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     Tropes D-E 
  • Darker and Edgier: While the show is by no means light and fluffy, two seasons in particular stand out as darker than previous ones.
    • Season 3's main conflict involves a bloody feud between Rick's group and Woodbury, who are led by the psychopathic Governor, as opposed to the slow-burn approach of Seasons 1 and 2 where the biggest threat was the survivors' inexperience with walkers and Shane's petty jealousy towards Rick.
    • Season 5 onward just keeps getting darker and darker. The protagonists often come dangerously close to becoming Villain Protagonists, the deaths become bloodier and gorier, and the human antagonists they face become far more nightmarish - whether it's the gluttonous cannibals of Terminus, the barbaric Wolves, or the massive army of Saviors led by Negan.
    • The show's version of Alpha is notably more brutal and violent than her comic counterpart, who was, at the least, able to be reasoned with, and showed genuine concern for her daughter Lydia.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Daryl, Carol, Michonne, to name a few.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Has a couple each season starting with Season 2.
    • Season 2: "Chupacabra" (Daryl), "18 Miles Out" (Beth).
    • Season 3: "Walk with Me" (Woodbury as a whole), "Home" (The Dixon brothers), "Prey" (Andrea).
    • Season 4: "Indifference" (Carol), "Internment" (Hershel), "Live Bait"/"Dead Weight" (The Governor), "After" (Carl and Michonne), "Still" (Daryl and Beth), "The Grove" (Lizzie and Mika).
    • Season 5: "Slabtown" (Beth), "Self Help" (Abraham and Eugene), "Consumed" (Daryl and Carol), "Try" (Rosita, who while not the main focus of the episode gets far more screen time and lines than usual).
    • Season 6: "Here's Not Here" (Morgan), "Now" (Deanna, Spencer, Jessie, and Aaron), "Always Accountable" (Daryl, Sasha and Abraham), "The Next World" (Rick, Daryl, Michonne, Spencer, and Jesus), "Knots Untie" (Abraham and Maggie), "Not Tomorrow Yet" (Abraham, Rosita, Carol), "The Same Boat" (Carol and Maggie), "Twice as Far" (Daryl, Rosita, and Denise, which also counts as A Death in the Limelight for the latter).
    • Season 7: "The Cell" (Dwight), "Swear" (Tara), "Sing Me a Song" (Carl), "Hostiles and Calamities" (Eugene and Dwight).
    • Season 8: "Some Guy" (Ezekiel), "The Big Scary U" (Negan, Gabriel, and Simon).
  • Daylight Horror: Frequently—the vast majority of encounters with Walkers past the first season happen during the daytime, mostly because the characters are at least savvy enough to bed down and stay inside during the night.
  • Dead Guy Junior: Carl suggests this when his sister is born... and then goes into a Long List of all the options they have to choose from.
  • Dead Guy on Display: The Woodbury militia has a walker strung up on a tree on the road leading to the town gate. In Alexandria, Aiden and Nicholas have a walker strung up as supposedly punishment for killing some of their other scouts.
  • Deadly Environment Prison: Rick chooses to allow one of the prisoners to escape into the walker-infested woods rather than wasting a bullet on him.
  • Deadly Training Area: In "Triggerfinger", Shane takes Andrea on a trip to an infested housing development while teaching her how to fire a handgun, and forces her to fend for herself when the pair come upon a large group of walkers.
  • Dead Man Honking: A long story arc has the protagonists trying to lead an incredibly large zombie herd away from their safe haven, Alexandria. The ruse fails when a semi-trailer crashes into the town walls, and the driver, slumping over, sounds the horn, leading much of the horde back to them.
  • Dead Star Walking:
  • Death by Adaptation:
    • Otis, who is killed while the group is staying at Hershel's farm, while in the comic he is killed near the end of the prison arc.
    • Sophia, who (compared to her continuing presence in the comic) is killed after the group finds her in the barn, having been turned into a walker.
    • Dale, as of "Judge, Jury, Executioner". In the source material, he survived all the way past the prison arc (which is the plot of the third season) until the Fear The Hunters arc (which was covered in the show from the penultimate episode of Season 4 up to the third episode of Season 5).
    • Otis's wife, Patricia was killed at the end of Season 2, while in the comic she was killed by The Governor.
    • Lori, as of "Killer Within". In the source material, she is killed at the end of the prison arc along with her infant daughter. In the series, she dies in childbirth and never gets to see her newborn child.
    • Technically, T-Dog, as of "Killer Within". He is a Decomposite Character of Tyreese, who was the first casualty of the Final Battle of the source material's prison arc. In the series, he is the first of the group's casualty in Season 3 during the beginning of the prison arc. Tyreese's main and direct counterpart in the series is currently Spared by the Adaptation as of Season 5.
    • Ben, as of "The Sorrowful Life". In the source material, he was executed by Carl during the Cannibals arc. In the series, he was accidentally killed by Merle during his Dying Moment of Awesome attack on Woodbury.
    • Andrea, at the end of Season 3. In the comics, she survived until years later in the timeline.
    • Lily, as of "Inmates". In the source material, her two counterparts are either left alive and well or surviving after killing the Governor and becoming the new leader of Woodburry. In the series, she is revealed to have been devoured by walkers after killing him.
    • Bob, as of "Four Walls on a Roof". In the source material, he is a minor character and is still alive. In the series, he suffers Dale's fate.
    • Holly, as of "JSS". In the source material, she is Killed Offscreen during the war with Negan and his men. In the series, she dies before the Wolves (Scavengers in the comicbook) arc.
    • Nicholas, as of "Thank You". In the source material, he dies during the war with Negan and his men. In the series, he commits suicide during the Wolves (Scavengers in the comicbook) arc.
    • Denise, as of "Twice as far". In the source material, she dies during the war with Negan and his men. In the series, she suffers Abraham's fate.
    • Olivia suddenly dies midway into Season 7, when her comic counterpart survived to a point years later in the timeline.
    • The biggest example to date is the death of Carl Grimes midway into Season 8; in the comics, he is still very much alive and the Deuteragonist of the story.
    • Jesus is the first victim of the Whisperers in Season 9, whereas his character is still very much alive in the comics.
  • Death by Irony: The Terminus residents, who make a living by luring survivors to their shelter and then eating them, are themselves devoured by walkers when Carol sabotages their defenses. Then, in "Four Walls in a Roof", their ravenous lust for human flesh gets them butchered by Rick and the gang in a manner far more brutal than their already brutal methods back at Terminus.
  • Death by Childbirth: Lori Grimes dies giving birth to her child. Glenn fears getting Maggie pregnant, fearing this will happen to her as well.
  • Death Course: Rick's hometown is turned into this by Morgan.
  • A Death in the Limelight: Has a couple each season.
    • Season 1: Amy in "Vatos", Jenner and Jacqui in "TS-19".
    • Season 2: Dale in "Judge, Jury and Executioner", Shane and Randall in "Better Angels".
    • Season 3: T-Dog and Lori in "Killer Within", Axel in "Home", Merle in "This Sorrowful Life", Andrea and Milton in "Welcome to the Tombs".
    • Season 4: Karen in "Infected", Martinez in "Dead Weight", The Governor in the last three episodes of Season 4's first half, Lizzie and Mika in "The Grove".
    • Season 5: Bob in the second and third episode, Terminus/The Hunters starting in the Season 4 finale up to this season's first three episodes, Beth in the season's second quarter, Tyreese in "What Happened and What's Going On", Noah in "Spend".
    • Season 6: Denise in "Twice as Far". Abraham for the second half of the season.
    • Season 7: Spencer in the first half of the season. Sasha in the final episodes of the season.
    • Season 8: Carl in "Honor".
    • Season 9: Subverted with Rick in "What Comes After". Played straight with Jesus in "Evolution".
  • Death of a Child:
    • From the first scene. Implied later on, when while scavenging Andrea finds a car seat caked in dried blood and flesh. T-Dog also finds a baby car seat covered in blood. Again with Sophia.
    • In "Judge, Jury, Executioner", the walker that Carl accidentally leads to the farm struggles to escape shin-deep mud and can barely hold onto Carl's ankle when it grabs him. When it then grabs hold of Dale several scenes later, it suddenly has the strength to tear a hole in Dale's torso like it's a napkin.
    • In "Made to Suffer" when Michonne stabs The Governor's (undead) daughter in the back of the head.
    • In "Too Far Gone", when Megan is bitten and Mercy Killed by the Governor. Subverted in the same episode with Judith, who was implied to have been Eaten Alive offscreen, but is revealed to be alive and well in "Inmates".
    • '"The Grove", the series' most extreme example to date when you consider that the walkers had nothing to do with this one. Basically, if you're a kid on this show, you better hope your last name is "Grimes."
    • [[spoiler Even that is no guarantee, as Season 8 reveals Carl was bitten by a walker saving Siddiq in "The King, the Widow, and Rick", and shoots himself in "Honor".]]
    • Season 6 continues the tradition. Every kid or youngster introduced (save Enid) is dead by the end of the season.
    • Season 9's "Scars", which introduces Michonne's old college friend Jocelyn, who has been raising a small group of children to disarm unaware strangers, before brutally killing them for their supplies, and kidnapping and indoctrinating their children. When they take Judith and other Alexandria children, a heavily-pregnant Michonne and Daryl attempt to seek them out. After Michonne kills Jocelyn, she attempts to reason with the kids and get them to return to Alexandria with her, but they make it clear that they intend to kill Judith and the others, forcing a tearful Michonne to kill all but one of them with her katana. It's this event that presumably leads to Michonne's isolationist stance later on.
    • Season 9's "The Calm Before", which kills off Henry, Rodney and Addie by decapitation as part of Alpha's border. Seriously, this season really ramps up the child death in a way rarely seen on the show.
  • Decomposite Character: Practically, if a character suffers from Death by Adaptation, his or her characterization(s) will likely be absorbed or distributed among surviving character(s).
    • Due to being introduced much later in this series, Tyreese's characterizations for the first two seasons were distributed to T-Dog (his Captain Ersatz complete with his backstory), Shane (for being The Lancer and the Love Triangle-gone bad story line) and Daryl (for his relationship with Carol and later The Lancer). It's also worth noting that his death in the comics is given to Hershel in the show.
    • Despite appearing, Dr. Steven's character arc from the comics was given to Milton in the show. Some aspects of the comic character also go to Dr. Steven Edwards in Season 5.
