The midseason premiere of The Walking Dead is just around the corner, on Valentine’s Day itself, and fans are still reeling from the stunning conclusion of the first half of the sixth season that aired in late November. If you aren’t caught up yet, quit reading now: SPOILERS AHEAD
When we last left the group, walkers had just broken through the wall into Alexandria, Glenn and Maggie hadn’t yet reunited, Deanna went out in a heroic blaze, Rick led a group of gut-covered humans straight through a herd of walkers (which probably isn’t going to end well for some) and most importantly, Daryl, Sasha and Abraham just met the dreaded Negan.
So in an effort to decompress, talk through our emotions and theories and prepare ourselves for what’s probably going to be the most brutal, upsetting and amazing second half of a season since The Walking Dead began back on Halloween in 2010, here is a character guide to those that survived the first half of season 6.
24. Aaron (Ross Marquand)
Daryl’s new best friend and, quite possibly, the reason for the Wolves’ attack on Alexandria, Aaron is a likable character that sees the good in everyone, something that is quite possibly going to cost him his life (it’s kind of amazing it hasn’t already).
We were introduced to Aaron in the episode titled “Them,” which was the midseason premiere of season 5. At the time, Aaron was a looming presence, seen more as a threat than anything else, but he’s credited with bringing Rick’s group to Alexandria, which he did in hopes of strengthening the “safe” community.
Aaron is still an outcast in the Alexandrian community due to his homosexuality, which actually helped him develop a close-knit bond with Daryl, and over the course of the sixth season so far, there have been parallels between the two. Though whether or not these parallels are making the characters weaker or stronger is up for debate.
Last we saw Aaron: he and Maggie had returned from their failed attempt to save Glenn, where Maggie called it off and disclosed her pregnancy to him. Late that night, Aaron suggested his name for the child: either Aaron for a boy, or Erin for a girl. It was a cute moment, but with the art of foreshadowing, could also suggest Aaron steps in to save Glenn from Negan at a later date, resulting in his death.
23. Abraham Ford (Michael Cudlitz)
Abraham’s arc came during the last season of the show, when he discovered the false nature of Eugene’s mission and struggled to find purpose following the shocking discovery.
In season 6, Abraham hasn’t jumped off the crazy wagon just yet, which doesn’t exactly bode well for the character. In the episode “Always Accountable,” Abraham has several encounters with military emblems, all of which seem to take a toll on his sanity. However, in the end of the episode, he finds a missile launcher as well as a newly pressed uniform, which he proudly dons as he and Sasha leave for Alexandria with Daryl, and, for the moment, it appears he’s in a relatively sane place.
Abraham is still trying to find his place in this world, reeling from the loss of his family and the loss of a purpose to fight; the loss of a potential cure.
Last we saw Abraham: he, Sasha and Daryl were in a truck on the way home, stopped by a gang of bikers blocking their way. They were asked to hand over their weapons, as it was now the property of Negan. Considering the fact that Abraham has become fairly attached to his new missile launcher, it’s hard to see this encounter going well. For whom? It’s hard to say.
22. Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs)
Carl may have begun as the annoying child that never seemed to be where he was supposed to be in the beginning of the series, but he has certainly come a long way from then. And if the first half of season 6 is any indication, Carl’s in for quite an action-packed second half.
Rick’s son and Enid’s boyfriend (kind of), Carl has shown great maturity over the course of the sixth season, and he was at the crux of the season 6 midseason finale. When Ron traps Carl in Jessie’s garage in an attempt to kill him, Carl battles it out, winning the fight and also (hopefully) winning Ron’s respect. When asked what happened by Rick and Jessie, Carl doesn’t reveal the proceedings, potentially saving Ron’s life.
Of course, this may not bode well for Carl, as now the other characters aren’t aware of Ron’s ulterior motives, and Carl has begun to parallel Glenn, and it’s more than possible we’re going to be left with a Nicholas type situation that won’t turn out so favorably for Carl.
Last we saw Carl: he was walking from Jessie’s house, hand in hand with the group, holding Judith under his gut-filled blanket. He might be safe from Ron for a while, but from the surrounding walkers? Only time will tell.
21. Carol Peletier (Melissa McBride)
Carol has quite possibly undergone one of the most dramatic changes in character history, transitioning from abused housewife to unstoppable killing machine. Literally.
