by Maddy Vonhoff
As we count down the minutes, the trailer for The Walking Dead Season 4 Finale confirmed our suspicions; Terminus isn’t going to be a happy place. While we anxiously await to see what horrors are in store for our survivors at the end of the tracks (cannibals? GLaDOS?), none of this would have been possible without all the painful and shocking moments leading up to it. Some has us covering our eyes, others, yelling in frustration at the TV. Here is Fanpup’s countdown of the Top 10 most painful moments to watch in The Walking Dead.
I can forgive Andrea for falling for The Governor. She had spent months on the road, sick and exhausted, only to wind up in Woodbury with a bed, bath, and the slickest silver-tongued sociopath ever. The last guy she had been with was Shane so you can’t fault her for thinking things are finally coming up Andrea. I can even forgive her for ignoring some of the earlier red flags because hey, it was the zombie apocalypse, people have to do awful things to get by. However, after seeing his fish tank full of heads, Penny, and speaking with the rest of the survivors, we were all thinking she had finally wised up. With Carol’s advice, she “wears” him out, waits until he is sleeping, pulls out the knife and then...goes back to bed. Not exactly the climax we were hoping for.
While every death is sad in some regard, most people were ready to see Dale go. It was relatively early in the series and Dale seemed more like a buzz-kill chaperone as viewers trudged through the farm episodes. So when a wild zombie appeared in the field, no one was too choked up. That is, until said zombie tore his stomach apart with super-unhuman strength in the most gruesome death to date. I would endure several more episodes of Dale’s nagging to avoid seeing that again.
This wasn’t going to have a happy ending. Sophia was missing for long enough, nearly the entirety of Season 2, that we all knew she wasn’t going to show up alive. It’s not that kind of show. Still, watching her walk out of the barn very much undead was the first surprise of the series, which to that point, had been a series of expected events strung together. Her death was a turning point for a slow Season 2 and set the stage for more gruesome deaths to come.
For awhile, the dynamic between Rick and Shane was just painfully drawn out. However, push finally came to shove when Shane led Rick out to the field at gunpoint. As Shane goads Rick, the writers do a great job adding complexities to an inevitable situation. Was Shane going to kill Rick or did he want Rick to end it? When did Rick decide Shane needed to go and that he had to be the one to pull the trigger? While this conclusion should have been reached earlier, it was still sad to see Rick pushed to kill his best friend.
While most of the painful moments in The Walking Dead have centered around a character’s death, the reappearance of Morgan was a tragic reminder that good things don’t last long. When Rick meets Morgan, his son Duane gives Rick hope that his own son Carl might still be alive as well. Things are bad, but there is still food, safe shelter, weapons, and the hope that some people will make it through relatively ok. Now half-insane, Morgan sadly serves as an example that things are getting worse, not better.
There are two kinds of TWD viewers. Those who like Glenn and zombie lovers. To see Glenn get tortured was agony. Not only that, but he was sentenced to death by walker, and only survived through wit and an extraordinary amount of courage that had everyone at the edge of their seats in suspense. Viewers who read the comics were expecting The Governor to do worse, but luckily Glenn survived intact, or else this would have been lower on the list.
Say what you will about Lori, her death was masterfully tragic. While Lori-haters were eagerly awaiting an inevitable mid-season/season finale death, her sudden passing in Season 3 was jarring and painful to watch. No deaths have been easy, but it was impossible to have anything but empathy and heartache for Lori after such a moving, lonely scene. Watching Carl stand alone to deliver the killing blow set a new tone for the series.
Merle was already an unlikable guy but after Merle ruthlessly tortured Glenn, no one was rooting for him to survive. But through his relationship with Daryl and his last act of redemption attempting to kill The Governor, it is tough to entirely condemn him. There’s good, there’s evil, and then there’s Merle. Love him or hate him, it was interesting to watch such a dynamic sibling pair. It was hard to watch an emotional Daryl deliver the final blow but knowing Merle, he wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.
With only one leg to stand on, we knew Hershel’s days were numbered, but that didn’t make his execution any less painful. His character development from a one-sided naive old man to a morally grounded and quietly forceful leader made him an unexpected favorite. He survived so many near-death experiences, from the farm, to the plague, that when he was finally gutted by The Governor, it was surprisingly heart-wrenching. And they just had to throw in his zombie head at the end of it.
While The Walking Dead is gruesome for television, many events are toned down considerably from the violence of their counterpart comic book events. With Carol and Lizzie however, they pulled no punches. We all knew something was off about Lizzie but it was still utterly shocking to see her standing over her sister’s body with childlike innocence and bloody hands. I didn’t believe Carol was actually going to do it until the final moment because I didn’t want to believe she would. No such reprieve from what had to be done. Now I just want to know which heartless person in the writing room said, “you know, Carol needs to lose another daughter”.