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Tear Jerker: The Walking Dead
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Carol's first suicide attempt.
Carol's suicide and the fallout. Sophia's vacant stare afterwards is particularly upsetting.
Billy's death and the fact that it leads to Hershel losing the will to live.
During the battle against the Governor's forces, when Lori and Judith are killed. At this point, even his own people see what a scumbag he is and turns on him.
The final page of that issue, which shows Rick and Carl tearfully embracing.
Morgan saying good-bye to his zombie son.
Morgan talking to Carl on his deathbed. Made even worse when he confuses Carl with his son. Guy just can't catch a break.
The absolutely brutal death of Glenn at the hands of Negan and his baseball bat as several of the other survivors are Forced to Watch.
Abraham, Carl, and Rick sitting beside the car talking. From Abraham's story In which several people in the first group he's joined up with raping his wife, daughter and two other girls while making his son watch. When he finds out, he goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge which scares his family enough to cause them to leave. He goes after them, and when he finds them, they'd been attacked, with his daughter zombified, forcing him to kill her. Then he joins up with Rosita and Eugene's group, three people try to take some supplies and leave, forcing him to kill them. He then sits crying, wondering if he's become a monster like the zombies around them. Rick then tells how he killed Dexter during the roamer fight, and how he ran over Ramirez with the RV before beating him to death. Rick then says that what they're doing is necessary to protect those they care for, and how he worries about what would happen if Carl knew. And if that weren't enough, Carl talks about how he shot Shane in the neck to protect Rick, and how he wished he could kill the man who killed Lori and Judith, as well as help kill the man who tried to rape him. The scene ends with Carl and Rick embracing in tears while Abraham sits silently next to them.
The TV show
After Andrea's little sister Amy's killed, her moment of waking up as a zombie is pretty heart wrenching, what with Andrea having sat beside her for hours since her death, and reacting to her awakening by stroking her and apologizing for "never having been there", to which Amy's zombified self strokes Andrea in a seemingly fond manner as well. At this moment the others sees what's happening and are rushing over to shoot Amy and most of the audiences were probably thinking What an Idiot when Andrea keeps holding onto her even as she moves in to bite her, when suddenly Andrea finishes her apology with "I love you" and blows a hole in Amy's head.
Glenn tearfully telling Daryl that they only burn "geeks" but they bury their own dead.
Jim asking to be left behind and abandoned because the pain of his infection was too much for him to endure as they sought help or a cure, compounding his story about how he managed to get away while the zombies were killing his family.
Morgan tearfully trying to work up the strength to shoot his zombified wife.
Dale: "Too bad! 'C-cause you don't get to do that. T-to come into somebody's life, make them care, and just . . . check out!"
Jenner and Jacqui's final moments right before the explosion.
Merle may have been a violent, racist douchebag, but when he was shown at the beginning of episode 3 still handcuffed to the roof after everyone had to make a quick exit at the end of the previous episode, he broke down, figuring that he is being punished for being such a jerk. He seemed genuinely remorseful (at first, anyway) and it was hard not to feel bad for him.
Sophia's death and eventual walker state. Bonus points go to Hershel and his family in the same episode; the majority of the main characters had no qualms with cleansing the barn of walkers, but they were all stunned the moment Sophia stepped out, which put things in perspective knowing that Hershel was going through the same thing, only tenfold. Special mention goes to Daryl, who up until then had been dead set on finding her and reuniting her with her mother.
Carl getting shot.
Hershel's Heroic BSOD after the barn massacre, getting drunk for the first time in years and lamenting what a fool he was to deny that his family and friends were dead.
Dale's breakdown over the group's near unanimous vote to execute Randall, after spending the entire episode trying to convince them otherwise.
Dale: (to Daryl) You were right. This group IS broken.
Dale's death. It was so abrupt and unexpected, and it actually angered many viewers.
Daryl: Sorry brother...
The scene where Rick kills Shane is pretty saddening. The soundtrack played over it doesn't help either. He had it coming, but the tear jerker bit comes from the fact that Rick had to kill his oldest and best friend, and considers himself to be losing his humanity even more. Rick's screams after it happens are pretty depressing, too.
Rick: THIS WAS YOU, NOT ME! NOT ME!
The look on Hershel's face as the group flees from the farm, and he watches the barn burn down.