While we’ve watched Carol progressively become crazier, most drastically when she entered Alexandria, we always wrote it off as Carol being smarter than everyone else, preparing for the impending (and probable) fall of Alexandria and ensuring her (and her group) will make it out alive. But this view has slightly changed with the reappearance of season 1 vet, Morgan.
Throughout the first half of the sixth season, Carol and Morgan are at odds – two characters on complete opposite ends of the moral spectrum. So it only makes sense that the midseason finale results in a showdown between the two.
Last we saw Carol: she and Morgan were in a battle over the life of one of the Wolves, which neither won, and after which both ended up unconscious on the ground as the Wolf walked out, completely alive, with Denise as his captive. This is the first time in a while we’ve seen a mental break from Carol, as she voices her concern for Morgan’s life, telling him outright that she will kill him if need be. It’s more than possible we begin the next season with an all out war between Carol and Morgan, and if that’s the case, nobody wins.
20. Denise Cloyd (Merritt Wever)
Poor Denise had a rough first half of the season. Her first appearance was in the episode “JSS,” in which she has taken over the roll of doctor, although she discloses the fact she switched from her career goal of becoming a surgeon to her current psychiatry background due to her anxiety.
While she begins as a fidgety, awkward woman, by the midseason finale, she’s progressed. Though she still isn’t quite confident in her line of work yet, she’s become far more comfortable with the group of people left in Alexandria, Rick’s group specifically, and is beginning to come into her own a bit more.
Too bad it looks like that growth is going to be cut short.
Last we saw Denise: she was pleading with Morgan’s captive Wolf, asking him not to kill Morgan and Carol, at which point Eugene, Rosita and Tara entered the room. While the Wolf didn’t kill anyone else, he did walk out of the building with Denise at gunpoint, undoubtedly into a herd of walkers lurking outside. However, while many believe Denise is a goner, the Wolf has an infection, which is undoubtedly why he brought the otherwise unhelpful character with him. So this may not be the last time we see her.
19. Enid (Katelyn Nacon)
Carl’s mysterious girlfriend, first introduced in the season 5 episode “Remember,” is one of the most talked about characters of this season, and for good reason.
She was constantly wandering outside the walls of Alexandria, and in the episode “JSS” of this season, disappeared just as the wolves moved in. Enid is easily one of the most secretive characters left in the group, and if any fan theories are correct, some of these secrets might just be detrimental to it.
In case you’ve forgotten, Enid holds all of the keys to Alexandria, and though she doesn’t appear to be directly affiliated with any group, there are indications that she’s associated with either the Wolves or, quite possibly, Negan’s group, which will be introduced in the second half of the season and are known as the Saviors.
Last we saw Enid: she was journeying back to Alexandria with Glenn, but they had arrived too late, as the town was surrounded by walkers and the wall had just gone down. While she didn’t appear to end this chapter in a compromising situation, all of the signs are there for some shocking reveals.
18. Eugene Porter (Josh McDermitt)
Easily the weakest character left, Eugene is likable, but has also earned his title as a liability.
Eugene may be developing a bit, but not by much, which is displayed in his inability to fight during any situation, and even during Rosita’s attempts at training the Alexandrians. In fact, when the wall goes down and the walkers come charging in, Eugene uses the walkie-talkie to call for help, even though he has a weapon in hand. Rosita and Tara come to save him.
Eugene ended this chapter of the show just as weak as he began, with very little character development to show for his time in Alexandria.
Last we saw Eugene: he was with Rosita and Tara, forced to hand over their weapons to Morgan’s captive Wolf as he walked out with Denise at gunpoint. Eugene may have been left with some of the strongest fighters in the group, but he’s still in quite a bit of trouble.
17. Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam)
Pretty easily everyone’s least favorite Walking Dead character, Father Gabriel is (sadly) still alive going into the second half of the sixth season.
Upon arrival at Alexandria, the good Father ratted out Rick and his group, causing more tension between them and the Alexandrians than was necessary. And Rick hasn’t forgotten it. During the first half of this season, we saw Rick tear down Gabriel’s posters for a prayer circle as well as call him out in front of everyone for what he is.
Of course, Father Gabriel does appear to have made the change, as he assures Rick he won’t run off and that he’ll commit to this plan, but knowing his track record, it’s hard to believe him.
