The Walking Dead aired its season 8 mid-season finale earlier this month, ending 2017 on a dour note with the looming death of one of the series’ longest-running survivors.
Leading up to the Rick Grimes-lead revolution against Negan and the Saviors, The Walking Dead once again lived up to its name with copious deaths throughout 2017.
All mentioned deaths — forgoing any mention of little-seen or unnamed Alexandrians, Saviors, and other red shirts — occurred between the first episode of 2017 (February’s 7×09) and the last episode of 2017 (December’s 8×08).
Dr. Emmett Carson
Brother of Hilltop physician Harlan Carson, Emmett was the resident doctor for the Saviors — until Negan suspected the good doctor helped his Alexandrian prisoner, Daryl, escape from the Sanctuary, throwing Carson face-first into a blazing furnace.
Benjamin and Richard of the Kingdom
Fresh-faced Benjamin, older brother to young Henry, served in King Ezekiel’s guard at the Kingdom. During an encounter with a faction of Saviors responsible for policing the Kingdom’s supply exchanges, the Kingdom was short one cantaloupe — a shortage punished by rat-faced Savior Jared, who shot Benjamin in the leg.
The bullet pierced his femoral artery, and Benjamin soon bled out and died in Carol’s nearby cottage. When it was discovered the missing cantaloupe was intentionally concealed by Richard — another Kingdom loyalist who wanted King Ezekiel to combat Negan and the Saviors — an enraged Morgan choked Richard to death.
An especially slimy Savior, David took part in the raid on Alexandria’s supplies. He was almost shot by Carl while looting the infirmary, and later taunted Enid over the return of her green balloons — balloons that carried sentimental value for her because of their ties to Glenn, who was executed by Negan in the season 7 opener.
Alexandria’s Sasha, taken prisoner after failing to infiltrate the Sanctuary and assassinate Negan, was nearly raped by David before a pissed-off Negan stabbed him in the neck over his attempted sexual assault. A reanimated David was then put down by Sasha with a knife to the head.
Sasha valiantly tried to avenge the death of her lover, Abraham Ford, who had defied Negan’s rule as his last act before being executed by the villain. During her capture by the Saviors, Sasha attempted to free a kidnapped Eugene, who refused to try for an escape.
When Sasha became aware of Negan’s pending visit to Alexandria’s gates, she offered herself in sacrifice — saying only one person needed to die. Having imbibed a suicide pill concocted by Eugene, Sasha died en route to Alexandria and her zombified corpse attacked Negan preceding the battle of Alexandria.
A five-way battle between Alexandria, the Hilltop, the Kingdom, the Saviors and junkyard dwellers the Scavengers, Savior Roy and Scavenger Farron were among the dozens of enemy soldiers killed during the first strike against Negan.
Sasha was later put down by Maggie in the woods outside Alexandria.
Francine, Freddie and Andy
Allies of AHK — Alexandria, Hilltop, Kingdom, to borrow a phrase from mullet-sporting traitor Eugene — Alexandria’s Francine and the Hilltop’s Freddie and Andy were among the alliance soldiers killed in 8×02, “The Damned,” which saw the united communities springing attacks on Savior outposts while Negan was pinned to the Sanctuary by a horde of walkers.
Freddie and Andy were shot and killed by the Saviors during a raid on the same satellite outpost Rick and co. committed a clandestine attack on in season 6. The same attack nearly killed Morgan, who was shot down but survived as result of his wearing body armor.
Francine was killed during a concurrent shoot-out elsewhere, having been shot in the chest.
A former ally of Rick’s, Morales and his family were among the earliest survivors Rick encountered after reuniting with his family outside of an overrun Atlanta. Morales departed the group shortly after, deciding to reconnect with family in Birmingham, Alabama.
Morales resurfaced in Virginia and had been driven mad by the deaths of his family. Now a Savior, Morales held Rick at gunpoint and was going to hand him over to Negan — a ploy cut short by one of Daryl’s bolts.
Daryl later ruthlessly killed another Savior, Todd, who had surrendered and offered information in exchange for his life.
Aaron’s boyfriend Eric was part of the militia that included Alexandrians Francine and Scott, and caught a bullet in the same firefight that killed Francine. Whisked away by Aaron, a wounded Eric told his lover to rejoin the fight. Aaron later returned just in time to see a bloody tree stump and a reanimated Eric wandering off into the woods towards a slow-moving herd of walkers.
Daniel, Alvaro and 40-something members of the Kingdom
Almost all of the Kingdom’s military force was annihilated by the Saviors, who slaughtered King Ezekiel’s people with a .50 cal machine gun. One named Kingdom follower, red-headed Daniel, was among those killed protecting Ezekiel from the gun’s destructive fire.
One of the few surviving soldiers of the massacre, Alvaro, helped a wounded Ezekiel — only to be shot in the head by Savior Gunther, who aimed to turn the king into Negan. Ezekiel’s most loyal protector, Jerry, rescued the king and split Gunther down the middle with his axe.
Ezekiel suffered another devastating blow with the loss of Shiva, his fierce pet tiger. Shiva died protecting Ezekiel, Jerry and Carol from a pack of walkers after she was surrounded and overwhelmed by the monsters.
Yago, Leo and Zia
The three Saviors are just a few of the cannon fodder who ultimately perish during the conflict between AHK and the Saviors: Yago was stabbed and thrown from a speeding truck by Rick Grimes, while Leo was obliterated by an RPG-wielding Rosita and Zia was killed trying to escape a Savior outpost with “the Fat Lady” — a truck loaded with speakers capable of leading the walker horde away from the Sanctuary — when Daryl smashed into the truck before shooting her dead.
Natania, Neil and Dean
Season 8’s mid-season finale saw the death of Savior Dean — he’s the guy who pissed his pants before holding Jesus hostage — who was held in the Hilltop’s makeshift prison. Maggie shot him in the face and ordered his corpse be left as a message to Simon and the Saviors as revenge for the death of the Hilltop’s Neil, a woodworker who had the misfortune of sharing a car with Maggie and Jesus during Simon’s road obstruction.
Natania of the tucked-away Oceanside community was shot and killed by Enid after she attacked Aaron, who had gone to Oceanside in an effort to recruit more fighters to the cause. Natania’s death lead to a distraught Cyndie, Natania’s granddaughter, who may soon join the fight against the Saviors.
The first death of 2018 — spoilers — will be Carl Grimes, who will succumb to his walker bite in February’s mid-season premiere.
The Walking Dead returns to AMC Sunday, February 25.