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     A 
  • Actor Shipping:
    • Watch any YouTube video with Steven Yeun and Lauren Cohan in it and there will certainly be comments from fans wishing they were together or swearing they actually do like each other (even though Yeun is now married as of 2016).
    • The same with Norman Reedus and Melissa McBride, thanks to the Ship Tease between their characters and the ambiguous response by both actors when asked about the nature of Daryl and Carol's relationship.
    • Andrew Lincoln and Danai Gurira have also gotten a bit of this due to Rick and Michonne being a long-awaited Fan-Preferred Couple until Season 6.
  • Adaptation Displacement: As usually happens when a non-superhero comic is adapted. At the very least, many, if not most, fans of the show by now at least know that it's a comic series.
  • Alas, Poor Scrappy:
    • Lori was unpopular to say the least, but the scene where she undergoes a fatal C-section without anaesthetic, after which her son Carl has to ensure she doesn't turn can be an absolute tearjerker.
    • While Andrea earned a hatedom for being whiny and irresponsible in Season 2 and a Governor fangirl in Season 3, many fans still felt sorry when she was ultimately bitten.
    • Noah was unappreciated by many fans for being the The Load, but even many of his haters were mortified by his brutally graphic death.
    • Nicholas was roundly hated for being The Load and trying to kill a fan favorite in Season 5, but many fans started to warm up to him when he became The Atoner in Season 6, only for him to have a mental breakdown and kill himself when surrounded by walkers.
    • Sam was hated for being The Load and for being Genre Blind when it came to facing the walkers. Just when he started to get his nerves straight and overcame his fears, he remembered Carol's caustic threat about how he'll be devoured by walkers, begins crying, and is promptly eaten alive while screaming for his mother.
    • On that note, Ron was hated for also being The Load, an unpleasant jackass who attempted to kill Carl for what happened to his father, and was dubbed "Porchdick Jr" by the fandom. Going into the mid-Season 6 premiere, he was on pretty much everybody's shitlist, but it's very easy to see why he does what he does in his final moments, holding Rick responsible for the loss of his family. It helps that he's in tears as he raises his gun to attack Rick, devastated by losing his entire family in the blink of an eye.
    • Henry was disliked for his completely stupid and rash decisions with both the Saviors and the Whisperers, but even he didn't deserve to be decapitated and have his head stand on a pike.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Is Shane a decisive and pragmatic leader who can make tough decisions quickly or a selfish hot-head suffering from Sanity Slippage? Are his arguments to call off the search for Sophia pragmatic or is he just trying to ignore the problem? When he tells Rick to shoot him at the end of "Better Angels", is he mocking Rick because he thinks he can't do it or does he want Rick to do it out of guilt?
      • On a related note, did Rick really kill Shane for the sake of the group, or was it all for the sake of securing leadership and his claim on Lori?
    • Is Andrea The Load or an Action Woobie?
    • How much did Maggie believe in her father's view of the walkers? She may have gone along with her father's plan simply to keep the peace in the family, and argued with Glenn over it because she felt like she had to defend her family's point of view.
    • Early episodes made fans wonder whether Rick is an effective leader or a fine example of Good Is Dumb? Later episodes have him straddling the line between anti-hero and nominal hero.
    • Given Michonne is only right about the Governor by coincidence (since purely from her frame of reference there is painfully little to make her suspicious), perhaps she's just against Woodbury because she doesn't want security and civilization to diminish her role as a sword-wielding badass. The later reveal that she lost her child when her previous camp was overrun has given rise to the theory she was suffering from PTSD at the thought of history repeating itself.
    • Is Dale the group's voice of reason and compassion or just an old man who refuses to adapt to the new Crapsack World?
    • Is the Governor's obsession with the prison actually about protecting his own or is it really about revenge? Did he really intend to let Rick's group go free or was he planning to kill them all anyway? Did he change from one motive to another? If so, when and in which direction?
    • Is Dawn a desperate leader doing her best to keep everything afloat despite being in over her head, or a manipulative control freak willing to do anything (including fake emotions) to keep everyone under her thumb?
    • Did Owen the Alpha Wolf sacrifice his life in order to save Denise, or was he only keeping her alive so she could heal him in the long run, but failed when Carol got the drop on him?
    • How genuine was Simon in the Season 6 finale when he made a speech to Rick about cherishing his loved ones as if it was their last day on earth? While Simon certainly qualifies as Faux Affably Evil considering he's in the middle of torturing a man to make an example of him, he's in a position to know what it feels like to suddenly lose friends by surprise after the satellite outpost battle. He also knows exactly what Negan has in store for the group, and later allows the group to help Maggie down from the stretcher with no strings attached. Steven Ogg has just enough of a weary tinge to his delivery of the speech that can make one wonder.
    • Is Eugene working with Negan because he has no other option and is too much of a coward to fight back? Or is he merely playing along so he can damage Negan's operation from the inside? The answer? Both.
    • Was Fat Joey truly just a Punch-Clock Villain who was genuinely allowing Daryl to escape the Sanctuary or was he just pretending to allow him to escape in order to shoot him In the Back?
  • Angst? What Angst?:
    • Daryl is devastated by having to put down his zombified brother Merle at the end of "This Sorrowful Life", but at the start of the next episode, Daryl is back at the prison and apparently over it; the whole thing is only sparsely mentioned from that time onward. Norman Reedus himself was disappointed Daryl didn't get an episode to mourn.
    • All the surviving group members except Beth are reunited in "No Sanctuary", yet her sister Maggie (who spent most of the previous half-season strenuously angsting over her husband) doesn't spare a single thought for her sister, even when joining The Quest to Washington. This is addressed in "Them" (and in more detail down in Author's Saving Throw).
    • We don't see much of the immediate fallout of the death of the Anderson family, but after a two month Time Skip, there's not a mention of them and Rick quickly gets together with Michonne.
      • The time skip unintentionally created a lot of these, as Carl seems to be perfectly fine with losing an eye. He may have had a period of pain and anguish over it but we certainly never saw it.
    • Downplayed given the lengthy time skips between seasons and the fact that they'd presumably grown apart since Tara's relocation to Hilltop, but other than a few shots of them mourning along with the rest of the crowd during Siddiq's speech, Eugene and Rosita have no onscreen reaction whatsoever to Tara's death, which is rather jarring given how close they were in previous seasons.
  • Anti-Climax Boss:
    • The Claimers capture Rick, Michonne, and Carl, take their weapons, and start beating Daryl to death. However, the moment Rick headbutts their leader Mook Chivalry and Why Don't You Just Shoot Him? kick in, the others fight back, and their enemies are killed without much difficulty. The last one even conveniently abandons his hostage just to make an escape that lasts only a dozen strides.
    • Despite being advertised and built up as the next major antagonist during the off-season and the first few episodes of the season, Gareth and the Hunters are Out-Gambitted and slaughtered without hardly a fight.
    • Bud, the leader of a gang of Saviors whose confrontation with Daryl, Sasha and Abe is shown in The Stinger of the mid-Season 6 finale, and who appeared to have put the three in a very bad position, is unceremoniously blown to smithereens in the mid-season premiere's cold open with the RPG Abe scrounged in the trio's previous episode.
    • Owen, the Wolf leader, survives past his brethren and is set up as a major human antagonist for the back half of Season 6. In the same episode as Bud's anticlimactic death, he is unceremoniously bitten while undergoing a sudden change of heart and is then shot by Carol.
    • Tomas, the leader of the Prison survivors and the most antagonistic of the bunch buts heads with Rick over taking refuge in the prison. After killing Big Tiny, he blatantly tries to kill Rick twice in a row while trying to clear out a cell block full of walkers. After this happens, Rick kills him in one hit in a second by slicing his skull open with a machete.
  • Anvilicious:
    • The show is often not that subtle with its cast spouting various lectures about the world, morality, humanity, etc. It sometimes falls into Narm territory since on many occasions these sermons feel like nothing actual people would say to each other.
    • Season 4B features so many scenes showing humans as Not So Different from walkers (Daryl sitting and eating while ignoring Beth, Michonne seeing her walker lookalike while blending with a herd, Maggie lying among a pile of bodies, etc.) that some fans complained it was getting heavy-handed. Taken Up to Eleven in "A" when Rick kills a man by biting out his throat.
    • Season 8, revolving around the Savior War, hits you on the head quite viscerally with its theme of “my mercy prevailed over my wrath”. Particularly egregious is Jesus lecturing the rest of the cast on why they can’t kill Saviors even in the midst of critical battles, Carl suffering Death by Adaptation just to get Rick to spare Negan, and the return of Morales solely to give a Not So Different rant to Rick.
  • Arc Fatigue:
    • While not as long as other examples, Season 2's search for Sophia was the first to test the fandom's patience since it seemed to go on indefinitely and created many of the subplots blamed for stalling story progression. Then it turned out she was one of the walkers in the barn the whole time.
    • Many felt the Prison Arc dragged on too long (24 episodes) and were relieved to see it finally ended satisfactorily in the mid-season finale of Season 4, though there is considerable disagreement on whether it was the prison as a setting or the Governor as an Arc Villain that was exhausted.
    • The Cliffhanger of Glenn's apparent death in "Thank You" is followed by a 90-minute How We Got Here Character Focus episode, a Breather Episode full of minor characters few found particularly interesting, and an engrossing but tangential Bottle Episode with only three of the main cast before finally resolving the cliffhanger in "Heads Up". The decision to drag it out so long, especially when many fans immediately said, "Like You Would Really Do It," was criticized by many as a cheap gimmick.
    • The buildup to the onscreen appearance of Negan lasts the entire back half of Season 6, and mostly consists of the Saviors being dealt one defeat after another, making it impossible to view them as a serious threat, and with none of them ever getting any kind of personality beyond generic Smug Snake. And then when he finally does show up, we don't even get to see who he kills, just to drag it out even more.
    • Several episodes in Season 7 are dedicated almost entirely to Negan showing what an utter dick he is, in between occasional Pet the Dog moments. By the time the mid-season finale comes around, it was a relief to see Rick finally starting to fight back.
    • On the same note, every time a member of Rick's group is at the Sanctuary, Negan spends an entire episode singing "Hakuna Matata" in an attempt to get them to join his army or at least try to prove he's not a bad guy. It happens four times in Season 7 with Daryl, Carl, Eugene, and Sasha.
    • The Savior arc in general, which lasts the entirety of both Season 7 and 8, a whopping 32 episodes.
    • One of the main themes of the series is the debate over whether the heroes will go too far and become as bad as the villains. Season 4 in particular largely focuses on this, with Rick ultimately learning that you can come back from the horrible things you do in order to survive. Season 5 also confirms this, proving that even when he was on the verge of becoming a Villain Protagonist, Rick was able to dial it back thanks to the support of his loved ones. Unfortunately, despite this resolution, the theme continues to come back time and time again, long after the lesson learned in Seasons 4-5. This is no more evident than the semi-constant presence of a character who will preach that the heroes either cannot commit a ruthless action, or that the heroes in question are just as bad as the villains.
  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • Lori acknowledges in the Season 3 episode "Sick" that she hasn't been a good wife and her parenting skills won't be winning any Mother-Of-The-Year awards.
    • Robert Kirkman himself sees the show itself as one in some ways since he was excited to do more with Shane after originally rushing to kill him off in case the comics were short-lived and has stated (on The Talking Dead following "Too Far Gone") that he now considers the Governor's original intentionally unsatisfying death a mistake he wished to avoid in the show. Another prominent example is Abraham getting Spared by the Adaptation, as he wishes he could've given him at least one scene interacting with Negan as opposed to his sudden death in the comics.
    • Maggie had absolutely no reaction to the absence of her sister for an entire season (Seasons 4B and 5A combined), and it rubbed many viewers the wrong way that she never spared a single thought about Beth until "Coda", which even then felt ridiculous. "Them" takes a scene out to address this: Maggie was so broken by the death of her father that she had assumed Beth had been killed as well until "Coda", even after Daryl's somewhat shaky claim that she was alive after being abducted by Grady cops.
    • Many viewers have expressed fatigue with the "come-down" episodes after climactic season finales and premieres as the show goes on. Season 6 surprised many with the episodes "JSS", "Thank You", and "Here's Not Here", all of which had either loads of HSQ or in "Here's Not Here"'s case, gave the show one of its best episodes. The climactic mid-season premiere, "No Way Out", was also followed by the much Lighter and Softer featuring the debut of a beloved comic character and a romance many fans had been clamoring for, and was seen as a refreshing change of pace for the series.
    • A lot of fans blamed Daryl for inadvertently getting Glenn killed in the Season 7 premiere, and "Hearts Still Beating" seemingly showing that he was Easily Forgiven at the Hilltop, where Maggie lives. "The Other Side" reveals that ever since Daryl has arrived back at the Hilltop, he has never spoken to Maggie at all, and even has an entire scene where Daryl tearfully confesses to Maggie that he feels like it's his fault over what happened, even after she tells him that he had no reason to blame himself.
    • Season 7 undoes Morgan's highly unpopular turn to pacifism, as he brutally kills the man responsible for Benjamin's death and later fully participates in the climactic battle and ensuing war.
    • In the "All Out War" comic arc, Eric's death by Boom, Headshot! was criticized for being too abrupt, and another pointless way to create more war casualties and rob another character of their relationship (Aaron). "The Damned" and "Monsters", episodes which adapted the aforementioned death, changed it to being a slower death by a stomach gunshot wound, and having Aaron and Eric sharing one last tear-filled conversation and kiss before the latter's reanimation. This was seen as more effective and tearjerking by viewers.
    • In the Season 8 finale, Rick and Michonne spare Negan and ignore their friends' wishes to kill him, angering many fans who wanted Negan to die as well. Season 9 sees Rick and Michonne contend with a lot of stress and backlash from their allies as they face the realistic consequences of such a controversial move.
  • Award Snub:
    • Despite positive reviews from critics and great ratings from audiences, the only Emmys the show has received are two nominations for Visual Effects and Sound Editing and a win for Makeup.
    • Many fans and several critics thought that Melissa McBride was legitimately deserving of award attention for her work in Season 4, particularly for her performance in "The Grove".
    • Andrew Lincoln's repeated snubbing for his strong and complex work as Rick Grimes has led many fans to decry the Emmys. His breakdown over nearly being forced to cut off Carl's arm in "The Day Will Come When You Won't Be" deserves some mention.
    • Negan fans are not happy that Jeffrey Dean Morgan was not considered for an award for his awesome work portraying the Lucille wielding psychopath.
  • Awesome Ego: Negan. He's such a Laughably Evil overpowered psychopath with enough charisma that the fans and the characters understand why he has what it takes to be in charge while praising himself as a Dark Messiah. To drive the point home, all of his followers shout "We are all Negan!"
  • Awesome Music: See here for complete list.
    • Bear McCreary's music for the series.
    • The use of John Murphy's "The Surface of the Sun" in Episode 5, "Wildfire".
    • Motörhead's "Fast and Loose" and Ted Nugent's "Turn It Up" during "This Sorrowful Life".
    • Any time Beth sings, whether it's the old folk song "The Parting Glass" or a Tom Waits cover.
    • Not to mention music from the season promos, such as Wye Oak's "Civilian" in the Season 2 trailer.
    • The Phantoms' "We Carry On" and Robin Loxley's "Be What You Want" are just two of the many obscure musical pieces that have been praised by critics and viewers alike.

