A madness brought on by sorrow for the death of his wife and guilt over his failure to protect his wife from a hellish death. The episode begins with the camera gliding through the tight and barely lit corridors of the prison. It passes over the bodies of walkers as it circles down to the prison basement. The camera slows down and as it creeps closer to its destination it shows Rick in a conversation with a woman on the phone that he heard ring in the previous episode.
The woman tells him that she and others are located in a safe place. He begs her to let him and the others live with them. She promises to call him back. His pleas to be let in are reminiscent of the pleas of the prisoners he denied safe harbor in previous episodes.
A touch of Karma seems to be in order for the once fierce and “This is not a democracy” Rick.
He gets a second call and this time it is the voice of a man who gives more details about the “safe place.” His description is that of heaven. The caller tells Rick: there have been no attacks, no one has been killed, no one has died, no one has turned, or has gone crazy. He then questions Rick to see he is worthy of being allowed past the gates of their “safe place” by asking him to confess if he has killed anyone. He admits to the killings of Tomas, Andre, the men who held him at gun point, and his friend, Shane. Each killing was justified so there is no reason for guilt. His conscience is clean. But when he is asked about how Lori died, he refuses to talk about it. He believes he killed her.
Thus, he is not worthy of heaven.
The caller hangs up.
He gets a final call and this time it is Lori. She tells him that the people he spoke to in the previous calls are people he already knows: Amy and Joe. She tells him they are all safe. She asks him what happened. He confesses his regret for failing to keep her and Karl safe. He tells her he loved her and then corrects himself and says he loves her, unable to fully accept her death. Lori responds and says, “I loved you.” She reminds him of their baby and Karl. And that he has to keep them safe. Her voice starts to break up as Rick gets a hold of his sanity.
It is clear to him that it is not time for him to be in heaven or hell. The living need him and he has to answer their call. He leaves behind his despair. He takes his daughter in his arms and carries her out of the darkness of the prison, so he can celebrate her arrival in his life.