10 Harsh Realities Of Rewatching The Walking Dead


This article may contain spoilers for The Walking Dead‘s series finale.

Since its 2003 inception, Robert Kirkman’s comic book series The Walking Dead has spawned into an incredibly lucrative franchise of television shows, video games, and toys. One of the most successful installments is AMC’s live-action series The Walking Dead.

Debuting in 2010, the apocalypse drama was laid to rest in 2022 after eleven seasons. As the main show is officially over with countless spinoffs to follow, fans will be eager to rewatch the series from the beginning. Alas, this epic rewatch wouldn’t be complete without a few harsh realities.


Everybody’s Infected

A still from The Walking Dead season 1 episode “TS-19”

One of the harshest realities of rewatching The Walking Dead was The revelation of the walkers coming to prominence. This confession would come from Dr. Edwin Jenner (Noah Emmerich) to Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) moments before the Center for Disease Control exploded in the season 1 finale “TS-19”.

Even though such a detail was vital to the storyline, where the impact suffers is in its premature reveal. This made the story greatly weaken from a lack of intrigue and proved to be foreboding for audiences.

Diverting From The Comics

A split image of Walking Dead TV and comics characters

As is the case with any adaptation to the big or small screen, some modifications are bound to occur. While some changes such as the addition of the compelling supporting character Daryl Dixon proved to be successful, there are others that weren’t as well received.

The show changing the fates of characters despite their status in the comics was rather inconsistent. Another problem area was excluding or condensing stories that held a high value in the comics, which made the show severely lacking with such an absence.

Inconsistent Character Development

Andrea Harrison (Laurie Holden), Sasha Williams (Sonequa Martin-Green) and Jessie Anderson (Alexandra Breckinridge) on The Walking Dead (2010-2022)

The Walking Dead would see some of the best character development on television with Carol Peletier. However, several characters wouldn’t achieve such outstanding growth during their time in the franchise.

One specific character that suffered from inconsistent character development was Andrea (Laurie Holden). Her character arc constantly rode the pendulum of being either headstrong and independent or impulsive and aloof. This imbalance makes her season 3 demise proof of wasted character potential, which would also be seen later on with characters like Sasha Williams (Sonequa Martin-Green) and Jessie Anderson (Alexandra Breckinridge).

Too Many CharactersThe Walking Dead finale custom image featuring Gabriel, Aaron, Princess, Mercer, and Yumiko

Since The Walking Dead‘s comic book universe was so expansive by the time season 1 debuted, numerous characters had been introduced. A strong element of The Walking Dead‘s first few seasons was focusing on the initial group with other characters organically incorporated. Similar to True Blood and Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead began to suffer from an abundance of characters.

Having so many characters started to make the show feel very crowded. This over-saturation also proved to be confusing for audiences to follow along with certain story arcs, as unnecessary character additions were a major distraction.

Lori’s Goodbye To Carl

Sarah Wayne Callies as Lori Grimes on The Walking Dead (2010-2022)

Endearingly played by Sarah Wayne Callies, Lori Grimes is a character that has left the fandom at odds. While her devotion to Rick could be considered questionable, Lori was always a protective mother to their son Carl (Chandler Riggs), which was especially evident in their final scene together.

Before dying via C-section, Lori told Carl that he was going to beat the world. What makes this a harsh reality is that even though Carl rose from the ashes of despair into a fierce leader, he would ultimately bite the dust from a walker bite in TWD‘s eighth season.

Glenn’s Fake-Out Death

A still from The Walking Dead season 6 episode “Thank You”

Over the seasons, The Walking Dead had too much fan service, with one such instance occurring in season 6. Infamously dubbed “Dumpstergate” by the fans, the episode “Thank You” heavily implied the death of Glenn Rhee (Steven Yeun), only to confirm his fate four episodes later.

As Glenn’s death occurred in the comics prior to the show’s fake-out death, a lack of impact was created in his eventual season 7 demise, which is unfortunate considering Glenn’s popularity in the fandom. The reveal of his survival being delayed in season 6 has also proven itself to be a point of frustration.

Hershel’s Death

Hershel Greene turning around and smiling in The Walking Dead

Death was an inevitable theme of the show, and while some characters deserved their fates, this also meant some favorites would be lost along the way. One of the series’ biggest losses was farmer Hershel Greene, father of Maggie and Beth Greene.

Seeing a heartfelt performance from Scott Wilson, Hershel became a resident grandfather to the group with his kindness and wisdom. In retrospect, knowing that Hershel’s death at the hands of The Governor (David Morrissey) is purely a result of being a victim of circumstance is surreal and disheartening.

Season 5’s Pointless Hospital Storyline

Beth Greene wearing a hospital robe in The Walking Dead

Hershel would not be the only Greene family member to kick the bucket, with season 5 seeing Beth Greene’s (Emily Kinney) untimely death. But season 5 also presented an unnecessary story arc.

The Grady Memorial Hospital storyline received higher importance than the Terminus storyline despite the latter’s buildup in season 4. This proved to not only be anticlimactic with Beth’s accidental loss, but seeing Noah’s (Tyler James Williams) death later in the season was a stab in the heart, reducing the character to being a plot device from the hospital storyline.

The Botched Terminus StorylineGareth smiling with his arm around someone's neck in a scene from The Walking Dead.

After the group was separated following the prison shootout with The Governor in season 4, the rest of the season showed signs leading to a sanctuary called Terminus. They were eventually reunited, but at the cost of being imprisoned by Gareth and his cannibal group.

Despite impressive buildup, the Terminus storyline was majorly botched by only lasting four episodes, being majorly ineffectual. Not even a brilliant performance by Andrew J. West as Gareth was enough to save the storyline, which was intriguing and raw in its brevity.

The End

Blended image of characters from The Walking Dead series finale

After eleven jam-packed seasons of intensity and emotion, The Walking Dead ended in November 2022 with the series finale “Rest in Peace”. However, some elements weren’t completely laid to rest, which is quite possibly the harshest rewatching reality.

Integral characters such as Negan, Maggie, Daryl, Rick, and Michonne did not receive proper closure, as their storylines will continue into their respective spinoffs. What should have been a chance to neatly tie up loose ends is now open-ended for the sake of elongating the story. Considering the tepid response, this might deter fans from returning for the new shows.

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