It’s almost Halloween again, and that means costumes, candy, and a brand new batch of The Walking Dead episodes. Over the course of eight seasons, AMC’s horror/drama hybrid has thrilled and chilled audiences with complex characters, sharp writing, intense storylines, and some of the goriest zombie-killing sprees ever put to screen.
However, just like every televised sensation, The Walking Dead isn’t immune to making a mistake or two. Although the first episode of season eight was promising, the show has been known to stumble before. Things such as rushed stories, half-baked characters, and deviating from the source material have led to some mixed results, and when The Walking Dead is scrambling for ideas, it shows.
For a series that’s been on as long as The Walking Dead has, we understand that it’s hard to come up with fresh ideas every season, but the following storylines have led casual audiences and hardcore fans alike to cringe, moan, and ask themselves: “what were they thinking?”
Here are the 15 Storylines The Walking Dead Wants You To Completely Forget About.
15. The Wolves
With each passing season, the villains in Walking Dead seem to get bigger, badder, and crazier; Negan is obviously the height of this trend with his charismatic potty mouth and infectious swagger. However, along with Shane and the Governor, TWD has a long list of eccentric, well-developed antagonists… and then there are the Wolves.
For the majority of season five, anticipation of the Wolves kept growing. Characters would hear about them from frightened travelers or see their name ominously spray painted across a building. Then, after weeks of anticipation, the Wolves finally showed up… only to be killed off in the very next episode.
Aside from causing a brief ruckus in Alexandria, the Wolves are a complete letdown, a group of unorganized scavengers whose goals and motivations are never fully explained. The only redeeming element of this forgotten storyline is their leader, Owen, who is given at least a little characterization before he’s torn apart by a group of walkers.
14. Carl Shoots the Woodbury Kid
Carl has had a lot of ups and downs during his time on The Walking Dead. He’s been shot (twice), lost an eye, killed his own mother, and launched a sneak attack on Negan. Though Carl’s done a decent amount of good, he’s also had his share of missteps, one of which being the time he straight-up murdered a frightened Woodbury kid.
A lot of fans forget, but there was a time in season three where the writers were toying around with the idea of making Carl a full blown sociopath. When he has the chance to take a frightened Woodbury kid prisoner, Carl instead shoots him in cold blood without a moment’s hesitation.
Though Hershel tries to tell Rick what his son has done, Rick simply shrugs it off, and so does the show. The event is almost immediately ignored and never brought up again, leading to almost zero consequences for Carl and his questionable actions.
13. Heath Goes Missing
One of the biggest problems of The Walking Dead in recent seasons is the overabundance of throwaway side characters. Every new episode seems to bring another random group of faces we can barely remember in the next episode.
Such is the case with Heath. As with most of the survivors, Heath’s specialty is supply running, which is why he tags along during Tara’s excursion to find weapons and supplies for the Saviors. During their time away, Heath gets overrun by a group of zombies, and while at first thought to be dead, Tara later finds out that her friend may have gotten away to resurface someday.
The only problem is that Heath’s character is one that audiences barely care about; we doubt that a lot of viewers even remember who this guy is. With almost nobody chomping at the bit to solve the mystery of his whereabouts, we doubt we’ll see Heath’s face anytime soon.
12. Andrea and the Governor’s Romance
Though the apex of TWD is zombie debauchery, that doesn’t mean it’s devoid of all romance. However, while fans have embraced couples like Glenn and Maggie, Rick and Michonne, or even Abraham and Sasha, they weren’t as receptive to Andrea and the Governor’s contrived affair from season three.
After falling for his rugged good looks, Andrea starts shacking up with Woodbury’s esteemed leader. Of course, the romance quickly turns venomous when the Governor begins to question Andrea’s loyalty. Once Andrea realizes she’s sleeping with a complete sociopath, she quickly makes a dash for Rick’s prison with the Governor hot on her heels.
It leads to one of the most unbearable episodes of The Walking Dead, as the Governor chases Andrea through the woods, chases her on the road, chases her in an abandoned building… you get the idea. What’s worse is that, at the end of it all, Andrea ends up dying anyway, making the botched relationship a complete time waster in hindsight.
11. Nicholas’s Redemption
In season five, fans met Nicholas, a self-absorbed coward who would throw his own mother into a pit of walkers if it meant his survival. His annoying narcissism made him loathed among audiences, especially when he had the nerve to try and kill fan-favorite Glenn.