     B 
  • Badass Decay:
    • Andrea lost a lot of credibility in Season 3 after trying so hard to become a competent Action Girl. The moment she meets the Governor, she becomes infatuated with him and does absolutely everything he says without question, causing her to lash out against anyone who hates him despite the fact that he's so Obviously Evil.
    • For some fans, Maggie has lost some of her awesomeness as the show went on. Back in Season 2, Maggie was an Affirmative Action Girl who could take care of herself and slayed more zombies than her entire family. Later, she now stays within Alexandria as a secretary to Deanna, before slightly raising her status as a lookout, and usually wishes her man to stay safe while he's on the front lines fighting. Possibly justified, since she's pregnant. However, she comes blazing back as a Pregnant Badass in "The Same Boat" when she and Carol rescue themselves from the Saviors and then proceed to kill every last one of them.
    • The Wolves, who were once ominous trap masters that posed as an unknown threat towards Rick and Alexandria since they decimated multiple safe zones For the Evulz end up being revealed as stupid brutes who rush in killing people with blades and pointed sticks and were all wiped out within a few episodes.
    • After an intimidating introduction, the Saviors spend almost all their screentime getting their asses kicked, hardly ever getting to fight back effectively until it's impossible to see them as a serious threat. The first five episodes after their formal introduction feature Rick's group slaughtering their out parties and decimating their compounds without a single casualty. The first kill scored by the Saviors isn't until the third to last episode of Season 6, where Dwight kills a minor character, Denise, and even then it was by accident as he was aiming for Daryl. However, they come back blazing in "Last Day on Earth" when they successfully capture Rick's group and cause some of them to cry.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Some fans hate T-Dog for being a Flat Character without much characterization or screen-time; others like or at least pity him because of it.
    • Many fans think Shane makes a lot of good points and is a better overall leader than Rick while others think he's too callous, impulsive, uncompromising, selfish, and needlessly dickish, ultimately doing more harm than good. For what it’s worth, in latter seasons, Rick adopts much of his mentality but to far greater effect.
    • Andrea. A valuable asset to the group and the only woman in early seasons to attempt to be more than a housewife, a reckless and overemotional Faux Action Girl with terrible taste in men, or a combination of both (for example, she eventually becomes a good shot, but fails at common sense when she nearly shoots Daryl and falls for the Governor)?
    • Daryl has a massive fanbase, but also a sizable hatedom that think he's over-hyped and object to his increased Character Focus from the writers and Breakout Character status among fans. As of Season 7, his popularity has divided even further, now that he inadvertently got Glenn killed by punching Negan, even after Negan said he wouldn't tolerate such behavior. Some fans say that Daryl isn't the one to blame and cut him some slack, while other find this a glaring case of Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!, and believe that Daryl should've died instead of Glenn. His actions in Season 8, regarding his attempt to attack the Sanctuary and break with Rick’s plan, also caused quite a bit of heated debate among the fandom. When it was announced Andrew Lincoln would be leaving the show, even some of his fans were skeptical about Daryl taking over as lead, but reception has been overall pretty positive.
    • Some find Beth sweet and love her singing. Others find her extremely irritating and useless.
    • A lot of fans like Carol for her transformation from Shrinking Violet to One-Woman Army and praise her as a Pragmatic Hero who's will to make hard choices. On the other hand, many people feel her Pragmatic Villainy and Moral Myopia take her too far into Well-Intentioned Extremist territory for them to sympathize with and think her killing of Karen and David and threatening of Sam would be considered Moral Event Horizons if committed by another character. The last one especially has been looked at more critically after it was remembering Carol's threats toward him that at least partially caused Sam to break down in the middle of a dangerous situation and get eaten.
    • Tyreese became a divisive figure in Season 5 by becoming a pacifist who not only refused to kill Martin—an unrepentant cannibal who threatened to snap baby Judith's neck—but concealed his survival from the rest of the group, allowing him to rejoin his fellow cannibals in hunting the group. By the time he dies in "What Happened and What's Going On", many viewers were satisfied that his adamant refusal to reconsider this stance meant he had no further purpose in the story.
    • Some find Jessie a cute and calming love interest for Rick while others consider her boring, off limits because she's married, or simply prefer Rick either single or with Michonne. This is further complicated when they start a relationship immediately after Rick publicly executes her husband. Others don't object to the relationship itself but feel it suffers from Strangled by the Red String.
    • Morgan, as of Season 6. Though still a well-loved badass, many fans dislike his newfound pacifism either for being repetitive (he's the fifth character after Dale, Hershel, Tyreese, and Father Gabriel to adopt this stance) or for being taken to Unintentionally Unsympathetic extremes like insisting on a non-lethal take-down for a murderous psychopath while innocent people are being slaughtered around him. Many also feel a 90-minute Day in the Limelight about his journey to pacifism was unnecessary Padding (and not just for drawing out a Cliffhanger). It's especially jarring considering he was one of the most popular characters of the entire show before Season 6 and his return to the main cast was extremely hyped up. He does manage to regain his popularity by the end of Season 7, however, after accepting that the Saviors must die (albeit at the cost of much of his sanity).
    • Negan, in contrast to his comic counterpart's status as a near-universal fan favorite. Many fans love both the character and his portrayal on screen. Some love the character but feel that Jeffrey Dean Morgan lacks the intimidation and physicality necessary for the role. Others (particularly critics) despise Negan for his perceived one-dimensionality and his cartoonishly over the top villainy. Some fans who are not familiar with the comic books see Negan as an outright Hate Sink character and a more sadistic and violent version of The Governor which makes sense considering the Adaptational Villainy around both characters. And no one's opinion is untouched by the overwhelming controversy surrounding the cliffhanger during his introduction scene.
    • Rosita after she Took a Level in Jerkass in Season 7, with the audience divided on just how acceptable her behavior is. Some hate how reckless and bullheaded she has become, seemingly only focusing on revenge at any cost, getting Olivia killed and Eugene kidnapped, and having harsh Kick the Dog moments towards Eugene, Sasha, and Gabriel. Others, however, see this behavior as perfectly understandable, given how Negan killed Abraham, Glenn and Spencer, arguing that she deserves to want to kill him, and that her assassination attempt came as a result of Rick's refusal to do anything in the first half of the season. She was much better-received in Season 8 due to having learned her lesson and staunchly refusing to deviate from Rick's plan to take down the Saviors.
    • Tara: it seems fans either see her as a likable and entertaining character with many funny moments or an extremely pointless one whose humor comes across as forced and who has not served any purpose in the story since Season 4. Then there's the matter of whether she deserved her Day in the Limelight episode from Season 7, which is generally considered one of the series' weakest episodes. She arguably improves in Season 9, but is unfortunately killed off by the Whisperers in the penultimate episode.
    • Jesus slipped into this in Season 8. During the war with the Saviors, he decides to take a large amount of surrendering Saviors as prisoners of war. The ethics of this can be debated, but one particularly egregious example is Dean, who tricked Jesus into thinking he was an innocent captured worker, and then attempted to kill him - only for Jesus to continue desperately fighting to spare Dean and the other Saviors. In general, Jesus' attitude comes off as a retread of the same old "we don't kill the living or we become as bad as them" plot line that the show has done time and time again. Jesus' needling at Maggie to agree with him also has put off some fans, especially after she executes Dean and Jesus is anguished over his death. In the finale, his lecturing Morgan over killing people came off as overly preachy to many viewers as well. He manages to regain much of his popularity in Season 9, just in time to be killed off.
  • Better on DVD: Several slower arcs or seasons of the series are considered more palatable on home release or streaming services.
    • Season 2, easily the least well received season of the series for being slow-paced and featuring a seven episode long search for a missing group member, is considered less grating when you're able to binge watch it and not have to wait a week between episodes.
    • With Scott Gimple taking over as showrunner from seasons 4-8, this also begins to apply to the series as a whole, since your favorite characters may not possibly appear for several weeks.
    • Season 6 to 8, in particular, was better received for having a less slower pace when viewed consecutively, decreasing the agonizing wait for cliffhangers to be resolved (Like the "Dumpstergate" and the Negan kill).
  • Broken Base:
    • Rick's decision to exile Carol for killing David and Karen left some fans feeling he was completely justified while others felt it was hypocritical and arbitrary given that Rick's own hands are far from clean and he was later willing to make peace with the far more reprehensible Governor. Then there are those who believe he made the right choice but had no right to do so without consulting the group.
    • Fans are also divided on the justifiability of the murder that led to the banishment. Some praise it as a hard but pragmatic decision for the greater good while others detest it as an atrocious Moral Event Horizon that only gets a pass from much of the fandom because it happens to Mauve Shirts. As something else to chew on, in Season 6, Rick (after a lot of Character Development and hardening since then) says that if she did it today, he would thank her for it and clearly deemed it a past mistake.
    • "The Grove" is either a fantastic Character Development episode with a tragic Shoot the Dog ending or a boring Day in the Limelight episode with an outrageous Downer Ending thrown in for shock value.
    • Reaction to the Season 4 finale is split into three groups. Some found it boring with a dull or even narmy Cliffhanger. Others claim it was one of the best episodes of the season, with great Character Development and an amazing ending. Then there are those who don't hate the episode, but were really underwhelmed by the Anti-Climax (reinforced by the Season 5 premiere being a climactic fan-pleaser) and The Un-Twist that Terminus really was exactly what most fans thought.
    • Immediately after it aired, fans were declaring the extended Season 5 finale either the best in the show's history or the most disappointing. Supporters found it thrilling and emotional while detractors thought it wasted its extended run-time on padding or just fell short of promises of dramatic tearjerker. Others thought it was fine but should have done more to introduce the Wolves.
    • Rick's plan to deal with the Quarry Herd is a divisive topic. Half the fanbase thinks it was a necessary action and a good plan that failed only due to unforeseeable complications and that Rick's actions saved Alexandria from at least some of the walkers. The other half think he went about it all wrong and is completely to blame for the horde at the gates.
    • Glenn's apparent death in "Thank You" created a kaleidoscope of opinions. At its core, fans either believed the character was really Devoured by the Horde or protected a body on top of them. Those who believed the character was dead either praised the scene as a well-written Tear Jerker that affirmed Anyone Can Die or criticized it as a pointless waste of a fan favorite for shock value. Meanwhile, those who believed the character was alive either praised the drama and enjoyed speculating on possible escapes or criticized it as gimmicky writing that would require serious Plot Armor to survive.
    • Some think "Here's Not Here" is a great character-driven episode that bridged the gap between Morgan's current characterization and the one we saw in "Clear", some think it's a decent standalone but poorly placed in the middle of a major conflict that has the fates of several main characters hanging in the balance, and some think it was just pointless, cheesy Filler with an Ass Pull explanation for Morgan's new outlook. The decision to dedicate an entire 90-minute extended episode to it is also considered questionable.
    • One thing the fans constantly argue about is whether the character's mistakes are believable or not. Some fans hate it whenever the characters do something that seems stupid, arguing that it's contrived writing for the sake of drama, and people who have been living in the apocalypse as long as they have shouldn't be making the kind of mistakes they do. Others argue that it's realistic stupidity, or that there were perfectly sensible reasons for not taking a certain course of action, and that living in the apocalypse isn't as easy as some people believe. One of the most reviled recent examples of this was the group's actions in "East", as six of the group's most capable fighters immediately leave Alexandria when they've all agreed that the Saviors are likely going to come knocking any day now. While characters leaving town in the following episode made more sense (as Maggie required medical aid from Hilltop), it's still seen as a clumsy plot device to get the group into the Saviors' clutches.
    • Many fans also argue about the increasing amount of character deaths. Some fans are fine with the high mortality rate, as this is a show about a zombie apocalypse, meaning casualties will be high by default. Said fans also enjoy said deaths because they raise the stakes, result in further character development from the survivors, lead to shocking twists, and in some cases, eliminate characters who are Scrappies or too dumb to live. Others, however, are appalled that the show kills off characters right when they start getting interesting, or right when they start contributing to the plot. Said detractors also feel like characters are dying for no reason besides shock value or to make a series that is already suffering from Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy even more depressing. Others counter this by arguing that for the most part, the only characters whose deaths contribute to this "increasing amount" are Red Shirts, Mauve Shirts, and villains, with most members of Rick's group being essentially safe unless the actor playing them leaves the show. Because of that, some feel that the minor characters are essentially only introduced for the purpose of being killed off later, whereas Rick's group (especially its more prominent members like Glenn pre-Season 7 and Daryl) have at times shown some truly ludicrous levels of Plot Armor.
    • Carol's character arc in Season 6. After turning from a battered housewife into a badass survivor, Carol begins to regret all of the deaths she's caused, to the point that she leaves the group, because she's afraid she'll have to kill more people to protect them. Some feel it was a complete 180 personality change that negated all of her previous character development. Others believe that it did have proper build up, and that it makes sense that killing so many people would start to weigh on her. Still others think that the concept was good, but that it was rushed.
    • A lot of people were not amused how Season 6 ended with a Cliffhanger at the moment where Negan killed a member of Rick's group but the viewers only see it from the victim's POV. There were some (and by some, so few that this trope barely counts) fans who wanted the season to end this way in order to up the suspense for Season 7, while there was an absolutely visceral response from others who are sick of cliffhangers and feel that the show dropped the ball on the scene. Scott Gimple, Robert Kirkman, and other showrunners' response to the backlash did not help matters, with their answers bordering on Viewers Are Morons and Misaimed Fandom, and claims that the audience shouldn't have expected actual pay-off to the season's plot.
      • The resolution in the Season 7 premiere inevitably led to this. People either admired the fact that they went with a very gutsy call in killing off both Abraham and Glenn, an event big enough to finally justify those seven months of buildup, or thought Abraham was a somewhat mediocre choice to be Negan's victim compared to the amount of buildup the scene received and Glenn being killed off soon after felt like a tacked-on Shocking Swerve, arguably cheapening the deaths of both characters. There's also the fact that Abraham's comic death, which happened only a couple episodes earlier, went to a minor character in the TV series. Is it really upping the ante to kill off two major characters if it came at the cost of another key moment? There's also been divisiveness on whether or not the show had finally gone too far with the carnage in the premiere, even among fans who knew what to expect.
      • In a somewhat ironic turn of events, the actual fan reaction (both to the Cliffhanger and the resolution) has been subjected to this as well. On the one side, you have fans who side with the showrunners and say that this is not the first time the show has included a cliffhanger in the season finale (most citing the Terminus storyline that encompassed the Season 4 finale and the Season 5 premiere), this is simply the most overt example. Others say that the fan reaction was completely justified as it was such an iconic scene in the comics (and for the reasons stated above). Now that the fire has died down, some fans have moved to Take a Third Option territory, saying that the cliffhanger was frustrating but, in hindsight, the sheer level of anger displayed bordered on being embarrassing after the fact.
    • Season 6 overall received the most mixed and divisive reception since Season 2. Some fans give it points for killing off numerous Mauve Shirts and Red Shirts, having characters like Eugene, Gabriel, and the Alexandrians take a level in badass and introducing the notorious Saviors as the main antagonists of the series. However, it also has many detractors for its occasionally slow pace, stupid character decisions, and numerous narrative gimmicks and copouts - in particular, Dumpstergate and the Negan cliffhanger.
    • While Carol and Daryl's relationship is one of the main praises of the show, the exact nature of it is a source of splitting among the fanbase due to some Alternate Character Interpretation. Some think that they're definitely going to end up as a couple at some point, since they've already somewhat flirted with each other. Others believe that their relationship is more like platonic life partners, always there for one another without being romantically involved. While arguments can get heated sometimes, the majority of fans take a third option, deciding that they don't care whether or not Daryl and Carol end up together.
    • There is actually very little left of the tone of the original few seasons that focused more on ordinary people learning to adapt and survive After the End more than the walkers and outside threats themselves. For example, the closest thing we had to a main villain for two seasons was Shane, and he actually had a considerable amount of fan support compared to the idealistic Rick of Seasons 1 and 2 who seemed unable by many to make the tough calls. Those of whom that miss this style can be found on every Walking Dead forum whenever something they perceive to be particularly narmful regarding Negan or the Kingdom arises, and arguing with the fans who prefer the new more action-heavy, comic book loyal direction of the show.
    • Are characters like Negan, Ezekiel, and Jadis believable as real people living in a post apocalyptic world? Negan and Ezekiel are at least seen as somewhat ridiculous by other characters (and Ezekiel outright confirms he only acts his part for the positive effect it has on others) but does that justify their inclusion or do they still clash with the show's generally bleak tone and setting? Jadis, meanwhile, is apparently meant to be taken 100% seriously, which has made her a major source of Narm for many. While there are many fans who enjoy these characters, others feel they are too "comic book-y"note  and don't fit in well with the more grounded show.
    • Season 7 in general, particularly the finale. Either it's a great "true" introduction to Negan and the Saviors and demonstrates just how dangerous they are (especially after their less than impressive appearances throughout the previous season), a good character-driven season that hearkened back to the style of the first couple of seasons, and introduces some fascinating new communities (particularly the Kingdom); or it's mostly made up of needless padding, filler episodes that accomplish very little, and is just there to set up all the pieces necessary to lead into All Out War in Season 8. Some fans Take a Third Option and say that while there may be a lot of filler and the number of bottle episodes was perhaps a few too many, it also provided a lot of good character development for many and that Negan and the Saviors needed a season to set themselves up as the Big Bad after their divisive appearances in Season 6.
      • Similarly for the season finale: a tense and moving episode that signaled a return to form, and a fitting tribute to all three of the major characters who left the show this season? Or a predictable and melodramatic finale with too much time spent on a character who ended up dead halfway through the episode, leaving barely any time for the action?
      • Negan not having any F-bombs on the Season 7 DVD, despite the Season 6 Blu-Ray version having this in its finale. There are Negan fans are completely angry and livid that the one important trait that defines him has been omitted, and makes his appearances from Seasons 6 and 7 inconsistent, while there are those who don't mind, and felt that the swearing in the Season 6 finale felt forced.
    • The reveal of Carl having been bitten in "How It's Gonna Be" and dying in the following episode. Was it completely unnecessary, going against his comic counterpart and wasting any potentially interesting storylines in the future for him? Or was it a solid, amazing game-changer for the show's future, offering a decent character death that had been sorely lacking in all of Season 8, and greatly demonstrating its pros at diverging from the source material and telling a different story?
    • Hoo boy, the Season 8 finale "Wrath" was obviously going to be this, as it concluded the Saviors conflict that had lasted for two and a half seasons. There were haters who trashed the episode for not killing Negan (even though the murders he had committed warranted this fate), the lack of main character deaths, and plot twists, like Eugene sabotaging the Saviors' bullets and Maggie, Daryl and Jesus conspiring to kill Negan when they have the chance, effectively defying Rick's orders. On the other hand, some loved it for the mere fact that most of the characters, including the Saviors themselves, achieved their happy endings, the payoff of the "mercy" theme throughout the season by having Rick spare and imprison Negan, the plot twists being genuinely surprising to them, as well as its final, emotional scene with Rick and a young Carl walking together.
    • And now comes Rick's "death" in Season 9 that was advertised for weeks and set up as a definitive end for the character only to have him survive at the end. But that isn't the controversial part, at least not entirely, because according to Scott Gimple on the Talking Dead, this was done to make a series of made for TV movies featuring him. This is either a fantastic outcome if you want to see more of this character, and one that fantastically averts the Death in the Limelight trope the show has been repeatedly using for minor and major characters; it makes a mockery of what could have been an awesome and heroic sacrifice; or is it just another nail in the coffin for this show's Suspension of Disbelief? Rick survives being impaled through the stomach by dirty rebar, loses pints of blood, falls off a horse, takes an explosion to the face, avoids drowning in a high current river, and then just so happens to be in the right place at the right time to be airlifted to safety.
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     C 
  • Can't Un-Hear It: Many characters, but especially Andrew Lincoln as Rick, Chandler Riggs as Carl, Steven Yeun as Glenn, Lennie James as Morgan, Jon Bernthal as Shane, Lauren Cohan as Maggie, the late Scott Wilson as Hershel, David Morrissey as The Governor, Danai Gurira as Michonne, Michael Cudlitz as Abraham, Khary Payton as Ezekiel, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan.
  • Captain Obvious Reveal:
    • Season 4 has a minor subplot about characters wondering what Daryl did before the apocalypse. Eventually, it's revealed that he was... just some drifter who followed Merle around and did what he said, which is exactly what most people assumed before the writers tried to make a mystery out of it.
    • Very few people were surprised to find out Terminus was a hoax all along. Even before the reveal aired, 89% of the people who voted on what they thought predicted it would be worse than Woodbury.
    • Almost the moment Dumpstergate began, fans began to cry He's Just Hiding!, so the ultimate resolution of the cliffhanger became this.
    • Glenn and Abraham were among the most predicted victims of Negan going into the Season 7 premiere, the former because he suffered the same fate in the comics and the latter because many felt he was on borrowed time due to being Spared by the Adaptation. Subverted somewhat in that not too many expected it to be both of them.
    • Admittedly, Spencer's death was seen coming a mile away even by fans who don't read the comics. Considering that said character was just a background extra who suddenly received a load of character development and was growing into a threat towards The Hero while an unhinged Hero Killer was conveniently walking around slaughtering a few competent characters at the same time, which has been done on the show before, some people weren't that surprised. Though, the real surprise was Olivia's Surprisingly Sudden Death since she was still alive in the comics and made it through the Savior War arc.
    • It was actually supposed to be a shocking revelation that Gregory never killed a walker before. Given that he has done nothing of use in the Hilltop Colony except order others around and cower before the Saviors, absolutely nobody was surprised to learn that he sucked at combat.
    • Due to the perceived Anvillicious nature of Season 8, not many were surprised by the plot twists of the finale, since the show hadn’t been subtle about foreshadowing them - namely Eugene pulling a last-minute redemptive save, Rick sparing Negan to honor Carl’s last wishes, and Oceanside arriving to provide some aid in the final battle.
  • Cargo Ship:
    • Glenn and the dumpster, because of how the latter basically saved the former's life.
    • Negan and Lucille have just as much of a weird relationship as they did in the comics. The first time we see Negan carrying Lucille, he gently holds his Weapon of Choice in his only gloved hand so he wouldn't make skin contact with it, he tells Rick's group that it's considered an honor to be picked by her, and he personally describes Lucille as "awesome" in a very sexual tone while brandishing her. Considering that he named Lucille in honor of his late wife, it's pretty much canon.
    • Carl and the Sheriff hat.
    • Some of the characters with their signature weapons, such as Rick with his Colt Python and Daryl with his crossbow.
  • Catharsis Factor:
    • While it's a tragic scene, seeing Rick kill Shane can provide this since finally, Rick has shut up Shane's constant nagging and grumbling about how he's unfit to lead.
    • The death of The Governor after all the atrocities he'd committed, including killing Hershel in front of his friends and family.
    • Seeing the Claimers dispatched by Rick, Daryl and Michonne after gleefully trying to kill them and rape Carl. In particular, Rick biting out Joe's throat and stabbing Carl's attempted rapist Len to death while he pathetically begs for his life.
    • Seeing the Terminus cannibals brutally wiped out via walker-feasting, burning to death, and eventually by way of Rick's machete is very satisfying after they herded the group like animals and smugly ate Bob's leg in front of him.
      • Bob manages to pull off his own catharsis factor. Turns out the Terminus cannibals are not so sanguine about eating infected people.
    • Daryl shooting Dawn Lerner in the head after she allowed her wards to be harassed and raped by her fellow officers and killed Beth Greene.
    • In a twisted way, it's actually pretty awesome to see Rick undergo some severe Break the Haughty as he's forced to kneel before Negan, after he'd grown a massive ego when it came to dealing with the Saviors and was just taunting resident psychopath Simon like he was nothing.
    • The Season 7 finale and a chunk of Season 8 revolves around AHK dealing a lot of Humiliation Conga to the Saviors as retribution for years of torture and subjugation. From seeing the Sanctuary run low on food and water immediately without a stream of supplies from their slave states, to prominent Savior generals like Simon, Regina, and Gavin forced to suffer severe losses, it's often very satisfying to see the Saviors laid so low.
    • After almost two seasons of Jared being an annoying, psychotic and smug asshole who repeatedly taunts Richard and Morgan, kills Benjamin despite being ordered to kill Richard, and only receives minor punishments for his behavior and actions, seeing Morgan kick him into a room full of walkers and lock the gate while Jared pleads for his life as he is devoured is incredibly cathartic.
    • Negan strangling Simon to death in a Trial by Combat after the latter went against the former's orders several times and slaughtered every male member at Oceanside over the age of 10.
    • Maggie finally having Gregory executed after putting up with years of his bullshit.
    • For those fans opposed to Rick's decision to spare Negan, hearing Daryl vent the frustrations they'd been feeling since the end of Season 8. The following episode one-ups this with Maggie chewing out Michonne for her part in it as well.
    • Seeing Gabriel stab the murdering, psychotic Whisperer that is Dante to death is immensely satisfying.
  • Complete Monster:
    • Simon, from the second half of season 6 to season 8, is Negan's right-hand man and the most vicious and bloodthirsty member of the Saviors. Seeing gratuitous slaughter and twisted mind games as the only solution against revolting communities, Simon makes his debut after having just finished wiping out an entire community of survivors, before beating and lynching the remaining survivor as an example for Rick's group. When Negan sends Simon to make another deal with the Scavengers and kill one for betraying them, he massacres the whole community instead while forcing their leader to watch. During Negan's absence, Simon leads his men towards Hilltop with the intent of exterminating them all. When Maggie tries to blackmail him by using his captured men as hostages, Simon simply dismisses them as "damaged goods" and attacks the colony while they are on the line of fire. Simon has his men smear their weapons with walker blood, ensuring that it would infect all the wounded. He is also the one behind the tragedy of the Oceanside, having massacred their entire male population above the age of ten for revolting against Negan's rule, which disgusted even Negan himself. After Negan's return, Simon tries to launch a coup against him, despite Negan having forgiven him for his atrocities multiple times.
    • Jocelyn, from season 9's "Scars" is a former friend of Michonne's and the leader of a cult of Child Soldiers she herself has kidnapped and brainwashed to do her bidding. Initially taken in as a wounded survivor within Alexandria Safe Zone, Jocelyn first comes across as supporting and amiable before kidnapping young Judith Grimes and killing another Alexandrian resident. When Daryl and Michonne follow her, they are imprisoned and tortured by Jocelyn's children, with Jocelyn gloating that "the children can't be soft". Jocelyn sends her children after the pregnant Michonne when the latter manages to get loose, with all of them trying to slice open her stomach, while Jocelyn escapes and tries to save her own skin. When this fails, she tries to kill Michonne herself. Even after her death, the remaining children swear loyalty to Jocelyn and try to kill Michonne while having Judith kidnapped. While only a minor villain, Jocelyn's encounter leaves Michonne with deep physical and emotional scars.
  • Continuity Lockout: The show is heavily serialized, features a massive revolving door cast who frequently die and evolve, changes locations occasionally, has had four showrunners with different styles, and each season takes about five months to air, divided by a seven month hiatus, so new viewers really ought to watch the show in chronological order from the first episode unless they want to be confused.
  • Crazy Awesome: Negan. He's an Ax-Crazy Cloudcuckoolander with an army of badass bikers and delivers a Hannibal Lecture every time he beats someone to a blood pulp with his baseball bat covered in barbed wire, who he imagines is like a real person to talk to.
  • Creepy Awesome: The walkers. They have some of the most nightmarish designs, devour major characters once a season, and surprisingly pose as a credible threat against the more badass characters when in groups. It definitely helps that they don't suffer the same (literal) Villain Decay they have in the comics.
  • Creepy Cute: Surprisingly, some of the walkers have a huge amount of chibi art and plush dolls among the fandom.
  • Critical Dissonance:
    • Critics loved Season 4B for its heavy focus on fleshing out characters and their backstories. Many fans, however, loathed the slow pace and wished some of the episodes were trimmed altogether to reduce the Padding.
    • "Them" is considered one of the series' most forgettable episodes since it is the big recovery episode with everyone mourning the group's recently lost loved ones and dire straits. However, it would appear to be one of the cast's favorite episodes to film, as pictures from the set of the episode crop up quite often on the cast's various social media accounts; i.e. this still is one of the most shared set photos of the entire series.
    • "Here's Not Here" had universal acclaim from critics, yet has mixed reception from the fan base as seen above in Broken Base.
  • Crossover Ship:
  • Crosses the Line Twice; Half of Negan's actions. Its just so cruel and said at the worst possible time such as making a pun about how Lucille is a vampire bat after violently smashing in Glenn and Abraham's heads or torturing Daryl by playing hilariously upbeat music to prevent him from sleeping. And yet the cruelty, combined with Jeffery Dean Morgan's delivery means you will find it almost as hilarious as it is horrifying.
  • Cry for the Devil:
    • Despite how despicable the Governor is, it's hard not to feel bad for him when he's sobbing over his daughter's corpse.
    • The backstory of the Terminus Hunters can be very upsetting, making it easier to sympathize with them and understand why they became what they did.
    • Ron turns out to be as spiteful and unpleasant as his father, as well as having inherited his mental instability, but it's pretty easy to feel sorry for him seeing him watch his little brother and mother die horrific deaths in front of him. The kid looks like he's barely fighting back tears even as he moves to attack Rick.

