*** WARNING – SPOILERS AND GRAPHIC CONTENT AHEAD ***
There is a lot of buzz around The Walking Dead thanks to the recently released Season 8 Comic-Con trailer. To pass some time until the inevitable two episodes of action, four episodes of filler and final two episodes teasing what is to come (nah – this season isn’t going to be like that, it’s gonna be amazing – right?), I thought I would rank the best deaths in The Walking Dead. Of course, some rules are needed:
- MAIN CHARACTERS. We have to know who they are, these deaths have to be of main characters.
- ONLY HUMAN DEATHS, it will get too complicated if I included both human and zombie Shane. So no zombie deaths
- NO CLIFFHANGER DEATHS – that means people like Heath – where we do know not if they are dead or alive are not counted.
- This is only including deaths up until SEASON 8. That means that nothing that happens in Season 8 is included in this.
It is important to note how I will be ranking these deaths. Of course, the gore will be taken into account, the impact their deaths had on the show and shock factor. All of those will factor in on the ranking process. You can view the same list I did for Game of Thrones right here.
23] OTIS ; “SAVE THE LAST ONE”, (SEASON 2, EPISODE 3)
Don’t know why I remember this one, I know that I said main characters but for some reason this had an impact on me. It might be because I really came to love Otis, even though it was for such a short and brief period. Or maybe, it was because this was when Shane started to lose it and become someone I kind of liked. I always liked Shane but before this he was just Rick’s best friend, involved in that love triangle and with Otis’ death you could see him go to extreme lengths – killing an actual human, making this a normality in a show where we had only seen zombie deaths before. This was the emergence of an actual villain that wasn’t zombies. Shane shooting him and leaving him behind was unnecessary but showed the first real, human killing human death.
22] MILTON MAMET ; “WELCOME TO THE TOMBS”, (SEASON 3, EPISODE 16)
It was a decent death, I liked the way in which it was done. But, at the time I was so over the whole Andrea story line and I really hated Milton, the Governor was the only thing that I still liked about the story line, his relationship with Michonne was the best part of the season, and Andrea’s storyline dragged on for too long. It lasted the whole season and she went from a character I didn’t mind to one that I almost hated as much as Lori. And Milton was just a nuisance throughout the entire show and season, his presence was just annoying, he wasn’t as big a character as Andrea for me to really hate, and he wasn’t as bad a villain as The Governor for me to love. The Governor was amazing until his resurrection arc and he lost the plot
21] ANDREA ; “WELCOME TO THE TOMBS”, (SEASON 3, EPISODE 16)
Like I said before hand, her story-line at this point had just became boring to me, so her death didn’t really do anything for me. But her actual death was interesting, the entire sequence was the only thing I liked in the arc and Michonne was amazing in the role she played. Her death was not shown on-screen but it was definitely felt and The Walking Dead hit the nail on the head in terms of emotion and presence. We didn’t see the death but, her presence was still there felt – because it was Michonne who had dealt the killer blow, and her reaction was ultimately what made the death feel like such an impact. But, her death wasn’t that big a deal looking back at it now, and it is just a shame that the attempt at an emotional death was wasted on Andrea.
20] PHILIP ‘THE GOVERNOR’ BLAKE ; “TOO FAR GONE”, (SEASON 4, EPISODE 8)
Looking back it now, the death wasn’t actually that great for a great character, it didn’t do him justice. The Governor was the first big bad, and for such a great character, his death was actually quite boring in the scheme of things and not as big a shock as I thought it would be. Maybe it was because we saw him fall from grace and then come back – which made me lose interest in him. Or maybe because when he came back, he wasn’t the Governor I remembered, truly losing his mind. For such a great character the death wasn’t up to the gory, emotional standard The Walking Dead would become accustom to later on. And that is why the Governor’s death is lower ranked than I believe he actually deserves.
19] DEANNA MONROE ; “START TO FINISH”, (SEASON 6, EPISODE 8)
Deanna Monroe’s death was actually quite emotional, which was surprising especially considering she was a character that we all knew wouldn’t be around of long. She lost her husband in that amazing scene with Rick, when Morgan appears (which can be seen here), and she finally let Rick be the killer we came to love. The reason this death was quite emotional was because of the relationship she had with Rick. During this period in The Walking Dead we had the best Rick, demanding that the people of Alexandria wake up and fight, which lead to Rick just being the boss he is, slicing people down everywhere. This is slightly lower down in list because we didn’t get to see it, but I liked the way she decided she was going to go out on top and went out head shooting all of those zombies.
