Tear Jerker: The Walking Dead

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     The comic 
  • 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.
  • Even though they were cannibals, Chris' group needed to survive. And the look on his face before Rick's group kills them was just heart breaking.

     The TV show 

Season 1

1 - Pilot
  • When Rick enters the Grimes household, he discovers that Lori and Carl are gone and collapses to the ground in catatonic grief, crouched in the fetal position as he cries out for his family (who he thinks are dead).
  • Rick walking back to find the "bicycle walker" just before he leaves King County, and discovering that she has started to drag her legless body through a field. Rick's remark that "I'm sorry this happened to you" is poignant, considering that she's the first walker he's come across, and he pitied her sorry situation.
  • Morgan tearfully trying to work up the strength to shoot his zombified wife.
  • The horse that was Eaten Alive. Made even worse by the preceding few minutes, where Rick playfully talked to the horse and told it that there would be lots of other horses for it to meet in Atlanta.

3 - Tell It To The Frogs
  • Merle may have been a violent, racist douchebag (and an Asshole Victim), but when he was shown 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 and hearing beg Jesus to show him the way and help him while walkers bash in the door to the roof is a little bit disturbing and upsetting to say the least.
  • Watching Carol's abusive relationship with Ed. He beats her and slaps her, but when he's lying on the ground bleeding, she cries and apologizes over and over.

4 - Vatos
  • Andrea's anguished crying over her sister dying after the fish fry attack, which carries out into the night as Jim mournfully states that he remembers why he dug the holes...

5 - Wildfire
  • Glenn tearfully telling Daryl that they only burn "geeks" but they bury their own dead.
  • After Amy's death, her moment of waking up as a zombie is pretty heart wrenching. Andrea has sat beside her for hours since her death, and reacts 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 see what's happening and rush over to intervene. 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.
    • Likewise, Amy's funeral. Andrea has trouble putting the body in the grave, and Dale tries to help her by grabbing Amy's feet. Andrea pitifully calls out, "I can do it! I can do it..." as he gingerly holds onto the bottom of the bag as they lower the corpse into the ground.
  • 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 (and subsequent Guilt Complex) about how he managed to get away while the zombies were killing his family.

6 - TS-19
  • Dale talking Andrea out of her attempted suicide by explosion by staying there in the CDC with her.
    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.

Season 2

  • Sophia's death and eventual walker state. 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.
  • 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.

Season 3

  • 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 Season 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 1, 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.
    • He says it in a stoic way anyone who has lost someone develops to cope. His voice just emphasizes how much it still hurts.
  • 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. It's like he completely regresses into a childlike state, confused why someone he loves is hurting him, and too 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 Daryl's 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.

