Say what you want about AMC’s The Walking Dead, but there’s no denying that the series isn’t afraid to push boundaries when it comes to what exactly they’ll show on cable television. In fact some of TV’s most shocking moments of the last decade have come out of just the first three seasons of The Walking Dead. With season 4 around the corner, we take a look at the 10 best scenes to come out of the series so far.
Rick & The Tank
“Guts” Season 1 Episode 2
Way back in Season 1 (feels like forever ago, right?), there was a scene with Rick in Atlanta where he is overwhelmed by hordes of walkers. The walkers take down Rick’s horse, forcing Rick to hold up inside a military tank. After hearing suggestions from a strange man on the tank’s radio (which is the introduction of Glenn), Rick grabs a grenade from a dead soldier and a metal pipe and makes a run for it, killing walkers left and right. He finally makes it to the man that was on the radio, Glenn. What makes this scene so incredible was the fact that Rick got out of such a dire situation in which he was surrounded by walkers via the help of a complete stranger—a stranger with whom he would share a lot of other dire situations with in the near future. This is also probably the best look at Glenn’s humanity, as he decides to help Rick, the complete stranger, while putting himself in harm’s way.
“The Killer Within” Season 3 Episode 4
We all knew that Lori wasn’t going to have an easy pregnancy (you know, with the whole zombie apocalypse going on around her), but not a single viewer expected her death to happen, especially in the fashion that did it. There are so many different things happening during this scene. For one, Maggie has to cut Lori open in order to save the baby, Lori has to say goodbye to her only son, and then Carl has to make sure his mother doesn’t turn into a walker. As if Lori’s goodbye to her son wasn’t heart-wrenching enough, audiences were stunned when they heard the gunshot from Carl; a gunshot that resonates with fans of the show even months later. To see a boy as young as Carl have to shoot his own mother so that she doesn’t turn into a walker was tough, but it was even tougher to watch as Carl quickly walked out of the room, not acknowledging his emotions.
Taking a Bite out of T-Dog
“The Killer Within” Season 3 Episode 4
One of the hardest things to watch on The Walking Dead was the scene in “The Killer Within” (Season 3 Episode 4) where T-Dog sacrifices himself to save Carol. Not only was it a touching scenario in which T-Dog knows he’s already doomed (after being bitten previously in the episode), but it was literally hard to watch because of the gore. T-Dog got the axe via a walker bite to the neck, and AMC didn’t hold anything back when showing it. A walker chomped on a big ole’ piece of T-Dog’s neck, and chewed it up like a horse chewing on an apple. This scene wasn’t as talked about as Lori’s death scene (which also took place during this episode), but T-Dog’s sacrificial death deserves a mention on this list.
Sophia’s Death Scene
“Pretty Much Dead Already” Season 2 Episode 7
Leaving everyone in shock, especially Carol, Sophia coming out of the barn in Season 2 was easily one of the hardest moments to watch in The Walking Dead. It was an incredible twist in the show that no one expected, especially since it didn’t happen in the comics. There was nothing that anyone in the group could do except just watch; watch as their beloved, sweet and innocent Sophia stumbled out of the barn as a walker. This scene also shows just one of the many tough decisions that Rick had to make as the leader of the group, as he decides he has to be the one to put a bullet in Sophia’s head. The scene also showed that AMC is willing to take the series to THAT level of shock, and while it upset some fans, the majority felt that this scene helped revive Season 2.
The Last of Shane
“Better Angels” Season 2 Episode 12
Shane has Rick at gunpoint, alone. Shane tells Rick that Shane is better for Lori and Carl, and just when you think Rick is going to take a bullet in the head, he quickly whips out a blade and sticks it in Shane’s chest for the kill. But, what makes this scene so great is not only the fact that Robert Kirkman is relentless when it comes to shockingly killing off main characters, but also the underlying dramatics. For a man to be forced to kill his former best friend, he really has to be brought through hell and back. For Rick, it took a zombie apocalypse to realize just how big of an asshole Shane really was. Although fans would have loved to see Shane versus the Governor come into play, Shane was the perfect character to be killed off of The Walking Dead, as audiences had mixed opinions about just what type of character he was. And, as we all know, a good versus evil character discussion is always one that has strong opinions on both sides of the coin, making it one of the most talked about scenes on the show.
