To say that The Walking Dead is a character-driven show would be a vast understatement, as the corpses that shamble about, feeding on the living, are very much a secondary concern compared to the survivors that make up the show’s cast. Death is an ever-present specter on The Walking Dead, striking down numerous characters without warning and in often brutal fashion. The Walking Dead has featured a staggering number of characters over the course of its run … and not all of them have been winners. Sure, most of us love the likes of Rick, Daryl, Michonne, and Maggie, just to name a few, but there have been some truly awful characters over the years that we only wish could have been killed off sooner (or if they’re still alive, hope that they bite it soon). Here are the worst characters to have ever been featured on The Walking Dead.
Poor Beth. The oft-forgotten younger daughter of Hershel Greene, Beth was on the show for close to four seasons, but you’d have a hard time coming up with a handful of times she stood out in any meaningful way. The problem with Beth is that the show’s writers never seemed to know what to do with her. She occupied the weak, not-good-for-anything-useful role for the majority of her tenure, to the point where it felt like she was kept around merely to keep Baby Judith alive, as she was often shown taking care of Rick’s infant daughter. Things improved considerably for Beth in the latter half of season 4 and especially in season 5 with the hospital storyline, but even then it felt like too little, too late, as she was killed off right when she was becoming interesting. Such a waste.
9. Baby Judith
Yeah okay, this one’s a bit of a cheat since it’s difficult to gauge Judith as a character given that she can’t even talk yet. To be fair, Judith functions as a symbol of humanity’s future, so there is merit to her continued existence on the show. However, if you’re going to feature an infant child in a show about the apocalypse, you can’t really expect that people are going to fall in love with something that impedes the other characters’ progress on a near-constant basis. Judith is simply a plot device and a frequently annoying one at that. The daughter of Rick Grimes and sister of Carl is too often employed as a way to artificially increase tension – There’s a man threatening to kill the baby! Watch out, a zombie is shambling right toward that carrier! – to the point where it’s become tiresome. We have nothing against Judith as a person (she’s probably a pretty great baby once you get to know her) but she detracts from the show far more than she adds and for that reason, we have to rank her as one of The Walking Dead‘s worst.
It feels wrong to have to include Tyreese among such company, but the truth of the matter is that he never even came close to being the hammer-wielding badass that comic readers were expecting him to be. Make no mistake: labeling Tyresse one of the worst characters on The Walking Dead is no knock against actor Chad Coleman, who did the best with what he had to work with in his time on the show. No, the real problem with Tyreese is that the writers never really figured out what to do with him. His role in the comics as Rick’s right hand man was already occupied by Daryl by the time Tyreese arrived on the scene back in season 3 and from that point forward, he never really found a solid place in the ensemble. Whether intentional or not, Tyreese turned into the figurative child of the group, unable to cope with the horrors around him and resorting to pacifism – an admirable, but ultimately unsuccessful attempt to give Tyreese a purpose on the show. His death in season 5 was undeniably tragic, but more so because we never got to see Tyreese turn into the great character he should have been.
We debated including Sam in this entry as well, but when it comes to the doomed Anderson clan, Sam’s older brother Ron is just the worst. Introduced in the latter half of season 5, the Andersons are a dysfunctional family living in Alexandria who quickly became one of the show’s worst group of characters. There’s no real need to go into detail about why Pete was awful because he was more of a caricature than an actual character, but his eldest son stuck around long enough to become a constant source of annoyance for not only Walking Dead viewers, but other characters on the show. Ron turned from a potential friend for Carl Grimes to wanting to kill him, but did so unconvincingly (it seemed like Ron wanted Carl dead more for “stealing” Enid than the fact that Rick killed his father, which was a questionable creative choice). Despite Carl’s best efforts to knock some sense into this idiot, Ron turned out to be awful to the end, shooting Carl in the eye while being eaten by walkers. At least we don’t have to put up with this fool anymore.
A lot of Walking Dead fans seem to have a soft spot for Dale, but much of that likely stems from the nature of his death and how needlessly tragic it was (thanks a lot Carl). If you actually take some time to look back at Dale’s time on the show, what emerges is a pestering old man who constantly inserted himself into other peoples’ business. Although he was positioned as the voice of reason in juxtaposition to the harder line usually taken by the likes of Rick and Shane, Dale’s moral posturing was used by the writers more as a way to stall time in the infamously middling second season then to deliver compelling drama. It’s no surprise really that the show seemed to regain momentum the moment Dale found himself to be walker chow.