     D 
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy:
    • Just like the comic book and the video game, the TV show slowly begins to reek of this, especially after the Wham Episode "Too Far Gone". It's far easier to list the characters who haven't died, and everyone has lost count of all the times the characters' happiness has been snatched away just when things were looking up. This is discussed In-Universe in "Them" as several of the characters, weary after the group has endured a horrible series of losses, question the point of going on if happiness is constantly getting yanked from them. Ultimately, the cast decides that even a small shot at living, even for a while, is worth all the strife. "No Way Out", in which Rick himself admits he finally feels hopeful for the future after he and his group come together with the Alexandrians, was seen as a major turning point for the series in ending the DIAA. It's raised its head again, however, when Negan arrives and psychologically tortures the group and the audience.
    • The show got another wave of this sentiment when Alpha and the Whisperers capture, kill and decapitate no less than ten AHK residents at the end of Season 9's "The Calm Before" — among them Hilltop's leader Tara, Hilltop's medic Enid, sympathetic supporting characters such as Tammy Rose and the Highwaymen, and Henry and other teenagers from the Kingdom — and leave their heads to reanimate on pikes as a warning to AHK. It's only barely mitigated by a later flashback showing that the slain characters were legitimately Defiant to the End, and the promise of the freshly rejoined communities likely going on an ensuing Roaring Rampage of Revenge against the Whisperers into Season 10.
  • Designated Hero: Rick is becoming more and more this as the story goes on with most of his actions being no different in nature from those of the Governor or even Negan. Tara, a former ally of The Governor, has a negative reaction to him ordering the group to "kill them all" in "Not Tomorrow Yet". In the following episode, the Saviors even call out the group on this and insist that they are no better than them.
    • Rick also got this accusation thrown at him back in Seasons 1 and 2. Many of the debates from those days center around who would have made the better leader between the idealistic Rick and the dark pragmatism of Shane, with many believing that Rick's traditional heroics were just laughably naive in the face of such carnage and that the show was deliberately going out of its way to paint Shane in a bad light, particularly over the barn full of walkers. Many of these arguments can still be read over on the Headscratchers page.
  • Designated Love Interest: Sasha to Abraham. She hasn't shown a single hint of a deep romantic interest in him, but all of a sudden Sasha becomes the love of Abraham's life after a small amount of interaction. Many actually found it jarring that he cruelly broke up with Rosita just to begin chasing after Sasha. In "Twice As Far", Abe finally grows up a bit, more or less reconciles with Rosita, and apologizes to Sasha for feeling Entitled to Have You. However, the ship began to lose some of whatever popularity it had attained when after Abraham's death, Sasha compares her relationship to Maggie and Glenn's, who've had years to grow into the compassionate couple they're know for while these two didn't have much onscreen development in their relationship and don't receive anymore since Abraham is killed off before the two could progress any further. Sasha is also rather insensitive towards Rosita after Abe's death since she declares she will be taking his body to bury at Hilltop where she'll be staying, which feels like a slap in the face to the similarly grieving Rosita even if they weren't together anymore. It's also telling that really the only peek into the two's relationship comes during a flashback before Abraham's death and during Sasha's own.
  • Die for Our Ship:
    • Daryl/Beth fans towards Carol and Daryl/Carol fans towards Beth.
    • A lot of the people that ship Rick and Michonne feel this way about Jessie. And Jessie dies at the mid-Season 6 premiere. Then Rick and Michonne officially hook up in the next episode.
    • Tobin's sudden romance with Carol put him on the shitlist for the many fans who would rather she get together with Daryl. It happened again when Carol officially got together with Ezekiel.
  • Dork Age:
    • After a widely acclaimed first season that was hailed as one of the best shows on television, the second season was seen by many fans as a Sophomore Slump. With Frank Darabont having left the show, the new show runners and writing team were still finding their footing, and in the first half of the season especially, the show was accused of spinning its wheels on Hershel's farm. Fortunately, things picked up again by the end of the season, and while seasons three through five are not without their flaws, they have since come to be viewed as the show's Golden Age.
    • Unfortunately, ever since the start of Season 6, the series has seen gradually decreasing praise and ratings. Chief complaints are the cliffhangers and fakeouts, long stretches of meandering plot that only get it together for the season finales, and the generally cyclical nature of the series, in which the group encounters a new villain, defeats him, and repeats. Negan especially has been bitterly polarizing, with many fans finding him to be a cartoonish Super Villain whose story has been drawn out for too long.
    • Inverted with Season 9, which received the best overall critical and fan reception since Season 5.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Most antagonists become this to some degree but Shane, Merle, the Governor, and Negan are probably the most prominent examples.

     E 
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Morgan was a very popular and memorable character despite appearing in just two episodes and a couple of Stingers prior to joining the main cast in Season 6. Unfortunately, he became more of a Base-Breaking Character in that same season.
    • Tobin for being a Nice Guy who is fully on board with Rick's decisions from the get-go, unlike many of the other Alexandrians. His status as one of the longest-surviving residents of the community has also turned him into a bit of Memetic Badass.
    • Bud, the spokesperson for Negan who introduces the threat of the Saviors. Despite dying within five minutes of his introduction he became an instant fan favorite, thanks to an awesome and charismatic performance from Christopher Berry.
    • Simon, Negan's second-in-command, in large part due to his actor, Steven Ogg. Some fans consider him to be more interesting and scary than Negan. Simon shows himself to be highly intelligent, a terrifyingly competent tactician, Wicked Cultured and takes entertainingly subdued yet sadistic shots at Gregory. Ogg turns in a highly charismatic performance in his relatively minor screentime, being threatening and in-control without going the Large Ham everything's-a-monologue route that Negan goes. Him disposing of the highly unpopular Scavenger tribe in Season 8 certainly didn't hurt his popularity any.
    • Ezekiel's bodyguard, Jerry, became a fan favorite within minutes of his introductory episode airing thanks to being an Adorkable Gentle Giant with cheesy dad jokes.
    • Shiva, Ezekiel's pet tiger, is wildly popular due to being a damn tiger. Especially after her incredible Big Damn Heroes moment in the Season 7 finale. Many fans noted with heartbroken bemusement that they mourned the death of a CGI tiger more than many of the human deaths on the show.
    • Dog, Daryl's Canine Companion in Season 9 was immediately met with welcome arms. It helps that Norman Reedus had been pushing for Daryl to have a dog since as early as the second season.
    • Connie quickly emerged as the favorite of Magna's group, thanks to being a positive representation of a deaf character and being a kind, friendly, and capable survivor who bravely rescues a baby that Alpha orders left to the walkers. Her interactions with Daryl have also led many fans to wish for them to get together in Season 10, with support for the pairing quickly rivaling that of the already very popular Daryl/Carol ship.
    • Ozzy, leader of the Highwaymen. Besides his Humble Goal of wanting to see a movie in exchange for keeping the roads to the Kingdom safe, the fact that he died trying to save the lives of a bunch of people he didn't know only to end up killed himself, made a lot of people mourn him despite his two episode lifespan on the show.
  • Epileptic Trees:
    • Since the beginning, some fans have speculated that the series finale will reveal that the whole show was All Just a Dream while Rick was still in the hospital in a coma. However, Robert Kirkman explicitly Jossed this shortly after the premiere of Season 5, and, half a year later, the premiere of a companion series that has nothing to do with Rick pounded more nails into the theory's coffin.
    • Speculation ran wild over the mysterious helicopter patrolling Atlanta in "Days Gone Bye" and Season 2 before the plot was ended in "Walk With Me."
    • Nate was a Bit Part Bad Guy from Season 2 who tried to kill Rick's group for murdering his friends Dave and Tony, but got away in his truck and was never seen again. However, another character named Nate who drives a truck and wants to avenge the death of his friends is seen in The Walking Dead videogame. Some fans have interpreted these two as the exact same villain becoming an Ascended Extra as the Big Bad of the 400 Days DLC.
    • Many viewers believed the leader of the rapists who sacked Terminus was in fact an Early-Bird Cameo of Negan, based on his appearance and Faux Affably Evil tendencies. AMC had to step in clarify that this was not the case.
    • Enid has been a constant source of increasingly irrational fan speculation regarding her loyalties ever since her first appearance. Initially, many believed she was the TV counterpart of Lydia, and that the W-group was the Whisperers, and then that she was a mole for the Wolves, even after her flashback in "JSS." Since then, some fans continued to mark her as anything from a Savior to a Hilltop resident to a Kingdom resident to a member of some other as-yet unencountered group. Apparently the idea that she is simply an unfortunate teenager who was alone between the time of her parents' death and her arrival at Alexandria is the craziest theory of all.
    • In "No Way Out", there was a Blooper in which a car, probably driven by a local resident or looky-loo, appears in the far background in a blink and you'll miss it moment right before the Saviors get rocket launcher'ed by Daryl. This inspired all kinds of speculation about other Saviors, possibly even Negan himself being in the car.
    • Many people also believe that Simon is actually Trevor from Grand Theft Auto V working under Negan in a false identity.
  • Evil Is Cool:
    • Negan. Jeffrey Dean Morgan wasted no time trying to maintain the dark coolness of the villain. Negan appears for the very first time stepping from literally out of the shadows, brandishing an awesome weapon, and proceeds to give Rick's group an epic "The Reason You Suck" Speech before offing not one, but two of their group members in front of them.
    • Beta. Ryan Hurst makes him as terrifying and badass he was in the comics, as his fight scene with Daryl undisputedly shows.
  • Evil Is Sexy:
  • Expectation Lowerer: Gregory. The man is a selfish, egotistical, immoral, greedy, perverted, phony coward who lives to be hated by the audience. He pretty much represents everything wrong about humanity in such an atrocious way that he makes Negan look like a Shakespearian villain.

     F 
  • Fandom Rivalry: Toward the middle of Season 6, a hatedom for Into the Badlands arose from AMC's blatant and frustrating attempts to make their new show piggyback on TWD's ratings by pushing back The Talking Dead until after Badlands and delaying the mid-season Stinger until Badlands' first commercial break.
  • Fanon Discontinuity:
    • There exist extremely scornful fans who refuse to acknowledge anything of the show outside its first season thanks to the behind the scenes Executive Meddling surrounding Frank Darabont's firing and Season 2's widely-perceived drop in quality.
    • Most of the massive drop in ratings and views came after the Season 6 finale and the Season 7 premiere, whose events made others stop Walking Dead right away.
    • Among the disgruntled, the most common Fanon Grand Finale is "The Distance," in which Rick's group arrives at the Alexandria Safe-Zone and presumably lives Happily Ever After.
  • Fan Fic Fuel: Several examples.
    • Filling in the gap caused by the Time Skip's between Seasons 2-3 and 3-4, between the halves of Season 5, or between "No Way Out" and "The Next World".
    • Detailing the Start of Darkness for any of the villains, especially Terminus.
    • Imagining how the story would go if Shane was the leader of the group, especially when pitted against antagonists like The Governor or Negan (Word of God, however, is that if Shane had led the group during the Woodbury War, he would've led a forward assault that would've gotten everyone killed).
    • The fate of Morales, until his return in Season 8, that is.
    • The mystery of the helicopter seen in the first two seasons.
    • And of course detailing the apocalypse around the world.
    • Pitting two groups of antagonists against each other in a war just to see who would come out on top, especially the larger groups like Woodbury and the Saviors.
    • Amusingly, after a Saturday Night Live sketch parodying Negan's arrival only with Dave Chappelle playing Negan and his various characters replacing Rick's group, some fans have begun to ponder what the show would be like if it really did star Chapelle's characters surviving the apocalypse together. Some fans have also wondered what Biggums and the gang did to piss off that version of Negan that much.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple:
    • Rick and Michonne became a popular pairing after Season 3's "Clear" and the most popular choice for Rick's Second Love after Andrea's Death by Adaptation. Many were unhappy to see Jessie fill the role instead, especially because they're a borderline Unequal Pairing. Thankfully, Jessie turns out to be a Romantic False Lead, with Rick and Michonne finally becoming an official Battle Couple after the time skip. It's Lampshaded in "Knots Untie", as when Rick explains his new relationship to Carl, insisting it's "different" when Carl seems a bit apprehensive at first, though he, like many fans, approves of it.
    • Daryl and Carol are a popular choice due to their copious amounts of Ship Tease and the overall ambiguous state of their relationship — they're obviously very close, and it's generally agreed that their interactions are great whether they're intended romantically or not. Daryl/Beth briefly rivaled Daryl/Carol in popularity thanks to the events of Season 4, but Ship Sinking via Beth's death took this off the canonical table by mid-Season 5. It's surely helped by the fact that Daryl and Carol are the show's two main Breakout Characters each in their own right, and a lot of fans would like their relationship to develop further just to see them get even more focus.
    • Thanks to some Les Yay, the two becoming very close, and Tara's occasional leering at Rosita (which is noted by an amused Abraham), Tara and Rosita are a popular choice to be put together. After Denise's death, Abraham dumping Rosita and the fact that Rosita's new flame Spencer is killed by Negan shortly after, some hoped that the two would get together. This sadly will never happen as Tara gets killed by the Whisperers.
    • Daryl and Connie are getting plenty of ship teasing and many fans have definitely caught on and are supporting it.
  • Fans Prefer the New Her: Michonne's post second Time Skip look in Season 9 earned her even more fan appreciation.
  • Faux Symbolism: Discussed in regards to Paul "Jesus" Rovia. Jesus himself claims that the fact that he Looks Like Jesus is the only reason people call him that and that there's no deeper meaning to the nickname.
  • Foe Yay:
    • Dwight's bizarre obsession with Daryl can come off as this. He wields his crossbow, wears his jacket, and rides his motorcycle. It's as if he wants to be Daryl.
      • Considering he was pretty much the Daryl from the comics, this may have been intentional.
    • Negan's treatment of Rick has shades of this as well. Throughout "Service," Negan shows a serious lack of boundaries, spends a lot of time talking with Rick, dominates him at every encounter, and personally calls Rick his favorite.
      Negan: I just slid my dick down your throat, and you thanked me for it.
  • Fountain of Memes: Pretty much everything that Daryl and Abraham say or do will result in a popular joke about their characters. Carol and Negan have become this as well.
  • Franchise Original Sin: The show's regular use of Bottle Episodes, which, for better or worse, have become near-ubiquitous since Season 7, can be traced back to the massive critical success of Season 4B. What later seasons don't take into account is that 4B worked so well because it followed a period of highly-serialized storytelling, and the subdued pace and emphasis of character development was seen as a new and fresh (if not desperately needed) direction in which to take the show. The episodes also followed single narrative threads to emphasize that the character pockets were separated from and had no way of contacting or finding one another, contributing to a heightened tone of isolation and despair, while later Bottle Episodes tend to follow characters/groups who happen to be alone in locations for regular, story-related reasons (with a few exceptions, such as "Slabtown" or "The Cell").
    • Bottle Episodes had previously been used in the two Governor episodes from 4A, as well as in Season 3's critically acclaimed "Clear," which only features Rick, Carl, Michonne, and Morgan. None other than the very first episode, "Days Gone Bye," partially qualifies, as it is very slow-paced and, except for the beginning and the end, there are only three characters: Rick, who spends a lot of time wandering around alone, and Morgan and Duane.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • During a dinner scene in the Season 1 finale, a drunk Daryl jokes to Glenn that he would love to see the latter's face turn red. Then comes the Season 7 premiere in which Glenn's head is brutally bashed to bits. What's worse is Daryl had a hand on it. And the title of the premiere, "The Day Will Come When You Won't Be", is taken from a quote from the Season 1 finale.
    • Abraham's humorous conversation with Glenn about "pouring the bisquick" and wishing to follow in his and Maggie's footsteps to start a family becomes this in the Season 7 premiere when both of them die, and Abraham goes first.

