Look, we know not to get too attached to The Walking Dead characters. Just like Game of Thrones, the showrunners are known to kill off main characters without so much as a hint of remorse.
Please note, this article contains spoilers for episode 15 of season 9 specifically, as well as older episodes. Once you scrolled past this gem of a lip sync song, Carl Poppa, you’re on your own. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
With a show raking up more than 30 significant deaths over the years, we’ve had practice dealing with this type of grief. Still, it never gets easier.
From Negan killing Glenn so brutally to Hershel dying at the hands of the Governor, from Lori dying after giving birth to Judith to Carl taking a walker bite.
We’ve lived through it all and solemnly swore to ourselves to stop watching if anything happens to Daryl, Carol, Rick and Michonne. Then something did happen to Rick, and well, we’re still here.
One could argue that there have been worse deaths in the past – it’s true – but there’s just something about Season nine’s episode 15 that was different. Colder. Could it be the heads on pikes? I don’t know.
Let’s take a look at the ten characters who didn’t live to see another day. While most of these people are ‘red shirts,’ the death of the three main characters still hurt like a mother flerken.
Let’s work it down from the red shirts, but first a quick recap of what went down. Short video included at the end, watch at your own peril.
Episode 15 recap: ‘The Calm Before’
After years of strife between the four communities ever since Rick disappeared – Alexandria, Hill Top, The Kingdom and Oceanside – everybody reunites at the market fair.
It’s a huge moment. Some of the characters haven’t seen each other in six years or so, and the reunion was beautiful. Also keep in mind the recent threat of the Whisperers and their leader, Alpha, everybody was due for a breather.
Bless your naive heart if you think the showrunners would actually give us that. Oh no. Long story short, Henry rescued Lydia from the Whisperer. Alpha, her mother, is out to get her daughter back.
She infiltrates the Kingdom, disguised as an Alexandria resident – yes, she really did use that woman’s scalp as a wig. While everybody is enjoying the fair, the leaders of the four communities decide to send reinforcements Hill Top, in case the Whisperers attack.
The party – consisting of Carol, Michonne, Darryl and a few others – are captured by Alpha and her pack. She shows Daryl a horde of walkers, her ‘army’, and informs him that they can keep her daughter, as long as they stick to their territory.
Should they cross over into Whisperers territory, the horde of walkers will lay waste to their communities. As a favour to them, she clearly marked out the boundary of their territories. By putting the heads of these lovely people on pikes.
The Highwaymen’s Ozzy and Alek
These noble men found the group right after Alpha kidnapped them and stormed in guns blazing and swords raised. Even though they all still died in the end, Ozzy and Alek gave the group a chance to retaliate, to fight with dignity to the end.
Hat tip to you, gentlemen.
Speaking of somewhat villainous characters who also showed signs of positive-minded virtue, Matt Mangum’s Alexandrian D.J. also got his head lopped off by the Whisperers.
Introduced in season eight as one of Negan’s higher-ranking Saviors, D.J. later fell under Jed’s leadership after Negan was captured. Once Jed was killed by Carol, D.J. opted to become loyal to Alexandria, where he served as a gate guard.
We haven’t really seen much of Frankie since season eight. She was one of Negan’s many wives who befriended Eugene, and despite the sparse screentime, there wasn’t really a reason to dislike her.
She adapted well in Alexandria after The Great Fall of Negan even adopted a child, which was one of the kids that Jocelyn had kidnapped during the events seen in “Scars.” Sadly, that little girl will once again be without a mother.
Tammy Rose is the only character in the show whose pike death was taken from the comics. Fair to say the actress knew from the start what was in store, which is more than some of the other crew members to can claim.
Rodney and Addy
These kids didn’t enjoy much screen time before this. They’re from the same group who peer pressured Henry into drinking that one time. We may not have known them all that well, but nobody wanted to see their heads on pikes, I’m sure.
It gets worse from here — tissues at the ready, folks.
Enid has been around for years, and she clearly has ties to people in all the communities, though she made Hilltop her home. We watched her turn from a rebellious teenager into a young woman.
Apart from being the community’s doctor, she and Alden had just decided to make their relationship official. Thank, TWD, for ruining love for us too.
This one was a shocker. Even if you didn’t like the kid, just seeing the effect it has on Carol when she sees his head on a pike can do you in. She was, after all, his mother for the past six or seven years.
Remember that Carol also lost a daughter way back in season two. Back when her first husband still abused her, before she turned into the Carol we know and love. The Carol who would trick you by baking cookies and acting all homely but kill you in your sleep.
Suffice to say, Alpha picked a fight with the wrong woman.
Personally, the hardest of the deaths for me. I loved Tara, dammit. She came a long way from fighting on the wrong side with The Governor. Ah, the Governor. Remember the sweet days of yore when we thought he was the worst threat they could ever face?
After Maggie disappeared, Tara proved a worthy leader of Hilltop.
Watch: In Memoriam
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