This Sunday night is of course the Season 4 finale of The Walking Dead, which we can be sure will be a shocking and heartbreaking one, as all of the show’s finales tend to be. It’s pretty much a guarantee that at least one major character will not make it to Season 5, and considering how invested we’ve all become with pretty much everyone throughout the course of this character-heavy season, I think it’s pretty safe to say that devastating will be a word we’ll be using to describe the episode, come Monday morning.
As fans of The Walking Dead, devastation and heartbreak are things we’re unfortunately all too familiar with. As we wait to find out what the hell is really going on with Terminus, we thought it fitting that today we pay tribute to some of those who have fallen throughout the seasons, by shining the spotlight on the most downright devastating character deaths that we’ve had to endure over the years.
So get your tissues handy and come along with us, as we relive some of those utterly heartbreaking moments.
SEASON 1 - AMY
Though death was of course a major element of The Walking Dead from the very beginning, it wasn’t until the fourth episode of the first season that we were dealt the show’s first major character death, when Amy (played by Frozen’s Emma Bell) suffered a couple fatal zombie bites. Introduced in the first episode of the season, Amy was the younger sister of Andrea, and though she died of blood loss at the end of Episode 4, it was in Episode 5 that things got really heartbreaking, when Andrea was forced to put down her zombified sister. Our first taste of true loss on the show, which quickly let us know the devastation we were in store for in the future.
SEASON 2 - SOPHIA
The first half of Season 2 was all about the search for Carol Peletier’s daughter Sophia, who disappeared in the very first episode of the season. At the end of the mid-season finale, Sophia was finally discovered, and the tears of horror fans the world over could be heard hitting the floor when she emerged from Hershel’s barn, as a zombie. Of course, this being The Walking Dead and all, we often have to endure the deaths of characters not once but twice, and the show doesn’t get much more devastating than the moment Rick Grimes was forced to raise his gun and shoot Sophia dead, right in front of Carol. A moment that was hard to watch, to say the least.
SEASON 2 - DALE
If there’s any character on the show that was universally beloved by everyone, including characters and viewers, it was Dale Hovarth, who was the oldest member of the original group of survivors. Dale was a genuinely good person through and through, and that’s why it was so emotional to watch him take his final breaths, in the 11th episode of Season 2. After being ripped apart by a walker – the same walker that Carl had previously neglected to kill – Dale’s guts were spilling out and he was quite obviously injured beyond repair, forcing Daryl to put an end to his pain. Dale was a character that was simply too good to live in the world that the world had become, and though we knew his demise was inevitable, it didn’t make it any less devastating.
SEASON 2 - SHANE
Not long after Dale was buried, we were forced to endure yet another major character death in the following episode of Season 2, with Shane Walsh finally getting what had long been coming to him. Shane’s death was no doubt a conflicting one, given the fact that he had become a bit of a monster, but I personally always felt that Shane was deep down a good person, who had lost his way in the wake of the apocalypse. At the end of the second season’s 12th episode, Shane tried to kill Rick, an attempt that ultimately resulted in Rick stabbing his former best friend in the heart, and ending his life. A sad moment no matter what you thought of the person Shane had become, made all the sadder when Shane returned to life as a walker, and was shot dead by Carl.
SEASON 3 - LORI
Season 3’s fourth episode started off on a downer of a note, with the death of T-Dog, and then quickly became even more devastating, when Lori Grimes went into labor, on the floor of the prison’s boiler room. Knowing that she wouldn’t survive a natural childbirth, Lori insisted that Maggie perform a crude C-section on her, sacrificing her own life to save the life of her baby. Lori indeed did die during the process, and in a moment that showed he was not a little kid anymore, Carl took it upon himself to shoot his own mother in the head, before she turned into a flesh-hungry monster. “Don’t let the world spoil you,” Lori told her son, in her heartbreaking final moments.
SEASON 3 - MERLE
From the very beginning, Daryl’s brother Merle Dixon was a total asshole, the kind of guy you were oftentimes wishing death upon. Though an evil son of a bitch both before and after the world went to shit, Merle redeemed himself in Season 3’s 15th episode, launching a guns-blazing assault on the Governor and his men. Unfortunately, the Governor eventually caught Merle, beat him up, bit off his fingers and shot him in the heart. Though the kill occurred off-screen, we saw at the end of the episode that Merle had turned into a zombie, and it was Daryl who was forced to destroy his undead brain. Whether you forgave Merle in his final moments or not, it was certainly a sad moment, if only because of how sad it was for his much more likeable brother.
SEASON 4 - HERSHEL
Season 4’s mid-season finale was no doubt one of the most devastating hours in the history of television, and it was primarily the death of Hershel Greene that made it such an emotional episode. After being captured by the Governor, Hershel was murdered right in front of the prison gates, after Rick failed to convince the Governor that they could all live together, in peace. “Liar,” the Governor responded, before slicing a chunk out of Hershel’s neck with Michonne’s katana. As if that wasn’t brutal enough, the Governor soon finished the job by cutting Hershel’s head clean off. A character that will forever be missed on the show, that’s for sure.
SEASON 4 - MIKA & LIZZIE
The recently aired 14th episode of Season 4 was another one of the most downright depressing hours I’ve ever experienced, which saw the death of not one but two main characters – both of whom were children. In one of the show’s more shocking moments, 11-year-old Lizzie Samuels murdered her younger sister Mika, intent on showing Carol and Tyreese that zombies aren’t so bad. Her plan was for Mika to return to life as a zombie, mistakenly thinking that her sister wouldn’t have interest in feasting on their flesh, but rather would just want to play. After being forced to stab Mika in the brain, Carol then made the tough choice of killing Lizzie, deeming her unfit to be around others. “Look at the flowers,” she told the little girl who had become a surrogate Sophia to her, before firing a bullet into her head. Yea. They went there. And it was a one-two punch of total depression.
If anyone wants to make any predictions as to which characters won’t survive this weekend’s season finale of The Walking Dead, feel free, because we’d love to hear your thoughts on what we’re in store for!