    • Due to dying way too early, Dale's characterizations from the comics was given to Hershel. And after Hershel dies in Season 4, Bob picks up the remaining slack.
    • In Season 3, both Andrea and Milton each possess traits of Alice from the comics. Noah in Season 5 shares aspects of her character as well, as a scrubs-wearing young adult who defects to Rick's group and later becomes proficient with a rifle before dying shortly afterwards.
    • Despite appearing, Allen and his son Ben's character arcs from the comics were respectively given to characters Ryan Samuels and his daughter Lizzie.
    • Due to dying way too early, Andrea's characterizations from the comics were distributed; her supposed role as the group's resident Lady of War was given to Carol, while her role in the Fear the Hunters arc was given to Sasha.
    • Despite the fact that Martinez appears in the show, his arc from the comics as an Ambiguously Evil Dragon who joins Rick's group then runs off either to betray them or bring back more allies before Rick runs him down in a vehicle goes to Bob Lamson in Season 5.
    • Much like Andrea, due to his unexpected death in Season 8, Carl's arc during the Whisperers storyline, including moving to Hilltop to apprentice in blacksmithing, falling in love with Lydia, and risking his life to save her from the Whisperers, is given to Henry instead. Likewise, his friendship with Negan, and later role as Negan's Morality Pet, goes to Judith instead.
  • Deep South: The show takes place in Georgia, thus many characters have southern accents.
  • Defiant to the End:
    • Merle's last words to The Governor:
    • Abraham's last words to Negan are "suck my nuts."
    • A non-verbal example in "The Calm Before", as Siddiq relates the story of how all of the characters killed by the Whisperers went out fighting their captors to the end.
  • Dem Bones: By Season 6, enough time has passed in the apocalypse for some of the walkers to have become more skeleton than flesh and blood. The two sewer walkers that attack Maggie and Aaron practically have no flesh left on them at all.
  • Demoted to Dragon:
    • The Governor joins a new group of survivors led by his old lieutenant Martinez, who immediately accepts him as a lieutenant. Later, Martinez offers The Governor the chance to co-lead the group, but The Governor kills him and later kills Mitch, who also tries to demote him to dragon, to become the head of the group.
    • A heroic variation occurs with Abraham, who led an ever-shifting group of survivors all the way from Houston to Atlanta. However, once he got there, he ended up joining forces with Rick, and the two butt heads for a while until Rick proves his worth to Abraham during the fight with the Hunters. Abraham ends up ceding any authority he had to Rick and becomes The Big Guy of the group.
  • Designated Girl Fight: Carol VS. Mary in the fifth season premiere.
  • Despair Event Horizon:
    • Jenner and Jacqui, the former especially because his wife is long dead and he's failed to find a cure for the Walker plague and knows every survivor is infected anyway.
    • Andrea, before Dale guilt trips her out of it.
    • Hershel and Beth, after the massacre of all the zombies in the barn. Though they do both pull out of it.
    • Rick, after Lori's death. Still debatable if he's gotten better or not.
    • Morgan, after Duane is killed and turned by his zombified mother, forcing Morgan to kill them both.
  • Determinator:
    • Merle may be an ass, but one has to admire his stubborn refusal to die. He cut his own hand off because the saw was apparently too blunt for the cuffs. He then took out at least two walkers singlehandedly, then cauterized his stump, and managed to reach—and drive away in—a vehicle.
    • Daryl too. He's so determined to find Sophia, that when he falls down a small cliff and gets impaled on one of his own bolts, he manages to climb out and walk back to the farm, killing two walkers on the way. Must run in the family, along with 'Big No's.
    • Andrea as well, as of "Beside The Dying Fire". On her own against a horde of walkers, she runs and fights her way through the forest for the better part of twelve hours. She only gets overwhelmed when she loses her knife.
  • Developing Doomed Characters: Averted. We get one scene of expository dialogue, an action sequence, an Impairment Shot in the hospital, and then Zombies.
    • Played painfully, heart-wrenchingly straight throughout the rest of the series. Fans have learned to get very, very nervous when a character starts revealing Hidden Depths or Tragic Backstory. Most notable with Axel, who starts telling Carol his life story mere seconds before being shot in the head by the Governor's attacking forces.
  • Devoured by the Horde: This is expected in a show that takes place during a Zombie Apocalypse.
    • Season 1:
      • The first episode, Days Gone Bye, has a horse being Eaten Alive by hundreds of walkers. Anyway, its death allows Rick to weasel his way out from the horde and hide himself in a tank.
    • Season 2:
      • In "Save the Last One", when trying to outrun a horde of zombies, Shane shoots Otis in the leg with his last round and takes his supplies just before the horde surrounds and devours Otis.
      • In "Triggerfinger", when Rick, Glenn, and Hershel are attacked by a group from Philadelphia, Hershel wounds Sean and he gets mauled by a group of walkers that were attracted to the gunshots.
      • In "Beside the Dying Fire", Jimmy drives the RV near the barn and allows Rick and Carl to safely escape the burning barn, but he's killed when the walkers overrun the RV. When Patricia attempted to escape to the car with Lori, Beth, and Carol, a walker grabbed her from behind a tree and bit her on the neck and is soon grabbed by other walkers who proceeded to bite her on the arm and other areas of her body.
    • Season 3:
      • In "When the Dead Come Knocking", when Rick, Daryl, Michonne, and Oscar are fleeing a herd of walkers into a shack, they encounter a hermit who threatens to shoot them. After being disarmed, the hermit tries to leave the shack but Michonne kills him before he could let the walkers in. They throw his body to the walkers as a distraction and escape through the back door.
    • Season 4:
      • In "Dead Weight", after the Governor knocks out Martinez while they were playing golf, he drags him to a pit full of walkers and lowers him into the pit for the walkers to drag him down and consume him.
      • In "A", Rick, Carl and Michonne runs into a lone man desperately crying for help and they witness him being overwhelmed and eaten by walkers.
    • Season 5:
      • In "No Sanctuary", Mary asks Carol to kill her, but Carol instead kneecaps her and leaves her to a horde of walkers.
      • In "Spend", Aiden and Noah both suffer through this. The former accidentally shoots a grenade on the walker's belt, which causes an explosion that causes him to be blown back and impaled on a broken shelf but still survive only for several walkers to descend onto him and tear him up. And the latter gets trapped in an revolving door as the pack of zombies grabs him and drags him away as Glenn watch in horror as he's being devoured.
    • Season 6:
      • In "Thank You", Sturgess, Annie, David, Nicholas, and, sadly and possibly, Glenn dies through this.
      • When dealing with the Walkers in the forest, Sturgess abandons the group after accidentally shooting Scott in the leg and his body was later found being devoured by Walkers in a small town.
      • Annie sprained her ankle after tripping in the forest and this gets her in trouble when she falls in front of an oncoming herd of Walkers in a small town. The others tries to get save her but she tells them to go on without her and the Walkers surrounds and devours her.
      • While trying to climb over a gate, Michonne and David gets caught by the Walkers and while Michonne was able to make it David gets dragged down and gets devoured while the others watch in horror and there's a shot of his Dead Man Writing to his wife getting stomped on by the Walkers.
      • After being cornered in an empty alleyway, Glenn and Nicholas are on top of a dumpster surrounded by a herd of Walkers. Unable to deal with the vast amount of Walkers, Nicholas shoots himself in the head and his body collapses on Glenn and they both fall into the horde and the horde starts picking apart their bodies. We later find out that Glenn survived, and the walkers were eating Nicholas' corpse.
      • When Rick, Carl, Michonne, and the Anderson family try to escape the herd of walkers in Alexandria, Sam has a mental breakdown and starts whimpering and crying. He attracts a few walkers, and they proceed to tear him apart. Jessie, shaken up by her son's death, starts screaming and eventually allows more walkers to come along and rip her apart too.
    • In Season 9, the Whisperer dispose of a pair of dead bodies by leaving them out for some nearby walkers to feed on.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: On every episode. Things get worse as the series progresses, and when something good happens, it doesn't last.
  • Dirty Business: "Save The Last One" — Shane and Otis are injured and trying to escape a mob, each with one bullet left. Shane shoots Otis to give the mob something to eat so he can escape with the medical equipment for the injured Carl.
  • Disaster Democracy: Rick is never elected, but essentially trusted as the leader of the group because of his former position and natural abilities. This trope is darkly invoked at the end of Season 2 though, when Rick makes the ultimatum that if anyone doesn't have confidence in his ability to lead the group, they should just go their own way. Essentially, he forces everyone to vote with their feet, and they vote to stick with him... mostly out of fear of everything else. In the second half of the third season, Rick ends the Ricktatorship, due to no longer fully trusting his own judgement.
    • In the first half of Season 4, Rick has given up leadership entirely and the prison community is governed by a council comprised of Hershel, Daryl, Glenn, Carol, and Sasha. This very quickly falls apart as a result of the flu epidemic, as Glenn and Sasha both become dangerously ill, Hershel is needed to help maintain the quarantine and treat the sick, Daryl leaves for a days-long supply run to look for medicine, and Carol is exiled by Rick after murdering infecting survivors in a desperate attempt to stop the disease from spreading. Rick is forced by The Governor to take command of the prison when he attacks it.
    • Merle tried to do this with the Atlanta survivors in the first season. He calls for an impromptu voting session for a change of leadership. The only reason anyone votes for him is because he just gave T-Dog a savage beating, is pointing a gun at them, and scares them. Rick ends his reign pretty quickly.
  • Disc-One Final Dungeon: The CDC in Season 1. Both the prison and Woodbury in Season 3. The prison in Season 4. Both Terminus and Grady Memorial Hospital in Season 5. The Savior outpost in Season 6.
  • Dog Food Diet:
    • Subverted in "Seed". In the opening sequence, as everyone is starving, Carl finds two cans of dog food in a house and immediately opens one to give to the group. Rick picks up the can before anyone has the chance to eat it, and throws it away without a word.
    • Darryl gets fed dog-food sandwiches while he's a prisoner of the Saviors.
  • Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: Carl finds a walker with its feet stuck in the mud by a riverbank, and decides to foolishly stay, throwing rocks at it, then coming in close to shoot it... At which point it manages to wrench one of its legs free, knocking the gun from his hand and nearly catches him before he can get away. Later it follows him back to the farm and kills Dale.