Season 4

  • 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. We later find out that she had a young son who was killed in the initial outbreak.
    • 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 Meghan is now terrified of him, after she saw him kill her grandfather's walker.
  • "Too Far Gone"... This is gonna be a long list.
    • 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, but now he tells the Governor that 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.
    • Put simply, this episode was a Downer Ending for everybody. Lilly loses her daughter, Tara up and leaves in the middle of the battle at the prison, the Governor blows away his final chance at redemption and kills Hershel, the Governor dies, nearly everyone from the Governor's camp is dead, all of the survivors staying at the prison are forced to go their separate ways in different groups, Judith is missing and presumed dead, the prison is overrun by zombies, and Rick and Carl leave the prison in shame, alone and utterly broken.
    • 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.
  • At the climax of "After", Carl gives up on life when he thinks Rick has succumbed to his injuries and become a walker. At first, he points his father's pistol, then he tearfully throws it away and tells Rick to quickly eat him. Luckily, Rick was just finding it hard to breathe and crawl.
    • Also, Michonne's reaction when she's reunited with Rick and Carl. The look of utter relief on her face is particularly powerful, considering she's normally The Stoic.
    • Michonne returning to the prison and finding Herschel's zombified head. She decides to put it out of its misery.
    • When scavenging a house for supplies, Carl comes across an Xbox. He looks at it nostalgically and for a brief second, you can see that he's a kid again as he marvels at it. However, that moment quickly passes when Carl remembers the situation he's in, and the appeal lies now in having the cables from the console and the TV to brace the front door shut for safety. It hammers home how the Zombie Apocalypse forces children to grow up far faster than they should.
    • Carl's explosion at an unconscious Rick about halfway through the episode. He goes through a checklist of his Dad's failures, painfully acknowledging just how crappy the situation is. There's also a chance that Carl shares the burdens of these failures, having spent the past season and a half trying to show his independence and initiative. This would be especially so with Judith's supposed death.
  • Glenn has to resort to scavenging in the prison in "Inmates", having found himself on his own. While he roots through his friends' rooms for supplies, the only personal items he takes are Hershel's watch and the photo he took of Maggie.
    • Then later, he has to hear from Tara that Hershel was executed by the Governor.
    • Tara herself saw Lilly being ripped apart by walkers and has been sitting behind a fence, not moving or even reacting to the nearby walkers, for quite some time.
  • "Still" returns to Daryl and Beth, the latter of whom decides that she wants her first drink. This leads to two things:
    • They raid a country club, and Beth finds Peach Schnapps. Before she drinks, she begins to cry over the situation of losing the prison and not knowing where her family and friends are. Daryl immediately tells her that her first drink isn't gonna be Peace Schnapps, and takes her to go get moonshine, which leads to...
      • Daryl and Beth get drunk, and get into a shouting match, first about how Daryl didn't have the things that Beth had growing up and how he had to survive on his own as a result. Eventually, he breaks down and reveals that he regrets not being able to protect the prison or Herschel, and he and Beth cry together.
      • Later, the two reminisce about their fallen loved ones, which in and of itself is sad.
  • Daryl gets emotionally beaten down during "Alone" when some guy in a car makes off with Beth, who Daryl was just beginning to form a real bond with. Daryl first runs after the car for hours, then just sits at a crossroads looking totally broken, not even noticing when a scavenger group comes across him.
  • A flashback in "Alone" gives an insight into Bob's life before he was found by the prison group. He simply roamed through forests, never really sleeping, looking completely dead-eyed. One of his few moments of relative peace was when he found a safe-spot, then drank Nyquil while watching a walker trying to reach him. When Glenn and Daryl come across him, he immediately accepts their invitation to join them, not even caring what sort of group they are. He just can no longer stand being alone.
  • Carol and Tyreese find Lizzie back at the house who has already killed her own sister, so that she would turn (and was even planning on killing Judith, if Tyreese and Carol had not returned in time) and they would be able to see that walkers are just "different" from the living. Carol, realizing that Lizzie can no longer be around other people, takes her out for a walk so they can talk. Lizzie gets upset, believing that Carol is angry with her, and Carol tries to calm her down by telling her to look at the flowers. Carol then takes out a gun, and shoots Lizzie from behind.
    • Then there's the preview for The Talking Dead immediately after the episode. Usually, the host is smiling, there's music, the crowd is cheering, and they're all excited to start talking. After this one, it's dead silent, the host is quiet and solemn, and all three guests are huddling on the couch holding each other, with special guest CM Punk still visibly crying.
    • "Look at the flowers, Lizzie."
  • From "A":
    • Michonne finally revealing her full backstory and how she lost her son to Carl. It's nothing most viewers hadn't been able to guess by themselves, but the quiet pain on her face and in her voice is upsetting nonetheless.
    • Carl admitting his fears that he's "just another monster" and not the good man that Rick believes him to be.
    • Daryl telling Rick about escaping the prison with Beth and her eventual disappearance. He doesn't go into specifics, but the look on his face is utterly heartbroken and shows how much he came to care for her during their time together.

