20 Pivotal Moments in 6 Seasons of The Walking Dead
My Version of “The Journey So Far”
It’s The Walking Dead Season 7 Premier-eve and I thought I would share my thoughts on “the journey so far.” By the way, AMC’s version of “The Journey So Far” is hands-down the best show recap special I have ever seen! They didn’t miss a detail. But, I digress… Below are my personal picks for the most pivotal moments (and heart-wrenching deaths) from the first 6 seasons of this amazing show. I know there are WAY more than what is listed here but these are the ones that had the most impact on me as a die-hard fan.
Disclaimer: If you don’t watch the show, most of what is in this piece will be completely lost on you. If you have not watched the show and are are planning to do so, this piece is riddled with spoilers. I suggest you come back when you’ve caught up.
#1: THE DAWN OF THE DEAD
All of season one was pivotal as it was the dawn of an era of television this world has never seen. Okay maybe not that dramatic but it definitely changed my TV watching habits for the better. I was already beginning to be shaped by shows like “24”, but TWD is what solidified my addiction to character-driven drama. Having amazing acting and writing matched with a fascinating story of “what if, then what?” is the only way you would get a chicken like me to watch a show about zombies set in the city where I currently live. By Season 2, I was comfortable enough with zombies to watch it at night in real-time.
#2: FINDING SOPHIA
The first of a few ugly cries I have experienced during my obsession with TWD. Her death was gut-wrenching for me on multiple levels (as it seemed to be for the characters). The fact that she was on the farm the whole time tops the list! Wondering if Hershel knew is a close second. As a mother (and a generally sappy individual), I was pretty much guaranteed to get choked up… but the way it was shot is what turned me into a blubbering pool of snot. Awful… and absolutely beautiful. The filing out of walkers from the barn into a hail of bullets until there are no more… or so we think. The group lowers their guns in a mix of relief and disbelief. Then… a gust of dusty breeze… the barn door creeks a bit, seeming to just be shaken by the wind until… you see little sneakers push past the shadows into the sunlight… the camera continues the slow pan up to reveal walker Sophia emerging from the barn like a toddler just waking up from an afternoon nap. I lost it. It took me three marathons to notice that Rick did not fire one single shot in that entire scene… except for the one that put Sophia down.
#3: DEATH OF DALE
The first of the show’s moral compasses to bite the dust. After his untimely and frankly, senseless death, we learned that being a pacifist and having a conscious or high moral standards is eventually your death sentence. I will continue to hold a grudge against Carl for this!
I’m still mourning T-Dog. The creators, writers, and producers did us SO dirty on this one! Up until that moment, there had not been a “shocking” character death (for me, anyway). I remember how pissed everyone was… to the point of not even caring that Lori bit the dust not five minutes before… and we still don’t. After T-Dog we knew beyond a shadow of a doubt, nobody popular was safe.
#5: DARYL AND LITTLE ASS-KICKER
By the time the group got to the prison, Daryl was “that dude.” I had pretty much forgiven and forgotten his misguided redneck ways and the fan cries of “If Daryl dies, we riot” rang out far and wide (a warning shot fired in the direction of the creators in direct retaliation to losing T-Dog). But it was when he held the wailing newborn Judith in his arms and she immediately stopped crying as he dubbed her “Little Ass-Kicker” that I completely fell in love with Daryl Dixon. If only he would take advantage of soap and water when offered.
#6: GLENN GROWS A PAIR
One of the best parts about watching TWD marathons is seeing the growth and evolution of the characters. In season one, Glenn seemed like a “kid” in his raglan t-shirt and baseball cap playing “chicken” with Walkers like it’s no big thing. He was the proverbial little brother that everyone played “go fetch” with. He basically went through puberty and lost his virginity (figuratively speaking) in Season 2 when he fell in love with Maggie. But it was when he fought that Walker while duct taped to a chair that Glenn truly became a man… and sealed it with that primal yell at the end of the scene. Seriously, it’s like he’s aged ten years since then. Walker bait no more.
#7: MERLE MAKES GOOD… AND DIES
The man we fans loved to hate became the man we hated to like a little bit. Merle… the Grinch of TWD heart grew almost to regular size along with his conscious when he let Michonne go. I’ll admit, I had a soft spot for him for five minutes. I shed a tear or three when his baby brother Daryl had to put him down when he turned. Two of those tears were on Daryl’s behalf.
#8: THE GOVERNOR KILLS HIS OWN PEOPLE
One of the countless jaw-on-the-floor moments that left me speechless was when The Governor turned on his own crew and sprayed them with bullets. Why? Oh just because they realized he was bat-shit crazy and told him so. There’s a special wing in hell for him.
#9: IT’S FOR YOU…
I love the growing mother-son bond between Michonne and Carl. After the collapse of the prison and our favorite family of folks were scattered and separated, a lone Michonne stumbles upon a house that she thinks will be a great place to crash and finds Rick and Carl inside. She knocks. Rick looks to see who it is and smiles. He turns to Carl and says “It’s for you.”
#10: LOOK AT THE FLOWERS, LIZZIE
Lizzie… Lizzie… Lizzie… To sum it up, that girl was a freakin’ sociopath at all of 12 years old (if that)! What’s crazy is it took watching a marathon to see that Lizzie’s cards were all out on the table from day one and we all (the viewers and characters) dismissed her words and actions… albeit ignored them, probably because she was a kid. Well, Damien was a kid, too, right? All was revealed in the beautifully shot and brilliantly written episode titled “The Grove.” It nearly tore my heart from my chest. You say “Bye, Felicia”… I say “Look at the flowers, Lizzie.”