    • In Alexandria, Nicholas and Aiden think it's a good idea to tie up a walker that supposedly killed their friends, so they can have their prolonged revenge on it. It almost kills Tara.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Two instances within the group, both subverted to an extent and both involving Sophia's death. Everyone avoids Carol afterwards and nobody knows what to say to her. Carol tells Lori she doesn't appreciate the pitiful looks everyone's been giving her and pity wasn't what she needed to begin with. On the other hand, Daryl doesn't know how to handle his failure to find Sophia and Carol tries to stop him from his self-induced reclusion by telling him the group needs him. Daryl responds by angrily telling her that Sophia wasn't his problem, and that Carol should stop trying to take care of him. Carol, aware that this is Daryl's way of handling what happened, stands there and allows him to take as long as he needs to vent his anger and frustration.
  • Double-Meaning Title: The title refers to the walkers, the survivors who went mad and goes into the deep end (making it a two-fold Antagonist Title) and the protagonist themselves as they continue to push through life despite zero assurance that things will be better again.
  • The Dragon:
    • Merle becomes this to the Governor in Season 3. At least until the Governor throws him under a bus for failure.
    • Martinez takes over the role in the latter half of the season.
    • Mitch becomes The Governor's dragon during the fourth mid-season finale.
    • Daryl begins leaning to become this to Joe towards the end of Season 4, largely because Joe treats him decently and takes him under his wing. However, when Joe threatens Rick, he quickly abandons the position.
    • Martin to Gareth.
    • Simon to Negan.
    • Beta to Alpha.
  • Dramatic Irony:
    • Subverted with Shane's affair with Lori. Rick doesn't reveal that he knew until early Season 2, surprising the audience since we had been led to believe he didn't know for the entirety of the show up to that point.
    • Andrea remains blissfully unaware of The Governor's true nature, that we and every other character have seen, until it's too late.
    • Carol is unaware of the events that transpired in Alexandria in the season 6 finale onward, and is initially told that the group formed a tentative peace with the Saviors. Daryl tries to keep the fact that several of their friends have died and Alexandria now has submitted to Negan's tyranny hidden from her.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come:
    • Jim had a dream where the group needed a lot of graves dug. He follows through once he wakes up, and it turned out he had experienced a premonition of a walker attack that wiped out most of the camp.
    • Sasha had a dream of her new boyfriend Abraham drowning at sea. Abraham assures her that regardless, they still have to go on a vital mission to help Maggie. Unfortunately, the Saviors capture them, and that night, Abraham is killed by Negan, making Sasha's worst nightmare come to life.
  • Driven to Suicide: Obviously, given the nature of the series, the characters have frequently come across the remains of survivors who resorted to this.
    • The farmer in the first episode who wrote "GOD FORGIVE US" in blood appears to have killed himself.
    • Jenner says that the majority of the CDC staff chose this rather than fall to The Virus; while Jenner himself thought that "tomorrow I'll blow my brains out." Later on, Jacqui stays behind with Jenner to die in the CDC building. Andrea wanted to stay, but was forced out of it at the last minute, and later makes it clear that she resents not being allowed to die.
    • Daryl and Andrea found a bite victim who hanged himself in the second season.
    • Played With late in the second season. Beth becomes pessimistic and asks Maggie and Lori why she should live in a world where there's no hope and everyone's going to die, anyway. Andrea winds up letting her choose for herself, and Beth can't bring herself to go all the way, therefore proving she wants to live.
    • In "Self Help", a flashback reveals Abraham being seconds away from this fate after finding his family dead. Is shaken out of it when he encounters Eugene for the first time.
    • When surrounded by a sea of walkers with no way out, Nicholas shoots himself.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Lori actually drives distracted, which almost becomes a fatal flaw when she runs into something.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him:
    • Axel is abruptly shot in the head by The Governor. Only Hershel and Daryl acknowledge his death later on, and Andrea completely ignores the latter when he brings him up.
    • Jessie, Sam, and Ron are all unceremoniously killed off in "No Way Out."
    • Glenn subverts the show's usual A Death in the Limelight, as he's Out of Focus in the season before his death, and is also briefly Spared by the Adaptation, making his sudden death all the more surprising.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: After the group's raid on his barn, Hershel resorts to drinking. During "Them", Abraham does this partially to satiate his thirst during a drought.
  • Duct Tape for Everything:
    • Members of the Governor's group are shown wrapping their arms in duct tape to guard against bites. It actually works.
    • To fix a hole in the roof of the caravan Brian is seen tearing off a piece of duck-tape. He doesn't get around to using it though.
    • Hershel gets crutches with additional padding duct-taped on when he loses his leg.
  • Due to the Dead: Surprisingly, towards one of the walkers in the second episode. Rick is about to dismember it with an axe before he stops himself, checks the wallet, and gives an impromptu eulogy about how once, it was just like them. He concludes by saying if the plan works, he's going to tell his wife and kid that he survived because of the walker. Then Glenn makes a joke about him being an organ donor, and they start chopping up its body. As Rick and the gang darken, this trope is completely abandoned.
  • Dying Alone: The reason Rick decides to rescue Merle is because as much of a jerkass he is, nobody deserves this fate. As time progresses, though, he becomes less concerned about it outside of those he considers "his" group.
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • "Guts" (the second episode of the series) shows zombies running and even climbing and jumping fences. They were also seen using rocks to smash windows. No other episode has them display such behavior, not even in the companion show Fear the Walking Dead, initially set in the time before Rick's bullet-induced coma.
    • The zombified Summer (the little zombie girl from the first scene of the show) picking up and carrying a teddy bear while shuffling around. No zombie since has shown any interest in or recognition of such a mundane item. In fact, the zombies never grab or pick things up in general.
    • Going back to the first few seasons with Team Dad Dale advising the group on more humane ways of surviving, half of the group not being fighters, and a herd of walkers being the most terrifying sight can be jarring for those who revisit them. This also comes into play considering the group's tactics; it wasn't really until late Season 2 that Rick began training the group to try to rely more on knives and melee weapons and not rely on guns as much.
  • Eaten Alive: What with a zombie apocalypse happening, it's implied this is the fate of many people.
    • Shown to disturbing effect as the fate of guilty and gullible Otis.
    • Ed gets a Karmic Death this way for beating up his wife.
    • Sean, a member of Dave's group, gets eaten by walkers following getting shot by Hershel and screams in pain loud enough to attract them. We even see his nose get bitten off.
    • In "What Lies Ahead", T-Dog finds the aftermath of what was a baby in a child seat.
    • Jimmy and Patricia in "Beside The Dying Fire".
    • T-Dog is messily torn apart by a group of walkers in "Killer Within".
    • Martinez suffers this fate in "Dead Weight", thanks to The Governor.
    • Aiden is impaled on some pieces of metal and is forced to watch as walkers swarm him and rip out and eat his innards. Noah is then messily ripped apart from the back as Glenn is forced to watch.
    • Annie and David suffer this fate in "Thank You." Annie was already limping, and insisted that the group leave her behind, and she's eventually caught and dogpiled by a hungry horde. David later is unable to scale a fence in time, and is forced against the fence and partially devoured from behind.
    • Sam and Jessie in "No Way Out."
  • Eiffel Tower Effect
    • In "Guts", the Georgia Dome is seen in the background.
    • In the opening scenes of the second season premiere, Grady Memorial Hospital is seen while Rick is on the radio.
  • Elite Mooks: The riot-gear wearing walkers in "Seed". The group come upon them after mowing through a number of walkers in the prison courtyard, and quickly learn that their ranged weapons don't do anything to stop them (as the walkers have faceplates as well). It's only when Maggie lifts up one guard's helmet and stabs him in the neck that they finally realize how to take them down. This trope's use in video games inspired the writers.
  • Ensemble Cast: Progressively since Season 3.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Merle has his in his very first scene, when he calls T-Dog a nigger and threatens to put the group at risk with his violence.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas:
    • The twist in "Vatos" when a grandmother comes out of nowhere and manages to defuse the impending shootout between Rick's group and the Latino gang. Then subverted when it is revealed that the gang were actually good people all along trying to protect the residents of an elderly home.
    • Big Tiny expresses concern for his mother after learning of the walker apocalypse.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
    • Merle is a racist, sexist, meth-addicted, violent Jerkass, but it seems he genuinely loves his brother.
    • The Governor deeply cared for his daughter as shown by his breakdown when Michonne puts down her zombified corpse.
    • Gareth seems to love his mother and brother in an emotionless sort of way.
    • Negan reveals that his Companion Cube affection for his bat Lucille is his displaced love for his late wife of the same name.
    • Despite being physically and verbally abusive, Alpha does appear to love her daughter Lydia - at least, as much as a psychotic fatalist with Nietzschean tendencies can love anything. She stops this however once she accepts her beliefs that Lydia showed care and was thus weak and a detriment to the Whisperers.
  • Everyone Has Standards:
    • Rick may have grown some serious cajones by Season 3, but chopping off poor Hershel's leg when he's bitten still makes him reel in horror once he's finished the deed.
    • On a meta-level. Part of the reason the producers decided not to shoot in a real church during the fifth season is because of the level of brutality of the scenes they'd planned for it.
    • Played With with Negan.
      • Sure, he and his Saviors say he's against rape and tells Dwight that his free pass to have sex with any woman he chooses only applies if the woman is willing. But he's not above pressuring Tina to become one of his concubines in order to keep supplying her with her badly-needed insulin, and Sherry clearly doesn't want to be one of his wives but only does so to save Dwight's life. He makes it clear that his "wives" have other options, but it's also heavily implied those options are not good at all, thus he can truthfully say they're with him by choice... even if the other choices are worse.
      • In the season 8 finale, Negan reveals that his counting game to determine who to kill wasn't random. He deliberately chose someone else to kill other than Rick because he couldn't kill a father in front of his son.
      • As part of his repeated insistence that he's "saving" people, Negan often displays a reluctance to kill people, though more often the stated reason is that people are valuable resources.
  • Every Helicopter Is a Huey: Averted, several Apaches are seen in a flashback. Later, the helicopter used by the National Guard troops the Governor has gunned down is a Huey, but given that the NG usually has older equipment than the active services, there's nothing particularly unusual about it.
  • Evil Is Petty:
    • The Saviors take all the mattresses from Alexandria, only to burn them on the side of the road. Overall, they love to make mountains out of molehills, constantly beating or outright killing people for minor offenses, and constantly bullying people just because they know they can get away with it.
