From losing popular characters to watching bloodthirsty walkers barbarically rip through human flesh, it’s safe to say The Walking Dead really does have a way of playing with our emotions and making our stomachs churn! So, to celebrate all the gory, unsettling and downright epic moments from the show, we’ve gathered the best scenes it’s brought us so far.
We take it all the way back to when Rick first opened his eyes to the current events of the show where beloved characters no longer live and new people are fighting to survive the apocalypse. Put your reading glasses on, prepare for a selection of super-cool (and graphic) clips and dive into our list of The Walking Dead’s best scenes…
1. Rick Wakes Up
Season 1, Pilot
No one can ever forget the opening of The Walking Dead, or rather, one of the best episodes of the entire show – Rick opens his eyes from a drawn-out coma only to find himself in the middle of an abandoned hospital, during a full-blown apocalypse. There wasn’t a better and more memorable way to open the show. Killing off the young zombie girl also made for compelling viewing. Like WTF was happening? We were hooked from the get-go.
2. Rick and Glenn’s Escape
Season 1, Guts
Talk about intense! It’s true when they say the earliest seasons of this show had the greatest moments. Glenn and Rick’s first ever meeting might have got off to a bloody start but their chemistry from back then was as clear as day. The duo, although strangers at the time must unite and stroll through a swarm of walkers. Covered in blood and guts themselves, Glenn and Rick had our eyes glued to the screen as they disguised themselves among the dead.
3. The First Attack
Season 1, Vatos
The very first attack on Rick’s gang was one to remember although a few beloved characters were turned into walker meat. Long before the days of the Governor or Negan, the one and only enemy were the menacing walkers. Their first attack on the camp sees the deaths of Ed Peletier (Carol’s abusive husband) and sadly, Amy (Andrea’s sister). Seeing Andrea cradling her dying sister was the first of many heartbreaks to come…
4. Goodbye Sophia
Season 2, Pretty Much Dead Already
The Walking Dead didn’t have us prepared for this sensitive viewing. The reveal of little Sophia’s horrible fate really hit the heart. After searching for her daughter for so long, Carol and the gang soon realise that she was pretty much dead already. When a sea of walkers emerge from a farm building, Sophia appears with them, only not alive, but a zombie herself. Our favorite characters are distraught as are we, and Rick puts the little girl out of her misery by shooting her dead.
5. Dale Down
Season 2, Judge, Jury, Executioner
It sucked when the voice of reason and father figure was ripped from the show. In yet another emotional scene in The Walking Dead, daddy Dale is bitten by walkers and is eventually killed off by Daryl, shooting him directly in the head. This scene was even tougher to watch knowing that Dale was fully aware of what was happening. RIP dude.
6. Carl Shoots Shane
Season 2, Better Angels
We certainly didn’t see this one coming. Sure, Shane was beginning to lose his mind and all, but his death was unexpected. After beefing with Rick and saying some pretty darn mean things to him in the middle of a field, Shane attempts to shoot his friend before Rick dives a knife into his stomach. Before you know it, Shane turns into a walker and little Carl comes out of nowhere, saving the day. Grabbing hold of a gun, the young kid kills Shane point blank. Seeing the demise of an old friendship and the start of a little boy turned warrior made for one of TWD’s best scenes to date.
7. Lori’s Death
Season 3, Killer Within
It kind of sucks that most of The Walking Dead’s best moments are the deaths of its beloved characters – but these unfortunate events always make for good, and emotional TV. We certainly weren’t waiting for Lori’s death. I mean, you don’t kill off the hero’s wife, right? The Walking Dead sure does! After a painful and agonizing labor, Lori dies giving birth to her daughter, Judith. Poor little Carl has to do the deed by finally finishing his mother off before she turns into a zombie. Damn, that kid went through a lot.
8. Michonne vs. The Governor
Season 3, Made to Suffer
Michonne’s discovery of the Governor’s weird artifacts as well as his protected zombie daughter leads to a full-on battle between herself and the greatest monster of the show. The Governor loses an eye and a daughter during this very fight, turning him into an even greater villain for episodes to come. Watching the Governor cry over his dead walker daughter certainly brought on a few mixed emotions – we didn’t know whether to sympathize or not.
