What is one of the strangest things that people become obsessed with from their teen years until adulthood and maybe beyond? Apocalypse. And it is not necessarily because people are very invested in religion and prophecies, but because they see the negative effects of globalization and how with every new discovery or cure, there is also a new potential threat.
And since the human being has always been a poet deep inside, there were not only the ones who are preoccupied with the environment and are involved in nongovernmental organizations, but also the ones who found the artistic side. This is how novels, comic books, movies and TV series about the apocalypse were created.
The idea of apocalypse has been embraced in various forms: either as natural disasters – hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunami or eternal winter – or as a radical change in the biology of living beings – mutant insects, apes with human intelligence, humans reduced to ape intelligence, an outbreak of rabies transmitted from animals to humans and especially a zombie outbreak.
Viruses, curses, experiments gone wrong, a cocktail of drugs, anything can lead to zombies and subsequently, an apocalypse. Yet, some writers went further and developed the idea of life after apocalypse.
If humans manage to survive, what awaits them and the Earth? More fights because the danger is not gone yet? Many struggles in their attempts to rebuild the world as they knew it? Well, The Walking Dead gives us such a perspective on the post-apocalyptic world.
Introducing: The Walking Dead
Written by Robert Kirkman and designed by Tony Moore, The Walking Dead is in its roots a monthly Image Comics comic book series released back in 2003 and continuing up to this date. In 2010, what was about to become the best TV series featuring zombies and one of the best horror TV series of the millennium was created by Frank Darabont for AMC.
The Walking Dead brings us Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), a man who had it all – a good job as a Sheriff’s deputy, a beautiful wife and a son. One day, while on duty, Rick is shot and falls into a coma for several months.
When he finally wakes up, he finds a different world than the one he knew. Everything is deserted and his family is nowhere to find. Soon he is attacked by what caused the wipe out of his town: a zombie, but is rescued and joins a group of survivors in order to find his family.
Throughout its 6 seasons, there have been episodes that made us sit on the edge of the seat, episodes that broke our hearts and episodes that made us sleep with the night light on. Now it is high time we remembered which were 15 of those episodes.
15. Days Gone Bye (Season 1, Episode 1)
The pilot episode introduces Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) attempting to help a young girl, only to discover that she is a zombie. Jumping back in time, we find out that Rick was once a Sheriff Deputy, who was shot and fell into a coma for a while.
When he finally woke up, the hospital and everything around it are deserted, including his home. Whereas there is no sign of human life, there are zombies. Rick encounters a group of survivors and fighters against zombies, who tell him about the apocalypse he misses while in coma. Discovering that there are other survivors in Atlanta, Rick departs on horseback to search for his wife and son.
Worth it: It is the first episode and the first glimpse at what we can expect from the series and what will come.
14. Wildfire (Season 1, Episode 5)
In this episode, the remaining livings are dealing with the consequences of the previous zombie attack, including the bodies of the walkers and the humans that died.
To add to it, Jim was bitten and the team is divided in two – Daryl and Dale want to kill him before he turns, but Rick and Shane want to wait. Another disagreement occurs once Rick decides that it is better to for the gang to find shelter and maybe a cure in the CDC facility, but the rest seems to have other plans.
Worth it: Besides being an emotional episode with Andrea grieving over Amy’s death twice, it is an important part in their revolution against walkers.
13. TS-19 (Season 1, Episode 6)
In the first season’s finale, the survivors are faced by a suspecting Dr. Edwin Jenner (Noah Emmerich), the only one remaining to conduct research in order the put an end to the zombie virus.
Jenner introduces the group to his discoveries performed on his bitten wife. The CDC facility is set to explode with all of them inside. In the end, while the doctor and Jacqui remain in the building, the rest escape.
Worth it: Suicide, rape, romance, drama, the end of season 1 has it all. One might say that the season ends with a big boom.
12. What Lies Ahead (Season 2, Episode 1)
The second season debuts with Rick, wife Lori, son Carl, friend Shane, Carol and her daughter Sophia, Dale, Andrea, Glenn, T-Dog and Daryl travelling to Fort Beginning.
Stuck in a barrier of abandoned cars and with Dale’s breaking down, the group is attacked by walkers. After a battle on life and death, the problems are not over. Tensions build up and the episode ends with a cliffhanger once Carl is shot.
Worth it: The battle is smart and exciting and some members’ decisions of breaking up the group raise some interesting presumptions and theories.
11. Nebraska (Season 2, Episode 8)
Following a gruesome carnage, Hershel Greene (Scott Wilson) asks everyone to leave. Rick and Shane argue, while Carol is torn apart by her daughter turning into a walker and dying.
Hershel starts drinking again after decades, his emotional collapse causing his daughter Beth to go into a catatonic state. Daryl and Rick take their decision of cutting potential ties with other people to a new level.
