The Walking Dead finally did that. But it wasn’t how it went down in the comics. Warning, spoilers ahead for what “that” is.
In the penultimate episode of season nine, The Walking Dead featured the big Alexandria fair and the death that came with it thanks to Alpha (Samantha Morton).
And while heads were placed on pikes, they weren’t exactly heads of pivotal characters. Among the dead on The Walking Dead TV series: Tara (Alanna Masterson), Enid (Katelyn Nacon) and Henry (Matt Lintz). The comic books the show is based on featured the deaths of Rosita and Ezekiel during this pivotal scene.
“There’s so much behind the decisions of who goes and who doesn’t go. Even at the beginning of the season, when we knew the sequence was coming, everybody was always saying to Christian and Khary: Heads on spikes are coming! Here it comes!’ But it’s always about what these moments and these deaths do to other characters that catapults them forward,” executive producer Greg Nicotero told The Hollywood Reporter. “In regards to Henry and his relationship to Carol, Daryl and Ezekiel there’s a very specific reason to lose him. In terms of other characters? Tara stepped up as a leader once Jesus died. She was showing some real authority and leadership at Hilltop. Ultimately, it’s an organic decision, the way it evolves, like the relationship between Enid and Alden. You see a budding relationship and a budding romance, where people are rising to what makes them the best person they can be, like Tara. In many instances, some people find those realizations. In other instances, it’s brutally torn from them.”
See how their deaths rank in the gallery below.
Without Sam we wouldn’t have Carol’s cookies. That’s about it. He served to only annoy. Bye Sam!
We hardly knew Carter, but we knew from the minute he challenged Rick in the season six premiere that he wasn’t long for this world. We were right: He didn’t survive the episode.
Olivia didn’t deserve to be offed at random by the Saviors after Rosita’s failed assassination attempt on Negan in the season seven midseason finale, but she was also the very definition of “expendable.”
We’re not really sad to see him go, but Aiden’s death clued viewers in about what some citizens of Alexandria are really like…untrustworthy.
Bitten in the chest, Jim succumbed to the infection in season one. Forgot he existed? So did we.
An early Walking Dead player, Jacqui stayed at the CDC with Dr. Jenner, effectively committing suicide. See above statement about forgetability.
The first kill of the series was a memorable one: Rick shooting a zombified little girl. Welcome to the future, folks!
He had it coming, he had it coming. He only had himself to blame. If you’ve been there, if you’ve seen it, I betcha you would’ve done the same.
Spencerwas a weasel to the very end. His hatred for Rick and his own inflated sense of self earned him a shockingly brutal death in the season seven midseason finale. Apparently Negan doesn’t value turncoats. Who knew? Deanna would’ve been so ashamed of her son. Adios, Spence.
An early casualty to the walkers in season one, her death helped motivate Andrea for a hot minute.
In the grand scheme of things, not that important, but still, dude was killed by a helicopter crashing through a roof. Epic.
Sam died so the Penguin could live. Sort of. Robin Lord Taylor’s Walking Dead character brutally got his throat slit by the Terminus cannibals in front of Rick and the gang.
Michonne gutted annoying Ron after he tried to shoot Rick in the midst of the zombie siege on Alexandria. By stabbing Ron, Michonne saved Rick, but it cost Carl his eye. Ron’s death is only important for furthering Carl’s character development and potentially Michonne’s.
Beth’s captor and the head the hospital in Atlanta was stabbed by Bethand then shot the fan-favorite character out of reflex.
Jessie’s whole family was a big problem for Rick Grimes. Her death is important because of two reasons: She reintroduced Rick’s capacity to love again and he had to chop off her arm to save his son.
A prison inmate up to no good, Tomas’ death by machete impalement was one of the big turning points when viewersand other zombie survivorslearned, that you don’t mess with Rick Grimes. Ever.
A victim of the Governor and his murderous rage. At least we still have Dallas Roberts as Owen on The Good Wife!
Killed by her sister Lizzie who didn’t believe there was a difference between the living and the dead. BRB, crying.
Noah was still relatively new to the world of The Walking Dead, but his gruesome death will likely have an impact on Glenn. It was caused by a cowardly citizen of Alexandria and sort of on Glenn’s watch. And it was totally gross.
We all remember the quest for little Sophia. But all along she was a zombie in the barn. Walkers killed her off screen and when she busted out of that barn, Rick shot her in the head.
Karen must be toast ’cause she just got burnt…literally! She was fried to a crisp by Carol after succumbing to the flu.
As leader of the Alexandrians, Deanna was pretty out of her element whenever the real world encroached on her settlements walls. Naturally, once those walls fell, she took a bite to the belly while trying to protect Rick, but not before imparting some wisdom on Rick, Maggie, and, especially, Michonne that should push those characters into stronger leadership roles in the future. Deanna herself may not have mattered much, but her impact will be felt for seasons to come.
Poor Bob. He was bitten by a walker and then captured by Gareth. They removed his leg and ate itbut Bob still lived. As he slowly died, Tyreese made sure he wouldn’t come back as a zombie.
While attempting to save Carol and the rest of the prison group, T-Dog paid the ultimate price. RIP, we hardly knew youdespite your presence on the show for three seasons.
Damnit, Carl! Dale and his fisherman’s was attacked by a walker Carl had previously seen and provoked, but didn’t kill. That walker got to eat Dale’s insides. Daryl took mercy on him and shot him in the head. Only on TWD is a shot in the head showing someone mercy. This. Show.
Here’s why you don’t kidnap, torture and kill any of Rick Grimes’ people: he’ll cut off your fingers and then stab you to death.