9. Daryl Looses Merle
Season 3, This Sorrowful Life
Merle entered the show a badass and left the show a badass. Dying on a suicide mission at the hands of the Governor, Daryl as well as the fans were saddened and shocked to see Merle go full zombie. In what was probably one of Norman Reedus’ most emotional performances on the show, Daryl breaks down but ends up stabbing his brother-turned-walker in the head – a few too many times.
10. Hershel’s Unexpected Death
Season 4, Too Far Gone
Fans reeled over the death of the Governor but mourned over the demise of the poor and wise Hershel. Just when we (kinda) got over Dale’s death, the show throws this moment at us like a ton of bricks. Hershel’s head is sliced off by none other than the brutal Governor in front of his dear friends and daughters. This truly broke viewers’ hearts. Hershel didn’t deserve to die.
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11. The Governor Goes Down
Season 4, Too Far Gone
If there’s anyone who had to kill the Governor (other than Rick), it was Michonne – and that she did pretty darn well. During his attack on the prison, the Governor finally gets his deserved fate by getting stabbed by Michonne and then shot by Lilly Chambler. Although we would have preferred a much slower death for the psychotic villain, it didn’t stop us from cheering at the TV screen! This was one of The Walking Dead’s best bits by far.
12. Carol Kills Lizzie
Season 4, The Grove
A gripping story-line in season 4 was certainly that of Lizzie’s and her obsession with walkers. When she kills her sister and almost does the same to baby Judith, Carol is left with no choice but to kill the young girl. “Just look at the flowers, Lizzie. Just look at the flowers”, Carol tells her before taking her life. A line and high point in the show that fans won’t ever forget.
13. Our Gang Against Terminus
Season 5, No Sanctuary
The Walking Dead sure knows how to open a season. The premiere of the fifth series was indeed an unforgettable moment. Rick, Daryl, Glenn, Bob, plus four randoms are bound, gagged, and kneeling over a trough, waiting to have their throats slit by the madmen/cannibals of Terminus. Right when we think our faves are about to have a dip in the blood bath, Carol sets off an explosion and all hell breaks loose in Terminus, triggering all-out battle between the two peoples.
14. Noah’s Death
Season 5, Spend
During one of their missions, the crew lose yet another short-lived member of their team – and poor Glenn has to watch it all go down. Walkers surround Glenn, Nicholas and Noah whilst stuck in a set of revolving doors. Zombies block both the entrance and exit and Eugene tries to distract the monsters with his van outside, but it’s all too late when they gruesomely pull Noah into the fray and devour him. Watching blood pour out of his body as the walkers gobble him up was disturbing indeed.
15. Rick vs. Pete Anderson
Season 5, Try
Oh we love it when Rick is mad – it always means a great battle is about to ensue. His violent fight with Pete was a gripping scene to watch – seeing the abusive Pete’s face being punched in was a guilty pleasure. Men fly out of the window, blood splatters and Rick gives a long-winded diatribe about the way society works before Michonne suddenly pops up and knocks Rick out mid-sentence to keep him from making the situation way worse.
16. Glenn and the Dumpster
Season 6, Thank You
This moment took us on a roller-coaster ride which ended with blood-splatter, a zombie-fest and a heartbreaking “death”. In their escape from a herd of walkers, Glenn and Nicholas climb onto a dumpster only to be completely surrounded with no way off. It all gets too much for Nicholas as he watches their hands reach up and their teeth gnash at him. Before you know it, he shoots himself, blood splatters in Glenn’s face, and Nicholas falls into the waves of walkers, knocking Glenn down into the masses as well. Seeing volcanoes of blood erupt in front of Glenn really had fans thinking he was a goner – until a few episodes later, of course…
17. Carl’s Eye is Shot
Season 6, No Way Out
Hearts raced as we watched Rick’s gang move stealthily through the crowd of walkers during an attack on Alexandria. Little Sam has a moment of panic, leading walkers to take a bite out of his head. Chaos ensues for the team, Jessie’s screams attract the herd of walkers and all of a sudden she too, is attacked by the horrifying zombies. Just when you think things can’t get more dramatic, Rick suddenly has a gun pointed at him by (douchebag) Ron but just as he presses the trigger, a sword slices through him from behind. Michonne thinks she’s stopped him in time until she realizes Carl’s been shot in the eye. That might have been one of the most exhilarating three minutes in Walking Dead history.
