Most Haunting Moments
Multiple Seasons, Various Episodes


Andrew Lincoln | © AMC

So, Rick's last episode is here. After all my worries about him since "Days Gone Bye," all these years to prepare, I'm still not ready. I'll survive, because there are so many other good people to continue on, but I will be broken for a while. Going through all these scenes again will probably just make it harder, but @WalkingDead_AMC asked about our favorite most haunting moments and four scenes immediately sprang to mind. Then they just kept coming. There are so many moments in The Walking Dead that are haunting and astonishing and deeply emotional. The list could go on for days. I'm sure there's one for every episode there is, but I'd never be able to get this done in time.

What Comes After (s9e5)

Andrew Lincoln | © AMC

"It feels like it's ending."

"It's not over. We don't die."

Rick's Final Episode
By the looks of it, this will be the most haunting moment in all of The Walking Dead, and TV in general as far as I'm concerned. With how much of the preview was dedicated to surreal scenes, it looks like it will be half dream sequence/hallucination of some of the most memorable situations he's been through and some of the most important people that he lost along the way, as he's dying of blood loss.

Will they tell him that it's okay to let go? That he's done his part to ensure the future? That the dead forgive him? That the living will go on? That Michonne will go on? He already told her that she could and that he could do the same, because it wasn't about just them anymore; that it was about ensuring a future, the most vital thing at the end of the world. Will he know that the people he brought through the apocalypse will never forget him? Does he realize that future generations will know his name? The show will give us all of that and more, giving us a sendoff worthy of the character of Rick Grimes and incredible emotions for Andrew Lincoln to play for one last moment of all these days gone bye.

Wrath (s8e16)

Andrew Lincoln | © AMC

"Dear Carl, I remember. I forgot who I was. You made me remember. I remember that feeling, walking with you that day, like I finally knew who I was for the first time in my life. Thing is, we were waking side-by-side, but you were bringing me somewhere. Bringing me here. Bringing all of us to the new world, Carl. You showed me the new world. You made it real. I see it. I remember. ~Dad"

Bleeding Under the Stained Glass Tree
Rick's eyes, even more haunted than in "The Day Will Come..." Red and sorrowful and distant. The eyes of someone completely broken and seemingly slipping away. These eyes were shown at the start of the season in "Mercy" (s8e1) and were teased a number of times throughout the season. When I say "teased," what I really mean is perfectly crafted emotional terrorism in a television format. I first thought that he was dying, that Carl or Michonne had died, that Negan had won. I was right about one of those things and it did break him. Carl was gone, but Rick took the revenge I had rooted for out on Negan...and then let him live. After every nasty thing Negan had done, Carl's last words were for mercy, a vision of a new world, and this distraught father needed to honor his son's memory. Under this tree, at the end of the war, those red eyes had cried over Carl, over the things Rick had to do, the things that were done to him and his people, every soul-crushing horror they went through to get to here.

Very many of my favorite scenes in The Walking Dead, rivaling all other series, involve Andrew Lincoln in anything deeply emotional and personal to the character that he gets to play, because he gives it his all and more. Every year, Lincoln was given more and more moments that played to his particular, natural, incredible human strength in laying his heart bare.

Honor (s8e9)

Andrew Lincoln, Chandler Riggs, and Danai Gurira | © AMC

"I love you, Carl. I love you so much. I'll make it real. I will. I will."
—Rick, through tears, to Carl as he lay dying

Time to Say Goodbye
I had stopped at ten moments, a nice even number for a list, but then I thought of another that I couldn't leave off when I was rewatching the scene in "No Way Out," Rick sitting by Carl's side, waiting for him to wake up. This one, Chandler Riggs' last episode, is a poignant parallel. Rick and Michonne's goodbyes to Carl were beautiful and could not have been more sorrowfully portrayed. This was one of those scenes that wasn't just saying goodbye to a character who had been so important, but one who had been there from the beginning. It's one where the sadness of losing a friend they'd worked so closely with for so long added weight to the actors' superb performances.

Carl getting bit is not something I saw coming. It was at that moment that I thought Rick would be broken beyond repair and that this was going to be Andrew Lincoln's way out of the show, if he'd been looking for one. Soon after, the rumor circulated and then it was confirmed that the beating heart of The Walking Dead from the very start was leaving. Lincoln will be missed terribly, but, luckily, the talent on this series is immense and there are so many stories left to be told.