18] SASHA WILLIAMS ; “THE FIRST DAY OF THE REST OF YOUR LIFE”, (SEASON 7, EPISODE 16)
Before I judged Sasha’s death, I had to try to distinguish it from the season it was in. Season 7 of the Walking Dead was a massive let down, and the finale that was supposed to excite me, in which we were promised action and death but it just turned out to be a teaser for the next season. So that is why I am so unfavourable towards this death. Furthermore, we all knew she wouldn’t be in the next season because the actress playing her bagged Star Trek, so we all knew that meant she was going to die. A bit of me wanted to put it last just to prove point but that was a bit harsh, especially considering her death was portrayed quit nicely, we saw her contemplate death and even saw a returning Abraham, and we saw her remember all her past – which was perfect and she also nearly got a piece of Negan, something that needed to happen, so this show could finally move on. I know I am being harsh on it, especially because it was such an emotional death as we saw her contemplate it, and we saw Eugene contemplate making it and we saw her revisit her past on the show but I really hated Season 7.
17] SPENCER MONROE ; “HEARTS STILL BEATING”, (SEASON 7, EPISODE 8)
Oh, Negan. I do not know if I should hate you or love you. It is something that I thought about a lot whilst writing this, I like you as a character but I hate what you did with the show, making Rick weak, and just having a long slow season. But, nevertheless thank you for killing this stupid, slow, no actual story line weasel – who had switched his allegiance from Rick to himself so many times I no longer cared. The reason this is at seventeenth is purely down to the gore, Spencer went in and out of tolerable for me, I didn’t particularity care for him he just became annoying, consuming screen-time. And that is why his death wasn’t at all emotional, I tolerated him only because I felt sorry for him losing his parents and his brother, but if he was hellbent against Rick, I think I would have liked him more instead of going in and out of supporting Rick. The only good scene I can remember is this one, and that is because Gabriel makes it.
16] DENISE CLOYD ; “TWICE AS FAR”, (SEASON 6, EPISODE 14)
Whoa, this death actually did shock me. I am not a Walking Dead comic book fan, so I was so shocked that this just sort of happened out of no-where. And it was just when I had started to like Denise more, she was becoming the sensible voice and she had started to prove her worth in to the group. Stitching up Carl when he got shot in the eye, making food runs with Daryl and giving Daryl a much-needed talk to and then… bang. To add insult to injury, it was all Dwight’s fault and the impact this must have had on Daryl (who is such a loved character) is what made this death. Killed with his bow and arrow, followed by Daryl blaming himself it made me really hate Dwight for a while (he did make up for it a little bit in the final couple of episodes where you started to see his life). Daryl’s reaction is what made this death for such an awesome character to be affected because of this. She was killed with his arrow just when she was giving him a pep talk and they were starting to get along and she was warming with the audience
15] NICHOLAS ; “THANK YOU”, (SEASON 6, EPISODE 3)
This guy had every fanboy and fangirl coming up with multiple ways that Glenn could have in some way survived. His death is quite high for such a minor character that most people won’t even remember just because of what his death meant to the show, it created so much buzz in how Glenn could possibly be alive. Of course. knowing what we know now, it we best if he never climbed under that dustbin… But, prior to Nicholas and Glenn’s story line, Glenn wasn’t really given much to do, he was with Maggie they got married but that was it really. However, Nicholas created a really great dynamic with Glenn, that peaked multiple times – the first being Noah’s death, the second: the fight in the woods and the third: his death which actually made us love Glenn again. Nicholas as a character was such a liability but he did go out with a bang, and his death was great because it meant that we could all sit there and try to convince ourselves that somehow Glenn could have survived. And we got to see that scene where the zombies were eating (what looked to be) Glenn.
14] THEODORE ‘T-DOG’ DOUGLAS ; “KILLER WITHIN”, (SEASON 3, EPISODE 4)
Even if you ask me today, who my all time favourite character in The Walking Dead is, I would say it had to be T-Dog. He was apart of the original crew, he was massively under-rated and criminally underused and his death was probably the only heroic death that comes to mind. No matter what I ain’t forgotten about you T-Dog. He was one of my favourite characters in the first couple of seasons (even though he never really did much, apart from just hang about), and what a way he went out, it wasn’t gory and (apparently , except from me being hurt by the death), it wasn’t an emotional death. But he went out saving Carol – baring in mind that he at this time would not know that she would become someone who would go onto become one of the greatest characters in the show and have a whole fandom behind her. So just for that, just for saving Carol – you are the true hero T-Dog. Unfortunately, your death is overshadowed by a death that everyone was hoping would come for so long, and so that is why the death is slightly lower than I would’ve liked.