    • Negan personally Zig Zags this trope, as he does so many others. He frequently insists that he's a generous and forgiving guy, but rules are rules.
  • Extra-Long Episode: The series had three 90-minute episodes during the sixth season: the season premiere, episode 4 "Here's Not Here" and the series finale, when most of their episodes are an hour. Some people speculated that episode 4 was extra-long to help watchers deal with Glenn's apparent death in the previous episode, when actually it ratcheted up tension by not dealing with it at all.
  • Eye Scream:
    • Dispatching Walkers by stabbing them through the eye is common. For example, when the original camp is overrun in the first season and one chases Andrea into Dale's RV. She kills the walker with a screwdriver through the eye.
    • Michonne uses a shard of glass to stab an opponent (the Governor) in the eye.
    • Carl loses his right eye due to a bullet fired by Ron in "No Way Out".
    • Denise is killed this way, courtesy of a crossbow bolt fired by Dwight, who had Daryl's crossbow at the time.
    • One of Glenn's eyes is knocked out of his skull when he receives two hits from Lucille.

     Trope F 
  • Failed a Spot Check:
    • In the second season premiere, Dale is on lookout duty atop his RV while the gang searches the massive gridlock on the freeway. He doesn't notice a massive herd of walkers until they are only about 100 meters away from the group.
    • In "Judge, Jury, Executioner", in a wide-open field, a walker manages to sneak up right behind Dale and kill him, although it was night. It's worth considering that the rotting corpse of a cow had his attention and horror, though one would thinking finding zombie bait would have made him wary.
    • Hershel is bit by a walker while looking for Maggie and Glenn. Though when he first passes it by, it did nothing, but only when he doubled back did the walker spring into action.
    • The whole group fails one when during a calm spot at the prison, no one notices a large swarm coming in behind them.
    • Rick and Michonne, sitting next to a small fire on a road, fail to notice several armed men approaching until one has his gun directly next to Rick's head.
    • A Savior is so ignorant of his surroundings in "Always Accountable" that Daryl is able to lure him to a walker that was stuck in a tree.
  • Failsafe Failure: Played with and averted - the problem in the first season finale is that the CDC failsafes are working perfectly, but they are intentionally excessive because the building's materials must never be allowed to escape.
  • Failure Is the Only Option:
    • From a series-wide standpoint, the survivors are always going to be struggling to survive against something, be it walkers or humans, and it's a safe bet that any cozy safe haven they come across isn't going to last for long. This trope is openly acknowledged during Season 5 after a string of big losses.
    • On a more localized level, over the course of Season 3 there have been a number of attempts on the Governor's life, all of which would have been a very abrupt and anticlimactic way to end his reign as Big Bad had they succeeded.
  • Fake Guest Star:
    • Michael Rooker (Merle) and Norman Reedus (Daryl) in Season 1.
    • Lauren Cohan (Maggie), Emily Kinney (Beth) and Scott Wilson (Hershel) in Season 2.
    • Chad L. Coleman (Tyreese) and Sonequa Martin-Green (Sasha) in Season 3.
    • Lawrence Gilliard, Jr.(Bob), Alanna Masterson (Tara), Michael Cudlitz (Abraham), Josh McDermitt(Eugene), Christian Serratos (Rosita) and Andrew J.West (Gareth) in Season 4.
    • Seth Gilliam (Fr. Gabriel), Tyler James Williams (Noah), Ross Marquand (Aaron), Tovah Feldshah (Deanna), Steve Coulter (Reg), Austin Nichols (Spencer), Daniel Bonjour (Aiden), Corey Brill (Pete), Alexandra Breckenridge (Jessie), Jordan Woods-Robinson (Eric) and Katelyn Nacon (Enid) in Season 5.
    • Tom Payne (Jesus), Xander Berkeley (Gregory), Merritt Wever (Denise) and Austin Amelio (Dwight) in Season 6.
    • Steven Ogg (Simon), Khary Payton (Ezekiel), Cooper Andrews (Jerry), and Pollyanna McIntosh (Jadis) in Season 7.
    • Callan McAuliffe (Alden) and Avi Nash (Siddiq) in Season 8.
    • Nadia Hilker (Magna), Eleanor Matsuura (Yumiko), Dan Fogler (Luke), Lauren Ridloff (Connie), Angel Theory (Kelly), Cailey Fleming (older Judith) and Matthew Lintz (older Henry) in Season 9.
  • Faking Engine Trouble: Eugene actually causes real engine trouble to delay getting to Washington D.C since he was lying about having a cure for the plague.
  • False Reassurance: In addition to his Half Truth about the doors, Jenner reassures the survivors regarding their blood that there's "no surprises" when only he would not be surprised by the fact that they all have the airborne, dormant infection.
  • Faux Affably Evil: The Governor, Joe, the Terminus residents, and at least one of the Wolves. Negan takes this Up to Eleven: he's clearly a fun-loving guy and can be quite affable, but he's completely psychotic and happy to murder people in horrible ways if they cross him or his people.
  • Fauxshadow: Due to making many changes from the source material, the show occasionally foreshadows events that happen in the comics but don't end up happening on the show itself.
    • In the Season 2 episode "Chupacabra," Daryl hallucinates a conversation with Merle about how he lost his hand, and at one point says "grab your friend Rick's hand." When Merle reappears in Season 3 as a resident of Woodbury, Rick does not get his hand cut off by the Governor, unlike his comic counterpart. In Season 4, Rick gets into a fight with Tyreese and injures his hand right before the reappearance of the Governor, just like in the comic, but he still keeps his hand.
    • In "Secrets," Dale notices that Andrea had sex with Shane, who asks him if he's jealous. Due to dying later in the season, Dale never hooks up with Andrea like his comic counterpart.
    • Holly is mentioned in the Season 5 episode "Spend." However, her comic introduction is given to Francine, a Red Shirt who is thereafter Demoted to Extra. Holly makes an appearance in Season 6's "JSS," only to get immediately killed by the Wolves. Her comic counterpart's storyline ends up going to Canon Foreigner Sasha.
    • When Laura first appears in Season 7's "The Cell," she has a moment of Ship Tease with Dwight. However, they never end up dating like their comic counterparts because Dwight leaves for parts unknown at the end of Season 8.
    • In the Season 8 episode "Some Guy," Ezekiel is captured by a Savior who is going to cut his head off to bring to Negan, saying "your head on a pike will do just fine," foreshadowing his comic death at the hands of Alpha. In Season 9, Ezekiel is not one of the pike victims.
  • Filler Arc: The Vatos and CDC episodes in Season 1 and the Grady Memorial Hospital Rescue Arc in Season 5 are the most notable examples.
  • Filler Villain: Some villains that appeared in the series have no comic counterparts.
    • Dr. Jenner in Season 1. Subverted by the Vatos.
    • Dave's group in Season 2.
    • The cops in Grady Memorial Hospital in Season 5.
  • Fingore:
    • The Governor bites off two of Merle's fingers, shortly before killing him.
    • Glenn cuts two fingers off a walker, to get an engagement ring for Maggie.
    • Rick shoots off two of Gareth's fingers.
  • Firing One-Handed:
    • Rick tends to do this with his revolver.
    • Merle with weapons in the third season, due to being short a hand. He uses his covered stump as a support while firing an assault rifle.
  • Five-Man Band: The group's main fighters in early Season 3 fall into this, with Rick as The Leader, Daryl as The Lancer, T-Dog as The Big Guy, Maggie as The Chick, and Glenn as The Smart Guy. Hershel also joins them on the front lines as The Mentor at one point.
  • Flower Motifs: Carol is frequently associated with floral imagery.
    • For starters, her shirt in Season 1 has a flower pattern.
    • In Season 2, she is affiliated with Cherokee roses, which Daryl tells her are blooming for her lost daughter. In Season 3, he places one of them on her grave.
    • Then of course there’s the infamous "Look at the flowers" from Season 4.
    • And in Season 5 and continuing into 6, she wears a floral print blouse to disguise her true nature from the Alexandrians.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Glenn tells Rick after rescuing him, that he puts his neck on the line for others in the admittedly naive hope that they'd do the same for him one day. Rick rescues Glenn two episodes later.
      • In the same span of time, Rick is unable to save Glenn from being abducted by the Vatos (though it later turns out Glenn was never in any danger as the Vatos were peaceful people putting up a tough guy front). In the Season 7 premiere, Rick is unable to save Glenn as he's beaten to death by Negan, and later explicitly laments that even though Glenn saved his life at the beginning, he couldn't save him now.
    • In the first episode, before the outbreak, we see two crows eating a dead animal in the road. Later, after the outbreak, there are two crows eating a dead human in Atlanta.
    • Before leaving Cynthiana for Atlanta, Rick gets some advice from Morgan when dealing with walkers: "They may not seem like much one at a time. But in a group, all riled up and hungry? Man, you watch your ass." Upon arriving in Atlanta, Rick saw that Morgan was right.
    • In the Season 1 finale, Rick tells Jenner he's grateful that the doctor is letting them go live their lives in the outside world. Jenner sadly says that "the day will come when you won't be." The title of the Season 7 premiere is exactly that phrase, and given the horrific deaths, psychological and physical torture Rick and the group endure, it's safe to say that the day Negan arrived was finally the day Rick agreed with Jenner.
    • In the Season 2 opener, Grady Memorial Hospital is visibly seen while Rick is on a radio. The hospital becomes an important setting three seasons later.
    • In a deleted scene of the second season premiere, the group discovers the aftermath of an attack on the Vatos' camp that left no survivors. Andrea believes the place was overrun by walkers, but Daryl points out that they were all executed, professing he was more afraid of whoever did this than the walkers. In the second half of the season, the main outside threat is a large, hostile group of survivors, and from then on, the Big Bad's are always hostile people out for the group's blood.
    • In a flashback scene in "Bloodletting", Lori gripes to a friend of hers about an argument she and Rick had. She wishes that for once he would blow up at her. She gets her wish four episodes later when Rick flips out when he finds her 'morning after' pills.
    • Shane did remind Rick that even before the walkers rose, if 72 hours passed, then they as cops were no longer looking for a person, but the body. He used this as an example to illustrate the chances of finding Sophia alive were slim to none. At the end of "Pretty Much Dead Already", Shane was tragically right.
