Sometimes The Walking Dead survivors make really bad calls. It’s actually kind of amazing so many of them are still alive as we approach Season 4, considering how many times they’ve made faulty assumptions, emotional decisions, failed to think things through, failed to act when necessary, and just stirred up unnecessary trouble. You might argue that some of the following decisions weren’t “bad” or you might add others that we didn’t mention, but these are decisions we would not have made even at the time, never mind with the benefit of hindsight.
Assuming Rick Was Dead
OK, let’s say you can’t get into that hospital on Season 1 to see if Rick is dead or undead or what. Maybe instead of just assuming he’s dead, Shane could tell Lori he didn’t know. He figured Rick was probably dead, but don’t put nails in a coffin you’re not even sure exists. Suggest they go back, when they can, to check or look for evidence or even try to put down zombie Rick if they assume he turned. It’s not like they were a hundred miles away.
Sleeping With Your Husband’s Best Friend
Even if Rick was dead dead — not just assumed dead — it’s only been a few months since this whole thing started. Lori should not be jumping into bed with her husband’s best friend and that best friend should show more respect for his dead buddy. Yeah, the world may be ending, but did they even have a mourning period?
Not killing Morgan’s Wife
This is a tough one, but you can’t just let your loved ones hang out as walkers. We saw it with the relatives in Hershel’s barn, we saw it with The Governor’s daughter, and before that we saw it with Morgan’s wife. He couldn’t put her down, even though she was just shuffling around outside their house all the time. We later learned on Season 3 that it led to even more tragedy. Morgan’s wife ended up biting their son, Duane, and then Morgan put her down ,but by then it was too late for Duane. Morgan went crazy from grief. Hopefully we’ll see him again, but he’s going to be haunted by what he could’ve done.
Going Into Atlanta
It’s hard to really diss Rick for riding that poor ill-fated horse into Atlanta, since it introduced us to our beloved group, but wow what a dumb move. Atlanta was overrun, and even though he didn’t realize that, he was completely unprepared for meeting even half a dozen walkers, not an entire city of them. Thank heaven for Glenn.
Leaving Merle on the Roof
Merle earned a cuffing on the roof with his attacks on T-Dog — someone had to shut him up — but leaving him up there, then returning to see if he’s still alive? Not a smart strategy, and not just because it led Merle to join Team Woodbury, causing all kinds of problems for Team Prison.
Leaving Sophia on Her Own
This was a bad call from Rick — to tell this terrified little girl to just hang tight alone while he dealt with zombies. But it was also frustrating to watch Carol do nothing, deferring to Rick to handle it. Jump in there and help your daughter! No one should’ve just left Sophia alone, but because of that call, Season 2 became all about finding her.
Herding Walkers Into a Barn
For heaven’s sake, Hershel! Finding and herding walkers into a barn, keeping them like pets, in case a cure emerges? Sophia was in that stupid barn the whole time and no one knew since they didn’t even have a good walker inventory system. Silly.
Shane Staying With the Grimes Family
Shane took a lot of heat — especially after he sacrificed Otis, losing his hair and a good portion of his humanity — but he was a good leader until Rick returned. Then he became part of this sad little love triangle that hurt everyone around them. If only Shane had listened to Andrea and left with her. They didn’t belong with that group, and they could’ve gone off together (and maybe with T-Dog to take him to the coast). Both Shane and Andrea might still be alive now if they had just tried their luck away from this unappreciative group.
Bringing Randall Back to Camp
Sometimes our group can be annoyingly indecisive. They don’t want to kill someone, but they don’t want to help him either. They should’ve just killed Randall quickly when he was injured during that attack with the bar group. Instead they brought him back to the farm and there was this whole back and forth over killing him or not. Dale argued to save him, but the group wanted him to die, then Rick changed his mind, then Shane pretended to leave with him and killed him anyway. Cruel and unusual punishment.
Carl Baiting the Walker Who Later Bites Dale
So much can be blamed on Carl, especially during Season 2 when he took Daryl's gun, headed into the woods, threw rocks at a walker, attempted to shoot it, and basically motivated it to get itself free. It did get free, and even though Carl was able to escape, he didn't tell anyone about the walker and he didn't finish the job of killing it. That same walker returned and attacked Dale, leading to his death. This is why you need to keep an eye on Carl!
Lori Egging on the Shane vs. Rick Feud
You can’t have it both ways, girl. On one hand, she told Rick that Shane was dangerous and needed to be stopped. And then she thanked Shane for protecting her and Carl and getting them out of Atlanta, apologizing for their fling fallout. She didn’t even know whose baby she was carrying. Shane felt he could do a better job as a husband/father and it prompted him to lay the Randall trap to get Rick alone, leading to their standoff. Then after Rick killed Shane, Lori was so horrified and shocked as if she had no part in getting the two best friends to turn on each other.