Just when I thought that nothing could top Sophia’s death or “The Grove” episode, Beth’s surprise passing caused me to scream out loud “NOOOOOOOOO!” like I was there! I mean her death was a come-from-out-of-left-field-off-the-top-ropes-body-slam of a surprise that I can’t imagine anyone watching saw coming! That scene was brimming with possible outcomes… I ran them down in my head as it was playing out. I was certain that death was coming to one or more characters… she just wasn’t on the list. Just like Sophia… it gets me every time like it’s the first time.
#12: CAROL’S BEDTIME STORY
Carol is caught stealing guns red-handed by little Sam who only followed her to get more cookies. She guaranteed her secret would be safe with him by not only promising to bake him an unlimited supply of her delicious cookies but by telling him a little story as if she were tucking him of what would happen to him if he told anyone. “Tomorrow when you wake up, you won’t be in your bed… you’ll be tied to a tree… out where nobody can hear you. Well, something will be able to hear you…” The rest… f-ing priceless!
#13: EVERYBODY ATE CHRIS
Noah bit the dust in one of the worst, most disgusting, yet extremely memorable ways. A mass-Walker munch-down for the ages! We were sad and in mourning over him and yet that pun wrote itself into making it sadly funny. Shame… I feel shame.
#14: MORGAN, THE SHAOLIN MONK
Morgan, once again, returns to us after roaming the earth like Kane from Kung Fu. He’s calm and monk-like… I almost expected him to break out with “Chinese Goju is my secret, I bear no arms…” But this IS the zombie apocalypse and Morgan WILL go all WuTang on you if he has to. He speaks softly, but carries a BIG stick! Later on we see that his zen like approach (while badass at times) is not always what necessary. We need permanent skull-cracks, Morgan, not temporary knock-outs.
#15: RICK, DO IT!
When Deanna uttered these words… Alexandria woke up. Period.
#16: WOLF AND WALKER INVASION
The theme for the whole of Season 6 should be “We can’t catch a break.” Wolves and Walkers roll through Alexandria like a raging river… At the same damn time. The pacifists on this show are gonna get enough of turning the other cheek! I hate to sound like an advocate for murder but, sorry… all bets are off in the zombie apocalypse! We can only partially blame Aaron for losing his backpack, but we can fully blame Morgan for not all the way offing those Wolves when he met them! Only the strong survive… unfortunately that meant we watched the majority of native-Alexandrians fall like dominos… one by one.
By the way… Is anyone else thinking that Enid might be a mini-Wolf in sheep’s clothing? Just wondering.
#17: GLENN’S DUMPSTER DIVE
Once again… these people with their moral compasses that come back to bite them in the ass! Glenn had more than enough reasons (and more than enough chances) to make Nicholas permanently kick rocks. The lesson learned from this incident… You can’t save people (and idiots) who don’t want to be saved! So cruel of the creators to drop Steven Yeun’s name from the credits for (at minimum) 2 episodes to leave us in agonizing suspense about whether Glenn was alive or dead. So evil… yet so f-ing brilliant!
#18: JUJITSU JESUS
Jesus should have had a cap put in his ass from jump, right? You know we were all thinking it… but maybe Rick had a block against killing someone who shared the name of God’s only begotten son. But when he caused them to lose an entire truck of food and supplies, all religion should have been lost right then and there! And how in all the hell did he get on the roof of that truck, anyway? You have to admit, that episode was kinda funny… until it wasn’t. It’s stopped being funny when Jesus said, “Rick, wake up… we should talk.” To be fair, letting Jesus live wasn’t entirely a bad thing. Jesus brought with him tidings of the Hilltop and the Saviors… information our group needed to know.
Rick and Michonne. Don’t act like you didn’t kinda want this to happen… or at least thought about the remote possibility. We’ve seen relationships come and go on this show. Usually the couple is already together when they are introduced or “thrown together” because of proximity and circumstance and genuine lust. But this is the first relationship we’ve seen grow from strangers, to alliances, to friendship, to partners (and parents), to love. I, for one, bless this union.
#20: HI, I’M NEGAN
This is, of course, my humble opinion, but Negan’s debut was one of the best scenes and one of the greatest monologues in television history… and frankly I’m really struggling to think of another. (feel free to help me out) And how does this man manage to be sexy and terrifying at the same damn time? In all the years of being a die-hard TWD fan and watching the marathons every time they come on, the final episode of Season 6 is one that is very difficult for me to relive. I always eagerly anticipate every season premier, but Season 7 is the first time I am literally scared to death to watch. Seeing the promos and hearing his voice saying “Eeeny. Meeny. Miney. Mo” sends chills up my spine… the bad kind. Savior Whistles have replaced Dueling Banjoes at the top of my list of “sounds I do not ever want to hear when in the great outdoors.” I am positive Negan will be our greatest villain ever. So… who did he beat the wholly hell out of? I have my theories. While I don’t want to lose any of the characters on the chopping block, I’m kinda hoping he goes for the low-hanging fruit… like Aaron or Eugene. I think he’ll spare the women and children… this round. We know it’s not Rick. If Daryl dies, so will this show! Abraham is too easy. That leaves… (gulp)… Glenn. Oh, lord… I can’t stand it.
(and if you read the novels, I am begging you NOT to spoil this for me, okay?)
So there you have it… the awful-awesomeness of 6 seasons of The Walking Dead, ChatterBox Christie-style! Now… excuse me while I go mentally prepare myself for Sunday night.
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