The Day Will Come When You Won't Be (s7e1)

Andrew Lincoln | © AMC

"Pl–Pl–Please let us. He–He's our family, t–He's our family, too."
—Rick to Maggie

Whistling in the Dark
Blood on his face, terror in his eyes. I'll never forget Rick's thousand yard stare and uncontrollable trembling, on his knees before Negan. It was a traumatizing night there on the road, trying to get Maggie to the Hilltop when something went wrong with her pregnancy, the Saviors blocking them at every turn. The creepy, pulse-quickening whistling surrounding everyone, rounding them up. Negan like an inhuman monster from someone's fevered nightmare gleefully and brutally slaying Abraham and Glenn to show our people who's in charge. Rick lying on the roof of the RV, alone to think about the horrors of that night. Rick howling in agony when Negan told him to cut off Carl's hand. Everyone on the ground afterwards, shattered. Maggie getting up to tend to the body of her husband, exhausted and unsteady on her feet, through tears and hitching breaths, telling everyone to get ready to fight. Rick, Aaron, and Carl moving to help her with Glenn, devastation on all of their faces and in every movement. The entirety of this episode was a haunting and draining experience.

No Way Out (s6e9)

Andrew Lincoln | © AMC

Cast of The Walking Dead | © AMC

"When I was out there...with them...when it was over...when I knew we had this place again...I had this feeling. It took me a while to remember what it was...because I haven't felt it since before I woke up in that hospital bed. I wanna show you the new world, Carl. I wanna make it a reality for you."
—Rick to Carl

Alexandria is Overrun
Another episode that was nerve-wracking from start to finish. The escape attempt that saw Jessie and her boys gruesomely die by walker, people getting separated, Denise actually getting through to the humanity of Owen, one of the Wolves; and elsewhere Daryl, Sasha, and Abraham having a run-in with a group of Saviors. The moment that haunts me was when Rick, devastated after Carl had been shot, went back out to fight the dead alone. He was seeing red and it seemed nothing could have stopped him. Already overwhelmed in his grief over Carl, who didn't look like he would survive his wound, I was sure that Rick was going to be quickly overwhelmed by walkers. Then others started joining the fight, turning this tragedy into triumph as they beat back the wave in an expertly edited scene showing flashes of all the Alexandrians who put themselves on the line to help Rick and save their home. In the end, Rick is sitting by Carl's bedside for a beautiful, poignant moment. I had feared that this one was going to be Rick's last episode, had feared it in every episode, in fact, because he was such a vital part of the show and I couldn't imagine it without him; still hard to imagine that, although that time has come.

Them (s5e10)

Lauren Cohan, Steven Yeun, and Michael Cudlitz | © AMC

"After a few years of pretending he was dead, he made it out alive. That's the trick of it, I think. We do what we need to do and then we get to live. But no matter what we find in D.C., I know we'll be okay, because this is how we survive. We tell ourselves that we are the walking dead."
—Rick to the group

Walkers in the Storm
This is a fantastic, eerie sequence that reminds us that once in a while something will turn for the better. Just after Rick's moving "We are the Walking Dead" speech, Daryl stalks off and ends up by the barn door, where he sees in a flash of light that he has seconds to save them all. First Maggie notices Daryl struggling and then Sasha, and, one-by-one, everyone runs over to help bar the door against a group of walkers whose gurgles and growls were hidden by the oncoming storm. It's a hauntingly-scored scene where there are no words as the storm rages, as they desperately push back against the door while their feet slip in the mud, lightning lighting up the scene.

Then all their struggles are fantastically rewarded with a tornado taking the walkers and sparing the barn. What strength would they have had left to fight this horde after having been on the road so long? Where would they be now if a stranger hadn't then revealed he'd been following them and thought they were good people to have in his community, an offering of a true sanctuary?

What Happened and What's Going On (s5e9)

Chad L. Coleman and Tyler James Williams | © AMC

"You, you're dead. Everything that you were is dead. And it's–it's not over. I forgave her because it's not over. It's not over. It's–it's not over.
—Tyreese to his hallucination of The Governor

Letting Go
I know anyone can go at any time, but this is one of the most surprising. Tyreese was standing in a seemingly cleared room, looking at family photos of Noah and his brother. His sanity had been poked and prodded for a while, with the loss of his wife, Carol's confession, what happened with Lizzy and Mika, the brutality of how Rick and Sasha and Abraham got revenge on Gareth and the other Termites, and the loss of yet another survivor in Bob. So much weighed on him and he got distracted by those images of a life cut short, happier times that would never come again.

I know that anyone can go at any time, but I'm still not prepared for it, and this was one of the most surprising, especially since this big man was felled by a boy. It felt like he was letting go when the hallucinations started, but I never expected it to end like that. I had hope even then. I hoped they would get to him in time to amputate before infection set in, that they would get him home in time to close that wound. When the SUV that had been racing for home stopped in the road, that broke all of us. It was beautiful the way they shot it, everyone getting out of the vehicle, laying Tyreese's body on the ground, devastation clear even from yards away and in silence.

Four Walls and a Roof (s5e3)

Seth Gilliam | © AMC

"You don't know what it is to be hungry. You don't have to do this. We can walk away, and we will never cross paths again. I promise you."