Season 5

  • The cruel, anticlimactic death of Sam that's used to kick off the season.
  • Strangers: Bob leaving the group after being bitten. He hides it until nightfall, and after having the first truly hopeful and happy night in a long time, he doesn't want to ruin it by saying anything. He forces a smile through dinner, gets a last kiss from Sasha, and walks outside when no one is looking. From the woods, he looks at the warm glow from the windows of the church and smiles because he knows they're going to do great things - then breaks down because he knows he won't be a part of it.
  • Bob's death in "Four Walls And A Roof". He lies on Father Gabriel's sofa as the fever slowly burns him out, and Sasha stays by his side until the very end. After he passes, Tyreese comes and stabs him in the head to prevent him from coming back, so Sasha wouldn't have to do it.
  • "I miss Andrea. I miss Hershel. I don't miss what's behind. I don't miss that sword."
  • Abraham's backstory, gradually revealed over the course of Self-Help. After killing a group of people, apparently for the sake of his wife and two small children, his family is terrified of him and abandons him in the night. He finds them later...eaten by walkers. He seems almost Driven to Suicide until Eugene comes up, talking of a mission. Then, after all of it, the mission turns out to be a lie. And Rosita looks at him the same way his wife did.
    • After Eugene admits that he's not a scientist, Rosita reminds him in a rather somber tone, "People died to get you here"; Eugene is aware of this, and sadly lists off the people that have died during the mission, including Bob.
  • In Claimed, we revisit Carol's abusive past and see how hard she is trying to let go of it. Then, at the end, a book about recovering from abusive childhoods falls out of Daryl's bag, showing that he still has issues to get past as well.
  • Beth's death at the end of the mid-season finale. Possibly the worst part was seeing Daryl sobbing while carrying her lifeless body outside. And then Maggie - who had been told she was alive - sees her and just collapses in grief, screaming. The entire cast pulled out very raw, very heartbreaking performances. Andrew Lincoln barely holds himself together during his final lines, Melissa McBride quickly tearing up, Chad Coleman trying to breathe, even Christian Serratos just putting her hand over her gaping mouth helps sell it... Then we get Lauren Cohan shrieking in grief seeing Daryl cradling her dead sister and collapsing to the ground.
    • It wasn't easy behind the scenes either. Before shooting the scene where Daryl carries Beth's dead body, Norman Reedus (Daryl) was sitting on an applebox crying his eyes out while the rest of the crew were walking around doing their jobs. He goes on to say that it was a really crazy day and it was disheartening for him to see a character he liked and cared about be killed off. You can see it here.
    • Lauren Cohan (Maggie) didn't take it easy either as she begins to break down in tears as she is describing the day when they shot Daryl carrying Beth's dead body.
    • On Talking Dead, Emily Kinney (Beth) recounts her experiences on Walking Dead and even begins to break down a couple of times throughout the episode, some of which even prompt a hug from host Chris Hardwick himself.
  • Tyreese's death. After spending the episode bitten, bleeding out, and haunted by bloody visions of all the people he's seen die gruesomely, the hallucinatory images/spirits of Bob, Beth, Mika, and Lizzie appear before him one last time, uninjured and smiling. They reassure him that it will be okay, and he passes away peacefully.
    • "It's okay now..."
    • The closing shot of Tyreese's signature beanie resting on his grave.
  • "Them." 90% of this episode is about how depressed the group is and struggling to find a reason to continue.

     The video game 

Season 1

  • 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. If Lee opts to help Kenny, it 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 Lilly, it's even worse. Larry is possibly starting to breathe again. And Kenny crushes his head anyway.
  • 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.
  • Minor one. In a Non-Standard Game Over near the end of Episode 1, Lee fails to prevent a zombie from biting and killing Clementine. Rather than panic, or try to escape or avenge, Lee just gives up, closes his eyes and allows a zombie to kill him.
  • Episode 3, in spades.
    • The deaths of Carley/Doug at the hands of Lilly is very sudden and jarring.
      • The former is widely considered heartbreaking since we get to know the character more and have more interaction with.
    • Duck being bitten. There's no cure. He's suffering and you have to decide who ends it.
    • Katjaa's suicide over the loss of her son.
    • 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 a 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.
  • Lee has the option of comforting Vernon over one of his friends, Brie, not making it out of Crawford. His response:
    Vernon: You want to know the worst part? I don't feel much. I mean, I don't feel enough. Shouldn't I be broken up over what happened? That's how I was in those first few days, when I lost my daughter, when I lost my friends. But now? It's like I just take something like this in stride. Like this is the way our world is now, and we better just get used to it.
  • 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.
    • Let's see, by the end of the fifth episode, Lee will become a walker or be mercy killed by Clementine, Omid and Christa are unaccounted for, Ben is Impaled with Extreme Prejudice, Kenny will fend off the Walkers before shooting Ben to spare him being torn apart, Clementine sees her zombified parents, you discover the results of stealing the supplies from the camper van when the man who kidnapped Clementine tells you about how his wife and daughter left him, only for him to find them turned into Walkers a day later... Let's just say the season finale is built around this.
    • 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.
  • The Stranger. Practically the Trope Codifier for Alas, Poor Villain.
    (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.
  • When Lee reveals that he's bitten to Clementine, he can speak the following sentence to her. And it's in the most heartbreaking voice:
    Lee: I'm sorry, Clem. I'm supposed to take care of you and now I can't.
  • 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 claims 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.
    • And with every piece of advice given, the player gets the same message that has followed them throughout the game: "Clementine will remember that." Only this time, the implications are all the more powerful.
    • This scene is so traumatic that every Let's Player that has done this game has broken down in tears during this scene.
  • 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.