13] BOB STOOKEY ; “FOUR WALLS AND A ROOF”, (SEASON 5, EPISODE 3)
“You’re eating tainted meat“. This is by far, the funniest death out of all of the deaths in The Walking Dead. Bob was a favourite of mine, but it was clear that he wasn’t going to last for long in this world, (mainly because I don’t think we knew his last name). But, for character that we all knew would eventually bite the dust, his death was perfect. He awoke to discover his leg had been amputated and eaten by the cannibals that had captured Rick and the gang earlier on. The cannibals attempted to eat Bob’s leg without knowing that he was in fact bitten before-hand, which lead to one of the best lines in The Walking Dead. Bob was a great character, and the great thing was that he went out on a high – getting the last laugh. A great thing about Sasha’s death was that she remembered all of the people she met along the way, and her remembering Bob brought a tear to my eye, because it reminded me just how impactful Bob was even though we all knew he would eventually die.
12] MERLE DIXON ; “THIS SORROWFUL LIFE”, (SEASON 3, EPISODE 15)
There is nothing Micheal Rooker can star in that would make me hate him, Merle was one of my favourite characters in the beginning of the show, even though he was technically a racist – after all, it was his character’s involvement that has led to one of the biggest fan theories of The Walking Dead – that it is set in the same universe as Breaking Bad. Ah, I always tear up a little whenever I remember Merle’s death – even though the only death we actually got to see was when he was in his zombie form. Although we never got to see his actual death, we need see how he went out – it was quite a heroic, poetic as he drew all of the zombies in and his death was very noble showing how big of a bad ass he was. It also showed how much the character had grown over the three seasons we had seen him on. As I have already explained in another blog, I imagine this show as a series of trilogies, and we never got to see Merle evolve in the first three seasons he stared in. And I know I said no zombie deaths, but I keep remembering his zombie death with Daryl, and how it brought tears to my eyes – forcing the only thing Merle cared about (Daryl) to either kill him or die.
11] LIZZIE SAMUELS ; “THE GROVE”, (SEASON 4, EPISODE 14)
There is a point in this show, where Carol becomes a total badass, and this was the start of her amazingness. This death was when the Carol fandom began, “look at the flowers” – is practically on every Carol meme you will see, and has become synonymous with Carol now. We had seen this really weird season, where Tyrese (who hadn’t been given much to do) went on a road trip with Carol and these two girls and Judith – which was oddly perfect, it was one of my favourite sub-plots, especially considering little did Tyrese know but it was Carol who had burned the love of his live to save everyone, keeping everything on edge and to top it all off, Lizzie was even crazier than Carol! Killing her own sister, so Carol took it upon herself to kill Lizzie and boy was it absolute craziness but somehow it was still great. It marked the evolution of Carol, we already knew she burnt those two people, but we thought she was just crazy, but the scene above showed to the audience that Carol does whatever she needs to survive, to keep herself and her group alive – and that was why she burnt those two people. Only Carol could kill a child and kill two other people and still be loved by a whole section of fandom.
10] DALE HORVATH ; “JUDGE, JURY, EXECUTIONER”, (SEASON 2, EPISODE 11)
I think this was the first time that The Walking Dead had a really emotional death, where it meant something to everyone and we got to see the reactions of the characters around Dale. Daryl shooting him has to be one of the most emotional scene’s in The Walking Dead and that is because of what Dale was to the show. He wasn’t massively important, but he was the first real father figure in the show and as I already mentioned he had to be there because in the first couple of seasons, Rick wasn’t exactly the smartest cookie. Hershel took over the “father figure” status, and his death was much more shocking and (as a result) emotional. Dale was the father figure and his death also had a lot of weighting, when he died it meant that Rick had to step up, so his death had a lot of consequences on the rest of the team and helped Rick evolve. Furthermore, having to see the family kill him was heartbreaking, Daryl delivering the final blow and struggling to bring himself to do it.