Last we saw Father Gabriel: he was leaving the house with Rick and the group, covered in zombie guts and walking through the herd. With Sam’s bad timing however, it’s more than possible this could be the end of Father Gabriel. Here’s hoping!
16. Glenn Rhee (Steven Yeun)
He’s alive! And there isn’t much else that matters at this point.
During a very dramatic, traumatic and stressful few weeks, the audience was stuck in the shoes of the survivors, wondering whether or not Glenn had survived Nicholas’ suicide. But the saving Grace came in the episode titled “Head’s Up,” in which audience’s woes were put to rest and Glenn survived.
Glenn has been a lead character in the show since season 1, and fans worried when it appeared his and Rick’s timelines came full-circle in the episode “Thank You,” as it typically results in a character death. Luckily, that didn’t happen. Yet.
Last we saw Glenn: he and Enid were in a tree outside Alexandria, and he just saw Maggie, lying flat on a platform with a herd of walkers below her. And comic book fans are all too familiar with Glenn’s death at the hands of Negan, so while one of our favorites may be alive now, he’s not quite out of the water yet.
15. Heath (Corey Hawkins)
He’s one of the comic book characters, but in terms of the show, audience members don’t know a whole lot about the guy.
He was first introduced to us in episode 1 of this season, “First Time Again,” though only briefly, and it’s explained that he’d been out on a supply run with a few other Alexandrians upon Rick and his group’s arrival at the community.
Since his introduction however, Heath has been mostly at odds with the main group, including Eugene and Michonne, and it isn’t until the end of the episode “Thank You,” where he is covered in blood (with no idea whose it is), that he understands the situation at hand. His only truly positive relationship is with Glenn, who immediately puts his trust into Heath.
Last we saw Heath: he was looking at his blood soaked reflection in a stream, a scene that visualizes Heath’s understanding of Rick’s group. We haven’t seen the last of Heath, and if that reflection scene is any indication, Heath might just end up melding in with Rick’s group nicely.
14. Jessie Anderson (Alexandra Breckenridge)
She’s Rick’s girlfriend(ish), Pete’s widow, Ron and Sam’s mother and quite possibly the next Carol of the series. That is, if there’s room for two.
Jessie had a difficult life pre-apocalypse, much like season 1 Carol. Jessie was abused by her husband Pete, Alexandria’s doctor whom Rick killed in the finale of season 5, and has since become one of the strongest Alexandrians, ready for change and willing to do whatever it takes to survive.
Jessie is a kindhearted person, and she’s progressively becoming one of the stronger female characters on the show. The parallels between her and Carol are undeniable, which should make Carol fans a little nervous moving forward, especially following her mental break and current tussle with Morgan.
Last we saw Jessie: she was leaving her home in Alexandria with Rick’s group through a herd of zombies, her son directly behind her and drawing attention to himself unwittingly. Jessie may be a tough character now, but it’s hard to say if she’s prepared for what is about to go down.
Rick’s baby girl who, thankfully, wasn’t killed by Deanna in the midseason finale. It was a close one, though.
Judith is a very small role, and at the same time, huge. Judith is a symbol of hope, of what could be and of what once was. And with the potential arrival of another baby in the Walking Dead universe, she’s a symbol of the continuation of life, even in these circumstances.
12. Maggie Greene (Lauren Cohan)
Glenn’s now pregnant wife spent the first half of this season back in Alexandria, anxiously awaiting her husband’s return. But Maggie is so much more than her relationship, something this season has also revealed.
When Glenn didn’t return with the rest of the group, Maggie unthinkingly decided she was going after him, unable to wait (very similarly to her reaction in season 4, when she and Glenn were separated following the ambush at the prison). However, this time, she ultimately chose a different path. She stayed behind, partly due to her pregnancy, partly in her new mentality that life goes on.
As fans, it’s safe to say this decision has been widely supported, especially upon Glenn’s return.
Last we saw Maggie: she had just barely escaped the walker’s grasp, pulling herself onto the lookout platform, lying flat on her back and staring up at the sky. While her situation looked grim, Glenn now knows where she is, and we were left with a feeling of hope for the couple in the long run.