Tough Brotherly Love
“This Sorrowful Life” Season 3 Episode 15
This scene from Season 3 was incredibly written into the series. Viewers knew the hardships that Daryl Dixon was going through since he chose Rick’s group over his own brother, but Norman Reedus summed up all of his emotions with just this one scene. The look on Daryl’s face as he realizes he is looking at the undead corpse of his own brother, Merle, is one that shows anguish, fear, pain, and love. Daryl’s repeated stabs to zombie Merle’s face were important to the show because it is almost as if Daryl wanted to make sure that he knew that the Merle chapter in his life is closed for good; he had to get all of his emotions out.
Daryl’s Bridge Scene
“Home” Season 3 episode 10
Just after arguing with each other in the forest, Daryl and Merle come across a Mexican family of survivors under attack by walkers on a bridge. Good guy Daryl immediately begins taking out walkers in an attempt to rescue the family, while bad guy Merle hesitates. After all of the walkers are dead, Merle has his gun pointed at the father of the Mexican family, as he attempts to ransack the man’s car, which still contains the man’s wife and child within. Daryl points his crossbow at Merle, and tells the family to drive off to safety. Then, another fight ensues between Daryl and Merle, which gives us a glimpse into just how tough their childhood was, and why the two are the way that they are. Daryl dismisses his brother and tells him to come back with him to the prison, but after Merle says that he can’t go back with him, it is Daryl’s words that make this scene. Daryl says, “I may be the one that’s walkin’ away, but you’re the one that’s leavin.” Wise words from a decent man. These would end up being the last words that Daryl speaks to Merle before Merle’s death.
The Governors Hunt
“Prey” Season 3 Episode 14
Glen Marzarra created a classic horror sequence that stood out in Season 3, recreating a classic female-running-for-her-life scene. The Governor’s capture of Andrea was incredibly well done by both Laurie Holden and David Morrissey. Morrissey created a truly terrifying side to the Governor, especially when he walks into the warehouse that Andrea is in and begins to whistle; absolutely chilling. While Laurie does make it out of the warehouse, she ends being captured just as she is about to re-enter the prison.
“Judge, Jury, Executioner” Season 2 Episode 11
After stealing a gun from Daryl’s camp earlier in the episode, Carl wanders into the woods and finds a walker stuck in the mud of a creek bed. Carl begins throwing rocks at the walker, and then gets closer to shoot it with the gun he stole. After the walker takes a swipe at Carl, Carl falls to the ground, while the walker frees itself, and grabs onto Carl’s leg. Carl manages to escape the situation, but little did he know that the same walker would end up bringing death to Dale. Later in the episode, Dale also happens to stumble upon an unfortunate situation: a half eaten cow. Dale turns around to escape the horror that he has just seen, only to be met by the cow’s murderer—the walker that Carl failed to shoot earlier in the day. Dale’s screams echoed back to the camp where the rest of the group were, and Daryl quickly responds, only to find a walker on top of Dale. After killing the walker, the group sees that Dale’s guts are spilling out of his stomach, and that he isn’t going to make it. Again, AMC didn’t hold back with the gore. Daryl knows what has to be done, and take’s Rick’s gun to end Dale’s misery. But what makes this seen so important is that it was when Carl learned that he can’t hesitate anymore; he has to kill first, think second. Although this scene brought yet another death to the show, it also brought the birth of bad-ass Carl.
Glenn’s Bad-Ass Kill
“When the Dead Come Knocking” Season 3 Episode 7
After being brutally interrogated by Merle about the location of the Atlanta survivors, Glenn refuses to give Merle the information. Glenn is bleeding from the ears and nose, with an eye that is almost swollen completely shut. Then, when things couldn’t possibly get any worse for Glenn, Merle releases a walker into the room and closes the door. After a brief panic, Glenn rages out, breaks his chair, and uses one of its legs to stab the walker through the eyeball, creating one of our favorite zombie kills of all time (although Daryl slamming a walker’s head via a car’s trunk might have it beat). But, even before this scene, we were well aware that Glenn had the power within him to kill a walker, as he has done it countless times throughout the course of the series. But, it was the fashion in which Glenn killed this walker that makes this scene so well done. Something in Glenn snapped that day, turning him from the soft, mushy and in-love guy into an absolute bad-ass. We want more bad-ass Glenn!