    • When Daryl come across Cherokee roses, he says that they will find Sophia soon. They do, though she is a walker. Additionally, when Daryl brings Carol the rose, he specifically says that the roses bloomed for the dead children.
    • While interrogating Randall in "Judge, Jury, and Executioner", Daryl learns of a group the former had belonged to that scavenged, raped, and murdered and were heading south. Three seasons later, we learn that Terminus (located near Macon, which is southeast of Atlanta) was taken over by a group of scavengers, rapists, and murderers.
    • The final shot of the second season features a prison, the same one they will take refuge in the next season and a half.
    • In "Walk with Me", Merle tells Andrea that a gun in your face is just a greeting now, and he'd be more afraid of someone who walked up waving a white flag. At the end of the episode, this is exactly how the Governor approaches the soldiers from the helicopter, right before he and his men gun them all down.
    • A very subtle example lasting through all of Season 3: Early in the season, The Governor tells Merle that Woodbury would fall apart without him. The second half of the season has Merle joining Rick's group, and ultimately ends with everyone from Woodbury either dead or also joining Rick's group, aside from The Governor, Martinez, and Shumpert. It probably didn't help that Merle killed many members of Woodbury.
    • In "30 Days Without an Accident", the last man to enter the store during the supply run pauses to look at the lower half of a corpse lying near the entrance. A tracking shot reveals its zombified upper body, and a bunch of other walkers, on the roof, which subsequently fall through onto the foraging party, just as the half-corpse's legs must have fallen from above.
    • When the veterinary college is searched in "Indifference", the camera pans over a pile of pathology books someone has left out along with makeshift camping supplies. Turns out there's a horde of plague-victim walkers on site, suggesting that a prior group of infected survivors tried to treat themselves using medications and textbooks they found there, only to succumb to their illness too quickly to benefit from their efforts.
    • The Governor and the Dolgen brothers come across a small group of survivors in "Dead Weight." Later in the episode, the group is slaughtered and looted by an unknown party. The Claimers, a group of murderers and plunderers, appear a few episodes later.
    • Lizzie alarmingly gains pleasure from nearly suffocating baby Judith in "Inmates". In the next episode she's center stage, she's killed her sister and planned to do the same with Judith.
    • The Terminus survivors are seen being dominated by a black-haired, grinning psychopath in flashbacks of the season 5 premiere. Many fans wondered if the man was in fact an Early-Bird Cameo of Negan, to the point Word of God had to deny it. Despite this, the flashback ended up foreshadowing the plot of Season 7 when Negan did show up, as Rick's group was forced to submit to the black-haired, grinning psychopath and later rise up and defy him.
    • In "Four Walls and a Roof", Gareth snarls that Rick's group doesn't know what it's like to be truly hungry. Later in the season, during "Them", the group goes without food and water for far longer than they ever had and are dangerously close to succumbing to starvation and dehydration.
    • In "What Happened and What's Going On", Tyreese alone notices a discarded, broken clock. It's a symbol that his time is up, and he dies by the end of the episode.
    • Rosita and Spencer share a moment in "Now" as they observe the horde of walkers at Alexandria's gates. They end up sleeping together after Abraham cruelly dumps her later in the season and begin seeing each other.
    • Abraham personally takes it upon himself to monitor Sasha's well-being in Seasons 5 and 6, especially after she haphazardly slashed him in a murderous rage in "Them", and can sometimes be seen observing her from afar. He professes a newly developed crush on Sasha in "Always Accountable".
    • In "Spend," shortly after Aidan starts a dubstep song in the van, the camera cuts over to Noah just as the singer in the song says "now you're going to die." Noah (and Aidan for that matter) both die near the end of the episode.
    • In "Start to Finish," we see several ants swarming around one of Sam's cookies, symbolizing how Sam would soon be devoured by several "ants" himself, which he is in the next episode.
    • In "Not Tomorrow Yet", during the raid on the Saviors, Glenn finds a collection of Polaroid pictures of people's heads bashed in by something to the point they're bloody piles of mush. It ends up not only alluding to what Negan has in store for the group in the season finale, but ultimately and tragically Glenn's own fate when Negan picks him as a second victim after Abraham. We witness one Savior taking a Polarid of his remains, which are rubbed in Daryl's face by Dwight to taunt him for inadvertently helping get Glenn killed.
    • In "The Day Will Come When You Won't Be", Rick has a vision of an impossible future in which his group is enjoying dinner together with the now deceased Glenn and Abraham, as well as Glenn's unborn child and Sasha, who's pregnant with Abraham's child. The last shot of the vision seemingly focused on Glenn and Abraham and how this vision will never come to pass. However, Sasha is also in the final shot. In the Season 7 finale, Sasha dies, meaning that last shot was telling us which major members of Rick's group would die in the season.
    • In "Sing Me a Song", Eugene warns Rosita about her suicide mission to kill Negan, stating that even if she was the risk taker, others may take the punishment if she fails. Come the midseason finale of Season 7, "Hearts Still Beating", where Rosita tries to shoot Negan, fails... and Olivia is killed by one of the Saviors when she refuses to tell Negan who crafted that bullet (as Negan had robbed Alexandria of all its guns). Eugene reveals that it was him, and is taken as a hostage for his useful bullet-crafting skills. In conclusion, two people suffered the consequences of that move rather than Rosita.
    • In "Mercy", as Rick takes down a Savior, the latter mocks the former with this line: "Your kid's gonna die!". Seven episodes later, it comes true, as Carl reveals to Rick a zombie bite on his stomach.
  • Forgiven, but Not Forgotten: In "The Grove", after Carol confesses to Tyreese for killing Karen and David and offers her gun to him, Tyreese forgives her but tells her he will never forget what she did.
  • Forgotten Fallen Friend: An odd example occurs with Maggie in the latter half of Season 4; she's hell-bent on finding Glenn following the destruction of the prison, but seems to have entirely forgotten that she also has a sister, who she mentions once in passing and then never brings up again. This is especially jarring considering her panic when Beth wasn't on the prison bus, and the fact that Beth is now her only remaining blood relative after both women witnessed the brutal execution of their father in the mid-season finale. However,, in the fifth season episode "Them" she explains to Glenn that she hadn't actually forgotten about her sister; after the death of her father, she lost hope that Beth was still alive during the second half of Season 4.
  • For the Evulz: After the Saviors take all the mattresses from Alexandria, Michonne later finds them at the side of the road. The Saviors set them all on fire, just because they could.
  • Fourth Date Marriage:
    • Maggie tells Glenn that she loves him in "Nebraska", after roughly a week or two at most. Glenn, who is new to relationships let alone one with a beautiful girl with a disapproving father, is naturally confused and concerned that she's told him this. Nevertheless, by the season finale, he professes his love for her in return. Glenn and Maggie's relationship progresses rapidly over the course of roughly a year, and they get married in "This Sorrowful Life", and are expecting a child in Season 6. Tragically, Glenn is killed by Negan a few months into Maggie's pregnancy.
    • Averted with Karen and Tyreese. When he suggests sleeping together, Karen gently turns him down, not wanting to rush through their relationship. She's killed shortly afterward after Carol puts her down to try to stymie the prison plague.
  • Four-Philosophy Ensemble:
    • Tyreese's group after Donna's death; Tyreese is The Optimist, Sasha is The Realist, Allen is The Cynic and Ben is The Apathetic.
    • The remaining five Atlanta group members as of Season 5; Rick is The Realist, Glenn is The Optimist, Daryl is The Apathetic, Carol is The Conflicted, and Carl is The Cynic.
    • By Season 9, the dynamic has shifted: Rick is The Optimist, Daryl is The Realist, Michonne is The Conflicted, Carol is The Apathetic, and Maggie is The Cynic.
  • Freak Out!: Rick has one when he is kicking Tyreese's group out, where he screams at a hallucination of Lori and waves a gun around, evidencing his ongoing Sanity Slippage.
  • Free-Range Children: This crew would not win any parent/babysitter of the year awards.
    • Carl often wandered off so freely at the farm in Season 2 that it became a joke among fans.
    • Even at the prison, children were left unattended enough that one died sick and alone in a shower and became a walker, and Lizzie was able to go to the fence freely and feed rats to walkers, unnoticed by adults.
    • Children can play and run around fairly carefree in Alexandria prior to the arrival of Rick's group.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: During "Too Far Gone", just before the last tank shell fires, you can see Tyreese running with out of a building with something in his arms. As we later learn, he was saving Judith.
  • The Friends Who Never Hang: This is bound to happen, what with the show's Loads and Loads of Characters expanding ever larger, but the most notable of example of this is Michonne and Carol. Aside from a thank you in "No Sanctuary" and a hug in "Them," these two iconic, popular, and majorly important characters never interacted onscreen prior to Season 9, Episode 8, a full 103 episodes after Michonne is introduced.
  • From Bad to Worse: Season 1 started on the premise of things going from bad to worse. Season 2 follows by going further than that. For example, we see in Season 2 that you don't have to be bitten to rise as one of the Walkers.
    • The season 9 episode "The Obliged" hits Rick with this. After a gunfight draws a herd to the settlements, Rick takes a horse and tries to lead them away. He accidentally manages to run into the other herd near camp, merging the two together. To drive it home, Rick is then thrown off his horse and impaled on rebar while the undead close in on him.
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     Tropes G-H 
  • Gang Bangers: The trope seems to be played straight in the episode "Vatos" at first, but it turns out that the gang is really just acting that way to protect an old folks home whose residents were abandoned by the staff when the zombie apocalypse hit.
  • Gangsta Style: Played with when one of the kids from Hershel's farm holds a pistol sideways during shooting practice. T-Dog promptly tells him to "don't give me none of that gangsta bullshit."
  • Gender Flip: Usually happens to one half of a Decomposite Character (see above) since some of said comic original characters who appeared in the show are more or less In Name Only characters.
    • Zig-Zagged by Dr. Stevens. Stevens is male in the comics but is a woman in the show. However, the show's Dr. Stevens is more or less an In Name Only character and his character arc is more in-line with Milton, who is also male.
    • Ben and Billy (male) becomes Lizzie and Mika (female). Complete with the Cain and Abel storyline.
    • Couple Douglas and Regina Monroe becomes Deanna and Reg respectively.
    • Kelly is male in the comics, and the boyfriend of Connie; here, Kelly is Connie's younger sister instead.
  • Genre Blind: A lot of the problems the group encounters is because of this, borders on being Too Dumb to Live sometimes. These are a few of the more common examples:
    • Walking around alone, especially at night.