11. Michonne (Danai Gurira)
Michonne’s journey through the Walking Dead series has been drastic, to say the least. She has gone from a lone-wolf to group mentality, and even worked her way into a position of leadership alongside Rick.
Michonne is one of the toughest characters left, with perhaps one of the darkest pre-group stories of everyone left. But still, the samurai is alive, well and stronger than ever. She was easily one of the most affected by the idea of Alexandria than any of the other members in Rick’s group, which suggests she’s going to fight twice as hard to fight for it.
Last we saw Michonne: she had a heart-to-heart with dying Deanna just moments before her exit with Rick and the gang into a heard of walkers. Deanna’s last words to her were a question: what does she want? Michonne may not know yet, but we’re probably going to find out soon enough.
10. Morgan Jones (Lennie James)
Morgan hasn’t been around long (although he was a member of the first season’s cast, his appearances throughout the series have been scattered), but so far this season, his character’s a fairly regular occurrence, and even had an episode to himself titled “Here’s Not Here.”
Morgan seems to have a different personality every time we’re reintroduced to him, and his current motivations may be the most detrimental yet. The audience is more familiar with Morgan’s history than the members of Rick’s group are, causing a dissonance between their understandings of the world, ultimately resulting in the showdown between Morgan and Carol in the mid-season finale.
While Morgan’s style works for him, and is what has kept him alive to this point, it just might be costing group members their lives as well.
Last we saw Morgan: he and Carol were knocked out on the floor as his captive member of the Wolves’ group walked out with Denise at gunpoint. It appeared that after Morgan knocked Carol out, he’d realized his mistake, but only time will tell what the repercussions will be.
9. Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan)
Walking Dead fans have been dreading his arrival for quite some time now, and based on the sneak preview following the midseason finale that aired at the end of November, they are right to do so.
Negan is notoriously referred to as the worst villain in the Walking Dead comics. In the comics, Negan kills Glenn with his weapon of choice, a baseball bat covered in barbed wire named Lucille. Of course, whether or not the show will follow the comics is questionable, but whether they do or don’t, fans should expect a major character death at the hands of Negan.
As for his appearance on the show? All we know so far is that he is the leader of a group known as the Saviors, and that he’s already causing problems with Daryl, Sasha and Abraham.
8. Ron Anderson (Austin Abrams)
Ron is the son of Pete and Jessie that most fans can’t stand, mainly as he appears to be a threat to the Grimes family.
Beginning the sixth season, Ron was having major issues coping with the death of his father, especially because it was at the hands of Rick. He and Carl got into a few fights during the first half of this season, and after receiving shooting lessons from both Carl and Rick, Ron stole ammunition and followed Carl with a gun just as the wall came down, foiling his eye-for-an-eye plan.
However, Ron didn’t give up there, and odds are, he’s still plotting something.
Last we saw Ron: he had attempted to kill Carl, who rather than reveal the truth, hid it from his father and Jessie and gave Ron a second chance. While it seemed as if Ron appreciated the gesture, the character’s instability should make fans nervous, especially for Carl and Rick’s lives.
7. Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus)
The ultimate fan favorite, Daryl is a lovable, kindhearted character who is the epitome of what it means to be un-killable. Of course, that doesn’t mean they won’t take everything from him.
Daryl spent quite a bit of time on his own during the first half of this season, something the character is more than familiar with. What didn’t feel familiar was his behavior towards potential recruits, as we see him parallel Aaron’s method and fail miserably, leaving him without a motorcycle, without his crossbow and alone. However, we did see the real Daryl come back when the couple said they were sorry to him as they made off with his things, to which he replied, “you will be.”
This potential foreshadowing is going to feel bittersweet, as I’m sure we’ll see his weapon and vehicle again, but I doubt the means through which we see them are going to be favorable.
Last we saw Daryl: he, Sasha and Abraham were stopped by Negan’s group on their return to Alexandria in what can only be described as a very bad situation. As far as what happens from there, your guess is as good as mine.
6. Rosita Espinosa (Christian Serratos)
Originally grouped with Eugene and Abraham, Rosita has acclimated to the new group well as a strong female character that looks out for her own and knows her way around a gun.
Rosita hasn’t changed much since the first time we met her; she has a tough exterior but can sympathize with others as well. She knows how to survive in the post-apocalyptic world, and she even strives to teach others as well, hoping to keep strength in numbers.