Although Carl still has his moments, the last few seasons have done an admirable job of turning him from an exasperating child who constantly rubbed viewers the wrong way into a surprisingly confident and well-rounded teenager (with only a small amount of angst for good measure). Unfortunately, it seems as if it’s impossible for The Walking Dead to carry on without the sullen, angsty teen trope, as evidenced by the totally unlikable Enid. Yes, witnessing your parents being eaten by walkers is legitimate grounds for some level of depression and distrust of the world, but that doesn’t make Enid’s constant dour disposition and standoffish attitude any easier to endure. As Glenn and pretty much every other character who’s had to put up with her have repeatedly had to tell her, everyone has lost someone they care about and there’s no point in wallowing in self-pity when survival is of the utmost concern. It’s hardly a surprise that Enid currently ranks near the top of viewers’ most hated characters on the show and it’s hard to see that changing unless she pulls a Carl and does a full 180 in the attitude department.
4. Father Gabriel
Now in his second full season on the show, we’re still hard-pressed to identify what purpose Father Gabriel serves. Early on, this cowardly priest was at least mildly interesting thanks to his unclear allegiances and a dark backstory involving the former parishioners of his church, but Father Gabriel quickly wore out his welcome. Gabriel hasn’t really done anything of merit or most importantly, done anything that would make viewers truly care about him as a character. The role of religion in a zombie apocalypse is an intriguing theme if executed correctly, but The Walking Dead has failed to capitalize on this largely because of Father Gabriel’s poor characterization. Season 6 has made strides in making Father Gabriel more well-rounded, as he’s finally started stepping up and contributing to Rick’s group rather than relying on them to clean up his messes, but it would take some seriously next-level developments to atone for the character’s past sins.
The fact that T-Dog survived until season 3 is a shock that we still haven’t quite recovered from more than three years after the fact and that’s because T-Dog was just a bad character, conceptually and demonstrably. Obviously T-Dog is a terrible name for a character, but when you actually start to think about the fact that this is a guy who told other apocalypse survivors that his name was T-Dog and they were totally cool with calling him that, it lends the early seasons of The Walking Dead an air of the absurd that just wasn’t needed. Aside from his name, T-Dog never did much else to distinguish himself as someone to root for. Sure, he seemed like a nice enough guy, but can you think of one defining character trait for him that doesn’t involve the color of his skin? Probably not and that’s why T-Dog definitely deserves to be called one The Walking Dead‘s all-time worst characters.
Believe it or not, Andrea is one of the best characters in the comics, which makes it all the more surprising that the Andrea we got on the television series was a total bust. Andrea was admittedly one of the better characters in the show’s early run, with the loss of her sister and her reluctance to carry on living being compelling storylines. However, sometime over the course of season 2 and especially in the third season, Andrea stopped being a character to root for and instead became one to actively root against. Her incompetence led to people getting shot (we can still never forgive her for shooting Daryl) and her naive trust of the Governor’s every word still stands as one of the show’s most aggravating plots. She made so many foolish choices in her time on the show that her death at the end of the third season was practically laughable when it should have been tragic (come on Andrea – you could have survived in that room with Milton). Thanks to her continuously stupid decisions and lack of anything resembling an interesting storyline past season 2, Andrea easily ranks as one The Walking Dead‘s all-time worst characters.
Could any other character legitimately top Lori Grimes as The Walking Dead‘s worst character? No, no they could not. Not only did this role largely waste the talents of Sarah Wayne Callies, who is generally pretty likable in other performances, but she was just a constant source of frustration for viewers and other characters alike. Lori essentially had two modes: worrying about Carl and treating Rick terribly. Now, we’re not saying that either of those traits automatically makes Lori a bad character, but given how frequently The Walking Dead dipped into those wells , Lori definitely emerges as the show’s worst character. Remember that time when she told Rick to kill Shane and then got mad at him when he did? Yeah, that’s Lori in a nutshell: a poorly-drawn shrew whose sole memorable trait is being a bad mother. Her death was one of the show’s roughest, to be sure, but that had more to do with how it affected Carl; no one was sad to see Lori go.