    • Not stopping to check their surroundings.
    • Not making sure a corpse is actually dead before messing with it.
    • Assuming that every survivor they encounter will be a friendly one.
  • Geodesic Cast: Progressively since the show becomes an Ensemble Cast starting Season 3. This becomes more prominent in Season 4 after the group was split up due to the fall of the prison. In Season 5, the main cast even split up to three Five Man Bands. With the introduction of Alexandria in Season 5, the Hilltop colony in Season 6, and the Kingdom in Season 7, we now have three whole communities worth of characters, with the show splitting focus between them on a regular basis.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: In "Slabtown", Corrupt Cop Gorman forces a lollipop into Beth's mouth
  • Giving Them the Strip: Carl loses a shoe to a walker in "After".
  • Gladiator Games: Merle and Martinez engage in this (in a pit surrounded by walkers with their teeth removed) in "Say the Word". However, the fight is staged, and they weren't in much danger to begin with.
  • Glad-to-Be-Alive Sex: The reason Andrea and Shane get busy on the ride back to the farm after surviving the walker herd while out searching for Sophia.
  • Gonna Need More X: After painting himself and Glenn with walker gore, Rick gives their disguise a critical eye and concludes "We need more guts."
  • Goodbye, Cruel World!: The suicide note that Daryl and Andrea find with a hanging walker who failed to kill himself in "Save The Last One". Could count as a Death Poem.
    Daryl: (reading note) "Got bit. Fever hit. World gone to shit. Might as well quit."
  • Good Cop/Bad Cop: Daryl and Rick do this with the captured vato. Neither of them seemed to be acting, although Daryl did use his brother's severed hand to threaten the kid, claiming that he did it to a man that crossed him.
  • Good Is Not Nice:
    • Rick started off declaring that only walkers would be killed so long as he was around. By Season 5, he's willing to kill anyone that poses a threat to his fellow survivors. Bonus points if they try to hurt Carl or Judith.
    Rick: Just because we're good people doesn't mean we won't kill you.
    • Daryl as well, though he mellows into Jerk with a Heart of Gold, and recently, has been arguably more humane than Rick.
    • Carol deciding to euthanize Karen and David, considering how she is pretty much the most humane character in the show.
  • Gory Discretion Shot:
    • As Rick and Carl jump down from the RV in "Beside The Dying Fire", they see the front windshield being sprayed with blood while Jimmy's screams are heard from within.
    • Done twice in "Sick". When Tomas beats Big Tiny to death, the killing blows are seen off-screen (with Tomas coated in Tiny's blood right afterwards). Later, when Rick chases Andrew through the prison until the latter is trapped in a courtyard of walkers, Rick closes the door on him and hears screaming from the other side. This turns out to be a subversion when Andrew returns in "Killer Within" to take revenge.
    • Considering the nature of this series, this trope is often avoided. However, in the case of Dale and Lori, both of their Mercy Kill head shots were shown as either a POV or an off-screen sound effect. Of course, both characters were viciously gutted at the torso on-screen, so it may not be a subversion after all.
    • When The Governor massacres the Woodbury troops in "Welcome to the Tombs", the majority of the violence occurs off-screen, with Martinez and Shupert's shocked and scared reactions giving the audience all they need to know about what the characters are seeing.
    • Rick and the gang mostly slaughter the Hunters off-screen, besides Theresa and Martin (Theresa has her face bashed in by the butt of a rifle while Martin is carved like a turkey). We do see the aftermath of Rick killing Gareth, however.
    • Negan beating his victim in the season 6 finale. There's some blood splattering the camera, but that's it. In the Season 7 premiere, we properly see it go down, but we still get numerous shots of Negan swinging at Abraham, and later Glenn's head which are obscured by shadows.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: While being held prisoner by The Governor, Glenn tears the arm off a dispatched walker and then breaks the bones in the forearm. He then takes the severed bone and gives it to Maggie, who later kills one of their captors in an effort to escape.
  • Groin Attack:
    • Michonne kicks Merle in the crotch during their fight.
    • Eugene bites Dwight in the crotch in "Twice as Far."
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy:
    • There's always someone on duty to keep an eye out for walkers at the farm. Despite this whoever is on duty never notices wherever Carl wanders to.
    • The Governor is shown to significantly improve security when he takes over a new camp in Season 4, installing palisades and posting guards. The guards are actually shown fooling around and not paying attention shortly before a walker is discovered in the middle of the camp, and attacks Megan.
    • When Rick and his group arrive at Terminus from the side, Gareth comments that someone named Albert must have been on guard duty. It's unknown if Albert is really a poor guard, but the people of Terminus are actually luring people within.
  • Guile Hero: Glenn. Dale lampshades this when he mentions to one of the characters that Glenn had no Guile, making him at least another Guile Hero.
  • Hand Cannon: Rick's .357 Magnum service revolver, which he's hung on to since Season 1.
  • Handicapped Badass: In this world, it's unsurprising that some characters would become injured and continue being formidable. The Governor and Merle are the best examples, but Hershel counts as well. Carl loses an eye in Season 6 but is barely if at all slowed down. Aaron counts as well, after losing an arm in Season 9. Season 9 also introduces Connie, a woman who was born deaf, and is devastating with a slingshot.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: In "JSS", Carol, still in disguise as a housewife, promptly tells Shelly that her smoking will kill her. She's one of the first people to be butchered during the Wolves' attack on Alexandria within the next hour, and Carol saw the whole thing happen. To top it all off? She was smoking - presumably out of stress over Carol embarrassing her - right before she was hacked up. She was even smoking outside, possibly since Carol complained about not wanting her smoking in her house. invoked
    • In "Not Tomorrow Yet" Tara tells Denise she loves her, but Denise refuses to say it back until Tara returns. Tara survives the attack on the Saviors, but Denise is killed on a supply run before Tara returns from her two-week run with Heath.
  • Hate Sink: Mitch is an arrogant, loudmouthed jerkass to just about everyone. Fortunately, he's a short-lived example since Daryl takes care of him and his tank during the assault on the prison.
    • Most of the Saviors fall under this, but particular mention has to go to Jared, especially after he murders Benjamin. Suffice to say, absolutely nobody was unhappy when he was torn apart by walkers.
  • Heal It with Fire:
    • Merle cauterized his arm after cutting off his right hand, although the delay in getting medical treatment results in him almost dying.
    • Subverted when Carol pointed out fire wouldn't stop Hershel's leg from bleeding and the shock could quite possibly kill him.
  • Heroes Gone Fishing: The third season episode, "Clear", features a bonding session between Michonne and Carl, and Rick connects with an old friend — all while the prison is still contentious ground, though the initial premise of the episode is a much needed supply run for weapons and ammunition.
  • Heroic BSoD:
    • Andrea has one after her sister Amy dies.
    • Lori and Shane have one in "Save The Last One".
    • Both Hershel and Carol have one in "Pretty Much Dead Already".
    • Glenn BSOD's when he is shot at in "Triggerfinger".
    • Rick has a big one after Lori's death.
    • After "Too Far Gone":
      • Michonne hallucinates about her lost family and acknowledges just how alone she feels
      • Daryl spends some time after the mid-season finale like a robot. Sure, he still hunts, sets up shelter, and keeps Beth safe, but he is emotionally distant. When he talks, it's passionless and direct. Come "Still", he completely loses it while drinking, breaking down and confessing that he feels guilty that he couldn't protect everyone. And I mean everyone. There's even a Call-Back to Sophia. Beth hits the nail on the head harder than she thought. Daryl has a serious protective instinct that is rarely addressed directly.
    • The entire group has one after the losses of Bob, the hope of Eugene having a cure, Beth, and Tyreese.
    • Rick has a brief one after Jessie's death in "No Way Out."
    • The group (and Rick especially) have one in "Last Day On Earth," when Negan has them completely and utterly at his mercy, and is preparing to bludgeon one of them to death. Rick and company have usually found ways to defeat their adversaries and get out of bad situations, but Negan and the Saviors have done a masterful job at showing them that they can't get out of this one. It only gets worse in "The Day Will Come When You Won't Be," after Negan kills both Abraham and Glenn, and almost makes Rick cut off Carl's arm.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • It appears that Otis performed one to allow Shane to get away with the medical supplies needed to save Carl's life. In actuality, it's a subversion, as Shane shot Otis so the walkers chasing them would swarm Otis as opposed to him.
    • In "Killer Within", an already-infected T-Dog rushes a group of walkers and pushes them back so that Carol will have a chance to escape.
    • In "Last Day on Earth," Eugene offers to keep driving the RV and distract the Saviors so the others can get Maggie to Hilltop on foot. Unfortunately, it doesn't work. Abraham later silently volunteers himself to be the victim of Lucille so his friends won't have to suffer a horrible death, and Negan ultimately takes him up on the offer. It's partially Subverted since Daryl ends up lashing out and getting Glenn killed.
  • Heroic Suicide:
    • Andrea shoots herself at the end of Season 3 after she's infected rather than be a risk to others.
    • In late season 7, Sasha first makes an almost certainly suicidal run on the Sanctuary in an attempt to kill Negan. She somehow survives that, but doesn't get to Negan, so later she takes Eugene's cyanide pill so Negan can't use her against her friends. She attacks Negan and kills at least one Savior after turning, and the shock allows Rick's group to briefly fight back against the Saviors and the Scavengers.
    • In "What Comes After", Rick nearly pulls one at the end, leading the herd to the bridge, and then shooting a bag of TNT, blowing up the bridge and apparently himself, causing the herd to walk through the burning wreckage and straight into a fast-moving river flood. Ultimately subverted, however, as it's revealed moments later that Rick survived the explosion and was washed downstream.
  • Hero of Another Story: The Vatos forted up in Atlanta in an old folks home. Morgan and his son also qualify.
  • He's Dead, Jim:
    • Justified as a necessity to make sure everyone who has died does not get up and start shambling.
    • In the intro for episode "TS-19", it's shown in flashback that Shane didn't just automatically assume Rick was dead before leaving him. He did check for a heartbeat after the power failed for the instruments monitoring Rick and didn't hear one. So he then barricaded his room with a gurney to preserve Rick's body from walkers before leaving him.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Shane seemed to be evolving into an Anti-Villain/Anti-Hero (based on survival instincts) or a Fallen Hero (based on Rick's reappearance) until his death in "Better Angels". Or both. The group, especially Rick and Carol, come dangerously close to this as the series goes on, especially during Season 6 when the threat of the Saviors is nigh.