She and Eugene have a sibling relationship while she and Abraham have a sexual one, though that was left up in the air in the beginning of this season.
Last we saw Rosita: she was teaching a group of Alexandrians (and Eugene) how to use their weapons when she, Tara and Eugene ended up in a garage, walking in just a few seconds too late to save Denise. But now at least she might be able to stop a continuation of the brawl between Morgan and Carol when they wake up. So there’s that.
5. Sam Anderson (Major Dodson)
The young son of Jessie and Pete, Sam is exactly what you’d expect from a child living in the apocalypse; weak, confused and scared.
Still, he’s a liability to the characters, something that the audience has learned over the course of the beginning of this season. Sam refers to the walkers as “monsters,” and fears becoming one, something he thinks is happening to his mom. He won’t leave the upstairs, and is repeatedly asked to “be brave” by his mom. Though he tries, he’s unable to adapt, and the midseason finale opened and closed with Sam, showing just how detrimental childlike innocence is in this world.
Last we saw Sam: he was panicking as he joined the others in walking through a herd of walkers, drawing the attention of a few of them before the scene left us in a cliffhanger. Things aren’t looking good for same, and it’s very possible he just unwittingly cost himself, or one of his family members, a life.
4. Sasha Williams (Sonequa Martin-Green)
Sasha is a tough character who has dealt with a large amount of lost over the past few seasons, something that just appears to be moving past now.
Sasha plans to drive the car leading the walkers away from Alexandria, but is joined by Abraham, as the two of them appear to be in the same, uncaring, limbo-like state. However, when the two are left alone following the devastating events at Alexandria, Sasha appears to be brought out of this state by the similarities she sees between herself and Abraham.
With the loss of her boyfriend and brother in the past season, it took the longest for Sasha to move forward, but now that she appears to be doing so, all fans can do is hope it isn’t too little, too late.
3. Spencer Monroe (Austin Nichols)
Following the midseason finale, Spencer is the last standing Monroe family member, as his mother, Deanna, was just lost to a herd of walkers, though she went out with a bang.
Still, Spencer is nowhere near prepared enough to continue on with Rick’s group, though Rick was just asked by Deanna to look after him. Still, the audience still doesn’t know what happened to Spencer after the walls came down, as the last time we saw him was in the prior episode, “Head’s Up.”
Though Spencer may not yet be prepared, he’s willing, which could be an asset to the group.
Last we saw Spencer: he was attempting to get to a car outside of Alexandria to drive away the walkers, although the plan backfired when he needed to be saved by Tara and Rick. And though he was reprimanded, he claimed he was trying to help, perhaps foreshadowing a more successful attempt at helping in the future.
2. Tara Chambler (Alanna Masterson)
Tara’s journey in the apocalypse is admirable, especially considering her beginning.
We first met Tara back in season 4, in an episode titled “Live Bait,” in which we see Tara speaking with the Governor about her pre-apocalyptic life when she was training to be a police officer. Despite the lapse in judgment here, Tara has become a strong judge of morality, first shown when she helps Glenn get to his wife after the Governor dismantles the prison.
Since then, Tara has become a valuable asset to the group, vocal about right and wrong and essentially becoming the moral compass of the show.
Last we saw Tara: she was with Rosita and Eugene, too late to save her potential love interest, Denise, left alone with an unconscious Morgan and Carol. She just might need to put her moral compass to use when (and if) the two wake up, or things aren’t going to go well for anyone.
1. Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln)
The leader of his group, Rick is The Walking Dead character we’ve followed since the beginning, and ultimately the one that we trust the most.
Rick has undergone quite a transformation from his beginnings, moving from compassionate, appreciator of life to killing machine that cares only about his own. And despite the seemingly harsh means of survival, it’s hard to disagree with him after the group’s track record.
Rick knows what needs to get done and does so fearlessly. To date, he’s the strongest leader we’ve seen, and though last season’s mental break was frightening for Rick fans, he began this season with much more sanity.
Last we saw Rick: he was leading the group out of Jessie’s house through the herd of walkers, and Deanna left him with the responsibility to look after her son, Spencer, like one of his own. Will Rick change his ways and bring in Spencer? And if he does, will it be a costly decision?
Concerned for any of your favorite characters? Or do you have theories of your own? Share them in the comments below!