Carl Shooting Shane, Drawing the Herd
Rick killed Shane by stabbing him, but Shane reanimated and Carl put him down with a gunshot. Normally this would be a good thing — and great aim there, Carl! — but this is why it’s best to kill walkers with knives, katanas, crossbows or anything quiet. There just so happened to be a huge Atlanta herd passing by, and maybe our group could’ve gotten away with the first shot when the gun went off as Rick stabbed Shane, but it seemed like the second shot — Carl’s shot — was what really drew the herd to the farm. The walkers veered through the property and overran the place, leading to multiple deaths and forcing our group back out on the road. Guns are bad, kids!
Leaving Andrea Behind
Andrea had every right to be pissed at the farm group. She saved Carol’s life, then Carol got saved by Daryl and they left the overrun farm. But no one saved Andrea. They drove off without her, then just assumed she was killed. It was so callous. Thank heaven Michonne was there in the woods to save her, but anyone who gave Andrea crap for being mad at Team Prison has a selective memory.
Not Killing Andrew
This is another case of the group going halfway when they need to either do nothing or go all the way. There were five guys in the prison, and during a fight with them Rick killed a few and kept a few, but left angry, violent Andrew alive with a bunch of walkers. He didn’t die. He didn’t run. He got even. He sabotaged the place and let the walkers into the prison, where they wreaked havoc, led to T-Dog’s death, and triggered Lori’s labor, which took her life.
T-Dog Never Going to the Coast
In our hearts, T-Dog did go east toward the coast, like he talked about. No one ever listened to him since he didn’t have family or a partner in this buddy system. Everyone else had someone, even Glenn eventually coupled with Maggie. T-Dog was overruled all over the place and he ended up giving his life to save Carol. He deserved better.
Scaring Away Tyreese’s Group at the Prison
Rick went crazy, and you can’t really blame him too much for losing it because of his grief — although, it’s not like he’s the only one who has lost someone. His own son had to put his mom down and you didn’t see him having visions or getting phone calls from the dead. Not exactly great leadership. But Rick established himself as The Ricktator, so when he scared away Tyreese’s group, preventing them from becoming new members of Team Prison, it pushed them over to Woodbury where they ended up helping The Governor. Eventually Tyreese and Sasha got uncomfortable with the big Woodbury vs. Prison battle, but a lot of time and blood could’ve been spared if the other members of Team Prison had exercised some kind of veto power or staged a coup to accept the newbies.
Andrea Picking Woodbury and The Governor Over Michonne
Poor Andrea. Just when she looked like an underdog worth rooting for, she fell in love with the wrong guy — we hated that tired soap opera plot, by the way — and let the woman who saved her life head out into the walker world on her own. No real friend would ever do that. This is why people ended up disliking Andrea so much. She picked the comfort of Woodbury and some random guy she found attractive over her friend. Michonne saved her life, and they spent months together — months we didn’t get to see since there was a time jump between Season 2 and Season 3. Even if Andrea didn’t agree with Michonne’s gut instinct about The Governor and Woodbury, she owed Michonne more loyalty. And of course, Michonne turned out to be right.
Pretty Much Every Decision Merle Ever Made
Merle was a walking bad decision, but he still ended up being lovable enough to be a truly tragic loss. He should’ve shut his mouth on that Atlanta roof instead of antagonizing his own group to the point where they felt like they had to cuff him to keep him calm. Yeah, he had a right to be ticked at being left on that roof and we can’t blame him for running to The Governor when he had no one else. It’s not like Andrea abandoning Michonne; Merle was on his own. But he went beyond the call of duty to abduct Glenn and Maggie, and bring them to Woodbury. He really didn’t need to beat the crap out of Glenn to get Daryl’s location, and even though The Gov wanted him to kill Michonne, he failed and then lied to The Gov about failing. He earned himself a ton of enmity all over the place and put Daryl in an impossible position. Merle never found footing with Team Prison and he even abducted Michonne to take her to The Governor. He changed his mind and gave his life for the group, but if only he had been less Merle-ish he could’ve stayed with the Atlanta group the whole time or at least returned to them if he hadn’t blown it with Glenn, Maggie, and Michonne. Oh Merle.
There have been so many bad decisions made in the past three seasons, but what would you add or take away from this list?
The Walking Dead Season 4 premieres on October 13 at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.