     G 
  • Genius Bonus: As noted by Hollywood Reporter shortly after the episode's airing, the way the group is led through Terminus in "A" is extremely reminiscent of how cattle are led to slaughter in real life.
    "If you research how cattle are killed, the optimum approach is to have them take a series of corner turns before getting close — if they see they’re being led to slaughter, chaos ensues. The camera follows Rick and company in a circular route through Terminus until they get out into the clearing. Cattle are also, as they near slaughter, guided in single file — something Gareth did meticulously with each character, leading them to the railroad/cattle car in the short distance. There is also a 'correct handler position for driving cattle' — and director Michelle MacLaren set up the final scene by positioning Gareth in a perfect, textbook handler position... She also created maximum tension by showing the distance between Carl... Proper handling procedures also indicate that calves go last (or, if you will, parents go first — reversing it causes panic and a chance the cattle will disperse)... cattle go forward in a single-file line but shouldn’t actually see livestock in front of them — which is why Glenn and Maggie and the others were shunted to the rear of the car."
  • Growing the Beard: has happened several times as the show has grown in scope and depth over the years
    • While the first season was good, the series came into its own in season two as the adaptation's began to find the right balance between nods to the comics and embracing its greater focus on multidimensional characters and human dynamics, and its major themes like Living Is More Than Surviving and "Where is the line between I Did What I Had to Do and the Moral Event Horizon?" began to coalesce.
    • It's amazing how many characters Took a Level in Badass between the end of Season 2 and the beginning of Season 3. Even Carl, Carol, and Lori are finally pulling their own weight, and many other complaints about the first two seasons also vacated the premises.
    • Many TV critics welcomed the character focus of Season 4 (especially its second half) as something the show sorely needed.
    • Those who disliked Season 4's slower pace generally felt that Season 5 was a big improvement.
    • Season 9 has been praised by fans and critics after the extremely divisive Seasons 7 and 8. Main plus points include better pacing and dialogue, more compelling character motivation, and the promising introduction of the Whisperers.
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     H 
  • Ham and Cheese:
    • Jeffrey Dean Morgan's portrayal as Negan has achieved critical acclaim for maintaining the iconic character's over-the-top Joker-like characteristics as he drops in a number of darkly humorous moments whenever a serious moments happens to keep it disturbingly entertaining. So far, fans have stated that he's perfect as the character and Morgan is clearly having the time of his life.
    • To a certain extent, Steven Ogg as Simon is similarly over-the-top as well and it's pretty clear that he's having the time of his life playing a total bastard too.
    • Xander Berkeley's performance as the smug, egotistical Gregory has also earned him a place among the Love to Hate crowd.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Several people come very close to dying but are nursed back to health in Hershel's farmhouse in Season 2. Then comes the revelation that everyone who dies without suffering brain trauma comes back as a walker and that Rick knew this all along but kept it from the others.
    • When the group learns the CDC building is going to blow up with them inside, Carol wails that her daughter doesn't deserve to die that way and Jenner asks, "Isn't this better? To just hold your loved ones and let the clock run down?" Come Season 2, when Sophia has to be put down as a walker, one has to wonder if Carol ever regretted declining a painless millisecond with no possibility of resurrection.
    • Also, the reveal that Jenner knew everyone was already infected puts his Despair Event Horizon in a whole new light.
    • Jenner had offered to Mercy Kill the entire group, with his reasoning being that dying painlessly in the CDC building's explosion is better then the horrible ways they will inevitably die outside. Halfway through Season 8 and everyone Jenner made that offer to except Rick, Daryl, and Carol has ended up dying horribly throughout the show, just as Jenner predicted they would. Makes you think that perhaps he was right in the end.
    • In Season 2, Carol tearfully begs God to spare her daughter and punish her instead. And Carol is indeed punished when she sees Sophia as a walker before Rick puts her down. This even carries into Season 4 when life becomes a constant punishing struggle and Carol becomes burdened by her killings of David, Karen, and Lizzie.
    • On a related note, Hershel saying "A paranoid schizophrenic is dangerous, too. We don't shoot sick people," in "Secrets" becomes this after the events of "The Grove."
    • After Glen Mazzara was fired after Season 3, fellow showrunner Kurt Sutter angrily predicted "they're going to plug somebody else in there ... my sense is that they won't even hire a showrunner ... They'll take some poor sap on the writing staff and elevate him ... And that poor sap will ultimately be just expediting the notes and vision of non-creative people. It'll work for a minute. In Season 4, when this will all happen, the numbers will be big, and people will show up. Will it continue to do well? No. My sense is that without somebody like Glen Mazzara running that show, eventually it will lose focus and the narratives will run out of steam, and it won’t be able to build off of itself, and it will suffer.” Whatever their opinions of Mazzara's tenure as showrunner, to many fans who have become disenchanted with Scott Gimple ("some poor sap on the writing staff" who got promoted and was initially successful but whose showrunning eventually led, in Seasons 7-8, to plummeting ratings and decreasing critical and fan approval) Sutter's words may seem prophetic.
    • Sam's speech to Rick in Season 4 about being happy to meet living people becomes way harsher when he's killed by living people at Terminus since he probably went there seeking sanctuary and community.
    • Rick tells Carl that he is not safe in "Strangers", during the arc that solidified Rick as a stone-cold, unrepentant badass who is more than willing to meet challenges head-on. Unfortunately, for the next two seasons he lets it go to his head and when the Saviors come knocking, he's completely overconfident and sure that they'll be easy to deal with. The Season 6 finale proves how completely wrong Rick is, and Negan even unknowingly quotes Rick when he tells him that his world is gone — "You are not safe".
    • Daryl yelling that Beth is never going to see Maggie again in "Still" becomes this after he's proved right when Beth is killed during a hostage exchange gone wrong in "Coda".
    • Also from "Still," we have Beth telling Daryl (and the viewers) that he sees her as nothing more than a dead girl since she's not like him, Maggie, Carol, or Michonne, even though she still managed to survive all this time. Come the Season 5 mid-season finale, she's dead, whereas Maggie, Carol, Michonne, and Daryl are all still alive.
    • In addition to the above, Beth also says, "You're gonna miss me so bad when I'm gone, Daryl Dixon." Ouch.
    • Beth sacrifices herself for Noah, only for him to die one of the most brutal deaths in the series before the end of the season, rendering her sacrifice almost totally useless.
    • Sasha acknowledges an In-Universe example when she admits her guilt about coldly telling Noah he wouldn't make it in "Them" only for him to actually die a handful of episodes later in "Spend".
    • Tara's statement of "I didn't see it" when comforting Rosita about why she doesn't think Abraham is dead becomes this when it's revealed that it's his head that got bashed in by Negan at the end of Season 6... and the audience didn't get to see it happen until months later.
    • Of course, Carol's threatening speech toward Sam about how he would be eaten by walkers was already harsh, but it becomes even harsher when he not only dies exactly like she said he would, but it was her words in his head that ultimately made him completely freak out and cause not just his own death, but his mother and brother too.
    • All the buildup to Negan's debut and the adaptation of a highly beloved comic scene when ultimately the cliffhanger that ended his debut episode and season caused a complete uproar from viewers who are livid and claim the moment was ruined.
    • "Twice as Far" features Denise on a quest to find Orange Crush for Tara. A few episodes later, Abraham gets his redheaded skull crushed.
    • Glenn's dumpster "death" becomes a whole lot harder to watch after his actual death in Season 7 by Negan, which oddly enough happened almost exactly a year after. As a bonus, all of Glenn's near misses with death (well walker, flu, tank, brawl with Nicholas, etc.) make watching Negan beating Glenn to death with Lucille worse.
    • "Service", featuring the Saviors forcing Alexandria as a whole into submission and humiliating them for their defeat during their first tribute, was the first episode to air after the surprise results of the 2016 presidential election. Several fans who were not happy about the election results compared the Alexandrians' reactions to the Saviors to their own feelings about the results.
    • Spencer is present in Rick's vision of an impossible future where his group is enjoying Sunday dinner with a still living Glenn, Abraham, and Sasha pregnant with the latter's child, proving Rick really does love him as one of his family. A few episodes later, we learn that Spencer has lost faith in Rick and is plotting to usurp him. Tellingly, Rick is still distraught when Spencer is killed even after learning he tried to get Negan to kill him.
    • Andrea dies in Season 3 by being bitten in the right side of her neck by a walker, and ending her own life with a bullet to the head. Four years later, her comic counterpart, who survived much longer than her, is bitten in the same manner in issue 165, dies and is put down by Rick (her Second Love) in issue 167.
    • In the show's Robot Chicken special, Carl is depicted as the Sole Survivor of the zombie apocalypse, or at least the only survivor shown alive today, as an old man. In the mid-Season 8 finale, he reveals he was bitten by a walker and dies in the next episode, a huge deviation from the comics in which the character is still alive.
    • On the above note, Chandler Riggs once tweeted a clickbait article about "Young Actors Who Quietly Passed Away This Year" that used a picture of him and even replied "i wish LOL". The first half of Season 8 actually does end with his character quietly passing away, so it seems that wish came true in a way.
    • An example with an extremely quick turnaround would be the announcement at the 2018 New York Comic-Con that Scott Wilson had reprised his role as Hershel for the ninth season - only for news to break about an hour later the same night that Wilson had passed away from complications from leukemia. Even worse, his TV grandson Hershel Rhee (who his character did not live to see) debuted the following night on the Season Nine premiere.
    • In "What Comes After" Rick seemingly dying in a heroic fashion by blowing up the bridge with the walkers before being secretly rescued by Anne is more painful to watch after his comic counterpart suffers an extremely anti-climatic death in issue 192.
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight:
    • Issue 160 is the first issue of the comics to be released after the Season 7 premiere which adapts Glenn's death for the small screen. In the issue, Dante fully confesses his feelings for Maggie, who refuses and says that she's only ever going to have room in her heart for Glenn, the love of her life. When Dante snaps that she's making herself unhappy for her dead husband, Maggie smiles softly and says she's happy when she thinks about him. Given the timing of the issue, one must wonder if Kirkman intended for the scene to be included in the first issue released after TV!Glenn's death.
    • Henry is adopted by Carol. He is portrayed by Madison Lintz's (Sophia) brothers, Macsen and Matthew Lintz before and after Season 9's six-year Time Skip, respectively.
  • He's Just Hiding!: It took about five minutes for fans to come up with ways Glenn might have survived what looked like certain death in "Thank You." The Talking Dead only reinforced this by conspicuously failing to mention the character in its "In Memoriam" segment despite eulogizing every other character who died. In "Heads Up," it's revealed the character really did survive and The Talking Dead had an "Unmemorium" to celebrate his return.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • One of the first things Rick did during his Abandoned Hospital Awakening is looking at flowers. But it didn't become a meme until Season 4, albeit for different reason and by different characters.
    • The last survivor of the CDC plays a major in the Season 1 finale. In May 2011, the real life CDC issued its own guidelines for a zombie outbreak. (Don't follow them, you'd die.)
    • In the film Love Actually, Andrew Lincoln's character makes an Anguished Declaration of Love to his best friend's wife through cue cards and photos, ending with one that reads "My wasted heart will love you until you look like this..." followed by a picture of a zombie-like corpse. He actually keeps his promise.
    • Dale half-jokingly scoffs early into Season 2 that everyone in the group would probably like the pleasure of shooting Daryl, who was the hot-tempered outsider of the group. By the next season, Daryl is The Lancer with Undying Loyalty to his companions and is regarded as a beloved, vital member of the group. In Season 4, the entire prison community loves him to the point he even feels awkwardly uncomfortable about it.
    • During the shootout in "Triggerfinger", we get this gem of a line which takes on a whole new meaning in Season 6.
    Hershel: He must have hit Glenn. He's behind the dumpster.
    • In "Judge, Jury, Executioner," Dale tells Shane, "You're not going anywhere. And I'm not going anywhere," which is unintentionally hilarious when you realize they're both dead by the end of the next episode.
    • The first three seasons are noted to share quite a few beats with the Toy Story films, but Season 3 is particularly notable in its' unintentional, but loose similarities. The main cast settles into a prison as their new home. The Big Bad is a ruthless dictator ruling under the persona of a kind, fatherly leader. His Dragon, whose actor's first name is Michaelexplanation , pulls a Heel–Face Turn out of love (though Merle's is out of sibling love than Ken's romantic love). The blonde member of the heroes realizes she's romantically involved with the enemy. A potential sanctuary turns out to be a death trap (though only Andrea ever sees it as a potential home). At the climax of the season, The Governor's people turn on him when he proves how depraved and callous he really is.
    • When they first meet, Michonne angrily snaps at Rick to not touch her. In Season 6, they start doing a whole lotta touching.
    • The Governor, an antagonistic man who became the way he is because he lost his daughter to a Zombie Apocalypse, until he meets and befriends a little girl who softens his heart and whom he eventually sees as a surrogate daughter. Why does that sound familiar?
    • Carol being Spared by the Adaptation, while Andrea and Dale both suffer Death by Adaptation becomes funny since the same thing happened to Melissa McBride's, Laurie Holden's, and Jeffrey DeMunn's respective characters in the Live-Action Adaptation of The Mist. note 
    • Beth and Zach dating becomes funny after Beth's actress, Emily Kinney, guest starred as a Villain of the Week on The Flash (2014) as Zach's actor, Kyle Gallner, previously played The Flash on Smallville.
    • Tyreese dying because Chad L. Coleman will be a main character in the TV adaptation of The Expanse becomes funny because the main lead of that show will be played by Thomas Jane, Frank Darabont's original choice to play Rick Grimes and a fellow portrayer of The Punisher (in The Punisher (2004) and possibly Dirty Laundry) to TWD actors Norman Reedus (in Iron Man: Rise of Technovore) and Jon Bernthal (in Marvel Cinematic Universe).
    • Due to Daryl's Badass Biker getup, many Marvel Cinematic Universe fans (and actors, specifically Gabriel Luna) have been wishing for Norman Reedus to portray the Johnny Blaze version of Ghost Rider in a possible future MCU film, which Reedus himself acknowledges that it would be fun to play the character. Cue Season 5, where Daryl kills no less than three walkers with a chain, which is known to be Ghost Rider's signature weapon in the comics.
    • The comparisons between Morgan's stick fighting and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles became even funnier when Lennie James revealed his instructor was one of the stunt doubles for Donatello in the 90's films.
    • At the end of the Honest Trailers entry (made before Season 4), the narrator jokes that he, "can't wait for the first half of Season 4 to be super awesome, and the second half to be super lame." A lot of fans ended up not liking Season 4B due to pacing and its Broken Base finale.
    • The episode "No Way Out," which features the death of Rick's Love Interest, Jessie, along with Carl almost dying, just so happened to air on Valentine's Day.
    • The episode "The Next World," provides a lot of Character Development for Michonne and ends with her realizing what she desired in her life. Two days later, she was given her own story arc in The Walking Dead videogame, which focuses on her character development and finding out what her place in life is.
    • Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Lauren Cohan playing a married couple in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice due to Morgan's character killing the husband of Cohan's character in the source material and also the show. For the matter, their respective characters in that film were the parents of Batman.
    • Michael Cudlitz has now gotten his butt handed to him by both DCEU Batman and DCEU Thomas Wayne.
    • Another Honest Trailers example: In the new video that covers Seasons 4-6, that was released shortly after "No Way Out", the narrator pegs the show's formula to having a string of great episodes, a string of okay episodes, and a string of either pure Padding or just plain bad episodes. While it could possibly be applied to any season, it's pretty much how the second half of Season 6, which had just got started at the time of the video's release, was received by audiences (with "No Way Out"-"The Same Boat" as the great episodes, "Twice As Far" being the good episode, and "East" and "Last Day on Earth" being the filler/bad episodes).
    • Father Gabriel's arc in Season 6 sees him becoming a strong, capable survivor who actively fights alongside the others when the group is threatened. The episode in which he first professed a desire to become a fighter, "JSS", aired several months before comic issue #151 was released, which is where Comic! Gabriel decided to become a proficient fighter. "JSS" also took place years before #151 did in the timeline. And just to be pedantic, #151 was released a few weeks before "No Way Out" depicted Gabriel becoming a certified badass. Comic! Gabriel's first real combat mission sees him get killed in #158 thanks to a combination of his own cowardice and a knife from Beta, whereas TV! Gabriel got the hang of combat from the get-go of his first mission.
    • An iconic line from Negan's already iconic introductory speech is "You are so gonna regret crossing me in a few minutes." A few minutes after that, the episode abruptly ends on the strongly criticized cliffhanger, forcing the audience to wait nearly seven months for us to actually see the resolution of the story.
    • Season 6A depicts the gang dealing with a thousands-strong herd of walkers, the size of which is rivaled only by the "Indifference" or "Self-Help" herds. Though the plan goes awry, half of the herd is easily dealt with and the 50 or so Alexandrians are able to dispatch the other half within a night. A few months later, and the comics' issue #157 deals with the looming threat of the Whisperers' herd of walkers. Rick even states that they'd never dealt with a herd that size. When the show gets to adapting that point, fans are curious as to how they'll change it up considering the group on screen has already taken care of such a herd (besides the large army of Whisperers, of course).
    • Khary Payton began playing the wise, staff-wielding Rafiki in The Lion Guard in 2015. A year later, he made his debut here as the wise, staff-wielding King Ezekiel. Payton said that in his audition, his character had the codename "Augustus", and those with the Leo astrology sign are usually born in August. Even further, "Augustus" had a pet lion instead of a tiger.
    • Spencer having an interaction with Negan, a psychopath he knows absolutely nothing about, becomes this when his actor Austin Nichols was announced to play Sam Loomis in Bates Motel, who's best known for being a man interacting with a psychopath he knows absolutely nothing about. It gets funnier after Sam Loomis gets stabbed to death in the shower by Norman Bates in an episode that aired only a few months after Spencer gets stabbed to death in the street by Negan.
    • It's difficult now to look back at interactions between Merle and Michonne and not see Yondu and Okoye.
    • For Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. fans, Piper killed Anton Ivanov in Season 9's "The Bridge".
    • In Season 3's "Dead Weight", Tomas Calderon and Daniel Sousa are brothers. In the same episode, Richard Dragon, Lyla Michaels and Black Canary II were also in the same camp.
  • "Holy Shit!" Quotient:
    • "Vatos" mostly focuses on the gang tangling with another group of survivors in downtown Atlanta and ultimately the two groups befriend each other, with the Vatos proving to be noble, good men protecting the elderly. At the end of the episode, however, a herd of walkers swarms the survivors' camp, massacring the majority of the people present, including abusive Ed and Andrea's sister Amy, who dies quite the Cruel and Unusual Death.
    • "Pretty Much Dead Already" sees the plot of Season 2 finally advance as Shane has a breakdown and brings about an explosive confrontation at Hershel's barn... and Sophia is revealed to have become a walker.
    • The finale of Season 2 also brings a dramatic end to the power struggle between Rick and Shane, a huge battle between the cast and a herd of walkers, and Rick becoming a much harder, dedicated leader.
    • "Isolation" sees the group encounter a herd of walkers easily a thousand strong, larger than any group so far.
    • "Too Far Gone" adapts the climactic prison war and there's plenty of destruction, death, and despair to go around, making it one of the most epic and memorable moments of the series.
    • The "Fear the Hunters" arc begins in the Season 4 finale "A" with Rick biting a man's throat out and accepting his dark side. The rest of the arc, and Season 5 overall, piles on the Gorn, Nightmare Fuel, utter carnage, completely promoted Carol to Memetic Badass and Breakout Character status.
    • The first three episodes of Season 6, "First Time Again", "JSS", and "Thank You" contained an almighty amount of high-octane action, more walkers than ever before, and a slaughter of countless Red Shirt's that left viewers desperately trying to catch their breath.
    • The Season 7 premiere, which features the death of not one, but two main characters, and Carl nearly getting his arm hacked off.
  • Ho Yay:
    • Between Shane and Rick, especially in "Bloodletting" when Shane comforts Rick while gently cleaning his face with a washcloth and telling him to be strong.
    • Milton and the Governor might be Heterosexual Life-Partners, but there's a good dash of Ho Yay, at least from Milt to the Gov.

     I 
  • Idiot Plot: The entirety of the infamous "Walker in the well" scene in Season 2, where everyone wastes a significant portion of an episode and endangers Glenn's life by using him as live bait to get a walker out of a well without killing it first because they don't want to contaminate the well despite the fact that, as the walker has been swimming in the well for days to weeks, there is no way drinking from the well would be worth the already considerable risk of contamination even if they had succeeded in getting the walker out without killing it. And as the final cherry on top, Maggie mentions that they've got five total wells on the property, meaning the whole operation was even more pointless from the get-go.
  • It Was His Sled:
    • Due to the fact the show has been going on for about eight years as of Season 9, several Character Deaths or incidents are well-known by this point, including the death of Shane, Lori, Hershel, and Beth as well as Dumpstergate in Season 6. The revelation that everyone is infected and will reanimate upon death unless their brain is destroyed was a major twist in the Season 2 finale, but putting down deceased people is such a staple part of the show now that it's hardly a spoiler anymore.
    • Due to the fame surrounding the issue it was adapting, many already knew the main plot of "Last Day On Earth" (that the group is captured by the Saviors and scared into submission by Negan).
    • Glenn's death in the Season 7 premiere. Because the cliffhanger ending of Season 6 being incredibly well-publicized, even people who don't watch the show knew he died. Doesn't help that this was in every newsstand in America less than a week after his death.

