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Because exactly none of us have ever gone through a post-apocalyptic scenario in which the world has been overrun by zombies, casting judgment on characters from The Walking Dead for the things they've done isn't exactly fair. But it's admittedly fun, and this show isn't exactly set up for everyone to have pitch perfect reactions to threats and plans for survival.
As we wait for Season 7 to arrive, here are the 7 worst decisions made by Walking Dead characters over the years. Readers will no doubt reach the end and tack on another 3-5 instances that could/should have made the list, and I've thought about almost all of them. In the end, these rose up to become the mentally stunted cream of the crop.
Lori Hooking Up With Shane
I am in no way trying to shame a grieving woman for seeking comfort in the arms of another survivor, because emotions be tricky. But I am disapprovingly shaking my head at Lori seeking comfort in the arms of the otherwise off-limits family friend who left her not-dead husband alone in a zombie-run hospital. Both that and Lori's decision to sleep with him are understandable in general, but the specific context combined with hindsight makes it very clear anyone else or no one at all would have been a better choice for a post-Rick relationship. And let's not forget that apparently no attempt was made to avoid conceiving a child together when they did the deed.
Sophia Running Away
An arguable blight of The Walking Dead's sophomore season was the plot-halting search for Carol's daughter Sophia, who went missing and inevitably ended up in Hershel's Barn O' Walkers. While the eventual payoff was a solid reveal that was important for others' character development, it all started with Sophia running off after Rick told her to stay in one spot. Yes, she was running from walkers, but everybody was running from walkers at this point. Did anybody else run so far away that they didn't soon meet back up with everyone else? Just because she was a child doesn't mean her instinct should have automatically been to dash off and get impressively lost. It wasn't her first day in a zombie-filled world.
Carl Not Killing That One Walker
Carl's inability to do anything right in the early years of The Walking Dead the phrase "Stay in the house, Carl" into temporary ubiquity, and his immature decision-making was showcased best/worst when he bullied a trapped walker but moronically stopped short of actually killing it. As viewers well know, this same zombie was an instrument of The Walking Dead's twisted karma when it was later the cause of Dale's death. And by "death," I mean the complete and unabridged disemboweling. It was stupid enough to let the walker live, something proven at other points in this universe as well, but knowing it's the same one that chowed down on Dale makes it all the more inexcusable.
Andrea Choosing The Governor
In the comic books, Andrea is an exemplary character known for leadership skills, marksmanship and intelligence. On the TV show, Andrea turned her back on the life-saving Michonne and that kinship to fall for a sadistic murderer with aims to kill off Rick & Co. Which, of course, inevitably bites her on the ass (or the neck, really) when she gets her sense back and double crosses The Governor, leading to her eventual death. One she might have avoided, I might add, if she hadn't made the additional choice of taking extended pauses while trying to escape Walker Milton's advances. "Any port in a storm" is not a sound proverb in Woodbury.
Everyone Assuming Terminus Was All Good
All post-apocalyptic journeys become lessons, and all post-apocalyptic lessons are hard ones. Rick & Co.'s reunion at Terminus could have ended up going far worse, all things considered, but hot damn, was that a rancid batch of Kool-Aid for everyone to be sipping on. There was once a time when believing the Terminus signs wouldn't have led to Bob-sized regrets, but those days were long behind Mary and Gareth and their cannibal clan. So not only did buying into this safe haven cost everyone miles of walking in a bum direction, it also gave everyone an extended dose of false hope, which can be far more debilitating than watching a friend get eaten.
Beth Stabbing Officer Dawn
After being held hostage - or as a patient, given the setting - by Officer Dawn, Beth understandably had a grudge against Grady Memorial's half-corrupt leader. After all, she was a maturing woman who'd developed a solid friendship with Daryl that bordered on something more, so she was missing out on a lot. Beth was fueled more by vengeance than relief upon her rescue, though, making the incredibly dim choice to bid Dawn farewell by stabbing her with scissors, despite the fact that Dawn was a cop always very much in possession of a firearm. Boom goes Beth's head. Boom goes Dawn's head. And even though the other Grady Memorial people are free from Dawn's reign, viewers were only left to mourn Beth and her dumb, mildly courageous act.
Rick Underestimating Negan
After everything that Rick and his fellow survivors had seen and gone through - including getting toothy with those grody-as-fuck Claimers - I can't willingly condemn him for not connecting all the ominous dots concerning Negan and his Saviors. But it would have only taken a bit of simple math to realize killing Saviors left and right was
The Walking Dead will kick off another round of questionable choices when Season 7 bashes someone's head in on Sunday, October 23, at 9:00 p.m. ET. To see when you can decide to watch other newly debuting TV shows, check out our fall premiere schedule.