9] NOAH ; “SPEND”, (SEASON 5, EPISODE 14)
“Everybody eats Noah”, Noah was a controversial character, some people really liked him and others were not so fond of him, blaming him for Tyrese’s death. I for one actually liked Noah, his character played a part in some of the best sub-plots, “Beth’s hospital visit”, Tyrese’s death and the weird relationship between Glenn and Nicholas. And his death is one of my personal favourites, I was not expecting it and I had started to think that Noah would be a long time character. Especially after it was his fault that Tyrese died as they were looking for his family. And it was all stupid Nicolas’ fault, which made his death so much sweeter. Noah had become important to the characters which was why I thought he may just last, his death also had many implications, it gave Glenn some motivation and that fight in the season finale between Glenn and Nicholas was amazing. The actual death is ranked at ninth because it was amazing, the shock and gore was quality Walking Dead, the rotating door could’ve been broken with the gun they were holding, and seeing Noah being eaten was fantastic. The stand-off that was presented between Glenn, Nicholas and Noah was quality.
8] SHANE WALSH ; “BETTER ANGELS”, (SEASON 2, EPISODE 12)
Come to think about it now. I don’t know if I actually ever hated Shane even though he was supposed to be a villain, I liked him. Maybe it was Jon Bernthal’s performance, but apart from the last couple of episodes Shane was one my favourite characters. Whilst the last couple of episodes did ruin him for me, and him trying to kill Rick was out-of-order, Shane was the man, once again helping Rick evolve and grow, almost playing the role of the big brother, trying to toughen Rick up for the real world which it seems he did. But, nonetheless, his death, itself, was pretty bad for a great character and did not in any way do him justice. The only reason this death scene is in the eighth spot is because of what it meant to the show and how impactful it was to the group, especially Rick and Carl because, and although I said no zombie deaths, Carl did shoot him, which was his first kill. The only part in the scene that was great was when Rick was still there for him even though he had just tried to kill him, apart from that it wasn’t exactly a memorable death.
7] TYRESE WILLIAMS ; “WHAT HAPPENED AND WHAT’S GOING ON”, (SEASON 5, EPISODE 9)
Tyrese had started to become useless at this point, the only good story line he had been the season that he spent with Carol. But, he was mainly just moping about on-screen, fighting his inner demons, the only time he did any good was when he decided to be Superman and kill all those zombies on his own, apart from that he didn’t actually do much. But I really liked his death because it was almost like his last day, it let us see everyone that had died one more time. Whether he was hearing them over the radio or hallucinating them, it was perfect – something Sasha would also go onto to do. They designated one episode to him, which at a time where he was hardly on-screen meant a lot, to a character who I felt never really had that much of an impact on the show, especially considering it was already populated with characters that fit his “second-hand man” approach, Glenn and Daryl both were Rick’s second hand’s and so that didn’t give Tyrese much breathing space. It was such a fitting death because the show finally let him shine and gave him the screen time he needed to show he was a great character.
6] ABRAHAM FORD ; “THE DAY WILL COME WHEN YOU WON’T BE”, (SEASON 7, EPISODE 1)
This death is probably a lot lower on this list than many people would have thought and that is just because – yes, whilst this death still hit hard, we all knew it was coming. I had the same problem with Glenn’s death but at least we had the element of surprise that there was a second death (something that I actually predicted). Whilst everything was perfect, the shock/ surprise was not there, it was too obvious, everyone guessed it, the only shocking factor in this was that two people died. The same applies to Glenn, we all knew it was going to happened. It was just the fact that two people died that was shocking. That being said, the gore in this death was fantastic, and when Abraham makes the peace sign to Sasha, it was very fitting for the guy who protected the group when Rick couldn’t. Abraham returning was perfect and the idea of them all sitting on the table together that Negan stole from them. The death was a perfect for a character who had been the protector of the group and had come so far from the guy who was only focused on getting Eugene to Washington and didn’t care about Rick or his group to taking the beating “like a champ” for his family.
