Though Daryl pretended to be as tough as leather, traveling companion Beth still saw right through to his tender heart. And when, in Season 4’s “Still,” she pushed him — hard — to admit that he’d actually felt the terrible losses that their group had suffered, he broke down and sobbed in a scene that was as devastating as the first time you ever saw your dad cry.
After Michonne dispatched the Governor’s zombified daughter in Season 3’s “Made to Suffer,” the nemeses engaged in a fight that was so brutal, had Andrea not intervened, it would have turned into one of the “to the death” variety. Instead, the only casualty of the showdown was the madman’s eye, gouged out by his opponent with a shard of glass from his walker aquarium.
8. It Happened One Night
Having seen how tight Rick and Michonne had become since their inauspicious meeting in Season 3, we shouldn’t have been so surprised by their sweet Season 6 hookup. Nevertheless, our jaws dropped — and our hearts swelled — when, in “The Next World,” they went without any warning from holding hands to kissing and from friends to lovers.
7. E-I-E-I-Oh No!
The odds had been against Sophia since she’d gone missing six episodes earlier. But Season 2’s “Pretty Much Dead Already” still packed an emotional wallop when Shane broke open Hershel’s barn, inadvertently revealing that among the walkers inside was Carol’s ill-fated daughter. By the time Rick put down the zombified little girl, we were as big a mess as her mom.
6. Girl, Interrupted
As if No. 7 hadn’t already put Carol through the wringer, just two seasons later, “The Grove” stranded her in the impossible position of having to kill Lizzie, the youngster to whom she’d become a de-facto mother. After the disturbed 12-year-old murdered her little sister to prove that walkers are people, too, Carol had no choice but to have her “look at the flowers.”
5. Labor of Love
It was painful enough to watch as Maggie was forced to perform an emergency C-section on Lori in Season 3’s “Killer Within.” But watching Carl, his baby face wet with tears, take in the whole horrifying scene was damn near impossible. Before the boy shot his late mom in the head in order to keep her from turning, we were crying out for an emotional epidural.
4. Shish Ke-Bob
Talk about adding insult to injury! In Season 5’s “Strangers,” the Termians not only made an Unhappy Meal of Sasha’s boyfriend — well, his leg, anyway — but the cannibals’ leader Gareth told their supper, “If it makes you feel any better, you taste much better than we thought you would.” Needless to say, it did not make Bob feel any better.
3. Batter Up
Even without knowing who would be struck out, as it were, when Season 7 kicked off, the moment that Negan took his first swing in Season 6’s finale, “Last Day on Earth,” was the stuff of nightmares. Hell, just anticipating the Saviors’ top dog using Lucille to beat the living daylights out of one of our heroes was enough to send us straight to Pee Pee Pants City.
2. The Living Dead
In arguably one of the cruelest fake-outs in TV history — but inarguably one of the most memorable — the show made it appear in Season 6’s “Thank You” that Glenn had become collateral damage of Nicholas’ suicide. In fact, so cleverly was the gory scene shot that we were even fooled into thinking that we had seen walkers tearing out Glenn’s innards.
1. Once Bitten
When Joe asked Rick in Season 4’s finale, “A,” “What the hell are you gonna do now, sport?” the answer he was looking for was probably something along the lines of, “Admit I’ve been beaten and stand by weeping quietly while your buddy here rapes my son.” And the answer Joe actually got? Rick returned the devil to hell by lunging forward and, walker style, biting into his jugular.