  • Hidden Depths: Daryl and Merle started out appearing as relatively uneducated rednecks, but as the series went on they both were shown to have more intelligence than the redneck stereotype would suggest. Merle reveals himself to be an avid reader, Daryl knows Native American mythology, and both are skilled trackers.
  • Hollywood Darkness: Averted — even without many streetlights, the characters can still see well enough in the dark or at night. Except in the first episode of the second season when they wanted to shoot an evening scene and it was inconveniently still early afternoon (judging by shadows); they slapped a filter on the camera that made things dim and orange, had someone say "It'll be dark soon" and called it a win.
  • Hollywood Silencer: In full effect at the premier of the third season. Even better than usual, they're jury-rigged silencers. Glenn is able to find a bunch of silencers from a store during "Strangers".
  • Homage: When walkers overrun the farm in S2, the expected "hide in the fortified farmhouse" homage to Night of the Living Dead (1968) is subverted. The group immediately realizes it would be suicide and flees.
    • The opening to "The Grove" is a slow short of a pastoral scene that quickly reveals the apocalypse, set to "Maybe" by The Inkspots. This is referencing the intro to the original Fallout
    • Bub from the original Day of the Dead turns up as a Zombie Cameo in a Season 4 episode. Neck collar, jeans jacket, same gaunt face.
  • Hope Spot: A number of these turn up in the series.
    • At first the series leads you to believe that the CDC may still be operational and working on a cure to the plague. Then it shows that the entire building is staffed by one lone scientist whose sanity is gone. The CDC's destruction also represents how any form of organized government left from the old world is long gone.
    • In the deleted scenes for "What Lies Ahead", Rick and the group decide to go to the Vatos encampment (who had previously parted on good terms) and stay there while they plan their next move, with everyone agreeing this is a great idea. Once they enter the encampment, though, they discover that all the Vatos and the nursing home residents were executed by an unknown party sometime prior to their arrival, and that the home was subsequently overrun by walkers.
    • At the beginning of the second season, the convoy decides to set out for Fort Benning, which they believe gives them the best shot of permanent shelter, food and ammunition. In "Nebraska", Rick gets his hopes dashed when he asks Dave about the fort. Dave responds that the whole place was overrun, and there's no way anyone could have survived there. Mitch later confirms it during the fourth season.
    • After Shane and the group kill all the walkers in Hershel's barn, the music becomes triumphant, and the group looks understandably relieved that their problem has been taken care of... until they hear another low growl, and look over to see the undead Sophia shambling out of the barn.
    • Rick and Daryl's discovery of the prison in the third season premiere, "Seed". You can see a look of hope and sheer relief come over Rick's face when he first lays eyes on it. While the survivors encounter their fair share of hardship and loss at the place, the prison does successfully serve as a relative safe haven for about a year.
    • Toward the end of the third season, Andrea spends an entire episode hiding, sneaking, fleeing, and otherwise crapping her pants trying to escape the Governor's pursuit as she tries to reach the prison. Toward the end she pulls off a pretty badass escape by unleashing a horde of walkers on him, and soon enough, she finally reaches the prison and starts waving to get Rick's attention... until the Governor grabs her from behind and pulls her out of sight. And just like that, everything she went through was for naught, and the next we see of her, she's tied of up in the Governor's new torture room.
    • A subtle one from the third season: Milton confirms that the walkers, while doing so much more slowly than humans, are actually starving to death, and it's logical that they're also slowly decaying, hence why they are both so disgusting looking and so easily dispatched. It therefore follows that, eventually, all of the walkers will "die" of starvation, so if the humans can just keep safe long enough for that to happen... Remarkably, this is the only one to not involve a subsequent dashing of hope, so it really is a genuine glimmer of hope for the series.
    • In Season 4, we're introduced to Dr. Eugene Porter, who claims to know what caused the zombie outbreak and is being escorted to Washington, D.C., where there's presumably still some remnant of functioning government and military that can make use of his knowledge. He reveals he's been lying to get protection from competent survivors during "Self-Help", though they later agree to follow his logic that Washington is likely the safest place to be anyway, and migrate there in Season 5.
    • The group's arrival at Terminus at the end of the penultimate Season 4 episode, "Us". It turns out to be a camp run by a large community of cannibals. 'Nuff said.
    • The group is riding high after taking out the Savior base midway through Season 6B, and getting Maggie and Carol back from a small group that abducted them. Then they slowly start encountering more of them, with the groups getting larger each time. It's then shown that the base they took out was merely a single outpost, and that the Saviors are MUCH bigger, well armed, competent, and deadly than they thought.
    • The less said about Glenn being killed by Negan as a second victim all because of Daryl's outburst, combined with the fact that Glenn was spared Negan's first choice of brutal bludgeoning, the better.
  • Hook Hand: Merle uses a bayonet variant in the third season.
  • Horseback Heroism: Done once or twice a season except the third and fifth.
    • Rick in the pilot.
    • Maggie and Daryl in Season 2.
    • Michonne in Season 4.
    • Morgan and the men in armor that he and Carol meet in the season 6 finale.
    • Rick and Michonne in the Season 9 premiere.
  • How We Got Here: Episodes 6 and 7 of Season 4 shows what happened to The Governor after the Season 3 finale up until his return in Episode 5.
    • "Here's Not Here" shows how Morgan went from being the unhinged man we saw in "Clear" to a stick-wielding badass in "Conquer." (and by extension "No Sanctuary" and "Coda")
    • "The Day Will Come When You Won't Be" starts with the immediate aftermath of the death of one of the group, and Negan then takes Rick for a ride to a Savior blockade in an attempt to cow him. Midway through, Rick flashes back to the lineup, and thus we finally learn who Negan picked — Abraham, and then we get the death of Glenn shortly afterward, leading back up to the scene from the cold open. Then the timeline returns to normal.
    • Season 8 subtly does this. The series premiere features shots of Rick looking broken and in tears, standing over a grave, and shots of Rick lying under a tree in a field, nursing a stomach wound. Both series of shots pop up again throughout the Season, until it's revealed that the shots of broken Rick are from after he's buried Carl in "Honor", and Rick under the tree comes after he takes down Negan in "Wrath".
  • Human Pack Mule: Michonne uses her undead boyfriend and his best friend to carry various bags around their necks when she and Andrea are traveling in the third season. She dispatches them in "Walk with Me" after it looks like they'll give away their position to The Governor's group.

     Tropes I-K 
  • I Did What I Had to Do:
    • In "Welcome to the Tombs," Carl says this to Rick when asked why he killed a young Woodbury soldier, coupled with a speech about how Rick's inaction led to Lori and Merle's deaths.
    • After the group violently slaughters the Hunters, they stand around in clear shock from the brutality of what they've just done. Rick is the first to speak up, and insists that "it could've been us."
  • The "I Love You" Stigma: When Maggie says "I love you" to Glenn, he doesn't say it back. He later explains to Rick that no girl but his mother has said that to him and he's afraid of the implications. Given that he's only known Maggie for a bit, his reaction is justified.
  • I Surrender, Suckers:
    • The Governor does this against a group of National Guard personnel in "Walk with Me" by driving up to them in a car with a white flag, then convincing them that one of their soldiers (Welles) wants to talk with them. The Governor and his men (who have surrounded the soldiers offscreen) blow them away when they let their guard down.
    • This is Carl's version of events regarding a scene in the Season 3 finale. A teenage soldier from Woodbury is confronted by Carl and Hershel pointing their guns at him. Hershel tells him to drop his weapon. The teenager says "okay" but lowers his gun very slowly while holding the end of it and moving towards them, ostensibly to hand it over. Carl shoots him, later claiming he "couldn't take the chance," but Hershel is convinced the guy was genuinely surrendering.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: It turns out that the Terminus residents are cannibals who use the promise of sanctuary to lure unsuspecting victims in. However, it is revealed that they started off genuinely attempting to provide a safe haven, and turned to cannibalism after being attacked, imprisoned, and raped by another group. It's implied they originally turned to cannibalism just because they were starving, but eventually found the business of cannibalism, disturbingly enough, profitable and enjoyable.
  • Iconic Item: Often the characters' weapon of choice. Rick's Colt Python, Michonne's Katana, Carl's and Dale's hats, Daryl's crossbow, and Negan's bat Lucille all count as examples. Carol and Tyreese actually recognise Carl and Michonne from descriptions of a "chick with the sword" and a "kid in the hat".
    • Tyrese uses an ordinary hardware-store claw hammer to dispatch walkers with brutal efficiency. The fans even declared it "mightier than Thor's" after his death.
  • Iconic Outfit: In Seasons 1 and 2, Rick and Shane's sheriff uniforms. Later Rick gains his wool-lined jacket from the comics.
    • Carl's Science Dog t-shirt and sheriff hat.
    • Daryl's leather vest with angel wings on the back.
    • Michonne's poncho and headband in Seasons 2 and 3. She loses the former after that.
    • The Governor's eyepatch, dark blue shirt and vest.
    • The Greene family pocket watch, that Hershel passes to Glenn when he gives him his blessing to date his daughter Maggie. After Glenn's death, Maggie gives it to her quasi-adopted daughter Enid.
    • Negan's black leather jacket, red scarf, and single black glove combo.
  • If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him: The Governor. Dwight. Jadis. Negan. Every other bad guy who appeared for more than one episode and quite a few who didn't. This trope has been worked to death, resurrected, and been kept in a shipping container to be brought out every other episode.
  • I Gave My Word: In "No Sanctuary", Rick promises to hack apart Gareth with a red-handled machete. In "Four Walls and a Roof" he follows through with it.
  • Impairment Shot:
    • Rick's during-the-hospitalization view of Shane before he responds months later in the now long empty hospital.
    • After being coldcocked, the audience is given a blurry point of view of Bob Stookey as he comes out of unconsciousness, ultimately showing his leg having been cut off for turning into food.
  • Important Haircut: Shane, after killing Otis. He shaves his head so his hair can never get caught again, and to hide the patch that had been torn out. Rick shaves his famously long beard when he gets to Alexandria, representing that he's about to try to reintegrate into society.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills:
    • The only way you're going to pull off an accurate headshot with a pistol while running is pure luck. These guys do it all the time.