     J 
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Merle is a racist jerkass, but once he's handcuffed to a pipe and left to die, crying and admitting to Jesus he's been bad as zombies try to break through the door, you can't help but feel a little sorry for the guy.
    • Another family trait, as Daryl seems to veer into this territory. He gets more likeable as the series progresses.
    • Many fans feel it was inevitable that Shane snapped considering how much crap he had to put up with from Lori and his Survivor Guilt over leaving Rick in the hospital. They feel that, while he did become too ruthless for his own good, you can't put the blame solely on him.
    • The Governor is far from the nicest guy, but its hard not to feel for him when Michonne kills his zombified daughter despite his desperate pleas. Then there's "Live Bait", where he's left broken and alone. Sure, it's all his own fault, but he's still rather pitiable and even acquires a Morality Pet. That is until he betrays Martinez, brainwashes his new group, and kills Hershel in a final attempt to seize the prison and all sympathy is gone forever.
    • Mary is a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing who was also the Team Mom of a clan of gluttonous cannibals, but it's hard not to empathize with her in particular since she seemed like an otherwise nice older lady and suffered some truly horrific events during the siege of Terminus.
    • Jadis, the leader of the Scavengers, a morally questionable group of survivors living in a junkyard, have double-crossed both the Saviors and Rick and his group (twice) but it's hard not to feel sorry for her after Simon and his group massacre the rest of the Scavengers right in front of her (leaving her utterly traumatized), and leaving them to reanimate, having Rick and Michonne leave her behind in the Junkyard despite the fact that she's desperate to escape and eventually forcing her to lure her undead friends into a meat grinder.
    • Dwight. Sure, betraying Daryl and robbing him of his crossbow and bike was a bad move of Dwight's own volition as well as his other actions such as killing Denise, tormenting Daryl on indirectly causing Glenn's death, getting Dr. Carson killed by Negan despite the fact that he was nothing but nice to him and constantly tormenting Rosita about Abraham's death, but losing his wife and half of his face to Negan definitely earns him a spot here, and he only becomes more sympathetic once he decides to switch sides and help the allied communities take down his former boss. Even better is that after Negan has been defeated, Dwight profusely apologizes to Daryl while assuming that he'll kill him only to be spared and kicked out of the AHK communities with Daryl threatening to kill him if he comes back. He's now currently looking for his missing wife Sherry and ends up in Texas with Morgan.
    • Negan especially after his downfall at the end of Season 8. He even tearfully begs Maggie to kill him so that he can be reunited with his dead wife.
    • Randall from Season 2 can be an odd case of this. Your mileage may really vary on this one. Prior to meeting with Rick's group, he was a member of a group of bandits who had members who gang-raped two teenage girls, he at the very least sat back and did nothing to stop this. After encountering Rick's group, he goes through Hell for the rest of his time on the show. He gets his leg impaled on a fence pike and is abandoned by his friend, he's later Bound and Gagged by Rick and Shane twice, who left him to fend for himself the first time, gets held prisoner on the Greene Farm, tortured by Daryl, and nearly hung before Shane finally kills him as an excuse to lure Rick away to do the same to him. Because of this, we never get to see how huge of a threat he truly was.
    • Lydia. A member of the Whisperers who attacked Daryl while imprisoned and was about to attack Henry when he foolishly decided to let her out. But considering that she has Alpha for a mom (who killed her father and lied about it to her for years and is abusive towards her), is illiterate, and strikes up a romance with Henry only for him to be killed by her mother leading her to beg Carol to kill her, it's hard not to have some sympathy for her, especially when she fully defects from the Whisperers and stays at Alexandria.

     L 
  • Les Yay:
    • Michonne and Andrea. It sometimes seems like what really bothers Michonne about the whole Woodbury situation is that Andrea pushed her aside in favor of a romantic relationship with the Governor.
    • Tara and Rosita. When a sudden downpour saves the group from dehydration, the two of them lay down close to each other and bathe it in, giggling all the way. Tara also flirts with Rosita in "Start to Finish", calling her "gorgeous".
  • Like You Would Really Do It:
    • You didn't really think that they were going to kill off Dale and Andrea so early, did you? Or the main character in the pilot, for that matter.
    • Ever since averting this trope in "Pretty Much Dead Already", it's been clear that Anyone Can Die, and by "Thank You" an Ambiguous Situation was seen as surprising since the show's deaths are usually so straightforward. A lot of fans where so convinced of this after Glenn's apparent death in "Thank You" that by the time the show actually got around to The Reveal, the power of the Internet had made it much more The Un-Reveal.
    • Because of the "If Daryl dies we riot" crowd, many viewers are fairly certain that the show will never actually kill Daryl off as long as he remains popular. When Daryl is bloodily shot at the end of "East", only 8% of the viewers voting on the following Talking Dead episode thought it would actually kill him. It doesn't help that after he shoots Daryl and the screen cuts to black, Dwight quickly quips "you'll be fine", as if assuring the audience he's fine... which doesn't jive well since the shooting was clearly meant to drum up suspense about Daryl's fate.
    • Among the people in the Negan lineup, nobody really expected at least Rick or Carl to get the bat. AMC admitted as much when they released the cold open of the seventh season premiere confirming Rick wasn't the victim.
    • After the Season 6 finale, it became a common joke that Season 7 would devote numerous episodes to everything but the resolution of the Season 6 cliffhanger. It got to the point that the show runners were forced to confirm the death would be shown in the season premiere and advertisements focus on almost nothing but the cliffhanger's resolution. That being said, the Season 7 premiere quickly restored at least some fans' faith by killing off Abraham and Glenn in the span of three minutes. It got to a point where some fans were surprised when Carl didn't get his arm hacked off. Contrariwise, several fans were still unamused when the episode deliberately padded things out so that the actual resolution wasn't shown until about 20 minutes into the broadcast.
  • Love to Hate:
    • Shane, Merle, the Governor, and Gareth & the Hunters. Negan, introduced at the end of the sixth season, was even voted more love to hate than "hate to love" in the accompanying Talking Dead episode by roughly a 4:1 ratio.
    • Gregory is a spineless, self-absorbed worm but he's also hilarious in how much of an asshole he is, which is compounded by how much everyone hates his guts. Xander Berkeley is clearly having a blast playing such an irredeemable coward, with many fans not minding that he was kept around if only so they could laugh at him.
    • Simon. He's an unrepentant psycho, yes, but Steven Ogg is so clearly enjoying himself in the role that it's hard not to laugh with him.
    • Beta is a remorseless killer and The Dragon of the Whisperers, but he's such a cool and imposing villain you can't help but enjoy whenever he's onscreen.

     M 
  • Magnificent Bastard: Negan establishes himself as an impressive villain in his debut on the show almost immediately. After the Saviors have suffered from heavy Badass Decay, he personally steps in to handle the problems they had with Rick's group himself. In "Last Day on Earth," he successfully orchestrates a trap that Rick's group completely falls into, breaks their spirit, and coldly murders both Abraham and Glenn in order to make sure that they'd never screw with him ever again.
  • Memetic Badass:
    • The "bulletdeer" from the Season 2 premiere, with fans jokingly suggesting the deer itself actually shot Carl.
    • T-Dog, usually to humorously highlight that he's underutilized by the writers.
    • Daryl, especially after his Rated M for Manly exploits in his first Character Focus episode in "Chupacabra".
    • Hershel became this thanks to his "God Shotgun" in the Season 2 finale. Later when he was seen driving a car despite his amputated leg, several memes reported that Hershel had unlocked the cheat codes of the show. He even becomes an In-Universe example of this as Daryl playfully (but sincerely) insists he's a "tough sum'bitch."
    • Carol after she single-handedly takes down Terminus and saves the group in the Season 5 premiere, which redeemed her for a large number of viewers who still had doubts after Season 4.
    • Beth gains posthumous status. During Tyreese's hallucination, Imaginary!Beth is seen driving without looking at the road, which causes many fans to semi-jokingly state that Imaginary Beth is better driver than Lori. (see Memetic Loser below)
    • Hilariously, the dumpster that saved Glenn's life in "Heads Up" also gain this status in the eyes of many fans.
    • Tobin for being one of the longest-lasting Alexandria survivors until Season 8.
    • Shiva became one because she's a tiger in the zombie apocalypse.
    • Before growing up, many people joked that Judith would become one come season 32-ish.
  • Memetic Bystander: Jerry, Ezekiel's bodyguard who serves as an Adorkable comic relief instantly became a popular character in his few scenes.
  • Memetic Loser:
    • Lori officially gains this status when she crashed a car after hitting a walker, mostly because she wasn't looking at the road if only briefly. And even before that, she's the source for the meme "better mom than Lori".
    • Before they Took a Level in Badass, many Alexandrians were this. They were blissfully ignorant to the outside world, ill-prepared to face the walkers threat, and leaders of supply-run team ran or the construction crew tend to abandon their injured or surrounded teammates to be devoured by the walkers. It was bad enough that many fans at the time wished for Ricktatorship to return to shape them up.
    • Owen, AKA the Alpha Wolf/ W man. He is allegedly a major villain for Season 6, but his walker traps end up killing nobody, he never personally kills a named character, every time he fights Morgan he gets his ass handed to him, his invasion of Alexandria only kills Redshirts, but causes all the Wolves to be killed in the end, fails to escape Alexandria in the end, gets infected by a zombie while failing to save Denise, is shot dead by Carol, fails to pull a genuine Heel–Face Turn, and gets killed by Morgan after becoming a walker (never killing anyone as a zombie either).
    • Gregory has earned a place here as well thanks to him being a Dirty Coward who thinks highly of himself while begging like a pathetic dog to the Saviors. It also helps that he's not taken seriously by anyone, despite the fact that he claims to be more awesome than he actually is.
    • Thanks to Carol being a Memetic Badass, pretty much anyone who threatens Carol becomes one of these in the eyes of the fandom.
  • Memetic Molester: Dwight has earned this thanks to his bizarre obsession with Daryl. He stalked him, tortures him for entertainment, keeps him locked up in a dark room naked, watches everything he does, feeds him like a pet, wears his clothes, and takes everything that belongs to him so he can feel exactly like Daryl does. And then there's his perverted comments towards Rosita.
  • Memetic Mutation: So many they needed a separate page.
  • Memetic Psychopath: Carol. Her pragmatic kills in the series (to try and stop a virulent plague and a dangerously psychotic little girl) have mutated in the fandom to the idea that Carol's cure for the sniffles is murder, and whenever she gets angry, the target is cautioned not to look at the flowers lest Carol execute them.
  • Memetic Troll: Negan. He'll take you captive, beat your friends to death, give you a Hannibal Lecture, and act like it's all just one big joke he pulled over on you laughing his ass off. Fans are already seeing him as a jokester who's only acting psychotic For the Evulz instead of actually being as dark as he really is.
  • Misaimed Fandom:
    • After "Not Tomorrow Yet" a number of fans came to the Saviors' defense, claiming that because Rick's group attempted a preemptive strike against them and killed several of their members in their sleep, they were the victims in the conflict and Negan would be justified in whatever he does for revenge. This is despite the fact that the Saviors had already attacked Rick's group once when they attempted to rob Daryl, Sasha and Abraham. They were also coercing the Hilltop Colony into giving them most of their supplies under threat of death and had killed several of their members, taken a hostage and attempted to assassinate their leader. And this is their standard policy for every group they encounter. The episode itself even seems to try and make them as Obviously Evil as it can (every one with a speaking part is a Jerkass, their captive has been brutally beaten, one of them is shown to keep photos of grisly murders on the wall next to his bed, etc.) but no, since Rick shot first (but not really) none of that matters.
    • Scott Gimple, Robert Kirkman and company have been citing this trope in response to the overwhelmingly negative reception to the Season 6 finale cliffhanger, with several comments to the tune of "It's your own fault you're upset because you went in expecting something you weren't supposed to". As evidenced in Broken Base and Never Live It Down, the fans haven't taken lightly to being told they shouldn't have expected pay-off to the season.
    • Quite a few conservatives have taken the Saviors to be a condemnation of liberal economic policies, with memes about how Bernie Sanders/Hillary Clinton wants "half your shit" abounding during the 2016 US Presidential Election. However, this interpretation is not supported by the show itself. The Alexandria Safe-Zone, clearly portrayed as the good guys, has an economy based on rationing, which Deanna explicitly compares to communism at one point. While the Saviors do exact tribute, which Spencer compares to paying taxes, this only applies to subjugated vassals, not their own outposts. In fact, the Saviors are the only group so far to have anything resembling capitalism, and their point-earning system is shown to be extremely exploitative and unequal.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Shane's could either be kneecapping Otis to distract the zombies in "Save the Last One", attempting to kill Rick outright in "18 Miles Out", or brutally murdering Randall and trying to disguise it as self-defence, but he definitely crosses it when he tries to murder Rick for the third time in "Better Angels".
    • The Governor's is even harder to nail down, but he definitely crosses it in the mid-season finale of Season 4 when he responds to an offer to share the prison and live together peacefully by brutally beheading Hershel. Word of God has said they considered this such a huge example that they knew there was no way the Governor was getting out of that episode alive.
    • Nicholas passes it when he lures Glenn into the woods in an attempt to kill him out of jealousy and rage even after Glenn saved his life.
    • Pete's abuse of his wife and son bring him to the line, but he leaps right over it in the Season 5 finale when he threatens to murder Rick and murders Reg when he tries to calm him down. No one mourns him much after his execution and few take issue with refusing to bury him inside Alexandria.
    • Ron Anderson passes it when he shoots out Carl's eye right in front of his father and surrogate mother.
    • Negan hopscotches back and forth over the line when he not only murders both Abraham and Glenn, but subsequently mind rapes Rick right after into making him his loyal subject, and gleefully attempts to get Rick to either cut off Carl's arm or watch his other friends get shot dead. Though he relents on that last one when Rick finally gives in.
    • Negan's right-hand man Simon outshined his leader in terms of psychotic ruthlessness when he had his men massacre all of Oceanside's male population age 10 and up in a disturbing Gendercide punishment in order to dominate the community's women.
    • Arat passes it when she kills Olivia at random to punish Alexandria for defying Negan.
    • Savior David passes into true villainy when he attempts to rape Sasha while she's bound in a prison cell. Even Negan was so pissed off by this that he murdered the guy himself as punishment. Though you could also argue that he crossed into this earlier when he sexually harassed Enid, a minor who's decades younger than him.
    • Gregory passes it when, in order to take back control of Hilltop, he attempts to have Maggie killed by getting Ken's father drunk and convincing him to attack her. When this plan fails he also tries to stab her with a knife.
    • Dante crosses it when he murders Siddiq after the latter discovers that he is a Whisperer spy planted in Alexandria.
  • Most Wonderful Sound:
    • Beth can sing. And not nearly enough for some.
    • Judith's first cry can be considered one.
  • MST3K Mantra: A necessity for some viewers if only because of the Idiot Balls common to the genre, but the informed scarcity of food, fuel, ammo, parts, etc. and the abundance of well-kept grass in the apocalypse also make it clear this trope is in effect.
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     N 
  • Narm: Has its own page
  • Narm Charm:
    • The infinite ammo of Hershel's "God Shotgun" is quite blatant and silly, but it's such a strong character moment that it cemented him as Memetic Badass nonetheless.
    • Abraham's frequent F-bombs from the comics are usually Bowdlerized by substituting the word "dick," creating gems like "Plan just got dicked," and "Mother dick," but it somehow works thanks in part to Michael Cudlitz's Deadpan Snarker delivery.
    • Bob's "Tainted Meat!" rant is ridiculous, but still manages to be an awesome Shut Up, Hannibal!.
    • Daryl saving Sasha and Abraham from the Saviors via blowing them up with an RPG in the mid-season premiere of Season 6. It reads like pretty straightforward badassery on paper, but the scene comes off so ridiculously that it drifts into Narm Charm territory. First off, the whole concept of a biker gang being blown to bits by an RPG is over-the-top and video-gamey to the point you'd expect to see it in Saints Row. Second, the troupe's leader does the "oh no I won't kill you, except maybe I WILL... but nah I'm just kidding... except MAYBE I'M NOT" bit while threatening them like a dastardly cartoon villain. Lastly, presumably in an attempt to surprise the audience, you don't actually see Daryl's missile fly past the camera or anything so it looks like they just spontaneously explode on the spot, which, some might say, is positively hilarious.
    • Pretty much everything about King Ezekiel and the Kingdom is made to be cheesy and over the top on purpose so as to bring comic relief to shake off a lot of the Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy that's been on the show.
    • Everything about the Kingdom is taken Up to Eleven with the Scavengers, who have all given themselves ridiculous names, dress like ninjas, talk in a horribly pretentious way, and live in a giant garbage dump. And then they make Rick fight a spike-covered zombie in a pit like the opening scene of Army of Darkness. The whole thing is so insanely over the top nuts that it's pretty much impossible to think we're intended to take it seriously.
    • The Kingdom finally puts on its' first movie in years at the Fair, and it's an old cartoon you'd probably find in the movie section at a dollar store. The audience is still laughing it up and enjoying it. While it's kinda silly to see the audience so raucously enjoying the cheap cartoon as opposed to a real feature film, that's the point - they're supposed to be enjoying it, because it's their first movie in years. The stars in Judith's eyes alone as she experiences what must be her first movie in a theater alone make it worth it.
  • Nausea Fuel: It's a show about zombies. Of course, this is going to pop up from time to time.
    • When the group hacks apart a zombie to disguise themselves with its guts in the titular scene of "Guts," everyone reacts appropriately, and Glenn outright vomits when T-Dog pushes him over the edge by talking about dead puppies and kittens.
    • In "What Lies Ahead", Rick and Daryl cut open a dead zombie's stomach to see what it's been eating.
    • All zombies are pretty nauseating, but special notice must go to the zombie the group finds in a well on Hershel's farm: after sitting in the well for who knows how long, it has become extremely bloated. When they manage to pull it out of the well it rips in half, with a huge torrent of liquid organs pouring out as well as what very well might possibly be a whole lot of maggots.
    • And then the zombie trying to get at Lori when she's trapped in an overturned car. It starts pushing its head through a hole in the windshield, peeling all of the skin and flesh off its face in the process so all Lori sees on the other side is a set of bloody, exposed jaws clamping at her.
    • In the Season 3 premiere, as the gang starts taking over the prison, some walkers are wearing riot helmets. Rick takes one off, and its face rips off!!
    • Another prisoner-walker that's in handcuffs struggles to free its arms, and does so by pulling so hard it flays the flesh off its hand.
    • In "Hounded", Michonne accidentally slices a walker's stomach open, causing its intestines to ooze out all over her body.
    • When the Crack Head walker starts to crawl towards Bob in the Season 4 premiere, he fends it off by grabbing a chunk of its head and slowly opening the wound, exposing the inside of its skull.
    • The flooded food bank walkers in Season 5 are even worse than the well walker from Season 2 since they've presumably been festering down there for much longer, and the water is best described as soupy.
    • The cannibals of Terminus, full stop. "Strangers" ends with a delightful scene in which Gareth and his companions noisily gorge themselves on Bob Stookey's leg right in front of him and laugh about it. Gareth even savors his food, and mocks Bob and tells him he tastes delicious. In the opening of the following episode, "Four Walls and a Roof", we get a brief montage of the Hunters messily chewing and slurping down Bob's leg intercut with clips of a nearby group of walkers, showing just how similar they are to the undead. In "No Sanctuary", we also see a supply room where they keep the supplies they scavenge off the people they catch and eat, and there's a huge pile of toys. There's also the horrific comment Gareth makes about keeping and eating baby Judith.
    • "Coda" treats us to zombies with their skin burned off and a fairly realistic look at what even low-speed vehicle collisions can do, including the fact that Lamson's hands have been partially flayed by the zip-ties he's wearing.
    • "Spend" features two of the most horrific, if not the most horrific deaths of the series. First up, Aiden Monroe is pinned to a wall when he's impaled on shrapnel following the explosion of a grenade. He forces Glenn and company to leave him behind, and thus he gets the dubious honor of watching in pure agony as a horde of walkers swarms him, and begin ravenously tearing out his innards and devouring them, all while he's still alive. Then later, poor Noah is dragged away from Glenn by another horde, and he's then slammed against the glass of a revolving door, and then torn to pieces from behind, his body becoming a bloody smear on the glass and the walkers even tear his jaw open, and he just keeps screaming.
    • As if the sight of poor Sam being chomped by a horde of walkers and one walker being shown with chunks of his flesh in its' teeth as if it were grated cheese, while his mother is Forced to Watch, "No Way Out" shows a fully detailed shot of Carl's face after Ron inadvertently shot him in the eye.
    • "Not Tomorrow Yet" gives us a wall of images showing people with their faces violently caved in, which comic fans will instantly recognize as Negan's handiwork. Similarly, the wet crunching sounds of Negan's bat caving in somebody's skull in the finale are rather nausea-inducing.
    • The Season 7 premiere shows Negan clubbing Abraham and Glenn's heads in. Complete with multiple shots of their mutilated skulls. Glenn's head, in particular, was nothing but mush in the dirt.
    • Spencer getting Gutted Like a Fish by Negan entirely onscreen, with his intestines gushing out and a literal river of blood flooding the street.
  • Never Live It Down:
    • The circumstances of Frank Darabont's firing from Season 2 and the perceived consequential drop in quality cast a haunting shadow over the show's success and AMC as a whole, with some refusing to watch the show or even the network as a result.
    • Rick claims he's "doing stuff" about twice in the entire series, but it's still among the most popular memes in the fandom.
    • Long after he Took a Level in Badass, Carl is still remembered as the dumb kid who couldn't stay in the house and indirectly got Dale killed in Season 2. It gets lampshaded in Season 6 in which Michonne is upset at him for leaving home on his own (Carl by this point being a competent survivor).
    • In the Season 6 premiere, Nicholas was shown putting in a genuine effort to redeem himself by killing walkers alongside Glenn and actually listening to him. Nevertheless, in the subsequent The Talking Dead poll asking if Nicholas had redeemed himself 70% of people still said no.
    • The Glenn/dumpster fiasco and how many episodes it took to resolve is unlikely to be forgotten by fans any time soon. It's notorious enough that when the last episode of Season 6 ended without Negan's victim being shown, fans started cracking jokes about how Season 7 would start out with multiple episodes about everything except the conclusion of the last scene. As well as how even if the victim is Glenn like it is in the comics, he'll be saved at the last second by Nicholas' body falling in front of him and crawling under a dumpster. Additionally, it's quickly become a joke regarding any death in the series that if the viewer looks closely enough they'll see that "Nicholas was the one who died instead of ___."
    • The show has received intense negative critical and fan backlash to the extremely controversial cliffhanger used at the end of Season 6 (to the point where it barely qualifies as Broken Base above since almost nobody cared for it). Given how pretty much every interview with the cast and crew since the episode's airing has involved the cliffhanger somehow, this move widely regarded as a major misstep will never be forgotten. What has truly not done the show any favors was Word of God's explanation for why they decided to do this (and the other questionable cliffhangers earlier in the season) on the episode of Talking Dead following the season finale, which bordered on Viewers Are Morons, as it (they write in a shocking moment and the show then focuses on all of the surviving characters' reactions to it) pretty much boiled down to explaining the basic concept of a Wham Episode, if not simple plot progression, and does nothing to actually explain it. In hindsight, it should be noted that the Season 7 premiere was ultimately the point of no return for the show's ratings to date, as they have steadily declined ever since.
    • A lot of people still blame Daryl for his actions in "The Day Will Come When You Won't Be" that led to Glenn’s death, even though he had no reason to believe Negan would kill someone other than him as punishment.
  • No Such Thing as Bad Publicity: This has been the stance of show runners like Scott Gimple and Robert Kirkman regarding the extremely negative reception to the sixth season finale's cliffhanger. The two have consistently defended it, as they claim the aim of the cliffhanger was to get people talking about the show. Kirkman even referred to the post-cliffhanger chaos, speculation and backlash as "fun". The two have indicated a nonchalance about the negative reception and have only passively made any effort to apologize to the majority of fans and critics angry with the decision.