The group leaving Dale's RV behind in the Season 2 finale.
The brief shot of the note they'd left Sophia on the windshield of a car at the beginning of the season, the letters now runny and faded.
Hershel getting his ankle bitten by a walker in the season 3 premiere. While it hurts to watch at the time, it's somewhat of a retroactive aversion since Hershel survives the bite (due to Rick amputating his leg).
Lori begging Hershel not to hesitate to finish her off if she dies and reanimates in childbirth.
Maggie telling a sleeping Hershel that he doesn't have to live for her and Beth, that they'll manage without him after he's had his leg amputated when bitten by a walker.
Lori's failed attempt to reconcile with Rick in series 3 episode 2.
Lori's death in season 3, episode 4, "Killer Within". Fans were divided over how good a person she was, but her death, and Rick's subsequent breakdown over it at the end of the episode, is absolutely HEARTWRENCHING. To make things even worse, Carl is the one who has to put her down so she doesn't come back as a walker, his face blank as he tries to suppress his emotions.
Lori's last words:
Lori: Goodbye, love.
T-Dog's Heroic Sacrifice so that Carol can escape. Knowing he's already bitten, he wrestles a pair of walkers into the wall and holds them there until Carol can escape.
Rick nearly killing Glenn in his maddened rage after Lori's death.
A blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment when Daryl and Maggie search the abandoned house for baby formula: one of the walls is covered in stickers with children's names on it; Daryl stares for a second at a sticker that reads Sofie, then turns silently away. Does that name remind you of anyone Daryl cared about?
Carl suggesting names for his newborn sister, which consisted of listing all the women he's known who have died/ he thinks have died.
Daryl dwelling on Carol's empty grave and placing a Cherokee rose on it, thinking that's he's failed her again.
Rick finding where Lori died, as well as the walker that ate her body.
Rick discovering that the phone that's been calling him is in his head, and telling the imagined Lori on the other line that he loves her, and apologises that he couldn't keep her safe.
Darryl's story of how his alcoholic mother accidentally burned down their house and killed herself.
The capture and torture of Glenn and Maggie. Glenn is badly beaten and has a zombie set on him while tied to a chair, while Maggie is psychologically tortured with sexual threats until she finally admits where their group lives when the Governor points a gun at Glenn.
The Governor's reaction to his zombie daughter Penny being put down by Michonne. He just hugs her body and weeps uncontrollably.
And even beforehand, where he tearfully pleads to let Penny live and take him down, instead. He's a bad guy, but he's more sympathetic than his comic book counterpart.
Carol's reaction to finding out that Daryl has gone off with Merle, and isn't coming back to the prison.
Rick having a complete breakdown when he hallucinates a bloody Lori watching him as he decides whether to send away Tyreese's group. He just starts screaming at her to leave as she doesn't belong there while he's waving around a gun, and Hershel clearly doesn't know what to do.
Axel getting shot in the head.
Hallucinated Lori caressing Rick's face as he looks peaceful for the first time since 'The Killer Within'.
Merle seeing the scars on Daryl's back, and realising that their father abused him too once Merle ran away.
And then going back and rewatching older episodes with that knowledge in mind, and seeing the way Daryl shies away from any physical contact and flinches at raised voices.
Similarly Daryl choosing the group over Merle, and Merle realising that without his brother he's nothing.
Rick, Carl and Michonne run into Morgan, who has turned into a Crazy Survivalist. In his hideout, they find that not only did he keep the radio, but one Madness Mantra written over and over on the wall is Duane turned. He then attacks Rick, screaming that he's already dead, and when Rick pulls a gun on him he begs to be shot.
And then he proceeds to tell Rick that the reason his son was killed is because Morgan didn't shoot his zombified wife when he had the chance.
Which doubles as Fridge Brilliance when you listen to this story about Duane's fate. When Rick (and the viewers) first see the Madness Mantra it is assumed that it refers to Duane turning into a zombie. As he tells the story, he emphasizes the exact words about the physical act Duane does when faced with his mother, sealing his fate. He's not distraught over his son's undeath, but stuck in that exact moment of his death because he feels to blame for it; being too emotionally torn to kill his wife earlier and his son having the exact same "weakness" as him when faced with her.