"But you'll cross someone's path. You'd do this to anyone. Right? Besides, I already made you a promise."

No Mercy in God's House
The people from Terminus make a fatal mistake coming after our survivors again, and it was glorious and a little frightening. I was moved for a minute by their plight, but no one else we'd come across had turned to cannibalism. They ate Bob's leg, for fuck's sake! They were awful and somehow smug about it, and I was glad to see the last of them die. I was concerned, though, about what would happen to the humanity of our group: Glenn, Maggie, and Tara looking on in a sort of shock as Rick, Michonne, Sasha, and Abraham didn't just make it quick but took a sickening sort of revenge against the unarmed people at their feet; not unlike what happened to them later with the Saviors they had yet to cross.

Prey (s3e14)

David Morrissey and Laurie Holden | © AMC

"Come back with me. Come back to Woodbury. We need you. We all need you."
—The Governer to Andrea

Hide 'n' Seek
The Governor slowly pursuing Andrea through a building, whistling. I had chills for days when I saw this scene. It was so well-done, I felt anxious, like I was as trapped as Andrea was. Every movement could have been her last. And then for her escape to end how it did, so close to home, that was shocking. I kept willing Rick to keep looking, that what he saw out of the corner of his eye wasn't nothing.

Clear (s3e12)

Lennie James and Andrew Lincoln | © AMC

"We both started out in the same place. Things went bad for you, things went bad for me. I don't blame you, what you've lost, what you've been through. You're not seeing things right, but you can come back from this. I know you can. You have to. This can't be it. It can't be. You gotta be able to come back from this."
—Rick to Morgan

Sanity Slipping Away
Any time Morgan needs to "clear" is an impressive display of acting. Even though Lennie James has moved on to Fear the Walking Dead, in an incredibly well-executed crossover, Morgan's story is still going strong. He loses people and then he loses himself. It's sad to watch that happen, to see the pain eating away at his already shaky tethers to sanity, but it's encouraging and hopeful when he fights back, when friends do everything they can to bring him back, when he realizes he can't run away from himself and he can't live life avoiding getting close to people, because people are all that's left.

One of most impactful moments is the first time we see Morgan again after losing his son, after wondering all this time what happened to him since he saved Rick and they went their separate ways. When Rick broke through and convinced Morgan he wasn't someone "wearing a dead man's face," I had goosebumps. But when Rick couldn't convince Morgan to come with him, to find his way back, talking as much about himself as he was about Morgan, that was another thing entirely. They both had lost so much, and Rick was terrified of becoming Morgan. The difference is Rick didn't have to suffer alone with his grief.

Hounded (s3e6)

Andrew Lincoln | © AMC

"I thought there'd be time. There's never time. But I loved you. I love you. I couldn't put it back together. I should have said it. I should–I should have said it."
—Rick to an auditory hallucination of Lori

The Dead Calling
Two episodes after Rick collapsed in despair over Lori dying in childbirth, he answers a phone ringing in the prison. What he finds on the other end is unexpected hope, something to cling to...for a little while. But there was no one on the other end. It was merely Rick's sanity slipping away. If you ask me about someone being haunted, this is the moment I will always think of first. It would sit at the top of this list if I hadn't put everything in order. They really had me believing for a while that there were other survivors out there who were watching Rick's group and reached out, but it felt kind of strange and I wasn't sure why. ("Wait, how is the phone working? Nothing else is.") Finding out it was Rick's own mind breaking was so heartbreaking and was just one of many such moments previously and yet to come, yet still so memorable amongst the most memorable.

Pretty Much Dead Already (s2e7)

Norman Reedus and Melissa McBride | © AMC

"Enough risking our lives for a little girl who's gone! Enough living next to a barn full of things that are trying to kill us! Enough. Rick, it ain't like it was before. Now, if y'all want to live, if you want to survive, you gotta fight for it!"
—Shane to Rick and Hershel

Sophia Walks Out of the Barn
This was my first most haunting moment, the one that showed me this series wasn't playing around, that no one was safe, and that The Walking Dead would continue to make an emotional impact. It was so devastating. I never expected to see her again after all that time missing, and I certainly didn't expect her to be so close by. At that time, it was the saddest thing I'd ever seen and it was shot in a way to pull at every heartstring for Carol crying out for her daughter; for Daryl holding her back, his arm around her chest; for Carl losing his friend; for Laurie comforting her son; for Rick slowly, painfully raising his gun and firing at the poor, scared little girl that he had failed, another child that he had to put down.

I just thought of another scene and I don't have time to add it today. I don't remember the title, but the one where Rick had blood all over his mouth, like something unspeakable had happened. Sitting there on the ground against the truck, shaking and a lost look in his eyes. A masterful performance. And as I was writing that, I thought of the first episode, where Morgan couldn't kill his zombified wife. Hopefully, I'll get to these soon.



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