     O 
  • Older Than They Think: After the extremely negative reception to the Season 6 cliffhanger, Robert Kirkman has pointed out that every issue of the comics ends on a cliffhanger to drum up suspense and excitement for the next installment. However, as evidenced by the rest of this page, this defense has largely been deemed unsatisfactory as the Negan cliffhanger came in the middle of a hotly anticipated moment that did not have a months long cliffhanger abruptly ending the issue/episode in the middle of the climactic scene.
  • One-Scene Wonder:
    • Some particularly memorable zombies manage to stand out from the horde, and some have even become iconic. The bicycle walker from "Days Gone Bye" (who got her own webisodes) and the well walker from "Cherokee Rose" (the only zombie that's ever been credited on the show) are probably the most prominent examples. Other famous walkers include the charcoal-black walkers from "The Grove" and the walker killed by a flare-gun in "The Distance".
    • Dave and Tony manage to make an impression in the Season 2 mid-premiere despite being killed off quickly at the end of their introduction episode, due to Dave's charisma and affable personality and how they and their group in general introduce the theme of other survivors being even more of a threat then the walkers, a concept that has stayed in the series long past their deaths.
    • Jon Bernthal's posthumous cameo as Shane in "Made to Suffer" leaves quite an impression.
    • The insane, bearded Terminus prisoner who appears for all of five seconds in "No Sanctuary" before getting eaten is quite memorable.
    • Some of the Wolves in "JSS," such as the bearded axe-wielding one, many of whom have unique and interesting appearances but no more than a minute of screen time before they are killed.
    • Bud, the Savior Mook Lieutenant who is the first to utter the name "Negan," was on screen for about five minutes before Daryl blew him to bits, but he chewed the scenery with every line that came out his mouth — as well as having the honor of being the first Savior to truly pose a threat to the group.
    • Gunther, the sociopathic Savior who captures Ezekiel only appears in "Some Guy" and is best remembered for overall creepiness, resemblance to both Thomas Richards from the comics and Jeffrey Dahmer, his threat to put Ezekiel's head on a pike like in the comics as well, and his death at the hands of Jerry.
    • The deceased Shane, Hershel and Sasha re-appear to a badly wounded Rick in "What Comes After" and their scenes carry huge emotional weight, particularly Hershel's, given his actor's death some weeks before the episode aired.
    • Ozzy, the leader of the Highwaymen, was around for all of two episodes before being decapitated by Alpha and stuck on a pike. Despite this, fans took a liking to him almost immediately due to his quirky gimmick and his sense of honor. The fact that he bravely charged in to rescue the other pike victims who he didn't even know at great risk to himself certainly helps, though they all died anyway. Plus, he never got to see that movie.
  • Overshadowed by Controversy: Despite killing off several Scrappies (Nicholas, Sam, Ron), bringing in several popular comic characters (Heath, Jesus, Dwight, Negan), adding fan-favorite Morgan Jones to the main cast, turning Richonne canon and adding comic relief to balance out the darkness, Season 6 will likely always be remembered for its missteps with the frustrating and near universally-reviled cliffhangers and copouts. Glenn's fakeout "death" and Negan killing... someone (along with the more minor cases of the anticlimactic ending of "Start to Finish" and Dwight shooting Daryl offscreen in "East") have been talked about by fans and critics a great deal more than anything else, to the point that a non-viewer could very easily get the false impression that Season 6 in general was terrible and poorly-received.

     P 
  • Paranoia Fuel:
    • The tagline for the first few episodes of Season 5 is "Hunt or be hunted", in which the group contends with a group of cannibals bent on eating them. We get several scenes where the group notices a noise in the woods, but think that it was nothing. Daryl later notes to Rick that he feels like they were being watched. Finally, after Bob is captured and gets his leg eaten, we get a scene where Sasha is looking in the quiet darkness of the woods, and you expect a Hunter to pop out at any moment...
    • The episode "Not Tomorrow Yet" features this in abundance. Without going into too many spoilers, the episode basically has a home invasion involving the systematic murdering of people in their sleep or when they least suspect death. Try going to bed the next time without imagining Rick Grimes preparing to plunge a knife into your skull the second your eyes are closed.
    • Once we learn that the Saviors are Not Quite Dead after the attack on the satellite outpost, and they keep returning in larger and larger numbers, the last episodes of Season 6 are an uneasy calm before the storm as we feel like Negan is out there waiting for us right now.
    • Alpha being at the fair, interacting with community members. You're just waiting for the other shoe to drop, and she's in disguise, so nobody who's actually seen her even recognizes who she is.
      • Arguably even worse when it's revealed that Dante is a Whisperer spy stationed at Alexandria who not only was tampering with their water (leaving many residents sick and one ultimately dying) but also was at the barn massacre forcing Siddiq to watch his friends get murdered by Alpha and then murders Siddiq himself.
    R 
  • Replacement Scrappy: Henry takes over most of Carl's canonical Story Arc following the latter's Death by Adaptation midway through Season 8. Henry never caught on with the fans since he has a strong tendency to cling to the Idiot Ball.
  • Relationship Writing Fumble:
    • Word of Saint Paul from Norman Reedus is that Daryl and Beth's relationship was meant to grow in significance over the course of Season 4, but that they never considered each other as anything more than platonic and were Like Brother and Sister by the end. This didn't stop them from becoming (at least at the time) the fourth most popular ship in the fandom, after Rick/Michonne, Daryl/Carol, and Glenn/Maggie.
    • The whole Daryl/Carol situation has the feeling of one of these that the writers just ran with, with Carol's maybe-jokey flirtatiousness and Daryl's ambiguous discomfort over her advances added in once they realized how the fans had interpreted their interactions in Season 2.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap:
    • Though Andrea didn't do much besides cry and attempt suicide in Season 1, she slowly develops combat proficiency and a more level-headed character in Season 2 that brings her closer to her badass comic incarnation. Then her blind loyalty to the Governor in Season 3 drops her back into Scrappy territory.
    • Hershel wasn't quite The Scrappy in early Season 2, but his Ungrateful Bastard tendencies, disapproval of Glenn's relationship with Maggie (and referring to Glenn as "the Asian boy"), and being Genre Blind about the walkers didn't exactly make him a universally beloved character, either. After "Pretty Much Dead Already", however, he realizes the true state of things, develops Undying Loyalty to Rick, befriends Glenn, and ultimately mellows out to become the Team Dad of the group and one of the most beloved characters of the entire series.
    • After spending most of Season 2 loathed for his total inability to stay in the house and inadvertently getting Dale killed, Carl becomes a fully qualified and capable badass on par with the rest of the group in Season 3.
    • Michonne's sullen personality, permanent scowl, and refusal to explain her mistrust of the Governor to Andrea early in Season 3 did not make a good impression on fans, but she eventually won most of them back by showing a more human side in "Clear" and "This Sorrowful Life".
    • Carol's passivity and crying (though understandable for an abuse victim and grieving mother) didn't earn her many fans in the first two seasons. Then she improved exponentially by forging meaningful relationships and a strong role within the group throughout Seasons 3 and 4, eventually emerging as a Memetic Badass and fan favorite in the Season 5 premiere.
    • While entertaining and memorable, Merle's one-dimensional bigotry wasn't exactly the greatest characterization in Season 1. However, Season 3 turned that around by giving him a central role, downplaying his bigotry, and emphasizing his connection with Daryl to make him far more compelling than his Establishing Character Moment.
    • After more than a season as a Dirty Coward and lying about being a scientist, Eugene finally Took a Level in Badass in "Spend", killing some walkers on his own while carrying a wounded Tara and pulling a Big Damn Heroes for his other friends, finally realizing that constantly running away and leaving his friends to die is wrong. Him taking part in the Battle of Alexandria in "No Way Out" redeems him for those who still had their doubts. Unfortunately, he went right back into the heap after betraying the group and joining the Saviors. Fortunately, however, he managed to pull a Heel–Face Turn and has slowly started to rise from it again in Season 9.
    • Depending on the viewer, Nicholas may be salvaged either by his The Atoner choices in "Thank You" or by the reveal in "Heads Up" that his suicide ultimately (and accidentally) helped save Glenn's life by allowing him cover to crawl under a dumpster.
    • Father Gabriel started to rise from the heap in Season 6 by genuinely trying to atone for his mistakes and earn acceptance through faith and good works, eventually succeeding entirely when he joined in the Battle of Alexandria in "No Way Out".
    • Morgan was an extremely divisive character in Season 6 due to his turn to pacifism and the show once again exploring a survivor trying to avoid killing humans at all costs. Season 7 completely undoes it, and makes Morgan into a much stronger and likable character (albeit at the cost of some of his sanity) who finally accepts that the Saviors must die.
    • After being loathed by the fandom in Season 6 and most of Season 7 for betraying, shooting, and torturing Daryl, killing Denise, and being an unrepentant Yes-Man to Negan, Dwight rises from the heap in Season 8 by joining Rick's coalition against Negan, being completely onboard with all his plans, and later expressing remorse and apologizing for everything he did while also helping the remaining survivors of the war reach Hilltop.
    • Somewhat ironically, Jadis watching her people get slaughtered was the best thing that could have happened to the character in the eyes of the viewers: she stopped speaking in her bizarre fashion, she started wearing normal clothes, and she even begins to make consequential moves, up to and including taking Negan prisoner. Finally, in Season 9, she rescues a badly injured Rick from the river and takes him to safety. Considering most people expected to Rick die that episode due to Andrew Lincoln's departure from the show, the fact that she made sure Rick Grimes lived to see another day despite him being Put on a Bus completely rescued her from the heap.

     S 
  • Scapegoat Creator: Scott Gimple, the main show runner starting in Season 4, has attained a sizable hatedom as many blame him for the highly reviled cliffhanger that ended Season 6. The frequent bottle episodes (regardless of how good they are) that have taken over the show and majorly disrupt pacing and drastically decrease the number of episodes any given character actually appears in haven't gained him many fans either. Gimple's decision to abruptly kill Carl off midway through Season 8 has faced backlash making the Season 6 cliffhanger look tame in comparison, especially when it was revealed it was not a decision made so that Chandler Riggs could attend college or because he otherwise wanted an out, but because Gimple was trying to fix a plot hole from the comics. As Carl is one of the most important and longest-lasting characters in the show with a long future planned out for him in the comics, the decision has been likened to being an even worse version of Andrea's death in Season 3. Enraged fans have slammed Gimple as one of the worst showrunners in history, calling the decision clumsy and unnecessary, and even going as far as to create a petition to have him fired from his position as showrunner, which attained thousands of signatures. In this case, the backlash seems to have worked, as no less than three months later, Gimple was replaced by Angela Kang as showrunner for Season 9 and instead given the newly-created position of "Chief Content Officer", meaning that although he will supervise material coming out of both this show and Fear the Walking Dead, he will likely not be involved in finalizing storytelling decisions such as the one that ultimately led to his dismissal.
    • Robert Kirkman has also begun feeling the fans' wrath after the Negan cliffhanger (well, more than usual given he's the creator of the franchise), especially after he admitted he had been strongly pushing for more cliffhangers in recent seasons to match how every issue of the comics ends on a cliffhanger.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Lori is easily the least popular character in early seasons mainly for being whiny, indecisive, hypocritical, and creating more problems than she solves, but her Stay in the Kitchen philosophy and first appearance cheating on Rick (even if she thought he was dead) don't help at all. Honest Trailers sums up fan reactions quite well by calling her "the most hated character on a show full of flesh-eating monsters." Some viewers feel she gets better after admitting her flaws in Season 3, just in time to be killed off.
    • Andrea became this after the events of "Chupacabra" when, after doing little but Wangsting about suicide and wanting to be a lookout, her Reckless Gun Usage nearly killed Daryl. While she somewhat redeemed herself later by taking a level in badass, she became a Base-Breaking Character once again in Season 3 by becoming an oblivious Governor supporter. She also gains extra hate from fans of the comic, due to being a complete Adaptational Wimp who's practically Andrea In Name Only, especially since her comic counterpart is actually one of the most popular characters in the entire series.
    • Allen and Ben are widely hated for being ungrateful jerkasses who are nothing like their comic counterparts, Hate Sink qualities aside. Ben also gets hate for conveniently walking into a bullet meant for the Governor.
    • Noah didn't endear himself to fans by becoming The Load who frequently breaks down and constantly needs saving. The fact that Beth died to free him only for Noah to play an indirect role in Tyreese's death in the very next episode just sealed the deal. His eventual graphic death only earns him more hate for rendering Beth's Heroic Sacrifice even more pointless.
    • Father Gabriel in Season 5 was a Dirty Coward and The Load whose most significant contributions were leading a zombie horde to overrun the church and telling Deanna not to trust Rick or his group. His negligence in leaving the front gate open also allows a few walkers to infiltrate the town. Thankfully, he improved big time.
    • Nicholas was a total Hate Sink in Season 5 for being an arrogant jerkass and Dirty Coward who gets Noah killed, threatens to kill Eugene, and tries to murder Glenn purely out of spite. However, he veers over into Scrappy territory in Season 6 when the writers tried to set him on a redemption arc that a lot of fans just didn't buy, as shown by a poll that showed 70% of respondents felt he hadn't redeemed himself. It also doesn't help that his act of suicide nearly gets Glenn killed.
    • Ron and Sam, the former for trying to kill Carl and getting the house the group was hiding out in overrun by walkers and the latter for threatening to blow the group's cover during their desperate bid to blend with the horde.
    • Eugene has received a considerable amount of hate especially in Season 7 after betraying Rick and his group by joining the Saviors and once again becoming the same coward he was before, despite taking a level in badass in Season 6. While fans prayed it was some sort of ploy, his reception only got worse when time and time again he admitted it was a genuine Face–Heel Turn. The hate for his character increased to insane amounts, to the point that his actor started to receive death threats. Thankfully, reception has become much warmer since the events of the Season 8 finale, in which Eugene saved the day by rigging the Saviors' guns to explode.
    • The Scavengers, following their betrayal of Rick to the Saviors in the Season 7 finale, and their odd culture and way of speaking being a prime example of what many fans consider to be the show's Seasonal Rot.
    • As one of the show's many famously unpopular child characters, Henry had an uphill battle to become sympathetic almost by default, but many viewers lost patience with him in Season 8 when he becomes a remorseless Creepy Child who pulled off a display of utterly staggering stupidity by opening the door to the prison to threaten the captive Saviors, which naturally allows every single one of them to bum-rush him and escape. His actions during the Whisperer arc in Season 9 didn't exactly fare much better.
  • Seasonal Rot:
    • Besides Season 2 (which being the second season of the show is designated to Sophomore Slump below), Season 6 is ultimately seen as a step down from the previous season. The biggest complaints stem from an overindulgence in cliffhangers and fakeouts, stupid decisions and character choices on par with Season 2, and many of the main cast being Out of Focus for half a season. Unlike Season 2, which was well received by critics but not so much by fans, Season 6 is notable for having almost half of its episodes at a ranking of "rotten" on the rating site Rotten Tomatoes. Season 6 also has the dubious honor of having perhaps the most reviled moment of the entire show that many are calling cheap and manipulative: the cliffhanger that forces viewers to wait another seven months to find out who Negan killed.
    • Season 7 was not well received by fans and notably features the lowest average viewership since Season 3. The most common complaint is that it has a lack of plot progression, and is mostly about the Saviors humiliating the group and torturing them into submission again and again (even reviewers who concede that this is the point of the first half of the season admit the show goes too far). Other complaints include the level of violence and torture in the season premiere; odd character choices like a Bottle Episode devoted solely to secondary character Tara, Negan himself coming across as too silly or talky; and fan-favorites Carol and Ezekiel being Out of Focus.
    • Season 8, despite finally reaching the end of the All Out War arc, was marred with heavy criticism of uneven plotting and poor character decisions (not helped by several production problems and controversial character deaths). Ratings dropped to lows unseen since the second season while gaining only a meager critical edge on the preceding season, which has the lowest Rotten Tomatoes score in the series's history.
  • Ship Sinking:
    • Bethyl has gone down with all hands thanks to the sudden and unexpected death of one of the characters in "Coda". Same with Beth and Noah.
    • Jessick (Rick and Jessie) sunk after her death in "No Way Out".
    • With Glenn and Abraham's deaths their relationships have hit rock bottom as of Season 7.
    • With Carl's death in Season 8 his relationship with Enid has now sunk.
    • Any chance of Tobin and Carol rekindling their brief fling ends in Season 8's "Do Not Send Us Astray" when Tobin dies and reanimates, with Carol putting him down.
    • Dwight and Laura is shot in the foot after Dwight leads her into an ambush by the Alexandrians and she finds out he's been helping engineer the deaths of her friends and cohorts.
    • Any potential for a Rosita and Siddiq romance is sunk after Siddiq is murdered by Dante in Season 10.
  • Ship-to-Ship Combat:
    • In Season 4, a fairly intense Tumblr war broke out between Caryl (Carol/Daryl) and Bethyl (Beth/Daryl) shippers, with Caryl as an established Fan Preferred Pairing for its slow-burn nature and numerous Ship Teases and Bethyl (initially something of a Crack Pairing because of their limited interaction) exploding in popularity after a very intimate hug in the season premiere and their alone time in "Still". Norman Reedus' off-screen chemistry with both Melissa McBride and Emily Kinney only added fuel to the fire. Despite Reedus' claims Beth and Daryl were "getting to know each other on a different level but not romantically," the subject remained heatedly debated until Beth's death in "Coda".
    • It seems that Ezekiel has now entered the battle as a possible love interest for Carol, rivaling Daryl and Tobin. In Season 9, he and Carol are in a committed relationship, and Daryl has expressed happiness for the two of them, ending the shipping wars... until Carol and Ezekiel divorce in the Season 9 finale, at which point Daryl/Carol vs. Daryl/Connie started with a vengeance.
  • Signature Scene:
    • Rick riding his horse into Atlanta, with the outbound lanes clogged with abandoned cars and the inbound lane empty, is the most recognizable scene in the series.
    • The Wham Shot of a reanimated Sophia walking out of the barn halfway into Season 2, moments before Rick puts her down. Not only is it one of the most iconic scenes in the season, but it turned the show in a whole new direction and displayed that the series is not going to get better or less depressing anytime soon.
    • The prison war in Season 4's "Too Far Gone" is just as climactic and memorable as its' original counterpart in the comics, particularly because it featured the death of Hershel, Big Bad The Governor, and at the time apparently baby Judith, before she was revealed to have survived a few episodes later. Hershel's death is now regarded as one of the most tragic moments of the entire series.
    • Carol's big moments in Season 4's "The Grove" and Season 5's "No Sanctuary" are some of the most memorable moments in the series and are pivotal moments in the character development of the Breakout Character she became after them.
    • The dumpster scene in Season 6's "Thank You" is likely the most discussed scene of the entire series, having set the Internet on fire like no other scene for an entire month before it's resolution, and will certainly not be forgotten anytime soon.
    • The climactic Battle of Alexandria in "No Way Out" which was beloved for resolving all of the maligned cliffhangers and plot threads of Season 6A, and included the iconic comic moment of Carl losing an eye.
    • The other contender for the most famous comic moment, the introduction of Negan, arrives in the Season 6 finale, and the POV Cliffhanger that leaves ambiguous who he kills set the Internet even more aflame than the dumpster scene.
    • The Season 7 premiere finally reveals who Negan killed: Abraham. And then a few minutes later, he kills Glenn too. Regardless of the controversy (and perhaps partly because of it) surrounding the episode, its become just as iconic as its comic counterpart.
    • Whereas Carl losing his eye was an immensely iconic moment in the comics, the TV show one-ups it with the scene where Rick and Michonne find the walker bite on Carl's body. It led to massive fan reaction and is easily the biggest deviation from the comics that the show has ever done.
    • The heads-on-pikes scene from "The Calm Before" (adapted from Issue #144 of the comic), as well as Siddiq's story showing how the victims fought back against the Whisperers until their deaths has quickly gone down as one of the most equally tragic and gruesome moments of the entire show.
  • Sophomore Slump: Most fans agree Season 2 is the weakest, either because of the Arc Fatigue of searching for Sophia (and its ultimate Shoot the Shaggy Dog ending), because the restricted setting of the farm meant a lack of diverse situations, or because so many characters (especially Lori and Carl) played with the Idiot Ball too much or just stood around Wangsting or having unimportant conversations. Some also hated the Love Triangle between Lori, Rick, and Shane, which lasted the whole season.
  • Spoiled by the Format:
    • Promos for The Talking Dead often tell what they're going to discuss before the episode is over, often spoiling which situations will be resolved or further developed by the end of the episode. It was also a pseudo-spoiler that any actor advertised to appear on the after-show was likely to be killed off in the episode. Since Season 5, they've begun avoiding mentioning said actors until their on-screen death actually airs, billing them as a "surprise cast member". On one occasion, in "Forget", after that strategy began to backfire since it signaled the death of a character, Alexandra Breckinridge was the surprise cast member and her character was never in any danger during the preceding episode. Chris Hardwick and his guests even lampshaded the trend during the promos leading up to it.
      • Judith's absence from The Talking Dead's "In Memoriam" segment after "Too Far Gone" raised a few eyebrows and sure enough, she was revealed to be alive a few episodes later.
      • Glenn's absence from The Talking Dead's "In Memoriam" segment after "Thank You" was a clear sign to many that the character wasn't really dead. Even host Chris Hardwick and the guests, who had been clearly under the impression that the character was dead the entirety of the preceding episode, made note of it with surprise and the character was revealed to be alive four episodes later.
    • The "Previously On…..." segments usually spoil the return of characters like Merle and Morgan by mentioning them for the first time in multiple episodes or even seasons, seasons and generally spoil which elements from past episodes will be developed further in the upcoming one. A notable exception is Morgan's return in Season 5, which left his appearances in TheStingers of certain episodes of the season a surprise.
    • The Season 7 trailer thankfully averts this, completely avoiding any footage of the cast members who were in the Negan lineup and instead largely focusing on Negan himself, the Saviors, the Kingdom, and the protagonists who weren't in the lineup like Tara, Carol, and Morgan.
    • Season 8's mid-season premiere outright made "Carl's journey ends" the tagline of the episode, spoiling anyone who hadn't been keeping up that Carl was going to die. The same happened on a much larger scale later that year with the first half of Season 9, which made "Rick Grimes' final episodes" the selling point of the season.
  • Squick: The Talking Dead's description of Eugene and Rosita's relationship. Apparently, it's like a brother-sister relationship... except that Rosita is like "a sister that [Eugene] wants to have sex with."
  • Stoic Woobie: Michonne doesn't convey much emotion, but when she does, you can't help but feel sorry for her.
  • Strangled by the Red String:
    • Season 5B sees Rick develop feelings for Jessie that seem to come out of nowhere and intensify without any real buildup before Rick states outright in "Try" that he's intervening in her domestic abuse only because of her. Then Jessie's husband Pete kills Reg in a drunken attempt to publicly murder Rick, allowing Rick to kill him and start an unimpeded relationship with Jessie, who has no concerns about Rick killing her husband or how her kids might feel about her love affair with their father's killer.
    • Season 6B sees Carol and Tobin have an attraction to each other, despite only interacting directly once prior to the episode in which they make known their feelings for each other.
    • To a lesser extent and around the same time as Carol and Tobin, Tara and Denise quickly form a relationship. Their first kiss in "Now" comes after an episode where they've had minimal interaction let alone Ship Tease, but in a few episodes, they're in a relationship after the Time Skip.
    • Both of Gabriel's relationships in Season 9, with Anne and Rosita, come right the hell out of nowhere, even considering both relationships debuted following lengthy Time Skips.
  • Surprisingly Improved Sequel: Season 9 has been hailed as this by both fans and critics alike after the heavily divisive Seasons 7 and 8. However, see Acclaimed Flop in the Trivia page.

