Top 10 Worst Deaths on AMC's The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead is obviously no stranger to killing off its most beloved characters in the most brutal ways possible. And following the mid-season premiere that aired on Sunday, February 25, it is clear that this tradition is still going strong, despite the tumble in ratings (and quality) over the past couple seasons. The show’s major deaths have certainly packed a punch, causing fans to erupt in rage, burst into tears, and gasp in shock. However, the major death in the season 8 mid-season premiere left many fans baffled and disappointed with the show’s sharp change in direction…

If you have not yet seen the episode or are not caught up, be aware that the rest of the article contains major spoilers for the entirety of the series, as well as the events of the most recent episode.

The death of Carl is certainly the biggest departure from the source material of the comics that the show has ever dared to do. Carl was the future of the show, the one character that we all assumed was safe. In the comics, Carl is still alive and well, shaping up to be the badass leader he was meant to be. By killing him, the show wiped out the show’s future, leaving little hope for improvement and completely overhauling the show’s previous direction. Personally, I think that the showrunners killed Carl off for the mere spectacle of it all; they wanted people to talk about their show again. What they did not anticipate was the overwhelming disappointment and disgust among fans, who felt that his death was forced, out-of-the-blue, and unfitting of his character. Carl has seen less and less screen time as the seasons have progressed, and the writers have seemed to neglect his character’s development and storyline in favor of other more minor characters (i.e. Tara and Eugene).

By killing Carl, the showrunners have reduced his character from the bright future of the show to a mere plot device used to create emotional strife among the other characters. Only time will tell whether the decision to kill him off was an enormous mistake or not, but my outlook is not too sunny at the moment. In the meantime, here are my picks for the top 10 worst, or most hard-to-watch and gut-wrenching, deaths from the series:

10. Sasha - This death, which takes place in the season 7 finale, is just too memorable to pass up for a spot on this list. Sasha, who had been on the show since season 3, was highly underappreciated and underrated as a character. However, she went out with a bang, sacrificing herself as the first victim of All-Out War and cementing her status as one of the all-time greats.

9. Denise - Although she was a minor character who wasn’t on the show for very long, Denise’s death really stung. Extremely likeable, pure-hearted, and ill-prepared for the dangerous world outside of Alexandria, she was an innocent victim in the wrong place at the wrong time. The fact that she never got to tell Tara that she loved her twisted the knife in even more.

8. Abraham - While his death in the season 7 premiere is often overlooked, due to the fact that it is shortly followed by Glenn’s death, it is still awful to watch. From his hilarious one-liners to his unwavering bravery, Abraham was one of the most lovable characters of the show. Just as he had seemed to find happiness with Sasha, he was beaten to death by Negan’s barbed-wire-covered baseball bat, Lucille. His stare of defiance and utterance of “suck my nuts” in the face of death somewhat offset the brutal nature of his demise.

7. Sophia - The entire first half of season 2 was spent searching for Carol’s daughter, Sophia, who had gone missing early in the season. It is then revealed in the mid-season finale that Sophia had been in the Greene family barn the entire time. When she first exits the barn, the group (and viewers) are shocked to learn that she had been that close all along. Then, we realize that she has been dead all along as well, as she is now a walker. Carol’s reaction is particularly traumatizing as Rick is forced to put her down.

6. Shane - He may have turned into a villain by the end of his arc, but Shane’s death at the end of season 2 was tragic all the same. He and Rick were best friends, even as close as brothers, but the post-apocalyptic world changed him for the worse. His obsession with Rick’s wife, Lori, and his continuous conflict with Rick over the direction of the group drove him into darkness. Remembering the good man he used to be, it is hard not to feel some kind of sadness when Rick drives the knife into his chest.

5. Hershel - From season 2 to season 4, he was the group’s voice of reason, the symbol of humanity and wisdom in contrast to the violence and death of their world. His small smile before the Governor slashes at his neck with Michonne’s katana makes it even more unbearable. Not to mention the fact that it happened in front of his two daughters, Maggie and Beth.

4. Carl - I may not agree with the decision to kill Carl, but the death itself was inexplicably traumatizing to watch. Having watched him grow up from the very first season, it is impossible not to feel anything while watching him die. It felt like watching my own son die.

3. Beth - This death was completely avoidable; that’s what makes it so impactful and tragic. Beth was finally coming into her own as a strong female heroine in season 5 when she met her untimely demise. The audience identifies with the characters who witness it, especially a sobbing Daryl and, later, a distraught Maggie.

2. Mika and Lizzie - I’ll admit that I didn’t really care about Mika and Lizzie too much going into the season 4 episode, “The Grove.” It was the manner of their deaths and the high quality of the episode that sold me. “The Grove” is, in my opinion, the best episode of the entire series. Lizzie, who was highly delusional, killed her sister, Mika, and poor Carol was forced to kill Lizzie, who posed a danger to herself and others. The scene in which Carol tells Lizzie to “look at the flowers” before she shoots her is one of the most difficult scenes to watch.

1. Glenn - I still tear up when I think about this one. Glenn was the heart and soul of the show, and he and Maggie will surely go down as one of the greatest TV couples ever. Besides the gruesome manner in which he dies, it was his final words that left me a blubbering mess. He says, “Maggie, I’ll find you” to his pregnant wife, who is forced to watch as yet another loved one is taken from her. Then, the episode really came for my throat when they showed a scene with Glenn holding his son that he will never meet. Everyone loved Glenn, and that’s why his death was so meaningful; it gave Rick and the gang a reason to fight. Losing Glenn felt like losing a loved one.