After his attempt on Glenn’s life fails, Glenn surprisingly lets Nicholas live with the hope that he can become a better human being. At first, Nicholas seems incredibly humbled, doing his best to step up and make sure Glenn knows he’s changed his ways.
Unfortunately, Nicholas doesn’t have much time to work on his redemption song; he dies in the beginning of the very next season. After realizing he’s boxed into a corner by a group of walkers, Nicholas raises his gun to his head and blows his brains out right in front of Glenn. It makes his half-baked redemption arc seem meaningless in retrospection, leaving the audience to wonder: why bother?
10. Lizze Kills Her Sister
After the Governor’s devastating attack on the prison, the survivors splinter off into several smaller groups. While this led to some entertaining storylines, such as the arrival of Abraham and Eugene, it also led to some lackluster time-wasters, such as Carol, Tyreese, Lizzie, and Mika’s attempt at domestic life.
When the four stumble on a cozy cabin in the woods, Carol and Tyreese seriously consider staying there instead of moving forward in search of the rest of the group. Things take a turn for the worse, however, when the psychologically disturbed Lizzie stabs her sister to death for her inability to realize that walkers are truly dead.
After realizing what Lizzie’s done, Carol tearfully puts the little girl out of her misery. It’s a drab storyline that’s too depressing, even by Walking Dead standards. By this point, Carol had been through enough, and this dark twist of fate just seemed mean-spirited.
9. Morgan Takes Benjamin Under His Wing
There’s no shortage of father/son relationships on The Walking Dead; arguably, the best parts of Carl’s frustrating storyline are the moments when Rick is trying to teach him a thing or two. However, not all apprenticeships on The Walking Dead are rewarding, especially the one between Benjamin and Morgan.
After becoming part of the Kingdom, Morgan is asked by King Ezekiel to give guidance to Benjamin, a young whippersnapper whose dad died fighting for Ezekiel. At first, Morgan is hesitant, but after getting to know Benjamin, takes him under his wing. Morgan starts teaching Benjamin his aikido fighting style, as well as his peaceful views on life.
Unfortunately, it’s all for nothing, as Benjamin winds up getting shot in the leg a few episodes later. Narratively, his death should have been the jolt Morgan needed to get back into the fight, but he doesn’t do so until later and for different reasons, so the point of their relationship was what, again?
8. The Andersons
Nobody likes melodrama, especially in a show set during a zombie apocalypse. However, for whatever reason, the writers of The Walking Dead see it fit to keep introducing ham-fisted storylines that are high on sappy theatrics and short on zombie-slaying. Such was the case with the introduction of the Andersons, an annoying nuclear family that irritated fans and made binge-watchers want to reach for the remote.
First, there was the whole storyline with Pete, a drunk, abusive father who seemed to come straight out of a Hallmark movie of the week. Then there were his two annoying kids, one who selfishly blamed Rick for the death of his father, and the other a walking panic attack.
Needless to say, the writers finally realized their mistake, killing off the Andersons in one glorious, cathartic zombie attack. Thankfully, the only thing remembered from this mess of a story was Carl getting shot in the eye.
7. Daryl and Beth’s Woodland Adventure
Fans can’t stand filler episodes, and nothing screams “filler episode” more than Daryl and Beth’s woodland adventure in season four. The low point of the post-prison episodes, “Still” is 45 minutes of excruciatingly boring dialog with almost a complete absence of any walker action– no one would blame you if you skipped through this one.
After the catastrophic events at Rick’s prison, Daryl and Beth are separated from the rest of the group. They wander endlessly throughout the woods, scavenging supplies and learning a little bit about each through dramatic monologues and revealing outbursts.
Though the character work is commendable, this storyline is mostly a big, long snoozefest. We learn that Beth never got to have her first alcoholic drink and that Daryl feels insecure about his difficult past– yawn. All of it just feels like a lethargic exercise to get across the finish line. The episode finally ends with Beth getting kidnapped by a mysterious group as the audience lets out a sigh of relief.
6. Gregory’s Power Struggle
There’s a long list of characters in The Walking Dead who should have died by this point in the show, and near the tippity top of that list is the Hilltop “leader,” Gregory. One of the most infuriatingly cowardly characters on the show– yes, even more so than Nicholas– Gregory has been a thorn in fans’ sides since his introduction in season six.
Essentially a lapdog to Negan’s right-hand man, Simon, Gregory is quick to lick the boots of the Saviors, a group who Gregory thinks he’s brokered a truce with. We all know Gregory is simply a placeholder until Maggie takes over– but why, oh why, is it taking the show this long to do it?