     T 
  • Take That, Scrappy!:
    • "First Time Again" gives us this exchange after Gabriel spent the previous season as The Scrappy.
    Gabriel: I'd like to help as well.
    Rick: (without even looking at him) No. Anyone else?
    • In "No Way Out," Ron tries to kill Carl and/or Rick again while they're still surrounded by walkers. Michonne does not hesitate to impale him with her sword. And while some fans were upset over Sam getting eaten alive, several others were delighted to see him go.
    • In general, due to the Anyone Can Die nature of the show, pretty much all of the characters listed under The Scrappy either get redeemed later on or get killed off, with only some of their deaths gaining sympathy from the fans.
    • Just about everyone cheered for burgeoning Ensemble Dark Horse Father Gabriel after he called Dirty Coward Spencer a "tremendous shit" to his face. It's doubly impressive considering Gabriel was once The Scrappy himself.
    • Spencer is on the receiving end of this again when he's disemboweled by Negan for trying to get put in charge behind Rick's back. Fans who weren't outright celebrating him getting his comeuppance expressed having no sympathy for him, considering what he was trying to do right up to being killed.
    • For those who dislike Dwight, seeing him get beaten up by several Saviors and locked up in the same cell like Daryl before him at the start of "Hostiles And Calamities" is extremely cathartic.
    • The Scavengers entered Scrappy territory after they betrayed Rick to the Saviors, and generally put off a sizable amount of fans due to their strange customs providing a lot of Narm. After a season of getting away with their actions scot-free, Simon massacres them all except for Jadis in Season 8's "The Lost and the Plunderers" after their duplicitous ways push him over the edge. Rick refusing to help Jadis escape the junkyard with him also pleased many fans.
    • In “Worth”, Eugene finds himself kidnapped by a vengeful Daryl and Rosita, and is scathingly told by the latter how horrible he’s been the past season and a half for betraying his friends just to save his own hide. It was quite satisfying to see Eugene squirm every time he launched into one of his nonsensical rants, only to be shut down and threatened. Even when he turns out to be The Mole an episode later, Rosita’s punch was also seen as well-deserved (which even he admits).
    • In Season 9's "Adaptation", Daryl yells at Henry to "wise his ass up" after the latter attempted to stand up for Lydia, the girl whose group is responsible for murdering Jesus. Especially bad since Henry already screwed up in his first night in Hilltop by getting drunk... after he promised to Carol that he won't get himself in trouble, so he has no moral high ground over Daryl in the first place.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: A few fans were upset at the serious changes given to Oceanside and view the drastic updates on the community as the show overstepping its balance. This isn't helped by the only named Oceanside resident Pete, who was considered a fan-favorite back in The Walking Dead Michonne DLC, being Adapted Out entirely, quite possibly suffering Death by Adaptation.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Some don't take Sophia's death pretty well, if only because she's still alive in the comics. Ironically, her actress's real-life brothers got to portray Carol's adopted son.
    • Despite being a founding member of the group, T-Dog gets no backstory outside Word of God, no Character Focus, and no attempt to build on his character. Instead, he's just kinda there until his ultimate demise, then replaced by Oscar, another black guy, and quickly forgotten. This is highlighted when Glenn must resort to Offscreen Moment of Awesome to praise him after his death.
    • The more sympathetic prisoners become little more than featured extras after their troublesome comrades are dealt with, and Oscar is ultimately killed raiding Woodbury (in the same episode Tyreese is introduced) and Axel is abruptly shot in the head the moment he starts opening up about himself.
    • Andrea. Many fans wanted her to become more like the badass zombie killer she was in the comics, but she goes through some Badass Decay in Season 3. And then she dies in the season finale, leaving no possibility for redemption.
    • While Merle never reached the Breakout Character popularity of his brother Daryl, he was still portrayed by fan-favorite actor Michael Rooker and had lots of story potential (particularly after he's forced into an Enemy Mine relationship with the heroes), either as an on-going Token Evil Teammate or as a recurring antagonist the heroes (particularly Daryl) would eventually have to confront. Instead, he's killed attempting to assassinate the Governor, conveniently ridding Daryl of his Conflicting Loyalty and Rick of the decision to trust him or not.
    • Some fans argue Beth was killed off purely for shock value just as the writers were finally succeeding in making her interesting.
    • Tyreese dies just about the time he is being fleshed-out more as a character and the time many of the audience is growing attached to the character.
    • A similar thing happened with Noah. After being reviled by the fans for replacing Beth and causing Tyreese's death, he finally gets a chance to take an active role in the group. He's shown to be a very good shot, gets more dialogue to flesh out his character, and even takes an interest in becoming an architect for Alexandria. Unfortunately, just when it seems he's about to redeem himself, the poor guy suffers one of the most brutal and graphic deaths in the entire series.
    • Just when it seems like Nicholas' Heel–Face Turn is going to be explored as he makes up for an incredible amount of fuck-ups, he commits suicide when he and Glenn are surrounded by walkers, also killing whatever chance he had at getting serious development.
    • The Grady Memorial cops were potentially interesting but their plotline bordered on Trapped by Mountain Lions, serving only to introduce one character and kill off another.
    • The Wolves are hyped up as the new threat in Seasons 5B and 6A, and do have serious impact on the plot, however they spend the majority of their run as an offscreen antagonist, and none of their actions were given any concrete motivation and all of them except Owen are massacred in their only major confrontation with the protagonists. Owen, the Alpha Wolf himself received a bit of this, as Morgan spends all of Season 6A attempting to redeem him behind the rest of the group's backs and against many fans' wishes, only for him to get hit with a case of Heel–Face Door-Slam at the first hints of his beginning to change in the 6B premiere.
    • After about half a season of development, with Jessie becoming a potential love interest for Rick and Ron becoming a potential antagonist and Evil Counterpart to Carl, Jessie, Sam, and Ron are unceremoniously killed off in "No Way Out" with little buildup or fanfare. However, many ended up being okay with this since it got rid of Scrappies Sam and Ron and paved the way for Rick and Michonne's long-anticipated Relationship Upgrade.
    • Paula and Michelle were set up as very effective Evil Counterparts to Carol and Maggie, with many similarities and more than a few subtle differences. However, they are killed in the same episode they are introduced in.
    • Abraham was much loved for his unique one-liners and the humor he brought to a show that is often bereft of it. After Robert Kirkman stated that his death in the comics was an unplanned impulse that he regretted, and looked forward to using the "All-Out War" storylines he had written for the character, and then Denise took his death on the show, it seemed big things were coming for Abraham. Unfortunately, he was killed by Negan a mere two episodes later. Michael Cudlitz even felt that Abe was on "borrowed time" after surviving his comic death.
    • Downplayed, but Ezekiel is one of the most hyped up characters going into Season 7A, but only appears in a single episode of the half-season. This is because the promos for Season 7 could not show any of the members of the Negan line-up, as they were the bulk of the main cast and it would give away whoever died. He eventually gets more focus starting in Season 7B onward.
    • Morales, when he returns in Season 8. His ultimate fate had been a source of much speculation for years. When he finally returns, he is revealed to have lost his family and become a hardened member of the Saviors. He has a single conversation with Rick about how they are Not So Different before being shot dead by Daryl. We do not get to see him interact with any of the Saviors or any other surviving members of the Atlanta group. After all the wait, and then the trouble they took to actually bring back a character many viewers had completely forgotten about (along with the same actor that portrayed him back in Season 1), many fans were disappointed he didn't get a bigger role.
    • The death of Carl was lambasted by fans, critics, and people on the show alike, since the character still had loads of storylines to go through. Several cynical fans deemed it just a ratings stunt aimed at rectifying the show's declining ratings in Season 8. The fact that Siddiq (himself an example of this trope), whose life he saved before he died, was killed off a mere two seasons later arguably makes this worse.
    • Jesus as of his death in Season 9. The character suffered from a greatly reduced role in the show than the comics, losing much of his development and badass scenes as a result. This is notably also an opinion held by his actor Tom Payne, who candidly expressed his frustration that he was given little to do during his tenure on the show, especially as he was a big fan of the character in the comics.
    • Henry, initially touted as taking over for Carl's plots after the time skip is given a love interest and proves himself as a fighter, only to be murdered by Alpha in the penultimate episode of the season.
    • Ozzy, the only actual character among the Highwaymen is introduced, only to be killed by Alpha a few episodes later.
    • Siddiq, who promised to carry on Carl's legacy, only for him to meet a tragic and untimely demise in Season 10 at the hands of Dante.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • The mysterious helicopter seen sporadically in the first two seasons was a big source of speculation, and explaining it as just a small cell of surviving soldiers flying over Atlanta was seen as a bit disappointing. It mysteriously returns in Season 8, adding perhaps even more speculation than before to the fire before returning again in Season 9 to airlift Rick to safety.
    • It's the beginning of Season 3. Merle is reintroduced after severing his own hand due to T-Dog's clumsiness and then disappearing for a season. T-Dog has likewise survived being reduced to a background character for a season, and, starting with the prison storyline, has just begun to get some focus and character development. The long-awaited confrontation between the two surely must happen before long. Only, it doesn't. T-Dog is randomly killed off and his death is immediately overshadowed by Lori's and even Carol's presumed death within the same episode. All that ever comes of this is a throwaway line from Merle that he hopes T-Dog "went slow."
    • On the subject of Merle, most people assumed that his subplot with Daryl, meaning the two being separated in Season 1, their past, their respective Character Development (especially on Daryl's end), conflicting loyalty the two may have to each other or their respective gropes, and reconciliation or final confrontation when the two inevitably meet again was the main character arc for both of them. When the two do finally meet again late in Season 3, they both leave the prison for a while and only end up getting a few scenes together before Merle is abruptly killed off in the penultimate episode of the season. Whatever grudge Daryl might have against the Governor for killing his brother, or whatever other affect it might have had on his character, is barely mentioned again, and Merle himself is practically forgotten.
    • A minor example, but the Claimers seem to abruptly drop their "claiming" schtick in "A." Dan's already horrifying near-rape of Carl would have been even more disturbing had he "claimed" him first.
    • In the Grady Memorial arc, it's established that Dawn Lerner is physically abusive. Then, of all the group members who could have showed up, it's Carol, a newly-empowered survivor of domestic abuse, who ends up helpless in the hospital. Once she wakes up, it seems likely that she will get smacked around by Dawn just like Ed used to, except we'd get to see her react in a completely different way. However, she and Dawn never even interact. While the story arc was mostly for Beth, it still would've been nice if Carol had been used as something other than an unconscious Living Macguffin.
    • The 17 day, 500+ mile journey from Atlanta to Richmond is totally glossed over during "What Happened and What's Going On."
    • Aside from the fact that Beth sacrificed her life for Noah, our very first glimpse of the Wolves' reign of terror comes through his eyes as he finds his family and group wiped out in the ruins of Shirewilt Estates. As the foreshadowing of the Wolves intensifies and Noah begins to get some focus after settling at Alexandria, he is suddenly killed off. The Wolves finally appear two episodes later and attack Alexandria in Season 6. He never gets a confrontation with the group who killed his family, and he never even learned of their existence before he died.
    • The Domestic Abuse plot line in Alexandria would have been more compelling if Daryl had been involved. Carol's experiences and development as a survivor of Ed's abuse are brought into play on how she advises Rick to handle the situation and her interactions with Pete, but instead of giving Daryl something similar through Sam and Ron as a means of exploring his own issues, the storyline just becomes a way for Rick to rescue Jessie and further their already unpopular romance. In fact, much of the discussion on the matter among the group, particularly with Rick, tends to ignore that Pete was also beating his children at all.
    • The Wolves' zombie traps. They're given a fair amount of prominence in "Conquer," but in Season 6, the only one we see is never even opened, and we never see the zombified red poncho guy again.
    • More on the Wolves. The lack of a direct confrontation at the gate means they never utter the "Little Pig" line from the comics, which would've been yet another wolf-related Fairy Tale Motif after their murder of little red poncho guy. Further, Rick never asked the three questions and heard answers he doesn't like, which could've happened in the same scene.
    • The Season 5 trailer heavily teased that the group would form an Enemy Mine with Terminus and Gareth becoming the Token Evil Teammate in order to end the apocalypse. This opens up a lot of cool ideas like the moral dilemma of teaming up with a degenerate pack of cannibals for the greater good, and would allow more depth to be put into how Terminus went from a haven for survivors to the horror it is now. In the actual show, Gareth is killed and Terminus is destroyed fairly early on.
    • The entire Alexandria Arc could have been a major turning point for the series where Rick and Co start to regain a little of their humanity by showing you don't have to lower yourself to the same level as the rest of the world regardless of how bad things get but instead was little more than an idiot plot whose only purpose was to show how much better at surviving Rick's group is compared to the Alexandria citizens.
    • While the Time Skip after "No Way Out" was appreciated by many viewers who liked the skipping of the fallout and mourning of the herd invasion, others feel that it could've given the show ample time to develop certain aspects of the show (like the build up of romances between Rick and Michonne, Tobin and Carol, Sasha and Abraham, and Tara and Denise.
    • Many fans felt that Negan's introduction to the series, an iconic moment, was ruined thanks to the cheap cliffhanger that interrupts it and completely eliminates the terror and suspense of his introduction since we now have to wait six months for the resolution.
  • Too Cool to Live:
    • Hershel Greene ends up being decapitated by the Governor in order to instigate his final battle with Rick, and his death scene is now regarded as one of the most devastating and tragic moments in the series, to the fact that many people point to his death as the exact moment where the show became far too depressing for anyone to actually enjoy.
    • Sgt. Abraham Ford was a total badass and one of the many big guys on Rick's group, massacring hordes of zombies and human enemies alike with his amazing combat skills. Sadly, he is the first to be executed by Negan, but shows absolutely no fear to his killer in the process with his Famous Last Words being "Suck my nuts!"
    • Shiva. As amazing, badass, and loyal as she was, having a CGI tiger as part of the regular cast would have broken the story (and the show's budget) cleanly in half, so few people were surprised when she went down fighting a huge herd of walkers.
    • Jesus was perhaps the most combat-capable member of the main cast starting in Season 6, but he ultimately dies suddenly at the hands of a Whisperer in Season 9 just as he really begins showing off the level of badassery he displayed in the comics.
    • Ozzy and his second-in-command, Alek, from the Highwaymen. After an intimidating introduction they are integrated into the Kingdom after Carol bribes them with a movie as long as they protect the roads from walkers which they do for a while. While hazy, they do prove their worth by recruiting former Savior member DJ to rescue Siddiq, Tara, Enid, Henry and the others from the Whisperers only to die fighting.
  • Trapped by Mountain Lions: Both of the subplots focusing on the Scavengers and Oceanside ultimately contribute little to the show as of the end of Season 8. All of the Scavengers except for Jadis are killed, making them pointless additions to the show who exist mostly to betray Rick time and time again. Meanwhile, the Oceanside women do even less, and are just there to be lectured by the group about how they need to fight the Saviors (meaning their eventual joining the war to fight them was seen coming from a mile away). Jadis ends up proving crucial to Rick's departure from the show while Oceanside, aside from a brief subplot about them kidnapping and murdering the Saviors who wiped out their male population mostly exists as the "fourth community" as of Season 10.