18. Denise’s Untimely Death
Season 6, Twice as Far
Just as Denise builds up the courage to slash and dash a few walkers, she’s wiped out of the show in a blink of an eye (pun intended). As she begins a long, drawn-out monologue, an arrow shoots through Denise’s eye, her speech slurs and she drops dead to the ground. I mean, the Saviors were to blame and all but, rule number one – never stand around preaching philosophy during a zombie apocalypse. Unlike Carl, Denise didn’t survive an arrow to the eye. This was yet another sad death on the show, and things got even tougher to watch as Tara mourned her girlfriend in episodes to come.
Fun fact? In the Walking Dead comics, it’s Abraham who gets shot in the eye! The show decided to give this plot to Denise, instead!
19. RIP Glenn and Abraham
Season 7, The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be
The season 6 finale certainly ended with a bang. Or shall we say bashing? And season 7 picked up exactly where it left off – at Negan’s evil game of Eeny, meeny, miny, moe. It was truly heartbreaking, sickening and simply too gruesome watching Lucille strike straight into Ab’s head, turning his brains into scrambled eggs. Things got even more graphic and heart-wrenching seeing Negan swing Lucille into Glenn’s head and sadistically bludgeoning his skull to pieces – killing not one, but two beloved characters on the show! It was as though The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones were challenging each other on how many characters they can kill off!
20. Rick Fights Winslow
Season 7, New Best Friends
We’ve seen Rick go head to head with hundreds of walkers before but nothing compares to the one he fought in this top episode. In one of his early meetings with Jadis at her junkyard, Rick gets pushed into a pit of trash and is confronted by a walker wearing a helmet and body armor that’s covered with spiky blades. We don’t know about you, but we had to watch this battle through our fingers, especially as Rick’s hands got sliced! It’s not everyday you get to see Rick combat a metal spiked zombie – the show brought something real different to the table!
21. Sasha Surprises Negan
Season 7, The First Day of the Rest of Your Life
It was tough, really tough seeing Sasha go. She was one of the show’s greatest warriors, after all. But her goodbye goes down in history as one of The Walking Dead’s best moments – it’s even become a hilarious meme! When Negan thinks she’s alive and well in a coffin, little does he know that she’s secretly taken a poison pill and died during their two-hour ride to Alexandria. In the words of Negan, “Holy God damn!”. He opens the coffin door, zombie Sasha leaps out and knocks Negan to the floor. If zombies could talk, I’m sure Sasha would have said “Surprise mother-fu**er”.
22. Negan and Gabriel Team Up
Season 8, The Big Scary U
Soon after we see Negan reveal his most hidden secrets and insecurities to Gabriel, the duo must put all differences aside to escape the enveloping walkers. Reminding us of Glenn and Rick’s scene in season one, the psychotic villain and priest cover their clothes in blood and guts to escape and walk among the zombies. An unusual pairing, a gripping scene and moment that many might have found bizarre, but watchable to say the least.
23. The End of Carl
Season 8, How It’s Gotta Be
It was truly an end of an era seeing Carl go. What is The Walking Dead without its youngest warrior, right? Who is Rick without his son? Carl’s death is certainly ranked as the most shocking and saddest moments on The Walking Dead. Beaten, bruised and finally, bitten by walkers, Carl makes his way to the sewers to join his Alexandria family before his untimely death. Watching the young man say goodbye to his sister, Judith and father, Rick was a tough moment for all. Most viewers had to hold back their tears as they bid farewell to one of the show’s most popular characters.
