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In Memoriam 2012: The Walking Dead 

The Walking Dead -In Memoriam
Photo Credit: AMC

For most television series, you may get one character death in a single season, if that. It just doesn’t happen that often in the majority of television shows, and most of the time, it’s because the actor or actress opted to move on to another project.  This is not true of The Walking Dead.  If any of you have read my previous articles on this show, you will know that I’m a relatively new follower of the series.  Being not a zombie fan at all, I was sent, kicking and screaming, to cover the show this past year at San Diego Comic-Con.  Now, I regularly review the show, and after watching the season 3 mid-season finale and thinking about this year alone, I was absolutely stunned at how many wonderful characters we lost on this show.  Each character was special in their own unique way, and so, I thought that each of them deserved a tribute.

1.      Sophia Peletier (Madison Lintz)

The Walking Dead - Sophia Peletier
Photo Credit:AMC

While technically we don’t know when Sophia actually was bitten and turned, her actually death occurred in early 2012, and so, I’m including her here.  Sophia was a relatively minor character, but regardless of her small role, I don’t think any The Walking Dead fan will forget the scene with Rick’s group breaking open Hershel’s (Scott Wilson) barn full of walkers, and Sophia walking out at the very end.  God, what a heart breaker!  I think most fans had expected that Sophia wasn’t going to be found alive, but I seriously doubt few guessed that Otis had found Sophia and put her in that barn.  That scene alone makes Sophia one of the most remembered characters of the series.

2.      Patricia  (Jane McNeill)

The Walking Dead - Patricia Greene
Photo Credit:AMC

This was a member of Hershel’s extended family and widow of poor Otis, who Shane (Jon Bernthal) threw under the bus to save his own ass.  Of everyone in Hershel’s family, I liked Patricia the least.  Perhaps it is because of the scene where she breaks the legs of the chickens so that they can be fed to the secret barn full of walkers on their farm.  As an animal lover, I wanted to slap her in the face for that.  But, at the same time, I had an enormous amount of sympathy for her when she got the news that Otis was dead.  To most, Otis wasn’t the greatest catch for a husband, but Patricia loved him dearly, and I truly felt her pain.

With the farm being overrun in the Season 2 finale “Beside the Dying Fire”, we knew that a few characters wouldn’t make it out alive, and Patricia was one of them.  Still clinging to her sister, Beth’s (Emily Kinney) hand, Patricia was taken down by a group of walkers and eaten alive.

3.      Jimmy (James Allen McCune)

The Walking Dead - Jimmy
Photo Credit:AMC

Did we ever learn Jimmy’s last name?  If so, I certainly don’t recall it.  Again, just like Sophia, Jimmy was a relatively minor character, and the only connection to the series was that he was Beth’s boyfriend.  However, in the Season 2 finale, he does die a hero and certainly deserves a mention.  Although he was stupid enough not to lock the door of the RV when he stopped to pick up Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Carl (Chandler Riggs) at the barn, the herd of walkers invade the RV and attack Jimmy, giving Rick and Carl enough time to get away.  Rick and Carl certainly owe their lives to Jimmy.

4.      Shane Walsh (Jon Bernthal)

The Walking Dead - Shane Walsh
Photo Credit:AMC

This character death was bittersweet, at least for me.  I’ll be honest – I hated the guy.  But, with flashbacks to the beginning of the zombie apocalypse, we can see that Shane began as a very good man.  He really did go back and try to save Rick’s life, and he truly cared about people.  But, somewhere along the way, the guy just lost it.  Perhaps Rick showing up alive after thinking he had Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) and Carl to himself sent him over the edge, but regardless, they guy went way too far and had to be stopped.  Rick killing Shane was the right thing to do, and I would have done it myself with no hesitation.  Some of Shane’s most memorable quotes:

  •  “You know what I want to say. What I want to say ‘Bitch, you mean to tell me you’ve been hearing this your entire life and you are still too damn stupid to learn how to turn off a switch?’” – in a conversation with Rick in the Pilot
  • “Well maybe we oughta just think that through. See, if I’m the kind of man that would gun down his own best friend, what’d you think I do to some guy I don’t even like when he starts throwing accusations my way. What’d you think?” – to Dale
  •  “Hey, Hershel, man, let me ask you something. Can a living breathing person, could they walk away from this?
    [shoots walker in its chest] 

5.      Dale Horvath (Jeffrey Demunn)

The Walking Dead - Dale Horvath
Photo Credit:AMC

Of all the characters in the series in 2012, this death is the one that crushed me the most.  Dale was my absolute favorite character.  I think a good deal of the younger viewers thought of the character as a meddling old man, but Dale had a good heart, had a strong moral compass, and saved several characters’ lives.  While Andrea (Laurie Holden) is all about surviving and living the high life now in season 3 in Woodbury, Dale talked her out of suicide at the CDC in season one.  He saved Andrea’s life again in season 2 by providing her with a screwdriver to kill a walker that was attacking her in the RV.  And, of course, he talked the group out of executing the outsider, Randall, even though Shane took it upon himself to kill the guy anyways.  If I could pick any character to be on my team in the zombie apocalypse, it would have been Dale.  Here are some of my favorite Dale quotes:

