It’s never easy taking a human life. Even if that human is just an undead version of his or her former self. Look at the toll it took on Rick Grimes and his fellow Walking Dead survivors who were forced to shoot, impale, and chop down endless walkers. But if you think killing ever becomes routine or that after awhile, none of the victims would stand out, you’d be wrong. Here are ten kills from Season 1 that neither the characters nor the audience will ever forget.
1. Rick Shoots the Little Girl
“Don’t be afraid,” Rick tells the little girl in the opening scene of the pilot. Yet when she turns to reveal a torn left cheek dripping blood, Rick himself must face the fear and, once she charges him, put her down with a bullet. This kill is unforgettable for two reasons: 1. It dares to go where most zombie kills don’t: little kid territory. 2. It sets the a merciless tone that the rest of the series then follows.
2. Morgan Shoots a Walker Point-Blank
Morgan demonstrates slightly less hesitation when called upon to keep loved ones safe. After Duane, Morgan’s son, nearly knocks Rick out with a shovel blow to the head, Morgan matter-of-factly place his gun behind a nearby walker’s head and fires. The callousness of Morgan’s kill shocks Rick. But for those in the know, Morgan’s gunshot is a reality check. This world has new rules of survival.
3. Rick Beats Down a Walker in the Front Yard
Rick demonstrates he’s a quick learner when he squares off against one unlucky walker. Armed with a baseball bat, he emerges from Morgan’s house to find a geek camping on the lawn. Striking repeated (and sickeningly loud) to his target’s head, Rick vents recent frustrations — along with any doubt that these things really are people too.
4. Rick Shoots His Deputy
Returning to the police station to bathe and stock up, Rick encounters fellow deputy Leon Bassett, of whom, he admits, he “didn’t think much.” Still, making the decision to kill him cannot have been an easy one. One thing’s for certain: Leon’s slow collapse to the ground after being shot, his fingers helplessly gripping the chain-link fence, makes this one noteworthy walker death.
5. Morgan Takes Aim
Sure, Morgan is no slouch when killing walkers at close range but he’s also a crackerjack sniper. Hoping to lure his wife to her second death, Morgan takes down a number of walkers near his house with deadly accuracy. Sadly, his emotions get the best of him when his wife shows up. He can’t kill her, which makes the previous shooting all the more powerful.
6. Rick Shoots Bicycle Girl
Sometimes the most gruesome walker kill can also be the most compassionate. Such is the case with Bicycle Girl, who Rick first stumbles upon after leaving the hospital. With her sun-bleached skin, corroded face and skeletal legs, she’s no threat to humanity. But Rick returns to put her of her misery. “I’m sorry this happened to you,” he says before pulling the trigger. It’s a moment of humanity in a world where that’s hard to sustain.
7. Rick Kills a Walker With His Axe
After smearing themselves with walker guts, Glenn and Rick make their way though a crowd of unsuspecting undead as the two make their way to cubevan they hope will be their getaway vehicle. When rain washes off the intestinal smell and the walkers take notice, Rick takes matter into his own hands. With one swift chop, he axes one walker’s head in two and buys himself and Glenn time to escape.
8. Daryl Shoots a Walker Head in the Eye
The walker munching on deer corpse exemplifies walker tenacity. Not only does he manage to trek from Atlanta, he also survives four humans beating him with shovels followed by decapitation. When the head lives on, Daryl fires an arrow into its eye.
9. Andrea Says Goodbye to Amy
The most emotional kill so far comes when Andrea chooses to spend the final few tear-jerking minutes with her infected sister Amy instead of killing her immediately. Not until Amy turns does Andrea squeeze the trigger. She proves her toughness doing what even Morgan could not. Worse yet, she does it face-to-face.
10. Daryl’s Final Walker Decapitation
With all due respect to his crossbow, Darryl is just as proficient with an axe when it comes to eliminating walkers. As the survivors flee the self-destructing CDC, Daryl pauses only long enough to take a baseball-like swing at a walker, instantly decapitating it. And while walker heads have survived without bodies before, the ensuing explosion undoubtedly finished the job.
Which Season 1 walker kill is most memorable for you? Vote in the poll below, then justify your reasoning in the comments section.
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