Ranking The 17 Best Deaths On ‘The Walking Dead’ (So Far)

With The Walking Dead all set to kick off season 5 this weekend, it’s a good time to take a moment and reflect on the truly important things. You know, like who died like a boss and who went out like a common chump.

Of course, since there have been roughly 9,648,176 deaths during the show’s bloody rampage through our TV lovin’ lives, it’s important to narrow it down and focus only on those deaths that really mattered or else this wouldn’t be ready to be published until sometime in January. We’re talking major characters only. Even then, that’s a lot of deaths, and so if one or two get missed, don’t blame me, blame it on the sadists who run the damn show. Anyway, let’s get on with it.

17. Ed

You remember Ed, right? Carol’s abusive redneck asshole husband who may also have been trying to put the blast on his own little daughter? Yeah, that dude. He sucked, and so it is fitting that he had the lamest death on the show – mauled to death by a zombie while he slept in a tent after getting the shit beaten out of him by Shane. Embarrassing.

16. Amy

Amy was probably the first high impact death, in that she was positioned as a major character and then was almost immediately killed off. It was shocking and set the tone for things to come, but just standing around in helpless terror until some undead dude decides to snack on you is no way to go. It was an important death for the show, but on the Awesome Death Matrix I developed (the formula is super-secret, bros, so don’t even ask) it was decidedly an un-awesome death.

15. Jacqui/Dr. Jenner

I’m just lumping these two in together because they both went out exactly the same way – blown up in a CDC bunker instead of trying to survive. It was another big event in the show’s history, but given the fight everyone else shown, it was kind of shameful, right? Sure, that’s probably what I would have done too, but TV characters should be held to different standards. After all, who else can our children turn to for important life lessons? And Jacqui and Dr. Jenner taking the easy way out is no lesson I want my nonexistent children to learn. No, sir.

14. Sophia

Poor Sophia. This one is tough, because we know a zombie got her, but we didn’t actually see it, so we sort of have to fill in the gaps ourselves. But given that she turned and wasn’t just a dismembered head, we can assume that she was probably just nibbled on while on the run, which isn’t exactly the bossest way to die. I guess we could move her up the rankings if we include Rick putting a bullet in her brain after she turned, but that opens up a whole can of worms about what life and death really mean when it comes to zombies, and let’s just not get into that. Save that shit for the Republican primaries.

13. Randall

Randall was the young dude who the gang picked up back in town and then brought back to Hershel’s barn to torture. Good times! Poor Randall met his end when Shane took him out in the woods and killed him, which sucks for him, but hey, at least he didn’t get chewed up by a zombie. Of course, getting chained up in a barn and then murdered in the woods isn’t exactly a noble death either, but at least he got to go for a nice walk in the woods, I guess.

12. Otis

Otis’ death was pretty horrible – shot in the leg by Shane (goddamn, Shane was an asshole) and left to be mauled by a swarm of zombies. But it was a noble death, and if he didn’t get sacrificed then Carl would have never gotten the meds he needed after, uh, well, after Otis accidentally shot him. What a show.

11. The Governor

The Governor probably thought he would go out one day like a G, but in the end, he just fucked everything up for everyone else, got skewered by Michonne (which I’ll admit was pretty cool) and was then left to die. Only he didn’t because he’s an asshole, and so he was left laying like a helpless loser and was shot in the head by some single mom he had been boinking. Yup, just like a G.

10. Dale

Dale’s death was grizzly as hell. He was caught in a field by a zombie who slowly eviscerated him and then Darryl shot him in the head so he didn’t have to turn. It wasn’t exactly the heroic, noble death that other characters got, but at least he got to die with all his friends around him. Sure, one of them ended up shooting him in the head, but still.