    • Carl somehow manages to hit Walker!Shane right in the head when Rick was standing directly between them. As if to intentionally make the Bizarre and Improbable Ballistics more obvious, Rick thought Carl was pointing the gun at him, until Carl fired without even adjusting his aim. In the first episode of the third season, he doles out one headshot per trigger-pull during the prison takeover from the top of a tower.
    • Almost everyone kills one walker per shot during "Beside The Dying Fire", even in ridiculous circumstances. Andrea gets headshots firing out a window while T-Dog is seen struggling to hold the wheel as their truck jolts around to avoid walkers, several characters fire from the hip and take targets down, while Hershel stands in front of his house and gets headshot after headshot for what seems like several minutes.
    • Lori, despite no on-screen evidence whatsoever that she has ever fired a gun in her life, has suddenly gained the ability to head shot Walkers with a low caliber revolver, in the dark and at range.
    • This was actually lampshaded in one episode of Talking Dead for the episode "Home", by Robert Kirkman who mades a comment about how everyone seemed to have excellent aim and that he was glad Michonne was a poor shot.
  • Improvised Weapon:
    • Axes, picks, and bats. While not designed as weapons, they are readily adapted to this use.
    • When the walkers pour into the courtyard in "Killer Within", Hershel uses one of his crutches to beat and push away one that tries to attack him and Beth.
    • Michonne uses a shard of broken glass from a fishtank to stab the Governor in the eye during her fight in "Made to Suffer".
    • Also in "Made to Suffer", Glenn rips off a walkers arm and makes a bone dagger with it.
    • The entire group makes these to escape Terminus in the Season 5 premiere. Of particular note, Michonne makes her sword's scabbard into a double-ended spiked staff, Rosita straightens her hoop earrings and sticks them into her glove for makeshift claws, and Abraham straps a big honking spike to his glove.
    • Daryl is the king of this trope. In "Crossed", he rips a walker's head off by the eye sockets as a weapon. Then in the fifth season finale, he takes out several walkers' heads by lashing at them with a chain.
  • It Can Think: Although rare, the Walkers (especially those that have turned more recently than others) can display bursts of higher-than-usual intelligence, such as Morgan Jones' wife trying to open her front door by twisting the doorknob, or a walker using a nearby rock to smash it's way in to potential prey, or the recently reanimated Merle seeming to recognize his living brother Daryl when confronted with him.
  • Incongruously Dressed Zombie:
    • One walker was shown wearing a Santa suit.
    • Also in the webisodes, in which a child walker wears a purple birthday-party hat and an adult one wears the bright yellow vest of a parking-meter reader.
    • Becomes a problem when the survivors take over the prison, as those walkers still dressed in prison riot-gear have helmets that make it harder to put them down. Additionally, one of the walkers inside the prison was clearly a civilian, indicating that the prison might not be as secure as the group had initially hoped.
    • Michonne, traveling with leashed walkers in the midst of a herd in "After", gets creeped out by a black female walker with the same hairstyle as hers.
    • Beth and Daryl take out a walker in a forest clearing specifically because it's wearing a gunbelt, and they need the pistol in its sheath.
  • Incurable Cough of Death: The Season 4 premiere has a boy named Patrick suffer from this, causing a nasty outbreak of people coughing up blood and quite often becoming walkers afterwards.
  • Interchangeable Asian Cultures:
    • In "Vatos",
      Daryl: You got some balls for a Chinaman.
      Glenn: I'm Korean.
      Daryl: Whatever.
    • Ironically echoed, in the vein of role-reversal and character growth, in Season 3's "Home":
      Merle: I nearly killed the Chinese kid.
      Daryl: He's Korean!
      Merle: Whatever, man.
  • Involuntary Battle to the Death: In the third season, the Governor forces the brothers Dixon to fight while surrounded by walkers.
  • Irony: Hannah, despite becoming a Walker, cannot walk.
  • It's a Small World After All: Or at least a small section of Georgia these people stay in, running into the same people repeatedly despite the depopulated world. Especially in the tail end of Season 4 when the gang has been scattered yet all decide to head in the same general direction and start to run into each other. One of the reasons that's implied is that when the Walker packs are on the move, the survivors are forced to move with them or avoid them as new ones pop up leading to a strange wave like moving pattern. Between Seasons 2 and 3, the group made no progress because they kept having to move in gigantic circles to avoid the Walker packs during the winter - specifically the herd that overran Hershel's farm. It's rather jarring when in Season 5, after the time that has passed out-of-universe since the pilot, that the trip can be made to downtown Atlanta in a few hours at most.
    • From "What Happened and What's Going On" onwards, the show has left Atlanta for Virginia.
    • Alexandria, Hilltop and the Kingdom are said to be approximately a day's horseback ride apart. Based on what little we see, this appears to also be the case with the Sanctuary. The fact that all four heavily-populated communities are within such a close distance to each other - and that Alexandria and the other three were never even aware of each others' existence until after Rick and the group arrive - can stretch credulity, to say the least.
  • It's the Only Way to Be Sure: If you kept a collection of potentially world-ending pathogens in your basement, you would set up a high-impulse thermobaric device to prevent them from escaping too. Just the description of the device by Vi terrifies half the group to tears. The security protocols on the CDC are also made to very, very high standard. Nothing gets in or out. Unless you have a grenade.
  • Jerkass: Quite a few. While some are merely snarky, others are outright malevolent, proving the walkers aren't the only thing the survivors have to worry about.
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • Daryl may be a caustic redneck, but he is usually the only one of the group to recognize the gravity of their situations. He also has several redeeming qualities.
    • Shane. Andrea even tells him that his attitude and lack of tact means no one will listen to him even though he may be right.
    • Merle gets a few during his stint on the Token Evil Teammate as well as a few not so good points.
  • Jump Scare: It could be anticipated, but Hershel grabbing Lori when she resuscitates him in early Season 3 still causes an unusually sudden scare for this show especially since the characters panicked that he had stopped breathing and could've immediately turned.
  • Just Following Orders: In "I Ain't a Judas", Merle gives this to Michonne as an excuse for trying to hunt her down after she left Woodbury.
  • Kangaroo Court: The season 5 finale. The community Alexandria holds a meeting one night to decide what to do with Rick after he went crazy in the streets last episode waving a gun around and threatening to take over. Despite various members of the group (and a few Alexandrians) speaking in Rick's defense and how Alexandria needs him, the town and especially its leader Deanna seem deadset on exiling Rick. Ultimately, the town elects to let Rick stay after he singlehandedly handles a walker invasion thanks to the incompetence of Deanna's son Spencer, and after Rick's claims that Dr. Pete Anderson is dangerous are proven correct.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Michonne's katana is her iconic weapon and is the most effective walker-slayer in the show.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • The military get one big moment in the prologue of "TS-19". Rather than putting the expected brave fight to protect the innocent, they execute hospital personnel en masse before getting screwed big time by actual walkers. The second season finale throws some doubt onto the degree of pooch-punting by the soldiers, and even before then the medical staff may well have been infected in the course of caring for casualties.
    • In Season 3, Rick is having a meltdown out of grief over Lori's death. Glenn goes to find him and calm him down, but Rick just fiercely shoves him away.
    • Gareth spends an entire conversation relishing the fact that he's eating Bob Stookey's leg in front of him, and even savors a bite of meat that he eats.
    • Many episodes of Season 7 are devoted to Negan, Simon, Dwight, and the other Saviors doing this repeatedly to the group after they take Alexandria as a vassal state for their empire.
  • Kill the Cutie: Amy, Sophia, Haley, Meghan, Mika, Lizzie, Beth, Sam, Jessie, Glenn, Enid and Henry.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence:
    • Axel gets shot in the head by the Governor in the middle of telling Carol about his brother.
    • Denise, who gets a crossbow bolt through the head courtesy of Dwight (who was actually aiming for Daryl, but was off due to the crossbow's kick.
  • Killed Offscreen: Given that most of the deaths are shown in detail, often for maximum shock value, this trope almost never happens, with a few notable exceptions:
    • After being bitten by the newly reanimated Milton, Andrea asks for a gun, and shoots herself offscreen.
    • Carl does the exact same thing in "Honor", after having been bitten by a walker whilst saving Siddiq.
    • "Clear" reveals that Duane was bittem by his undead mother between the events of the pilot and this episode, forcing Morgan to put him down.
    • It's revealed in Season 8 that Morales' family all died prior to his joining the Saviors.
    • Season 9's "The Calm Before" gives us the most shocking example of the series to date: after Alpha captures Daryl, Michonne, Carol and Yumiko, she lets them go with the warning to never cross into Whisperer territory again, and tells Daryl that their boundary will be clearly marked. After the group departs (and finds Siddiq tied to a tree), they stumble upon the boundary marker: a series of pikes, upon which are mounted the heads of Ozzy, Alek, DJ, Frankie, Rodney, Addie, Tammy, Enid, Tara and Henry. Given that we never even saw them being abducted, it's one of the biggest out-of-nowhere moments in the series (at least, for non-comics readers). We are shown a flashback of the group fighting the Whisperers, which presumably ends right before their deaths.
  • Kill It with Fire:
    • What happens when something important blows up (the CDC self-destruct goes off), creating a ball of fire that burns the air and everything in the immediate radius.
    • The military is shown in a flashback fire bombing city streets.
    • Carl and Rick pour gasoline in Hershel's barn as the farm is being overrun and kill an impressive number of walkers.
    • Daryl uses this technique twice in "No Way Out", once on a group of Saviors, then on the walker herd in Alexandria.
    • Carol and Maggie burn several Saviors alive in "The Same Boat."
    • Carol does this again to Jed and the small band of Saviors who rob her and Henry. Whilst they're sleeping, no less.
  • Knife Nut: In "What Lies Ahead", Carl finds a dead man with an impressive haul of knives, axes, swords, and machetes. Rick passes them out and the group is frequently seen wearing or using them for the rest of the season.
    • Magna, who uses throwing knives as her main weapons, and has a concealed knife as her belt buckle.
  • Knight of Cerebus: While the series has never been sunshine and rainbows, Tony and Dave, two members of a large, hostile and armed group of roaming survivors, arrive in mid-season 2 and shake the group to the core, as Hershel's fears were proven true - that walkers aren't the only things the group has to worry about. This (coupled by Shane's gradual Face–Heel Turn) marked the point in the series when hostile human survivors became the definitive main antagonists of the series.


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