Not to mention Morgan telling Rick that he had turned on the radio every day to try and contact him, but never received an answer. He then returns the radio, telling Rick he doesn't need it anymore. The expression of betrayal on Morgan's face and Rick's regret are just heartbreaking.
Rick telling Morgan "You're not seeing things right" and trying to persuade him everything will turn out fine. He's clearly trying to tell himself that just as much as Morgan.
Morgan telling Rick that he's doomed to die, that there's no hope anywhere, and that he should leave him to rot.
In "Clear," Michonne, Rick and Carl drive past a walking survivor (who's carrying a distinctively large, orange backpack) and ignore his pleads for help, with only Carl looking back troubled. During the return trip at the end of the episode they drive past a large bloody smear on the road with an orange backpack sitting nearby, and they nonchalantly stop just to grab the pack. Compared to how he was in season one, Rick has become worryingly cold.
Rick, Carl, and Michonne pass a sign for a woman named Erin, telling her where the person who made the sign was going, ostensibly so she could see it, follow them, and meet up. A bit further down the road, they run into a zombie pack that includes Erin.
The Governor describing how he heard that his wife had been killed in an accident, and remembering how she left him a voicemail asking him to call her, but he never got the chance, and he still wonders what she wanted to talk about. He says it in a very stoic way, but it's clear that it deeply affected him at the time.
Daryl and Martinez, and Hershel and Milton hanging out while the Governor and Rick talk. It's clear that these pairs could have become friends in the apocalypse, but the Governor's insanity makes it impossible.
Daryl finding the zombified Merle. As if the scene itself wasn't sad enough, the whole ordeal leaves Daryl openly bursting into tears.
What really hits home is that when he first sees Merle, there's just the briefest flicker of recognition in his eyes. Then he rises and starts walking, and Daryl can't even bring himself to cut him down at first. He just keeps pushing the undead Merle back several times, crying the whole time, before finally finishing the walker off.
Daryl shaking his head in denial and trying to avoid looking directly at Merle while slowly breaking into tears is arguably the most vulnerable image we see of him, and to see such a normally strong character just lose it projects said vulnerability on the audience.
Both this moment and when Merle starts beating Daryl up in Woodbury are horrible because normally, Daryl fights back against anything, but when faced with Merle, he physically curls in on himself, becoming an abused little boy again. Its like he completely regresses into a childlike state, confused why someone he loves is hurting him, and to afraid to fight back. Particularly poignant for anyone who has suffered abuse.
When Merle delivers the first punch at the fight in Woodbury, sending Daryl to the ground Daryls gasping sounds an awful lot like a child fighting back tears...
Carl gunning down a surrendering member of Woodbury in front of Hershel and Beth. Hershel then has to explain to Rick how his son killed someone in cold blood. When Rick confronts Carl about this, Carl justifies it by bringing up occasions where Rick failing to make the same decision had lethal consequences, such as Andrew killing Lori and the Governor killing Merle. After the argument Carl then throws his dad's sheriff star to the ground.
Milton's death, and his last attempts to help Andrea before he dies and turns.
Rick, Daryl, and Michonne finding Andrea. Michonne notices that she is burning up, and Andrea pulls her collar aside to reveal the bite mark on her neck. The characters all say their goodbyes, and Michonne, who's normally a Perpetual Frowner, is completely in tears. Special note also goes to Rick's words:
Andrea: Judith...Carl...the rest of them—
Rick:[puts his hand on her shoulder]Us. The rest of us.
Tyresse's reaction to seeing Karen's burnt body. And he came to visit her with flowers.
Rick, after realising that he has to use live bait to pull the walkers away from the fence, is forced to take the piglets he had been raising and throw them one by one to the walkers. Those little squeals...
Hell, he even sheds a few tears over it, as not only is he killing animals he raised himself, but he's realising that he's been lying to himself about being able to be a peaceful farmer.
Michonne weeping as she holds Judith. The scene suggests that she lost her own child.
In the comics Michonne had two daughters so this scene might be alluding to that.
Herschel breaking down after the events of "Internment". He can't even find his usual solace in the bible.
The look on The Governor's face when he realises that Megan is now terrified of him, after she saw him kill her grandfather's walker.
Meghan's death. It doesn't help that she died right in front of Lilly, or that the Governor coldly shoots her in the head later on right in front of Lilly like she were just an ordinary person who needed to be put down.