Season 2

  • 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. It comes up again at the start of Season 2 with Clementine looking at it along with her photo of Lee, as a reminder of everyone she's lost.
  • One of the screenshots for Season 2 is an older Clementine looking at Lee's picture. Ouch.
  • The first episode of Season 2 has Omid being shot, Christa having a miscarriage and being separated from Clementine. Not even the dog Clementine finds stays around as it eventually bites her. Oh, and after their fight, you get to choose whether to Mercy Kill the dog or not when it's impaled
    • The look on Clem's face after the six month Time Skip. Such a sad, hopeless face on such a young girl...
    • Sam the dog. He's malnourished by the time you find him, you come across the remains of the camp the family that owned him were surviving in, with all signs showing that there were no survivors. And because he couldn't understand Clementine's intent he thinks that she's keeping food from him and bites her, leading to his impalement after the fight where he can only cry and struggle to get free. The Sadistic Choice does little to ease the pain, as you either cut his throat and listen to his whines get quieter until he stops, or leave him there, the camera lingering on him as he keeps struggling to get free.
    • Later in Season 2, Episode 1, Clementine has to suture a massive wound in her own arm. It's a long, excruciating, and incredibly explicit process. But while the gore might gross you out, her relentless sobs and whimpers all throughout will make you cry.
    • Clem can express guilt over indirectly killing Lee at one point when Luke asks what happened to him. The sad thing is that she's right, in a way. If she hadn't gone with The Stranger Lee wouldn't have gotten bit looking for her and he might still be alive today.
      • Another of her lines imply she feels responsible for Omid's death, as well.
    Clementine: People die because of me sometimes.
    • It's implied that Christa holds Clementine somewhat responsible for Omid's death, which is why she was acting cold towards her in the beginning. It makes the above line so much more heartbreaking.
    • Look at Omid's expressions after he's been shot. It's like he doesn't even realize it at first. He looks at the door... then he looks at the gun... and then finally the blood staining his clothes from the gunshot wound. And that's when the horrifying revalation that these are his last moments sets in and he just... collapses. What must it have been like to think everything was fine one moment and then look down and realize that you. Are. Dying.
    • This quote from Clementine if you opt to play Frisbee with Sam twice. Especially considering how long it's been since the world went to crap.
    Clementine: I bet you miss this. ...I sure do.
    • When sneaking around inside the cabin you can look at a picture of a Duck in a pond. This causes Clem to remember Kenny Jr. and say his nickname, "Duck..." in a sorrowful, heartrending tone.
  • The fact that Clementine lost another family to the Zombie Apocalypse. Seriously, every parental figure or, heck, everyone she was close to have either died or were seperated from her in circumstances where it's very likely that they are dead. Let's see: her parents went on vacation and left her with a babysitter... who became zombified somehow. But then she met Lee! Nope, the Zombie Apocalypse ain't having none of that "happy family" business. Here's a zombie bite for him. Oh, and your biological parents are walkers now. Enjoy the trauma, Clem! That's not even going into all of the people in the survivor group who died. Some gruesomely and right in front of her. So Lee leaves her with Christa and Omid and all is good. Until Omid's meaningless death due to some brat who doesn't know how to handle a gun. B-but we still have Christa, right? Even if she never was the same after Omid died ... Hmm. Nope, Clementine's STILL doing too well so Christa gets ambushed by Bandits and is seperated from Clementine. She's staying with the Cabin group for now, but knowing this world who knows how long THAT's going to last?
  • The return of Kenny results in some tears, as Clementine is reminded of Lee and Kenny accidentally refers to her as "Duck" during dinner.
    • It's quite clear that he is nowhere near over the deaths of Katja and Duck, and may be using Sarita as a replacement, becoming very overprotective of her.
  • Sarah is forced to watch her father being beaten and having his fingers broken in front of her, all while she's sobbing and screaming at Carver to please let her father go, to no avail.
  • Walter figuring out that Matthew, who was probably his lover, is dead. The most genuinely kind person that you can imagine in the middle of a Zombie Apocalypse, and the person most important to him was killed by one of the very same group that he invited into his home. Depending on how you handle it, he'll either have a good chunk of his remaining faith in humanity shattered, or simply break down over how Matthew's death was such a senseless, horrible mistake. And either way he dies when Carver shoots him during the hostage crisis, with one of the last things he sees being a picture of himself and Matthew happy together.
