As I explained earlier, people die in The Walking Dead. Some of them twice. It’s a show loaded with tear-jerkers, heroic sacrifices, not-so-heroic sacrifices and a whole lot of what an idiot moments. Still, despite all the drama and intense fishing scenes (no, really), a good death is usually how things are spiced up to keep you watching.
Sometimes these are well-played. Here are five instances where they are not.
This girl took us on a rollercoaster ride. She went from frail, suicidal waif to semi-competent songstress. Then we had the episode where she and Daryl became super-best-buds overnight, which proved that bathing in Daryl’s hallowed aura was enough to make pretty much any character into a fan-favourite.
The writers continued to develop Beth’s character into a strong-willed survivor, forcing her to grow, think for herself and take drastic action while in the hospital. Beth’s ascension was a marvellous feat of writing, helped along by Emily Kinney’s performance.
Aaaaand she’s dead.
In a moment so grotesquely ridiculous it was practically comedy, Beth pulls out an incy-wincy pair of surgical scissors and stabs Dawn in the shoulder, inflicting an injury that your own grandmother would’ve shrugged off with nothing more than a disapproving look. So Dawn shoots her through the head.
Beth’s characterisation was cut brutally short, she nearly got everyone in the hallway killed in a potential firefight…and for what? Shock value. A slam-bang way to end a mid-season finale. Essentially, Beth was murdered by a modern television trend.
Then we were left to raise our eyebrows in sheer incredulity when Maggie suddenly cared that Beth existed at all.
Remember Jacqui? She was great.
She was a solid member of the group, kept a cool-head in a crisis, could sass-talk like a pro, used her knowledge to help out, and most importantly, was just sensible. This is a quality that very few characters have in abundance. I’m looking at you, Carl.
Jacqui’s end was possibly the most dignified in the show’s run, as she chose her method of death and it was literally a blaze of glory (or just a blaze, at least). Still, while her reasoning was seemingly solid- not wanting to be eaten by walkers- nothing was really done to set that up. Up until she chose to let herself get exploded, she was ordinary, level-headed Jacqui. There was no loss of hope, existential crisis…it was just time to get rid of her. Perhaps the writers were trying to cull the sensible ones; you can’t very well create drama with people who actually make intelligent decisions.
She might not have been a grizzled, crossbow-wielding death machine, but if I had to choose [The Walking Dead](series:201193) characters to have on my zombie-killing team, Jacqui would make the list. If only she’d survived longer.
These two are a package deal. Yes, that is cheating.
You’re less likely to remember this ill-fated duo, especially those of you who are pretending that whole farm fiasco never happened. To recap, Jimmy was Beth’s kind-of-boyfriend, and Patricia was the wife of that one guy Shane fed to the walkers whose name you don’t remember (unless you spend as much time on The Walking Dead Wiki as I do).
Don’t worry if the memories aren't flooding back, because they barely got a handful of lines between them. Patricia and Jimmy existed as zombie chow, because killing off Carol at that point would’ve been too easy and Andrea was busy that day.
It didn’t really help that their separate deaths were near Beth levels of contrived. Jimmy died because he forgot to lock (or even close) the freaking door when driving straight into a horde of walkers. We watched him get turned into human kibble and shrugged. Meanwhile, Patricia was grabbed by another one of those ninja zombies that teleported in from off-screen (ah, that deadly fourth wall) and was devoured while we squinted at the screen and tried to figure out exactly who that was.
Congratulations, season finale: you made drama! That’s what drama is, right? Killing off human-shaped props?
I’d be tempted to say that no one actually liked Merle, but the amount of Severus Snape slash-fiction on the internet proves otherwise. People are just drawn to jerks, even those with a random grab-bag of ethnic slurs for every occasion.
Still, Merle was sexist, racist and probably a whole lot of other ‘ist’s. He was also lacking the gruff-yet-endearing personality and gorgeous locks that endeared his brother to the masses. The show made a valiant attempt to have us root for Merle at the end, making him pursue a suicide mission of vengeance against The Governor. Cue the defiant one-liner before The Governor sends him straight to that special purgatory for people who still use the phrase ‘Chinaman’.
We were probably supposed to feel something at that point, but really, it was a stale moment. The most Merle ever developed was ‘used to have a hand – now has no hand – metal hook hand’. His attempts at being a decent human-being at the prison were clunky and cut short. This is probably why his sudden heroics felt odd and jarring. Sure, he might have been a) super drunk, and b) super not a fan of The Governor at the time, but it’d have to be some special moonshine to disable his instinct for self-preservation.
The scene with the two brothers afterwards was powerful, but there was definitely a lot more sympathy flowing for Daryl for what he had to do. Y’know, rather than the actual dead guy.
HONORABLE MENTION: Eugene and Father Gabriel. Currently, the fact that they are alive is unsatisfying.