Worth it: It puts a great emphasis on family ties and shows a crueler Rick.
10. Beside the Dying Fire (Season 2, Episode 13)
Drawn by noise, a herd of zombies get closer to our survivors. After locking some of them in the barn and setting fire to it, the fighters, except for Hershel, are forced to flee the land.
But a worse reveal is yet to come: the group is carriers of the zombie virus. Also, Rick’s attitude toward killing Shane makes everyone question his morals and leadership.
Worth it: Ever since Dr. Jenner whispered something into Rick’s ear has left everyone curious and this episode finally reveals the big secret.
9. The Suicide King (Season 3, Episode 9)
Daryl and Merle wrestle to entertain the people of Woodbury. Some of the citizens want to leave the town, but the Governor is not willing to let them go. Carl locks up the survivors of an another group, while Rick does not want them to stay with them.
Worth it: We get to see a form of dictatorship and Rick haunted by his dead wife.
8. Arrow on the Doorpost (Season 3, Episode 13)
Rick attempts to negotiate with The Governor. Having on their side Daryl and Hershel, respectively Martinez and Milton, the humans end up killing zombies together. Merle’s situation appears to worsen, while Michonne must be handed over to The Governor if they want protection.
Worth it: Politics in times of post zombie apocalypse.
7. Welcome to the Tombs (Season 3, Episode 16)
The Governor beats and kills Milton for his betrayal. Rick and Daryl are both still affected by the deaths of Lori and Merle.
The group abandons the prison right in time as soon it is attacked and grenade. An actual war of the survivors occurs and among many deaths, Andrea chooses to put an end to her life and Rick and the others eventually return to the prison.
Worth it: A meaningless cruel battle and the death of an old favorite character: all in one episode.
6. 30 Days Without Accident (Season 4, Episode 1)
The fourth season begins with a time jump. Many months after the events from the last episode, Rick has chosen being a father and example for Carl over being a leader.
Daryl is the group’s hero and food provider, while the rest observe how the others deal with life far from walkers. Once some leave, they become aware of the walkers not leaving and lose Zach in the process.
Worth it: Peace is far from them, but it is interesting seeing the group interact with the new changed dynamics.
5. After (Season 4, Episode 9)
The aftermath of The Governor’s assault finds Michonne putting an end to walker-Hershel’s suffering, battling zombies and being hunted in her dreams by her son and boyfriend.
Michonne finally finds her purpose once she relates to one walker. In the meantime, Rick and his son try to survive after the attack, Carl becoming more tense and overwhelmed by grief and hatred. At the end, Michonne reaches the men.
Worth it: The episode puts a great emphasis on Michonne’s personality and growth and presents the Carl and Rick bonding again.
4. No Sanctuary (Season 5, Episode 1)
The episode starts with Gareth, Alex and Mary regretting their decision of helping others, decision which has lead to the loss of their friends over rapes and killings.
Many from Rick’s group are captured by Gareth and Rick, Glenn, Daryl and Bob are tied with others in a butchering room, left to be picked out to be murdered. Carol and Tyreese find about capture and look to rescue them. After the liberation, the next stop appears to be Washington D.C.
Worth it: We get to see Carol being badass again as well as the consequences of being betrayed, while getting some hope for a walker cure.
3. Conquer (Season 5, Episode 16)
Rick wakes up and is told that some things changed while he was knocked out and that people want him exiled from Alexandria. After fighting walkers for so long, Sasha seems to be losing it.
Morgan refuses to go to Alexandria and instead just gets his hands on information about it. Michonne, Abraham, Carol and Maggie take Rick’s side, but a drunken Pete attempts to kill him
Worth it: Beside the usual arguments and fights, we finally get to see someone, Sasha, overwhelmed by the entire war against zombies, not because of family reasons, but because of mental and spiritual ones.
2. First Time Again (Season 6, Episode 1)
The people of Alexandria and Rick are plotting to catch and kill more walkers, only for them to be accidentally freed causing terror and havoc.
Daryl, Abraham and Sasha attempt to lure the walkers far from the people of Alexandria, while Glenn and Nicholas take the task of killing the walkers from a store. When a noise from Alexandria breaks, Rick and Michonne start questioning the plan.
Worth it: The premise of going to the left when life does not go right, might or might not apply to our characters.
1. Last Day on Earth (Season 6, Episode 16)
The pessimistic title suits the poor situation in which Maggie and Carol find themselves. Roman the Survivor attacks Carol, before getting shot by Morgan.
Dr. Eugene wants to help the team to distract the Survivors and help Maggie, but they fail. Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) is more than upset with Rick and his team proceeding to punish them in a sadistic manner.
Worth it: Despite being there no calm, the entire situation is similar to the calm before the storm and the abrupt ending and cliffhanger only left us waiting for more.