  • Something of a meta-example. Seeing Bonnie's return as an antagonist is likely going to upset many players. If Tavia is in league with Carver, it just shows how utterly savvy he and his crew are at emotional manipulation in this post-apocalyptic world. Episode 3 confirms that Tavia is one of Carver's enforcers and unlike Bonnie, has absolutely no compunctions about the way he runs his community.
    • Made worst that in Episode 3, you have the option to have Clementine call her out on her actions. Even when she apologizes you can still chew her out on it, hammering it into her that she can apologize all she want, it's not gonna change the fact that her actions have led a vicious psychopath to murder an innocent man.
  • Being with Pete in his last moments. After he throws the saw away, it's clear that, barring an unlikely rescue, it's only a matter of time, which tints everything you do after that with an air of hopelessness. Pete himself knows he's going to die and later on, admits he's scared. The sole respite in this scene, if it could be called that, is that Pete died a hero's death distracting the Walkers so we could get away. Nick's reaction later on just makes you feel worse about the whole thing.
    Pete: You know what's funny? ...I don't wanna die.
    • To make matters worse, you also have the option of telling Nick that he was afraid in his last moments. The thought of someone he looked up to turning out to be so vulnerable stuns him.
  • The rendition of "In the Pines" that plays during the credits of episode 2 is absolutely heart-breaking. The fact that it's so quiet and serene after Walter and possibly Alvin being killed, Carlos being tortured and the group being captured by Carver in a very dramatic and action-packed climax provides some jarring Mood Dissonance too. Here you go.
  • Carver forcing Carlos to smack Sarah, his own daughter. Sarah doesn't handle it well at all.
    • You can tell that Carlos absolutely does not want to go through it with every fiber of his being. Carver doesn't even let him comfort her afterward and what Troy said probably made him feel even worse.
    Troy: Damn, doc. You really knocked the shit out of her.
  • Alvin's Heroic Sacrifice, if he survived the previous episode. His last words fucking hurt.
    Alvin: Take care of my girls. I got a feelin' it's gonna be a girl...
  • When Carver calls you up to his office, you get to see Rebecca walking out of there, crying her eyes out. What did he do and/or say to her?
    • If Alvin survived Episode 2, it becomes obvious. She had seen that Carver had beaten Alvin to within an inch of his life.
  • Carlos' sudden, brutal death at the end of Episode 3. It's bad enough that he dies so close to freedom, but Sarah's reaction - her anguished, broken screaming - is just the icing on an already agonizing cake.
    • Anadel's "Remember Me" that plays during the credits is a hauntingly pleasant contrast to what happened before. It almost makes you feel like someone's reminiscing about better times. On the heels of Carlos' death, and seeing Sarah's reaction to it it's like the song's about Sarah remembering her now dead father.
  • And the end of Episode 3, Sarita gets bitten. The cliffhanger has her either nursing her bite with a solemn look... or having her entire limb immediately chopped off courtesy of Clementine, looking at it for a moment in shock before letting out a blood-curdling scream.
    • What makes this worse is that this Kenny has lost another loved one and he is still haunted by the loss of his family.
  • The trailer for episode 4 hits pretty hard, especially for Kenny fans.
    Kenny: "Do you know what it feels like to be beaten, almost to death? Peaceful. It was like I was just floating away... then I woke up again."
    • Sarita's death in the actual episode. You can tell just how badly her death has affected Kenny when he yells at Clementine when they reach the campsite.
    • What makes this even worse is that she died without even knowing why Clementine cut off her arm, not realizing that it was to keep her from turning, so you could have very well broken her trust in you in her last moments alive.
      • But she was there when Reggie explained how he'd lost his arm and survived, wasn't she? Granted, it doesn't make the situation much better for poor Sarita...
    • If Clementine doesn't cut off her hand, she still succumbs to infection.
      • At least she's still with Kenny.
    • When Kenny gets mad at her, Sarita tries to defend her, but she's too weak.
    • Clementine's face when Kenny yells at Clementine. Poor Clem looks like she is going to cry.
  • Sarah's death in episode 4. She's just so sad and scared. But what's worse is that she's screaming for Clementine and for someone to help her. Her terrified shrieks as she gets eaten alive aren't any better.
    • If Clementine decides to leave her, she just looks up and calls out for her. And then she gets eaten.