     U 
  • Unfortunate Implications:
    • Some feel the show goes out of its way (at least in early seasons) to portray female characters (except Michonne) as foolish, reckless, and impulsive whenever they act on their own initiative, such as Andrea's shooting of Daryl in "Chupacabra" and Lori's crash in "Nebraska", events that helped turn both characters into The Scrappy.
    • Observers such as the Racialicious blog) noted that Oscar's inclusion in the group felt like a trading one Token Minority for another after T-Dog's death, especially since he's killed off soon after in the same episode Tyreese, another African-American, is introduced. However, the pattern is then averted when Michonne, Sasha, Tyreese, and Bob all become substantial characters and survive all of Season 4. Then it gets Zig-Zagged in Season 5 when when Father Gabriel's introduction is quickly followed by the death of Bob, Noah joining immediately precedes Tyreese's death, and even Morgan's long-awaited return comes only after Noah's death. Now the introduction of Heath in Season 6 has broken the trend only for him to disappear in Season 6.
    • Similar to above, characters played by brown people are also affected since for the first three seasons, no such character appeared. Dr S. was the first to be introduced back in Season 3 (he was Indian-American) only to be killed off a couple of episodes later by Hershel. Many seasons later Arat and Siddiq (both Arab-Americans) and Nabila (a Muslim-American) were introduced only for Arat to be killed off in Season 9 and Siddiq to be killed off in Season 10 leaving only Nabila alive.
    • Denise's death in "Twice As Far" has triggered some backlash for the show over the use of the Bury Your Gays trope, since the death came for a lesbian/bisexual woman over a straight white man. It happened once again (although a bit differently) after Jesus' death.
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic:
    • Quite a few people see Ron as a Jerkass Woobie. First off, his father was abusive to him, his brother, and his mother. Then Rick kills his father in cold blood and proceeds to date his mother shortly afterwards. His family is nearly killed when the Wolves attack Alexandria, his girlfriend starts hanging out with Carl more than usual (given how quickly Rick advanced on Jessie, it's easy to see why he became so jealous), and then through a series of unfortunate circumstances, the herd of walkers Rick was trying to drive away is brought back to Alexandria, and the herd ends up getting inside. Lastly, he gets to witness his brother getting eaten alive (partly because of Carol's threatening speech to him), followed by his mother. When he pulled the gun on Rick and Carl, some people honestly couldn't blame him for snapping after all of that.
    • Surprisingly, some of the Saviors in "Not Tomorrow Yet." The majority of the Saviors are murdered in their sleep, despite Rick's group knowing absolutely nothing about most of them, and several snarl about how Alexandria murdered all of their friends.
    • Gregory of all people may be this for some. He's undeniably a coward and a jerk, but he's treated with disdain for kowtowing to the Saviors despite Rick doing the exact same thing. Rick and Gregory both witnessed a member of their community killed brutally by Negan and have subsequently been bullied into complacency. Of course, Gregory exhibits a lot more selfishness than Rick ever has, as while Gregory kneels to the Saviors to save his own skin, Rick is doing it to protect his people.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic:
    • Dale spends the entirety of "Judge, Jury, and Executioner" preaching to the group that they shouldn't kill Randall, claiming they can never come back from executing him even if he's a potential threat. Despite the group making numerous solid arguments in favor of killing Randall, such as the fact they can't spare more supplies on a prisoner with winter approaching, the fact he could betray them to his group as revenge, and the fact that he helped his group gang-rape teenage girls, Dale refuses to budge in favor of taking his moral high ground. He even starts ranting at the emotionally unstable Carol that she's basically killing him herself, and never really comes up with a solid argument for sparing Randall. Several fans were more surprised by the fact he suffered Death by Adaptation than they were sad that he had died.
    • Andrea's Too Dumb to Live and Idiot Ball tendencies in Season 3 earned her a ton of haters who were actually largely pleased when she died in the season finale, leading reviewers such as IGN to criticize the show for making such an unsympathetic character the emotional crux of the finale. Even promos for the next season described it as a "huge loss" for Rick's group even though fans were largely glad that she was gone. Sure enough, Andrea has only been mentioned twice in the four years since her death as of the start of Season 8.
    • Nicholas' death in "Thank You" was supposed to be an Alas, Poor Scrappy ending for an intentionally disliked character. Unfortunately, his body also drags fan favorite Glenn down into a herd of walkers as well, which to many fans cemented him as The Load whose selfishness once again put a fan favorite in danger, though some credit him as an Accidental Hero since his final act unintentionally wound up saving Glenn's life.
    • Owen the Alpha Wolf's death. The audience was suppose to believe that he suffered a Heel Face Doorslam, but some had a hard time buying it, and many believed that he was helping Denise out of pragmatism to save his own skin.
    • Abraham's harsh breakup with Rosita caused some fans to raise a big What the Hell, Hero?, since Abe's quest to find happiness and a better outlook on life led to him cruelly dumping Rosita just to go chasing another woman who's only shown marginal interest in him. Abraham also never expresses any remorse for the incident unlike in the comics when he did so privately to Eugene.
    • "The Cell" went to great lengths to flesh out Dwight, his backstory, and make him a relatable and more sympathetic character. Then the next episode, "Service" depicts him cruelly tormenting Rosita for several minutes, destroying a lot of goodwill in the character some fans had developed.
    • Rosita's obsessive desire to get revenge on Negan has made a number fans lose a lot of sympathy for her since her actions have indirectly caused a number of unfortunate events to happen to her friends as a result.
    • Jesus’ determination to spare the Saviors’ lives as often as possible during the war of Season 8 comes off to most viewers as annoying and repetitive of the show’s tired themes of morality.
    • Rick’s ultimate decision to spare Negan. While the show clearly intends to portray this as a good thing, many viewers found it frustrating and anti-climactic considering the last few years of TV devoted to killing him, especially given the atrocities he’s committed. Rick and Michonne all but ignoring Maggie’s enraged reaction to the former’s decision also put off a lot of viewers. Season 9 expands heavily on this, as they vehemently try to protect Negan while ignoring how their friends really felt about the situation.
    • Henry is definitely The Scrappy in Season 9 thanks to being a complete idiot who keeps getting people in danger thanks to his own recklessness and often trying to assert his moral high ground over others. He's supposed to be one of the new leads of the show following Carl's Death by Adaptation, but nobody got on board with him and were ultimately delighted to see him be decapitated by Alpha. Indeed, while few fans felt like he deserved it, they were more sympathetic to Carol for the loss of yet another child.
    • In Season 10, Magna and Kelly are revealed to be stealing and hoarding Hilltop's food for themselves in the woods, even though Hilltop's supplies are strained to maximum as it is given they've become a refugee camp for the Kingdom. Presumably we're supposed to feel some sympathy for Magna given her Dark and Troubled Past as well as Kelly for suffering from her loss of hearing, but it's still an extremely selfish move and Daryl's What the Hell, Hero? moment towards them is entirely justified.

     W 
  • Wangst:
    • Sasha's severe depression all throughout Season 5 began to get grating on fans really fast since the show gave it more focus than on the character development of the other group members.
    • Rosita's dark turn after the the death of her ex-boyfriend Abraham and friend Glenn resulted in this thanks to the fact that she become too unsympathetic for her obsessive revenge, indirectly getting others killed because of her actions, lashing out at her own allies for not understanding her, and her character arc coming across as a derailment of Rick's more intelligent plan to overthrow Negan.
  • What an Idiot!:
    • Andrea's constant stupidity throughout Season 3, especially in the finale, is what results in her getting bitten by a zombified Milton and her own death.
    • Father Gabriel luring a herd of walkers back to the church (which results in it being overrun), telling Deanna that Rick and his group aren't good people, leaving the gate inside Alexandria ajar, allowing some walkers to stroll in, baiting Sasha into a fight, where she nearly kills him... Let's just say he seems to love this trope.
    • In "Spend", Aiden encounters a heavily armored walker and continues to shoot at it, as opposed to simply removing its helmet and stabbing it in the head. Thanks to his adrenaline rush, he ends up shooting at a grenade latched onto the walker's body, resulting in his death.
    • Ron in Season 6 is quickly becoming the new Father Gabriel. During the Season 6 premiere, he runs unarmed in a forest filled with Walkers and nearly falls off a cliff. Without Rick's intervention, he would have died. In the following episode, after Carl saves Ron from one of the Wolves, Ron stubbornly refuses to allow Carl to protect him because he sees Enid being protected by Carl.
    • Morgan and Carol both suffer this in the mid-season finale of Season 6 when Morgan's absurd desire to guide an unrepentant psychopath Alpha Wolf to redemption with pretty much nothing but Care-Bear Stare and Carol's equally fanatical need to kill the captive Owen right then and there despite the more pressing issue of Alexandria being overrun by walkers leads to a brawl that allows Owen to surprise both of them and escape with a hostage. Even before that, Morgan's decision to leave Alexandria's only doctor Denise alone with a gun in a room with Owen struck many as stupid since non-action Alexandrians like her have frozen up when threatened before.
    • Rosita and Daryl acquiescing to Denise's request of accompanying them on a supply run in "Twice as Far". Not only does she have little to no experience in killing walkers, she's also Alexandria's only doctor or medic of any type. When she's killed by Dwight during the supply run, Reality Ensues and the group realizes they now have absolutely no one to treat Alexandria's citizens. Denise's death also kickstarts a chain of events that result in the deaths of Abraham and Glenn at the start of Season 7.
    • At the end of “Twice as Far”, Carol decides she can’t live with killing people anymore and leaves Alexandria by herself, knowing full well that there might still be Saviors on the prowl after she and her group dispatched a scathing number of their people. Not a few hours later, she does in fact encounter another group of Saviors and ends up having to kill several of them.
    • In "Hostiles and Calamites", Negan kills Dr. Carson, the Sanctuary's only medical physician and a trained professional as well. On a whole, the Saviors have proven themselves to be very good at killing the only people who can heal them. Even if they have another doctor to abduct from Hilltop, it's still stupid to kill such a qualified, proficient medic in the world they live in.
    • Rosita and Sasha deciding to go on a suicide mission to kill Negan as Rick is formulating a far more elaborate and strategic plan to do so. Even after Rosita's previous attempt to assassinate the Savior leader resulted in her shooting Lucille at point blank range and got Olivia killed and Eugene kidnapped. Not only that, even if they were to succeed in killing Negan, Simon would still be around to lead the troops, and the fallout would likely result in a slaughter of Alexandria and the indefinite enslavement of the other communities. On top of all of that, taking Eugene at that moment would result in a massive uproar from Negan, since Eugene is far more vital to the Saviors than Daryl ever was. This gets Sasha captured and ultimately leads to her death.
  • Win Back the Crowd:
    • While Scott Gimple has profusely defended the Season 6 cliffhanger which has received nearly universal negative backlash, he admitted he and the production crew really wanted to deliver with the Season 7 premiere in response to the overwhelmingly negative reception to the cliffhanger. The "Right-Hand Man" clip at New York Comic-Con at least satiated fans who were cynical that the death would even be shown in the premiere.
    • After the very divisive Seasons 7 and 8, along with Rick's departure being on the horizon, many fans were ready to call it quits. After Angela Kang took over, Season 9 saw a drastic increase in quality and storytelling, with real character interactions and little to no monologues or characters speaking in riddles. Season 9 has quickly become one of the best in the eyes of many fans, with some calling the penultimate episode, "The Calm Before", one of the best episodes of the entire series. With the ratings falling, only time will tell if this well-received season will manage to regain the show's former glory.
  • The Woobie: Everyone really, but a few characters deserve special mention:
    • Helen from the webisodes.
    • Sophia now too when you realize just how much she's suffered over the course of the series. She was raised with an abusive and potentially pedophilic father, witnessed the world ending and the dead coming back to devour the living, been on the run as everything fell apart, living in mortal terror every step of the way, and then things went From Bad to Worse.
    • Iron Woobie: Lori. Her husband was shot and in a coma when the walkers hit, she thought he was dead, she and Carl had to leave their house, and then found out that Atlanta had napalm dropped on it. And then, once they find the camp, even that's not perfectly safe, Shane's started going off the deep end, and then, she finds out Rick isn't dead, and when she breaks if off with Shane, he tries to rape her. And then their safe haven, the CDC, which they were supposed to be able to stay in, explodes. And that's just Season 1. And she still just kept going until her death, to take care of her family.
    • Carol is also a big Iron Woobie. She spent years being abused by her husband physically and emotionally, and then she loses him in a walker attack in Season 1. In Season 2, she spends a few agonizing days waiting for her daughter Sophia to be found and she knows she can do nothing for the search... and then, in the mid-season finale, Sophia walks out of the barn as a walker and is shot in front of her. In Season 3, she watches T-Dog get eaten by zombies and her best friend Lori dies in the same day. Carol cries a lot but she never has suicidal tendencies and all the tragedies she experiences never affect the way she functions in the group. She's also one of the most positive members in the group, happily taking care of Lori's daughter and being the de-facto mother of the group. And then when she's banished from the group by Rick after she admits to murdering Karen in an attempt to keep a flu epidemic from spreading through the prison. Once she returns to the prison she finds it destroyed from the Governor's attack and she's shown to not have a great track record with kids with Sophia, Lizzie, Mika and Sam dying due to some of her contributing actions. She also is forced to kill a reanimated Tobin, someone who she was in a brief but healthy relationship with. And just when she finally has a loving relationship with Ezekiel and an adopted son named Henry she finds him beheaded on a pike along with nine others; this, along with the collapse of the Kingdom, leads to Carol and Ezekiel separating. Someone please give this woman a hug.
    • Backpack Guy from "Clear" is just an unnamed survivor trekking alone through the zombie-infested wilderness who desperately begs help from a passing car. Unfortunately, that car contains only ruthless pragmatists Michonne, Rick, and Carl, so they not only drive past him without a second thought but actively struggle to leave him behind when they get temporarily stuck. Then he gets torn apart by walkers off-screen, so on their return trip they just casually grab his pack of supplies and drive off, not even caring this is all their fault.
    • Clara from the Season 4 premiere; even Rick feels sorry for her despite her attempt to kill him.
    • Sasha, who loses both her boyfriend Bob and brother Tyreese only a few weeks apart, causing her to undergo severe Sanity Slippage. Once she is able to recuperate and forms a relationship with Abraham, he is killed by Negan just a few days into their relationship. And then she poisons herself, reanimates, and tries to take out Negan (which fails and leads to her death).
    • Tyreese in "What Happened And What's Going On". It's very hard to watch someone who did their best to keep the group's humanity in check die a slow, sad death throughout the episode. On top of the fact that his group recently lost Beth they lose him too.
    • Maggie just cannot catch a break: first, she watches half of her family die before Rick's group arrives. After that, she witnesses, in sequence, her father die at the hands of The Governor a couple seasons later, finds out about her sister's death a season after that, and finally, after everything seems to be going well for her with her expecting a child with Glenn, she watches him die at Negan's hands at the beginning of Season 7 — while the group is on a mission to get her to an obstetrician because of complications with the pregnancy. How she still holds up at all is damned impressive, especially since she was the first of the group to get up after the Saviors left and immediately declared war on them. At the end of the season, she also loses Sasha, who is one of her closest friends, and is forced to put her down. At the end of the war, Rick chooses to honor the late Carl's wishes and spare Negan, leaving Maggie devastated.
    • As of "Some Guy", Ezekiel can be added to the list. He goes from reveling in his group's multiple victories to losing almost his entire fighting force in about 5 seconds. The majority of his group is gunned down trying to save him by snipers, and when he comes to, they all start to reanimate and he's forced to put some of his former soldiers down to get away since his leg is so damaged that he can barely walk even with his cane. When he finally runs into a survivor, that man is gunned down within a minute by a hidden Savior who then captures him and taunts him for his failures and tells him that he's full of shit and nothing without Shiva. Things start to look up when he's saved by Jerry and Carol and eventually by Shiva... who promptly gets eaten before their eyes while Ezekiel screams helplessly, unable to help her. The icing on the cake is when he finally returns to the Kingdom with an injured leg looking like shit, missing the bulk of his army, and has to face the widows and children of all the people he lost. Ezekiel is so broken he can't even bear to face them. All in just one episode. And then in Season 9 his son Henry dies and shortly after that he has to abandon his home and he and Carol separate. It's gotten so bad for him that he fears that Daryl will steal Carol away from him, contemplates suicide by jumping off a ledge and when he kisses Michonne after being talked out of it she gently rebuffs him due to her still grieving Rick (which he calmly accepts but still...).
    • Gabriel. Two seasons after becoming a fully qualified badass he tries to save Gregory after the AHK fighters' first attack on the Sanctuary, only for Gregory to take his car and leave him behind with a huge herd of walkers. Desperate to stay alive, he takes shelter in a trailer, only to be stuck with Negan. After they escape, he ends up becoming ill due to covering himself in walker guts to evade the walkers and captured by the Saviors, before he decides with Eugene to escape the Sanctuary and escort Dr. Carson to Hilltop. It's then discovered that he's slowly losing his sight from said illness. Just when he and the doctor manage to find a working car, they end up being spotted and recaptured by a group of Saviors. When Carson tries to escape, he is shot right in front of Gabriel, leaving him devastated. He's then driven to work at Eugene's outpost and Eugene shows him no sympathy, despite that fact that Gabriel's clearly broken and traumatized. He eventually gets better after the end of the Savior war but the he loses both Jadis (who he clearly loved) and Rick (who he greatly admired).
    • Aaron, despite being one of the most badass fighters of the Alexandrian outpost and in Rick's group, has it rough. From being punched, knocked out and tied up by Rick to having a mother who was abusive to him because he was gay, to being wounded by the Scavengers, suffering a severe beating from the Saviors, being dragged by walkers in a lake and nearly being killed, being ambushed by the late Oceanside leader Natania when he was trying to recruit them to fight the Saviors and losing many friends and allies (most notably Abraham, Glenn and his beloved boyfriend Eric). And then even after the war ends he loses his arm after it was crushed by a log and just when he strikes a friendship with Jesus, he loses him to the Whisperers right in front of his eyes. To top it off, Negan has the audacity to blame him for the death of Eric despite it being caused by his group.
    • Morgan. At the start of the apocalypse, his wife comes back as a walker and he is unable to put her down, which eventually leads to the death of his son Duane at her hands. From this point on, Morgan is never quite the same again: he undergoes a massive Sanity Slippage, turns King County into a dangerous, trap-laden fortress and kills/robs anyone who crosses his path, convinced that he must "clear". He is unable to bring himself to commit suicide, even begging Rick to do it once they reunite. He is temporarily able to find peace thanks to a man named Eastman, only to inadvertently cause Eastman's death. He then goes on a quest to find Rick and succeeds, but the threat of the Wolves and especially the Saviors (after they kill his protege/son figure Benjamin) forces him to go crazy again. He eventually leaves the group again and ends up in Texas.
    • Siddiq due to the guilt he has from Carl dying after he helped him and took him to Alexandria. If that wasn't enough, he gets heckled by a doctor at Hilltop and its implied that Rick has a bit of a grudge on him for Carl dying even though it wasn't his fault. And then he gets captured and beaten by the Whisperers only to witness 10 other people (including his protege Enid) die trying to fight back leaving him the only survivor who is now constantly struggling with PTSD from the experience. And when he finally finds someone who can relate to him about suffering from PTSD he's murdered by him after finding out that he was a Whisperer planted in Alexandria.
    • Enid has watched her family being torn apart by walkers, is clearly heartbroken by Glenn's death and, after getting in a relationship with Carl, is left utterly devastated by the news of his death. Additionally, the two adults who care about her most in the wake of Glenn's death, Sasha and Maggie, die and leave her behind when they depart the community, respectively. And then she gets killed by the Whisperers just as she starts forming a relationship with Alden. The poor kid can't catch a break.
  • Woobie Species: The walkers. The show really likes to show us that they were all once normal human beings before becoming tragic monsters with the primal urge to kill everything. All they can do now is eat and wander the Earth without their humanity or a purpose in life due to their souls being lost forever.


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