters on television. One major character in particular is Sheriff Deputy Rick Grimes who, in the pilot episode, awakens from a coma to post-apocalyptic horror. Following his lonely awakening, Rick ventures through the hospital just to find that he is the only sign of humanity in the vicinity.
Flashbacks are shown throughout the first season, revealing that Rick ended up in a comatose state at the hospital after being shot in the shoulder while attempting to capture criminals with his partner and long-time friend Shane Walsh. In the webseries episode “The Oath,” it’s revealed that Rick was likely kept alive during his coma by Dr. Gale Macones who, after the U.S. army and fellow employees abandoned the hospital, stayed behind to care for sick patients who had no other hope. However, the timeline of events is not entirely clear, including the duration of Rick’s presence in the hospital, and continues to be heavily debated.
So how long was Rick in a coma?
The exact time of how long Rick was in his comatose state is fuzzy, with some speculating that it was a little over a month, while others suggest that it was closer to two months. In an interview with Business Insider, the Fear the Walking Dead showrunner explained that Robert Kirkman, co-creator of The Walking Dead, has said that Rick Grimes was in his coma for between four and five weeks, or a little over a month. Moreover, the show’s pilot episode indicates that Shane had been checking on Rick for a few weeks after he entered his coma. In an interesting turn of events, Rick later realizes that Shane and Rick’s wife Lori have begun a romantic relationship after the duo assumed that Rick would never wake up.
On the other hand, many fans and critics alike find the details of Rick’s coma to be relatively hard to believe, considering that he was able to survive for weeks without actual food or water. However, that’s where it’s easy to believe the theory of Dr. Macones nursing Rick back to health in his time of need. Many speculate that Rick’s malnutrition ironically awakened him from his coma, which is why he was alone in the hospital after everyone else either fled or died.