9. Lizzie/Mika

It’s hard to know what to do with these two. After all, their deaths were probably the most unsettling in the show’s history (and that’s saying something) but they weren’t exactly badass guns out, blaze of glory death either, you know? Then again, since they were little girls, that would have been weird as hell. Still, given that your life expectancy with all those zombies around is roughly that of a mayfly, getting a shiv from your sister or getting shot in the head by your mother figure while you stare at the flowers isn’t a bad way to go. I can’t believe I just wrote that. Good Lord.

8. Shane

At least Shane died doing what he loved most – trying to kill Rick in a paranoid frenzy. Of course, getting stabbed by his best friend and then getting shot in the head by his tween son, Carl, after Shane turned into a zombie isn’t exactly the way he probably pictured it going down, but who among us hasn’t taken a wrong turn or two while chasing some ass? Godspeed, you lunatic. Godspeed.

7. Lori

Lori’s death was pretty shitty – giving birth on a prison floor and then getting shot in the head by her own son, but her death allowed life to come into the world in the form of her baby daughter, so… call it even? I mean, let’s be honest, dying in childbirth is roughly one billion times better than getting eaten by some freak who looks like a junkie with no legs, right? In any event, notch another one up for Cool Hand Carl over here.

6. Milton

Milton was kind of a cowardly nerd, but at least he went out trying to be a boss. Of course, he failed in his attempts to kill the Governor, mostly because of the whole cowardly nerd thing, and then he was left to die slowly in a cell by the Gov so he could turn and eat a chained up Andrea, but what the hell, at least he took his shot. Besides, that all sounds like the synopsis of an early Iron Maiden video or something, so he’s got that going for him.

5. Hershel

Hershel’s death was gruesome, man. Nearly beheaded by the Governor outside the prison gates while all his friends and loved ones – including his daughters – watched in horror, Hershel deserved better. But goddammit, Hershel went out like a boss. He never begged, he barely even flinched. He just let himself get chopped down like Obi-Wan Kenobi. But amazingly, even that didn’t finish off old Hersh. No, he somehow managed to crawl away before getting finished off by that dickhead Governor. Sure, his head later turned into a zombie, but fuck it, we’ve all got issues.

4. Andrea

Let’s face it, Andrea kinda sucked. She was always on the wrong side and had shitty instincts. But whatever you want to say about Andrea, she is the only character who had the balls (metaphorically – I assume, anyway…) to turn the gun on herself after she got bitten rather than forcing someone else to do it for her or waiting to get blown up. That’s kind of amazing. Of course, it would have been nice if she could have saved that bullet for the Governor, but at least she went out on her own terms. Sort of anyway, but “sort of” is better than anyone else gets on this fucked up show.

3. Merle

Merle was a massive dickhead, but he went out in a blaze of glory. That can’t be denied. Knowing that it was probably the end, he lured a shitload of zombies in a trap designed to kill the Governor and his henchmen, only to finally get himself bitten. Sure, his brother had to end up putting a bullet in his brain after he turned, but if you’re gonna go on The Walking Dead, it’s hard to find a more rock n’ roll death than Merle’s.

2. T-Dog

T-Dog had one of the few genuinely heroic deaths on the show. After being caught in the prison yard and gnawed on by a zombie, T-Dog still tried to lead Carol back to safety, and then when he realized it was hopeless, he sacrificed himself, allowing zombies to literally tear him apart just so that she could have a chance to escape. Now that’s how you fucking die like a man.

1. Joe

Look, Joe wasn’t a major character (in case you forgot, he was the leader of that biker gang that briefly hooked up with Darryl) and his death sucked for him, but goddammit, if we’re talking Walking Dead deaths, then I have to include this one. That’s because it was the rawest Big Boss Move death of them all. Yup, this is the dude who got his throat literally chewed out by Rick after Joe and his goons planned on raping his son. (Again, what a show…) I repeat: Rick ripped a dude’s throat out with his teeth. This will be number one until the end of time. Or at least until Rick tears a dude’s heart out Temple of Doom style. I mean, they have to save something for the Season 5 finale, right?

Photo: YouTube/AMC