SPOILERS for The Walking Dead Season 7 to follow. Get out of here in case you haven't watched it yet. I mean it! Go!
Sadly, last night's season premiere of The Walking Dead hit us hard with the confirmation that it was in fact Abraham who got to meet Lucille in first hand. The Ginger was Negan's first victim in what turned out to be one of the hardest episodes of the series to watch. He left behind not one, but two amazingly loving women in Rosita and Sasha, a secure position as Rick's go-to-man, and infinite possibilities for a brilliant future — like the one Rick dreamed of, with Abraham finally "pouring the bisquick" in Sasha and sharing a peaceful life with the Survivors in Alexandria.
Any image search on Abraham Ford will turn up a gazillion memes of his many brilliant comebacks in The Walking Dead. The red-haired giant was such an integral part of the Survivors' group, that it's easy to forget he was only been around for a couple of seasons. If Daryl and Michonne make for Rick's right and left arms, Abraham walks ahead of them all, beating the crap out of anyone who stands in their way.
Through highs and lows, Abraham's development arc took him from a stubborn soldier to an integral and resilient part in the Survivor's journey.
Before There Was "A Vast Ocean Of Shit"
As a soldier, Sgt. Abraham Ford was used to making tough calls and fighting for dear life before the virus made civilization crumble. What he wasn't very good at was seeing the ones he loved in danger, or dealing with their loss. When Eugene found Abraham kneeling in front of a supermarket, the tough soldier was ready to give up and join his wife and kids in death. It was only after Eugene gave Abraham a new mission to follow — take him, the hero scientist, to Washington D.C. and save the world — that Abraham found something new worth fighting for.
"We Don't Stop. We Don't Go Back"
Either because Eugene was very convincing, or simply because he needed something to hold on to, getting Eugene to Washington D.C. became Abraham's obsession. No matter what happened, what problems they faced or how dangerous a situation was, Abraham was adamant about completing the mission. When he first met Rick and the gang, Abraham tried to get them to go to Washington with him. But, even though he agreed to help Rick get rid of Garret and his group, when the time came to go to Atlanta and help Beth, Abraham stuck with his mission instead.
His whole world shattered the moment Eugene came clean about not being a scientist. Impulsive and volatile in nature, Abraham nearly killed Eugene by punching him unconscious. as hard as that moment was, after closing himself off and doing some self-assessment, Abraham came out of it a stronger man. More to the point, he then found his true mission: to stay alive and help others do the same.
"The World Needs Rick Grimes"
That sentence is so emblematic because it features on the map Abraham left with directions for Rick — which Morgan later found. Following his change of heart and mission, Abraham turned to Rick as a leader. In Alexandria, the sergeant became a foot soldier once more and became invaluable to both Rick and the group.
Abraham shared his army skills, provided protection for the Safe-Zone by taking up watches and perimeter rounds, led the herd away from Alexandria with Sasha and Daryl, and found the ultimate saving weapon: the rocket launcher.
"Why Are Dingleberries Brown?"
From the moment we first met Abraham, he and Rosita were an item — one that Eugene loved to take a peek at. But in Season 6, Abraham made some course corrections in this aspect of his life as well. In 'Always Accountable', Sasha and Abraham share some one-on-one time while waiting for Daryl's return, and our favorite ginger opened up about wanting something more with her. He had reached out to Sasha before in a different way — trying to help her through her mourning period for both her brother Tyrese and her boyfriend Bob — but this time, Sasha listened.
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Although they were never as committed to each other as The Walking Dead staple couple Glenn and Maggie, Abraham and Rosita seemed to get along just fine. It was heartbreaking to see them part ways the way they did, with Abraham unable to explain his reasons for leaving — other than saying she wasn't "the last woman on Earth". Abraham didn't waste much time moving on to Sasha, as he finally realized life was too short to be wasted not pursuing happiness, and he even acknowledged to Sasha that he felt ready to have kids. It would seem his little chat with Glenn about making babies during the Apocalypse had something to do with it.
Abraham went full-circle as a character, evolving and developing into a reliable and capable man who knows what he wants in life. He made his tough choices, he forgave Eugene for lying to him, and he was well-aware that Rick and the gang "are neck-deep up shit creek with their mouths wide open."
R.I.P. Abraham Ford. Your wit, your quirky one-liners and your flawless humor will be sorely missed.