Gregory should have gone out at the end of last season with a baseball bat to the head, yet his annoying mug is still around in season eight. We all know that he’s eventually going to be written off in some fashion, so Walking Dead writers, pretty please, hurry this along.
5. The Search for Sophia
Another one of Walking Dead’s less favorable traits is stretching thin plots over a long period of time– a painfully long time– and nothing lasted longer than the notorious Sophia storyline in season two where Rick and company sat on a farm for a whopping 13 episodes.
Basically, season two hinged on the one pivotal question: what ever happened to Sophia? It takes a long while to get there, but we eventually discover that Sophia had been turned into a walker and chained up in Hershel’s barn. She’s finally discovered and then put out of her misery by Shane, who leads a small revolt against Rick’s authority.
In the meantime, we have our core group of survivors sitting on porches, setting up tents, doing laundry, goofing off, and not much else. A little downtime is always good for character development, but a whole season of sitting around can get a little frustrating.
4. Daryl is Taken Prisoner by the Saviors
Season seven started off with a bang, as both Abraham and Glenn met their grisly, bloody demise by way of Negan’s baseball bat “Lucille.” As punishment for Daryl socking Negan in the face, Negan batters Glenn’s face into oblivion and then hauls Daryl to the Sanctuary.
Just when it seemed like Daryl might have some narrative purpose again, sadly, his storyline with Dwight and the rest of the Saviors turned out to be a dead end. While it might have been fun to see Dwight’s methodical process (“Easy Street” will be forever stuck in our heads), Daryl really didn’t go through any significant transformation, and there’s only has a handful of scenes that touch on his responsibility for Glenn’s death.
Now that Daryl is back with Rick’s group and leading a full on assault on the Sanctuary, it’s as if his time there never happen at all. He’s still the same ol’ Daryl, something that has been getting tiresome for about four seasons now.
3. The Flu
Most fans hate the season that Rick and company are simply sitting on a farm, but that’s nothing compared to the season where everyone is just lying around and getting sick. At the start of season four, a freak swine flu starts to creep its way into the prison, causing many of the residents to fall ill from the disease.
It leads to half a season being a complete bore, as most of our favorite characters, including Glenn, are out of commission. We’re forced to watch as Hershel treats bedridden patients hacking up a lung, which is far less interesting than the normal zombie-killing routine.
Thankfully, there are a few redeeming moments hidden in the first half of the season, including Carol’s banishment and some nice character building moments with Rick and Hershel. On a whole, though, the “flu” storyline went on far longer than it needed to. At least the Governor finally showed up again to give the series a much needed jolt.
2. Tara’s Oath to Oceanside
Season seven is often cited as being one of the weakest seasons of Walking Dead. It’s not hard to see why– most of it involves Rick and company moping around until they get the nerve to stand up to Negan and the Saviors. Not a whole lot of interesting stuff happens in between, especially in the lackluster episode “Swear”.
For starters, the episode is completely dedicated to Tara, an otherwise decent supporting player, but by no means a character in which to focus an entire episode on. What’s worse is that the story introduces yet another community, Oceanside, one that couldn’t be less interesting or have any significance to the overarching story.
It’s tough to determine what the writers were thinking when they came up with this one. Because it focuses on characters we don’t care about, it lacks that emotional punch needed to resonate with viewers. Instead, it annoyed audiences enough to cause major backlash, which hopefully made AMC learn their lesson.
When it comes to lackluster storylines in The Walking Dead, there’s “Slabtown”, and then there’s everything else. “Slabtown” has no impact on the overall story, buying time until we’re finally given something more interesting to watch, which would pretty much be anything else.
The audience is subjected to the most half-baked storyline, as Beth is taken prisoner at an Atlanta hospital. She eventually strikes a friendship with Noah, another prisoner, while the rest of the group works to break her out.
The point of the story? We’re not sure. At first, it seemed like the writers were finally trying to flesh out Beth’s character, but then they just kill her off at the climax of the story anyway. Was the point to introduce any worthwhile new characters? Not really, as Noah subsequently dies in one of the most undeservingly brutal deaths the show has ever seen shortly after.
The only decent thing this storyline provided was Dawn, and that’s just because she was such an awful character that audiences couldn’t wait to see her meet her grim ending.
What do you think? Are there any other storylines in The Walking Dead that annoyed or bored you? Sound off in the comments!
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