24. Rick vs Negan
Season 8, Wrath
Negan, with his sarcastic words and degrading comments is finally silenced during an epic battle with Rick. This phenomenal showdown was the most awaited moment since Negan stepped onto the scene, bludgeoning Glenn and Abraham to death. The extended sequence saw Rick and Negan go head to head, resulting in the villain’s neck being slashed, but unfortunately, surviving. The last time we felt such satisfaction watching the enemy lose to our fave characters has to be when the Governor died. Off to your prison cell, Negan…
25. Rick’s ‘Death’
Season 9, What Comes After
It surely wasn’t easy watching Rick come to his ‘untimely end’ halfway through season 9, but what a roller-coaster of an episode it was. What Comes After showed our main man losing his mind as he escaped herds of walkers and reminisced on lost loved ones (oh hey, Shane!). In a scene where we thought we were watching Mr Grimes’ draw his last breath, the mighty hero shoots a range of explosives on a bridge before it sets on fire, leaving his friends (and fans) to believe he’s gone.
26. Judith’s Appearance
Season 9, What Comes After
What Comes After threw in a bunch of twists, turns and titillating scenes that Walking Dead geeks will vow to remember. Just after thinking we’ve waved goodbye to Rick Grimes, the episode shocks fans with a flash-forward scene, six years later. A young girl wearing a rather familiar cowboy hat was brave enough to rescue Magna, Yumiko, Luke, Connie and Kelly from walkers, and just when we least expected it, the little lass was revealed as a much-older Judith Grimes. Go girl!
27. Heads on Spikes
Season 9, The Calm Before
Just when we thought things couldn’t get more dramatic on this show, the penultimate finale of season 9 throws another hurtful surprise at us. Our buddies, Daryl, Carol, Michonne and co come across a row of bordering pikes made by none other than grisly Alpha. Turns out, a bunch of heads were gruesomely mounted on those pikes, which unexpectedly included that of Tara’s, Enid’s and Henry’s. In the words of Daryl, “look away”. Damn, that was a disturbing scene to date.
28. Michonne’s Hallucination
Season 10, What We Become
As much as we hate reliving this terrible moment, this time round, it was bitter sweet. Why? Old faces appeared once more (oh hey Rick! How ya doin’ Sasha?) and just rewatching this very moment made us hella nostalgic. After being drugged by Virgil, Michonne hallucinates an alternate timeline where she is on Team Negan. This twisted reality sees Mich being the one to Lucille everyone, including herself. Imagine if this was the real deal. Damn, thank goodness it wasn’t.
29. Alpha Down
Season 10, Walk With Us
It’s been a long time coming since we’ve wanted to see the (headless) back of Alpha. And to our surprise, Negan, her lover, was the one to behead the villain. In Walk With Us, Negan finally killed Alpha in an almighty scene of betrayal. Seeing the big-bad Negan slit the throat of another big bad (and later watching Carol put her head on a spike) was satisfying indeed. Although we kinda would’ve preferred to see Carol do the deed.
30. The Hilltop Battle
Season 10, Morning Star
When Game of Thrones is done and dusted, you can always count on The Walking Dead to bring us some hardcore battle scenes. The action-filled face-off between the survivors and The Whisperers was suspenseful indeed, giving us Battle of the Bastards vibes. Can we shout out Daryl’s awesome mace swinging? And yes, just how badass was the oil shooting technique used by the Whisperers?! Great television!
31. The Birth of Negan
Season 10, Here’s Negan
It’s been a long time coming since we’ve wanted Negan’s backstory – and at long last, we got it in the series finale of season 10. Watching the bat-wielding villain (at least once-was villain) see his beloved wife turn into a walker was undeniably one of the most heart-wrenching moments of the show. Finally understanding his cruel motives, viewers were at last able to witness the birth of Negan, as well as his bat Lucille in this epic turnout of events. It’s also safe to say this fantastic moment wouldn’t have been as special without the powerful performance by Jeffrey Dean Morgan, too.
What was your favorite and best TWD moment? Have we missed any other awesome and badass scenes that had your eyes glued to the screen? Let us know in the comments below!
Throughout your many favorite moments on the show were several hidden references and nods! Check out the coolest Easter Eggs in The Walking Dead!
This post was originally published in March 2019.