The Governor cutting Hershel's neck with Michonne's katana after Rick tries to convince the Governor and his people they could share the prison together. When Hershel survives and tries to crawl away, the Governor finishes him off by decapitating him.
Rick desperately pleading to the Governor to let Hershel and Michonne go is upsetting all on its own. Back in Season 3, he would've just walked up and started shooting at the guy instead now he tells the Governor they can just walk in and be one of them, together and peaceful even if it is difficult. Just knowing how much Rick has changed for the better, only to have the Governor snatch it all away from him is just sad.
In that moment, Hershel even smiles at Rick's reasoning being proud of how much Rick has changed during this season.
At the end of the episode, Rick and Carl find Judith's baby seat...full of blood. Their devastated reactions as they force themselves away from the destroyed prison are just brutal.
Remember that chess piece Meghan colored so that it looked like it had an eye patch like the Governor? Enjoy watching a walker stomp it into the ground shortly after Lilly kills him.
The Governor himself. The episode title undoubtedly refers to him. Regardless of how genuine he appears with building a loving family and hoping to settle matters peacefully, he is in fact too far gone and unable accept a peaceful outcome to anything.
Maggie and Beth watching helplessly behind the fence, crying and unable to do anything, as their father is brutally decapitated right in front of their eyes.
In an interview segment on "Talking Dead", Beth's actress Emily Kinney was in tears just talking about Hershel's death.
The video game
Whenever someone insults Ben, the look on his face says it all.
The first episode has Irene. The most tearjerking way to deal with her is to give her the gun, and stay with her, and tell her, "I'm here with you now", letting her know she at the very least won't die alone.
As is usual for the IP, Lee having to kill his zombified brother. It's bad enough when you can do it with a bullet, but to do it repeatedly with an axe, each time mutilating him, it's a real Kick the Dog with Lee as the dog.
In Episode 2, Larry's death, which is made far worse if Lee opts to help Kenny, which basically amounts to holding Lilly back from her attempts at CPR, the poor girl desperately pleading all the while, while Kenny crushes her father's head. If Lee helps, it's even worse. Larry is starting to breathe again.
Even though he is a murdering cannibal, seeing Andy break down and beg and scream at you to finish him off after you tell him that his mother and brother are dead, is pretty heartbreaking.
Kenny's despair when he realizes that no matter how much he hopes or wishes, there's just nothing else he can do for Duck.
Kenny:Isn't there some sort of pill or something we could just give him? He could just (voice breaking) drift off to sleep, right, hun? I mean, Jesus Christ! This is our son!
Another minor one caused by a Non-Standard Game Over. If you fail to convince Kenny to stop the train, you return to the boxcar and find everyone gone, with only a huge bloodstain and Clementine's hat. Lee is then killed by zombified Duck.
If you manage to convince Kenny to stop the train without violence, he reveals how much survivor's guilt he has.
Episode 4 continues this.
Lee getting bit near the very end. Now you know why the last episode is called 'No Time Left'. Lee himself, who has been strong throughout the entire Zombie Apocalypse, sobs when he sees his bite mark, chiefly because he realizes he won't be able to take care of Clementine much longer. Her rescue may be the last thing he ever does for her.
Another little boy is found zombified, and it hits Kenny extremely hard because he looks exactly like Duck. The poor kid had a long, slow death of starvation and dehydration. He's so emaciated that he looks more like a skeleton than a zombie, and he's too weak to do anything worse than growl at you. Worse, you find his drawing of his dog - which you had to exhume to get the collar from. After his Mercy Kill, Lee buries his body with his beloved dog's corpse, so the one glimmering ray of kindness is that he at the very end gets to be with his dog forever.
This also has some elements of Fridge Horror: Is that what would have eventually happened to Clementine had Lee not found her? Lee himself is horrified at the idea.
Chuck is separated from the group and surrounded by zombies while trying to save Clementine. Quite a bit later on, when travelling through the sewers, you stumble upon his mutilated body. Beside him is a revolver with no bullets; Lee comes to the conclusion that he used the last bullet on himself.
Ben asking Lee to drop him into a pit of walkers. The fact that he wants to die because he thinks that most of the group hates him is extremely gut wrenching.