5] BETH GREENE (AND THE OFFICER) ; “CODA”, (SEASON 5, EPISODE 4)
Beth was an idiot when it came to her death but I will never forget how (even though it was stupid) she stabbed the officer and out of nowhere the officer shot her in the head. And, then that lead to the great scene above, where everyone was shocked after what just went down but my man Daryl shot the police officer right between the eyes! Even though The Walking Dead did spend a season looking for Beth, just for her to die, meaning that the season was useless, but hey – it was a great death. The greatest part of the death was seeing everyone’s reaction, you as the viewer was shocked and then you see Noah – shocked, Rick – confused and Daryl angry, it was great because somehow, Beth had an emotional connection with so many characters. She hadn’t seen her sister in a season and a bit, little did she know Maggie was waiting for her outside, eventually meeting her dead corpse being carried Daryl. And that is what made the death, Daryl’s genuine guilt, that he never did a good enough job looking after her, and the rest of the group’s reaction.
4] HERSHEL GREENE ; “TOO FAR GONE”, (SEASON 4, EPISODE 8)
This was the biggest shock in the series and pretty much got me hooked on The Walking Dead. I was absolutely not expecting it and it was Hershel who was such a vital character and had become the father of the group (after Dale died) as well as being the actual father of both Beth and Laurel. In what I can only remember as feeling like an entirety to find out if The Governor was going to do it, in which I was pretty sure that The Governor wasn’t going to kill him. It was a massive shock when The Governor sliced Hershel’s head clean off, and later on we saw just Hershel’s head laying on the ground. Hershel was a survivor, he had already given the show so many shocks, he was the first character that got bit, and had an immediate amputation lead by Rick and the group – which was such a shock to me. But, his death was the biggest of them all, after we had started to feel some sympathy for The Governor, and we all loved him, he goes and kills Hershel! Now don’t get me wrong Season 2 is the worst, just a season of them being stuck on Hershel’s farm but he gave them stability, he planted food for them to survive, and was a real asset. He was valuable to the group and his death was a big deal.
3] SAM (AND THE FAM) ANDERSON ; “NO WAY OUT”, (SEASON 6, EPISODE 9)
The most shocking thing about these death is the fact that The Walking Dead killed off an entire family in five minutes, it did annoy me a little bit that the entire series had been spent trying to convince us that Rick (& whatever Sam’s mum’s name was) were perfect together but then they killed them all in five minutes – which was complete madness. And that they would be together and that she was going to play a big role in the series, but this is when The Walking Dead is at it’s best because it a kill off any character at any time. And, c’mon – this scene involved Carol getting shot in the eye, this has to be one of the best episodes of the Walking Dead and I can’t remember an episode as good since. But, when you come to think about it, it was all technically Carol’s fault, she had scared Sam prior to the “Mission Impossible” they had tried to pull off and then Sam got scared when they were trying to go past all of those zombies, and remembered what Carol said. This is at third because it is a prime example of the quality The Walking Dead has and is able to pull off.
2] LORI GRIMES ; “KILLER WITHIN”, (SEASON 3, EPISODE 4)
I have never in my life hated a TV character as much as Lori Grimes, every scene she was in, she just annoyed me. Whether she was pawning off her son or just being a nuisance generally. And that is why I loved her death, but come to think about it now, I really don’t know why it is one of my favourite TV character deaths (alongside that horrid Joffrey), it wasn’t gory or that emotional for me, especially considering I hated her for so long and wanted her to die. The only good bit about her death was Carl shooting her in the head when Rick was to chicken to. Regardless of how I felt about her, the reason this death was so great was because her death allowed the show to evolve, before hand the show was stuck with this incredibly annoying character where it almost always tried to fit her in somehow, someway that we never really got to focus or appreciate characters like Carol or Daryl. Even though her death wasn’t as great as some others it meant the most to be and the show. but only one death was more impactful than this one.
1] GLENN RHEE ; “THE DAY WILL COME WHEN YOU WON’T BE”, (SEASON 7, EPISODE 1)
I don’t think that I could have put any other death at number one – it had to be Glenn, personally I don’t think his death was that surprising in the long run – sure, the fact that two people died was quite a shock (one that I actually predicted), but the fact that Glenn died was not. Especially considering he was the one that was killed in the comics and that he was odds on favourite alongside Abraham. Glenn was one of my favourite characters, he was a fan favourite, he had a great relationship with Laurel and he was Rick’s trusted adviser. Regarding the death, it had everything for it – gore (especially the eye), emotion and a lasting impact – even if that lasting impact dragged on for too long. The death, itself, was received with such a large amount of backlash that is shows how much people came to care for Glenn – people stopped watching The Walking Dead because of this leaving people traumatised and The Walking Dead viewing figures lower than expected. And, the scene where they were all sitting on the table together – showing that this was the life they couldn’t have.