  •  “I like what, uh, a father said to son when he give him a watch that had been handed down through generations. He said “I give you the mausoleum of all hope and desire, which will fit your individual needs no better than it did mine or my father’s before me, I give it to you not that you may remember time, but that you may forget it for a moment now and then and not spend all of your breath trying to conquer it.”
  • “No, see you don’t get to do that.  Come into someone’s life, make them care, and then, just check out” – to Andrea
  • “Well, if I’d been informed of the coming apocalypse I’d have stocked up. “ –  to Andrea
  • “This world, what it is now, this is where you belong. And I may not have what it takes to last for long, but that’s okay. ‘Cause at least I can say when the world goes to shit, I didn’t let it take me down with it. “ – to Shane

6.      T-Dog (Iron E. Singleton)

The Walking Dead - T Dog
Photo Credit:AMC

Of all of the characters on the show, I think T-Dog had one of the smallest roles.  Most viewers questioned why in the world was he even there.  While he did kill a few walkers, the most action this character had was in season 2 when he was badly cut and nearly died from an infection.  But. in season 3, we find out what kind of man T-Dog truly was.  When the zombie apocalypse first happened, he was one of the few who drove around in the church van checking on senior citizens and picking them up. T-Dog was truly a great man, and he died in the same spirit.  In “Killer Within”, he sacrificed himself to get the gate locked at the prison and threw himself at a group of walkers to save Carol’s (Melissa McBride) life.  T-Dog died a hero, and we will always remember you, brother!

7.      Lori Grimes (Sarah Wayne Callies)

The Walking Dead - Lori Grimes
Photo Credit:AMC

By far, Lori Grimes was one of the least popular characters in the series.  In fact, when she came on stage at New York Comic-Con, she was boo’ed.  I don’t agree with some of Lori’s actions – hooking up with Shane, trying to abort her baby without even talking to her husband about it.  However, Sarah Wayne Callies did a fantastic job portraying the character, and I think she deserves to be remembered for the wonderful job that she did.  Her final scene when she is about to give birth in “Killer Within” and knows that she won’t survive is perhaps her best performance and certainly deserves a mention.  I don’t think any die-hard The Walking Dead will forget these words to her son:

Carl, you take care of your Daddy for me, OK?
You take care of your little brother or sister.
You are going to be fine.
You are going to be beat this world.
You are smart, you are strong, and you are so brave!
And, I love you!
You have to do what is right.
You promise me you will always do what is right.
It’s so easy to do the wrong thing.
So, if it feels wrong, don’t do it, alright?
If it feels easy, don’t do it.
You’re so good, my sweet boy, the best thing I ever did.
I love you! I love you!

Wow, some seriously powerful stuff, and Sarah Wayne Callies deserves a standing ovation for that final performance.

8.      Penny Blake (Kylie Szymanski)

The Walking Dead - Penny Blake
Photo Credit:AMC

Yes, this is The Governor’s (David Morrissey) zombie daughter, and even though she had already turned when her character was first introduced, I think she deserves a mention.  The Governor is a man enjoying a great deal of power as the leader of Woodbury, power that I suspect he never enjoyed prior to the zombie apocalypse.  We see him take out an innocent group of soldiers of the National Guard without blinking, but his devotion to his daughter, Penny, seems to be the last bit of humanity we can see.  When Michonne puts a sword through Penny’s skull, I think that obliterated the last bit of compassion and humanity The Governor had, and I believe we are going to see a huge change in his character in the second half of season 3 because of this event.

9.      Oscar (Vincent Ward)

The Walking Dead - Oscar
Photo Credit: AMC

I think most people wouldn’t even mention this character, but in my opinion, he was important.  He was one of the prisoners who was considered an “outsider” and not allowed into Rick’s group, but Oscar saved Rick’s life when attacked by Andrew, and then, gave Rick the gun, indicating that he viewed Rick as their leader.  Not to mention, he was one of the group who went on the rescue mission for Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) in the mid-season finale “Made To Suffer” and sacrificed himself so that the rest of the group could escape over the wall.  Again, this guy didn’t have to do any of this and could have just sat quietly in the prison and probably would still be alive.  With the introduction of Tyreese (Chad Coleman), I knew Oscar would be sacrificed, but in my eyes, he’s still a hero.

That’s it for 2012 alone, folks.  We had 9 freaking big character deaths, and we’re just in the middle of season 3.  No telling how many more we’ll have before the end of the season.  Regardless, each and every one of  these characters played a crucial part in the series and will never, ever, be forgotten.  May your memory live on.

The Walking Dead returns for the second half of season 3 on February 10, 2013.

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