For such a pivotal moment in the comics, the deaths at the hands of Alpha and the Whispers during the Alexandria fair on the TV show were…a bit underwhelming. Yes, these characters have ties to major players on the show, but not as major as the characters offed in the comic book source material. Henry seems like he was created just to die. However, they represent how ruthless Alpha is.
Merle was almost like a phoenix on The Walking Dead. Until he died. Viewers first met him in season one when he faced off with Rick, but he didn’t die when they left him chained on a roof. Instead he lost his hand and joined up with the Governor. But everybody knows the Governor is a big @$$hole and he shot his once-trusted ally in the chest. Daryl eventually had to kill zombie Merle.
Denise, we hardly knew ya. Merritt Wever’s character met an untimely end at the end of season six. Her death is significant for a few reasons: Denise was Alexandria’s doctor and she was an out LGBT character. Her exit is another in The Walking Dead’s troubling trend in killing off minorities.
While many fans might not be sad to see him go, Gregory’s death says a lot about where Maggie (Lauren Cohan) is going as the leader of the Hilltop. She’s stretching her wings out from underneath Rick’s leadership and finding her place.
The first of Negan’s (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) big kills in the season seven premiere, Abraham’s death was sadly overshadowed by Negan’s next kill…which we’ll get to a little later. But still, it was a pretty significant loss for the group.
He had the hair and the beard, but the TV version of Jesus never quite lived up to the comic book’s versionsomething actor Tom Payne was well aware of and that was a factor in his acceptance of his fate. Jesus was killed by the Whispers, the new villain group that wears skins of zombies to blend in with them. Had the show utilized Jesus the way the comics do, his death would be higher. However, the change from the comic source material is important.
Did anyone have a cooler death than Sasha’s sacrifice in the season seven finale when she tricked Negan into putting her in a coffin, took a poison pill and surprised the big bad when he opened the thing during his big performance outside of Alexandria’s walls by having turned in the process? She may not have taken Negan out, but she did give Rick and the gang a chance to get the upper hand, so she goes down a hero in our books.
Arguably the show’s first major death, Shane was killed by his former best friend Rick, who’s wife he fell in love with post-zombie takeover, in an intense showdown, which disproved the saying don’t bring a knife to a gun fight. And after coming back as a zombie, Shane was put down by Rick’s young son, Carl. Rough twist, bro.
That was hard to watch. Tyreese had been through so much and become such a protective and comforting presence in the group that it was especially hard to see him go after being bitten by Noah’s (Tyler James Williams) walker brother on the arm. Rick, Michonne, and Glenn had almost saved him, but it was too late, and Tyreese spent the episode hearing from all of his dead friends and enemies, including Beth and the Governor.
Oh man. Just thinking of this is making us cry. Lizzie and her little sister were traveling with Carol, Tyreese, baby Judith and her sister Mika, but, well, Lizzie wasn’t cut out for the zombie apocalypse. She believed the zombies were playing and weren’t dangerous (and dead). After killing her sister, Carol put her down. Lizzie’s death basically started a new era for Carol and her standing in the group.
And we’ll never look at flowers the same.
The father figure of the group survived longer than most people expected. He even lost a foot! But his neck was no match for the Governor and he was decapitated in front of all his friends.
Oh, Andrea. She was put in quite a pickle. After living in Woodbury and sleeping with the Governor, fans turned on you. But at least she died with some dignity. After being bitten by zombie Milton (and then taking him out), Andrea shot herself in the head to prevent becoming a walker. Her death marked a major shift between the comic book series and the show.
What a blow Beth’s death was to everybodythe characters and the audience. After disappearing in season four, viewers finally got some Beth action in season five. She was essentially captured in a hospital, despite escape attempts. But then her cavalry showed up! Rick and the gang were trading captured officers for Beth, but Dawn Lernerthe head copdemanded Noah return to the hospital. He agreed, but Beth didn’t. She stabbed Dawn in the neck with scissors and Dawn shot her in the head.
Beth’s death sent the team off in a new direction.
After what felt like forever, the Governor finally met his maker at the hands of Michonneand Lilly! Michonne stabbed him in the chest and leaves him to dies in agony, but Lilly came along and shot him in the head.
Lori, Lori, Lori. The bane of existence for some Walking Dead fans, Carl’s ma and Rick’s betrothed met her maker after giving birth to baby Judith. When walkers attacked, Lori went into labor, but began losing too much blood and determined it was either her or the baby so she had Maggie perform a C-section on her, knowing her end was near. Lori died after the birth, but Carl put the final nail in the coffin: a bullet through her head so she didn’t reanimate.
While Carl’s demise in season eight certainly qualifies as one of the show’s most surprising deaths, considering how far they show has strayed from the comics where he’s still alive, the whole thing felt just a bit cheap. After sustaining a walker bite while trying to rescue newcomer Siddiq, Carl’s death became nothing more than a plot device to encourage Rick to find a way towards peace with Negan and the Saviors. To say it was a disservice to one of the show’s longest-running characters (and actors, as well) would be putting it lightly.
Ouch, our hearts. After Negan took out Abraham, we naively thought we were safe. Nope. He also took out Glenn, leaving the rest of the characters, especially Maggie (“I’ll find you,” he told her, shattering every fan’s heart into a million pieces), his pregnant wife, and viewers speechless and numb. A fan-favorite from the beginning of the series, the loss of Glenn will color the rest of the series and leave a major void for fans.
PHOTOS: The Walking Dead cast in and out of costume
The Walking Dead airs Sundays, 9 p.m. on AMC.
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Reviewed and Recommended by Erik Baquero