Episode 5 has Christa finding a bed with a man and a woman, a romantic couple, each dead and rotting with guns by their side. The obvious Better to Die Than Be Killed scenario hits Christa really hard, since it's a What Could Have Been (and what still could be) with her and Omid.
ALL of this final episode is sad, but the hardest hitting one is Lee succumbing to the bite from Episode 4, and either being left behind by a heartbroken Clementine...or being put down by her. And one of the final things that Lee can say to her is that 'He'll miss her'.
After Ben vents his frustration at Kenny's treatment of him, it seems like Kenny and him will move past it... Then Ben falls from the balcony and gets Impaled with Extreme Prejudice. Kenny uses the gun from the dead couple's room to put him out of his misery before the walkers overtake him. You don't actually see him get bitten or hear him cry out in pain, but...
When Ben stands up to Kenny at last. Every line is like a punch to the solar plexus, but when he mentions his sister, it'll leave you reeling.
After fighting off the walkers in the mansion, you can leave the fight with one bullet left in Lee's pistol, and later have the option to give it to Kenny. If you do you will hear him shoot one off at Ben then another muffled shot a few seconds after. The last thing Lee could do for his friend was make sure he did not turn.
As Lee and Clementine part, Lee gives her last bits of advice. After every one, you will get the same kind of note you've been getting the entire series: "Clementine will remember this." It takes on such a greater meaning as you realize that, from a gameplay perspective, it doesn't really matter to the player, but it matters to Lee.
Oh, it definitely matters to the player too.
As Lee and Clementine try to leave the city, Clementine pauses and looks toward two walkers... her parents.
(possible conversation) Stranger: That hoodie she's wearing? It was my son's. Lee: We were starving. It was cold. Stranger: So my family starved in the cold!
Alternate scenario, if Ben is not with you during Episode 5, Christa jumps down into a seemingly empty room to retrieve the dropped walkie-talkie, and when zombies appear, Kenny pulls a Heroic Sacrifice to get her out, but can't get up himself, so he starts picking off zombies with what ammo he has left. What happens also happens offscreen.
When asked about who he has hurt by The Stranger and Lee chooses his wife, Lee finally confesses the situation that he has been so tight-lipped about since episode 1. His wife wanted to move around for work while Lee wanted to stay and raise a family. Fights ensued, which later caused a situation when he came home early to find his wife in bed with another man. Lee killed him in a fit of rage. Made even more tragic, considering how much his situation parallels The Stranger's own familial inadequacies.
As if the ending wasn't bad enough, some heartless bastard made this
Miracle Of Sound decided to make a rather sad song all about Lee and Clementine called Best I Can. (The song contains no spoilers, but the video does contain some up to episode 4).
And at the end of the last episode Take Us Back, a song about going back to simpler times, plays over the end credits to emphasize how that is never going to happen.
No matter how you deal with Larry in episode 2, you get shunned by someone. You can at least get a fraction of your friendship back with Kenny, but Lilly remains your enemy.
The fall of Lee's group is this: Prior to this, Mark and Larry are lost. A paranoid, mentally unstable Lily grieving over her father's demise either murders Carley in cold-blood and accusation of being a traitor, or accidentally claim Doug as her victim instead of Ben, who has been sneaking the bandits supplies and breaks down in a guilt-heavy confession. Lily, herself, is either abandoned on the side of the road or still allowed to stay with the other before leaving by stealing the RV. The attack that Ben caused resulted in a bitten Duck, and a darkened Katjaa, unable to perform the Mercy Kill on her child, kills herself, causing Kenny to spiral into his own depression as he loses the very thing he swore to protect. The only remaining members of the former group are Lee, Clementine, Kenny, and Ben. It becomes a real Tear Jerker when you notice how unified the group was in the previous episodes.
Lee, dying on the ground, not strong enough to even raise himself from the floor, carefully coaches Clementine what to do; even with his fading strength, he tells her she's doing well, and that everything will be alright. Even given the choices Lee has made up to this point, you can't help but feel that he does really care about her.
In the "400 Days" DLC, if you decide to hide in the bushes while playing as Russell, you wind up next to Carley or Doug's body, depending on who is saved in Episode 1.
A bit of a minor one, Lee finds Clementine's drawing of Kenny's family, shortly after Duck is put down. They must have really meant something to her.
One of the screenshots for Season 2 is an older Clementine looking at Lee's picture. Ouch.