    • What makes it crueler is the sheer brutality and misfortune of it. After being saved and looking like she might just make it out of the episode okay she falls when the deck collapses and gets pinned under some rubble. Even if the player tries to save her she gets surrounded and Eaten Alive as she screams desperately for her father. Jesus Christ Telltale.
  • When you think about it, Luke is the last surviving member of the Cabin group. All of his friends are gone.
    • Finding Nick stuck as a walker and being forced to kill him with Clementine's hatchet.
      • For players who took that route, it's even worse knowing you promised Pete to look after him in his stead. Any security he could've felt when you made that promise was false. To pervert this even further, putting down Nick's walker is not pretty and probably wasn't the most painless Mercy Kill one could experience.
  • In Amid the Ruins, Jane, as a whole. The circumstances of her sisters death and how it has affects her as she watches Sarah die is truly heart wrenching. Also, what she says to Clementine as she's about to leave...
    "I'm not going to stick around and... and watch it happen to you too."
  • Rebecca becomes The Woobie right in the beginning, severely frightened from being alone and separated from the other while repeating to herself that she wasn't going to make it whether on her own or without Alvin. Her fate is a tragic one, that despite her determination to survive and not become The Load of the group, she dies shortly having her baby and becomes a walker who nearly devours her own newborn.
  • The trailer for the season finale. The fact that it's a summary of all major events apparently isn't bad enough. At the end, we're granted a scene of Clementine, prior to the events of Season 1, having a cute moment with her babysitter and a raccoon in her treehouse. She talks to her parents over the phone just before the scene cuts to an older Clementine, looking absolutely miserable.
    Clementine: "I'll see you soon."
    • The last seconds of the trailer, where the camera lingers on Clementine for a few moments (in her life just before the outbreak), suddenly cutting to Clementine, today. She was just a regular, eight-year old girl, she was smiling and happy, and the weather was bright and sunny. Now, Clementine is eleven, struggling to survive in the middle of a blizzard, with nothing but a gun in her hand, alone. It really hits you hard.
    • Sandra's line of "That's no way to say goodbye to your mother!" is extremely hard to hear.
    • "I said you could borrow my hat, not keep it."
  • In the beginning of Episode 5, Arvo is desperately trying to revive his sister. Regardless of how you feel about him, he's a kid who just watched his older sister die. His crying was heart-wrenching.
  • The aftermath of Rebecca's death. Just everyone gathering around, lamenting over her, and seeing her cold corpse...it was horrible. She won't be able to watch her son grow....
  • Luke's death was sudden and saddening. Drowning in a cold lake - and Bonnie's potential death trying to save him is just as sad.
    • Even worse if you go to save him rather than covering him: Luke is begging you to stay back
  • Clementine getting shot and almost dying.
    • And when the flashback sequence with Lee happened, it gives the impression that it was a Dying Dream.
      • On the other hand, it's also rather heart-breaking that Clementine thought that the entirety of Season 2 was a dream and she was still with Lee, only to be woken up back into the nightmare that she's living in.
      • Meanwhile, consider the implication here. Back in the context of season one, that scene was fairly dark. Duck was clearly dying, Kenny was in fierce denial, the conflict with Lilly over the grisly fate of Larry was coming to a head — it wasn't a happy time. But now? Things have gotten so bad that Clementine is nostalgic for those times. The thought of being back there is actually comforting now.
  • Kenny's death. Even though he was going through a Sanity Slippage and acted downright violent and deranged from time to time, he had been Clementine's longest friend, or at least someone she knew well enough. Either way, he resigns to his death. At least if he had died in Season One he would have died redeeming himself - his death in Season Two felt like putting down a mad dog...
    • The Last Words in this scene are what really drive it home - he even flat-out tells Clem that she made the right choice, showing that he is well aware of his behavior and is glad that she prevented him from hurting anyone else. Clem can then comfort him with the thought that he'll be with Katjaa and Duck soon, an idea that gets him to Go Out with a Smile.
    • Even if the player decides to not kill him, there's still a tearjerker in store for the player when they reach Wellington. After finding out that Wellington is over capacity and are unable to let more survivors in, Kenny willingly makes a plea for them to let Clementine and AJ in without him on the account that they are just children, and remains outside as a result. If Clementine stays behind at Wellington with AJ, the farewell scene between her and Kenny is really heartwrenching, with him giving away his signature hat to AJ before walking off into the horizon.
