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Take a good look back at the last five years, and you start to realize the massive amount of characters that have said goodbye on The Walking Dead – or at least gargled it out while choking on their own blood. And while most of them were D-side characters without much to offer the story, that still leaves a ton of main characters that have been killed off. (There are obviously spoilers all over the place here.)
So before Season 6 gets here and brings the Wolves out to start knocking off characters left and right, we thought we’d take a look back at the fallen and reflect on how much we miss them. Now, we’re not only talking about “miss” in the most emotional sense, but also to signify that we think the show might be better if some of these characters were still around, regardless of how little sense it would make for the narrative. Put on your best black suit and join us in the procession.
10. AndreaI’m not sure if we’re all on the same page here, but I’m certain that a good chunk of Walking Dead fans also abhorred the walking joy-killer that was Andrea. Regardless of the fact that she was basically nothing like her comic counterpart, she was a character destined only for bad news and bad decision-making. Oddly enough, seeing her misery on a weekly basis is what I missed most about the character after her death (which she totally deserved for falling for The Governor.) We kind of need someone to root against on this show, even if they’re sometimes part of the good guys.
R.I.P. Andrea, if you must.
9. T-DogThe Walking Dead is not a series that relies much on comic relief, but that’s largely the role that T-Dog served, even though he could be taken seriously as well. T-Dogg’s sheer lasting power throughout three seasons of the show not only defied the “black guy has to die first” mentality in horror, but it was sordidly fun to see just how long he was able to survive, since his character wasn’t inherently the most significant to the plot. You can also never get enough buff dudes in a survival situation, either, and I’m betting he could have done some major damage once the group got out of the prison.
R.I.P. T-Dog. We’ll pour out a 40 oz. for you if we can find any.
8. LoriThere were times when I absolutely hated Lori during her time on The Walking Dead, but I’ve come to realize that part of that was actually built into a dislike for Rick at the time. The whole Rick-Lori-Shane dynamic was one of the show’s strongest, and although Lori’s death has probably done far more positive for the show’s structure and narrative than negative, I can’t help but feel like her presence is still needed at times. Especially where Baby Judith is concerned. After spending so much time with Carol and Michonne, I’ve come to miss Lori’s sleeve-worn emotional responses.
Rest in Phone, Lori.
7. MerleOf all the actors that have passed through the Walking Dead annals, few have had the automatically obvious charisma of Michael Rooker, and the show has somewhat suffered without Merle Dixon providing constant shitheadedness. Sure, he was a racist prick who only cared about himself and his brother Daryl, but he was also one of the only wild cards that the series has ever utilized properly. You never knew what Merle was going to do until he did it. He tried to kill nearly everyone, even Daryl and The Governor. I miss that kind of unpredictable madness.
R.I.P. Walker Merle.
6. DaleNobody knew how to look at something with wide-eyed dismay and incredulity than Dale, and there have been a ton of unimaginable incidents in the show following his death that his peepers needed to pierce. As one of The Walking Dead’s moral compass points, Dale certainly seemed doomed from the start, but there hasn’t been an arc yet when the group couldn’t have used his largely unflustered guidance, especially once they reached Alexandria. He could have been a great mayor. But instead, his gut-flopping death came because Carl failed to properly take care of a walker, another reason to despise that little bastard.
R.I.P. Dale. You’re probably the most peaceful of everyone.
5. TyreeseAnother character that wasn’t quite as strong as the comic version, Tyreese remains one of the most emotional survivors of the zombie apocalypse, and he fit into many archetypical molds. He got to play the brotherly role to Sasha, the boyfriend role to the also-deceased Karen, and a fatherly caretaker role to Baby Judith, Lizzie and Mika. (We’re not going to talk about how disastrous things got with the latter two.) His death was particularly moving as well, as his hallucinations allowing dead characters to come back, and we were almost left to think he could survive his wounds.
R.I.P. Tyreese. We’ll try to make sure Sasha doesn’t stay crazy.
4. HershelSo many characters in The Walking Dead could be referred to as “Poor So-and-So,” but Hershel really got the shit end of the stick in so many ways. Sure, he had a big safe farm, but he was also mentally unfit to deal with it after the death of his wife and step-son. Thankfully, his will to survive grew along with his beard, and not even a leg amputation could stop him from serving as a sub-leader under Rick. Sadly, Hershel’s level-headedness played into his death – or beheadedness – and our final image of him is of a reanimated cranium. No one needed that, least of all his daughters.
R.I.P. Hershel. At least you weren’t around when Beth died.
3. ShaneAnother example of a partially detestable character whose continued existence in the world of The Walking Dead would have strengthened its core plotlines. Along with Lori and Carl, Shane is the only person who truly knew who Rick was, and both their friendly and authoritative relationships were disrupted when the apocalypse hit and Rick was presumed dead. While I appreciate that the show never dipped into soapy territories, an extension of the “Who’s Judith’s father?” storyline could have helped Season 3 out, and it would have been nice to see their power balance taken to extremes.
R.I.P. Shane with hair, before he went nuts.
2. BethThough Beth’s personality technically wasn’t as strong as some of the people ahead of her on this list, she was certainly one of the more developed characters, having been around since the beginning of Season 2. As time went by, she broke from her quiet and shy shell and captured some independence, forming a relationship with Daryl along the way that many fans wanted to grow into something more romantic. Her death was a major shock, weighed down by the fact that it really didn’t have to happen, which makes it seem all the more tragic in the end.
R.I.P. Beth, but definitely not that bitch Dawn.
1. The GovernorYeah, I know. I shouldn’t miss a mass murderer more than anyone else on The Walking Dead. But I can’t help it! David Morrissey’s Governor (formerly Philip Blake) was one of the most fully developed characters on this show, and by far the most interesting bad guy. A monster whose virtues sometimes got to shine through the ferocity, The Governor was complex enough to draw both sympathy and hate at all times, as well as fear for every character he came into contact with. Almost more so than the walkers themselves, The Governor was the biggest danger to ever enter The Walking Dead, and the series has yet to introduce any other villain that can even stand in his shadow.
R.I.P. Philip. You used to be kind of a cool guy.
Honorable Mentions: Milton, because bad guys are sometimes good guys; Jacqui, because this show didn’t need to lose its first strong black female character so early; Bob, because no one should have to go out like that.