Since its premiere in 2010, #TheWalkingDead has shown audiences an abundance of different ways you might survive the zombie apocalypse. The show has also shown us a lot of ways you also might die. Perhaps more popular than any other aspect of the series, the deaths have gotten more brutal and more over the top as the seasons have gone on.
With this list we will focus on the most brutal and horrifying deaths in the show's previous five seasons. This list does not include anything from Season 6 because it's currently airing and it doesn't include minor character deaths. We are focusing on our main and relevant supporting characters. I also feel I should warn, though it should go without saying, this list contains graphic images and descriptions as well as spoilers. If you're a bit squeamish, or haven't fully caught up on TWD, you might want to take a pass for now.
*Let's get to some zombie decapitation!
When: Season 5, episode 9: 'What Happened and What's Going On'
Other than the one-two-punch that Tyreese's death brought us, it was more sad than anything else. Coming just one episode after the loss of Beth, Tyreese is ambushed in a dead community by Noah's zombie twin brother and later dies of massive blood loss. This is sad because other than Beth and Dale, Tyreese was probably one of the more moral characters of the series and always tried to do things the right way to protect the group.
When: Season 1, episode 4: 'Vatos'
Amy was a fairly minor character in the grand scheme of things. However, in the shortened premiere season, her death was a fairly big blow to viewers because she was the first of the main group to be killed. It not only altered the course of the group, but it drastically changed Andrea's character as Amy was shot in the head by her own sister. That is something we got kind of used to as the seasons went on, but it was a big shock back in Season 1.
When: Season 2, episode 12: 'Better Angels'
Admit it, you were secretly happy when Shane got killed. Shane was a complex character and had roots deep in multiple characters, but the bottom line was he was volatile, angry, and fueled by intense jealousy. He became the full-on villain after murdering an unarmed prisoner to lure Rick into the woods. Rick's self defense turned Shane into a walker and forced Carl to famously not be in the house so he could kill Shane for good to protect his father.
When: Season 3, episode 15: 'The Sorrowful Life'
Even though Merle made a big, handless comeback in Season 3, it wasn't enough to keep him from becoming a walker. What makes Merle's death even more disappointing was the redemption he had prior to his death. The salt in the wound was his brother, Daryl, learning of his death by finding him devouring a corpse as a walker. Ouch.
When: Season 3, episode 16: 'Welcome to the Tombs'
Andrea was one of those love-hate characters who, most of the time, was more annoying than anything else. However, she did manage to become a valuable asset to the group with her sharpshooter skills. That is, until she started sleeping with the Governor and trying to play both sides and play moderator. As revenge for her actions, she is locked in a room with a quickly deteriorating Milton and after being bitten and found by Michonne and Rick, she turns a gun on herself, ending her time on the series. Andrea struggled with suicidal thoughts ever since Amy's death in Season 1, so that made it sting just that much more.
When: Season 5, episode 3: 'Four Walls and a Roof'
Tainted meat! It was a sad ending for Bob on the road to Alexandria. Prior to being captured by Gareth and his cannibal crew, Bob was bitten by a walker and decides the perfect time to disclose his bite is when the cannibals are chowing down on his amputated leg. He is then deserted outside of Gabriel's church where he is recovered by the group and subsequently put down by Tyreese.
When: Season 2, episode 11: 'Judge, Jury, Executioner'
Dale was easily the most human and emotionally complex character of the series up until the end of Season 2, so his death was a massive blow to viewers. As soon as Dale seemed to become the true voice of reason within the group, he was ripped apart by walkers on the farm. Dale's death was crucial to a point, but it was sure heartbreaking and brutal to witness. He fought and fought for the group to retain their common decency and humanity only to be devoured by the most non-human thing in existence.
When: Season 2, episode 7: 'Pretty Much Dead Already'
Sophia was a central point of complaint back when Season 2 was airing because her disappearance took a lot of episodes to resolve. It was fairly obvious that when someone goes missing in the zombie apocalypse, they're most likely dead or have turned into a zombie. In the case of Carol's daughter, Sophia, it turned out after several episodes that she was indeed dead after all. The real sadness kicked in when she is killed by Rick after the group discovered numerous walkers, including Sophia, being hidden in Hershel's barn.
When: Season 5, episode 8: 'Coda'
Beth rose to become more of an important character in the later seasons, but she always seemed to represent a certain level of innocence that no other character really possessed. When she is held at the hospital by another group of survivors, she is set to be exchanged back to Rick and his group when she is accidentally shot in the head by Dawn. The brutality of the kill wasn't enough, you're punched in a gut again when you see Maggie break down at the sight of her dead sister cradled in Daryl's arms.
5. Mika & Lizzie
When: Season 4, episode 14: 'The Grove'
You quickly begin to see that Lizzie had a few screws loose in her head and had difficulty separating the difference between humans and walkers. Her confusion and numbness to her surroundings were brought to the ultimate limit when she murdered Mika to protect Rick's infant daughter, Judith. Carol and Tyreese see Lizzie as a dangerous threat, so Carol takes her to the grove near their shelter and kills her. Not only did we have children murdering other children, but we had an adult basically putting a child down like a rabid dog. It definitely left a mark on the viewers and took the show and its characters farther away from humanity.
When: Season 3, episode 4: 'Killer Within'
Cast member Lauren Cohan recently revealed that she nearly walked off the set of The Walking Dead due to this scene in Season 3. When the prison is overrun by walkers, Lori seeks shelter with Maggie and Carl in a secluded boiler room where she goes into labor. Maggie informs Lori that in order to deliver the baby safely by C-section, Lori would have to sacrifice her own life. Now, Lori was never the most liked character in this series but the brutality of knowing she had to be cut open and essentially mangled to deliver her child is pretty intense. What could make matters worse? Having her own son put a bullet in her skull to prevent her from reanimating as a zombie. But on the plus side, we were blessed with baby Judith.
3. The Governor
When: Season 4, episode 8: 'Too Far Gone'
The Governor (a.k.a. Philip Blake) definitely had this coming to him. As much as we loved watching it, it sure was a bloodbath. Shortly after horribly executing Hershel in front of Rick's group, he is brutally stabbed by Michonne and shot in the head by Lily. It's just a shame it didn't happen before he managed to nearly beat Rick to death on the prison yard.
When: Season 4, episode 8: 'Too Far Gone'
After Dale's departure, Hershel stepped in to become the main voice of wisdom and reason among the group. That didn't really save the poor guy, though. Even when it seemed like he was getting through to The Governor, he is unexpectedly beheaded in front of his family. The icing on this cake full of injustice is Michonne stabbing Hershel's decapitated head to put him down for good. This all came after he had his foot brutally amputated after being bitten earlier in the season.
When: Season 5, episode 14: 'Spend'
Easily the show's most horrific death, at least up until the end of Season 5, is the exit of Noah. While accompanying Glenn and Nicholas on a supply run, things take a turn for the worse as the trio are separated and surrounded by walkers. Unfortunately for Noah, he is forced onto the wrong side of the trap by Nicholas and is brutally devoured by walkers. Sadly, Glenn is forced to watch in terror as Noah is eaten and decapitated. Similar to the deaths of several prior characters, Noah was a symbol of good and a small string to humanity, so naturally he had to go. It's just unfortunate things went the way they did.
What is your most brutal favorite death on The Walking Dead?
*(list as of February 2016)