  • The ending. By the time the credits roll, you will probably have recovered enough to think about the events of episodes 3, 4 and 5 all together. The ever-present Dwindling Party trope has gone all the way now: Episode 3- Carlos is mauled by walkers, and Alvin dies in a Heroic Sacrifice if he survived Episode 2. Episode 4- Sarita is either eaten by walkers or is put down because of her bite. Nick is killed off-screen, and you have to kill his reanimated body. Sarah dies part-way through, but Rebecca has her baby, and Babies Make Everything Better, right? Guess what, Rebecca dies from exhaustion a few days later. But the Blast Out ending didn't kill anyone we cared about, right? Well, Luke drowns, and possibly Bonnie too. Mike, Arvo, and Bonnie if she made it this far, try to skip town, and Arvo shoots Clementine. We don't stay conscious to see what becomes of them. Finally, either Kenny or Jane has to die at our hand. That's a lot, right? It's horrible to realize, but nobody from the original Cabin Group is alive anymore. You get so caught up in the action of the end that you almost forget how many people have gone, and it hits you all over again. Especially with the Go It Alone ending, you certainly feel a sense of emptiness now, seeing only an 11-year-old girl carrying a newborn into a herd of walkers, trying to survive. Stronger alone... but alone nonetheless...
    • Somewhat related, but looking back in Episode 1, waking up to see the Cabin Group looking down at you, talking and befriending Sarah, possibly forgiving Nick and having a friendly talk with Luke, it...it all seems like it happened a lifetime ago. The plot of Season 2 takes place over the span of little more than two weeks, but the episodes were released weeks apart. All seven cabin members are gone. It's impossible to rewatch the early episodes and not feel bad anytime you see Luke or Rebecca or Nick or anyone else...
  • The Wellington ending is arguably the most hopeful, but also possibly the most bittersweet. Kenny and Clementine find Wellington and its more than they could ever dream of. The walls are massive and secure, the place is isolated from towns and cities and they are nice enough to GIVE AWAY whole bags of supplies to groups that reach them. The catch? Kenny and Christa weren't the first to hear of such a great place and they can't accept any new members because it could drain too many of their supplies. Kenny, who before had told Clementine about how he never spent enough time with his family, about how he'd do things right with her and AJ, speaks up immediately to ask if just the kids can stay. Clementine doesn't like that she'll have to leave her oldest friend and protector besides Lee but tearfully agrees. As they say their goodbyes Kenny hands over his hat and tells Clementine to never forget all the people that died to get them there and to tell AJ about his parents when he gets older. The scene ends with Clementine and AJ entering the safety of their new home as the door closes on Kenny walking off alone. Its a massive improvement over season 1's ending where Clementine is left alone in the wilderness and Kenny is trapped alone in a city filled with zombies since Clementine is finally safe and Kenny has a bag of supplies... but then it hits you. While they both have a fairly good chance of surviving they'll almost certainly never see each other again. After losing their first and second families they have to split up and go their separate ways just weeks after reuniting.
  • The last fight between Kenny and Jane is both Nightmare Fuel and a Tear Jerker. The whole time, Clementine is desperately trying to pry the two apart to no avail. By the time it reaches the Sadistic Choice that we all knew was coming, she is begging for them to not kill each other, and is in tears when she either kills Kenny or lets him kill Jane. The later fact that it was completely pointless is even worse, and its not hard to see the alone ending as Clem crossing the Despair Event Horizon.

    The Books 

Rise Of The Governor

The Road To Woodbury

  • Josh telling Lilly about the fate of his mother. When he got home from work he found her remains spread out across the table at his house. Apparently, she mistook the zombies for starving homeless people and let them inside herself.
  • Josh's death. Its extremely sudden and happens right after he and Lilly have a falling out after she told him that she might not actually love him. What makes it worse is just how senseless it was, he didn't get attacked by a walker or suffer an accident, no. He died because he refused to hand over a bag of supplies he found to the butcher, who was already working him like a dog and driving up his debt to him. The kindest, nicest person to survive the zombie apocalypse and he gets shot in the back of the head out of petty greed. Damn.

Fall Of The Governor