For its first couple of seasons, The Walking Dead made it clear which characters were the heroes and which were the villains. The line between the good and the bad was clear and fairly indisputable, and it wasn’t until around season 3 that things started to get a little blurry.
Today, the main characters of the series are over ten years into the zombie apocalypse, so morals are a little ambiguous, and unfortunately, no one is as purely good as Glenn Rhee anymore. It’s even been stated several times by TWD executives that our favorite characters aren’t exactly the good guys anymore – at least not exclusively. Let’s take a look at our faves’ darkest moments, when the good guys became the bad guys.
10 Rick Abandons Orange Backpack Guy
In season 3 episode 12, “Clear”, Rick, Michonne, and Carl discover Morgan’s camp while searching for weapons to assist them in the war against the Governor. During this mission, the three also come upon a helpless-looking hitchhiker.
It’s understandable that trust is not something to take lightly in the post-apocalyptic world, but Rick – who’s driving the car – does not even give this hitchhiker a chance. He speeds past the orange backpack-wearing man without giving it a second thought, so at this moment, Rick and his people were most definitely the bad guys.
9 Carl Kills A Kid
In an infamous moment that took place in The Walking Dead‘s season 3 finale, Carl has a moment where he’s blinded by Rick-like recklessness and power, shooting an innocent Woodbury boy. This scene happened at the end of the war between the Governor and the Prison gang.
What makes this kill so despicable and completely unforgettable – as it was talked about all throughout the following hiatus – is that the Woodbury kid surrenders before Carl takes his life.
8 Rick And Co. Take Over Alexandria
In season 5, after battles with both the Terminus cannibals and Grady Hospital, the group heads to Virginia, where they are taken into the gated community called the Alexandria Safe Zone. The town and its leader, Deanna, extend a kind hand to our favorite characters, but they do not respond the way one might expect “good guys” to respond.
Instead of being thankful for the sanctuary, Rick and co. make aggressive moves to take over the community and coerce all of the citizens, who they view as being too naive, to follow Rick Grimes.
7 Turning Their Backs On Each Other
Season 9 opened after a year-long time-jump and presented the group living in separate communities, rather divided from one another but still in contact and working together to build a better world. Rick Grimes met his “demise” in episode 5, “What Comes After”, and this poses a significant rift between Alexandria and the other communities.
The tension brought out the worst in the communities, and this would lead to the Whisperers easily taking advantage and claiming several casualties thanks to the lack of unity.
6 Banishing Carol From The Group
This one’s on Rick, for having an inappropriate reaction to a tough situation. Carol’s banishment took place in the fourth episode of season 4, and what makes this even more infuriating is that Rick wasn’t even in a leadership position at this time. The reaction to Carol’s execution of two sick members of the Prison (Karen and David) should have been up to the Prison Council, which Rick was not a part of.
This storyline was soon overshadowed by the Governor’s attack on the Prison, and unfortunately, Rick was never really properly called out for his poor decision.
5 Invading Hershel’s Privacy
The fact that Hershel was using his barn as a “walker sanctuary” of sorts was obviously wrong and dangerous on many levels, but that didn’t give Rick’s group the right to take matters into their own hands, creating the unforgettable walker massacre in season 2’s midseason finale.
Glenn and Dale discovered the walker horde in the barn earlier on in the season and kept their mouths shut on the topic out of respect for Hershel, it was game over when Shane discovered the walkers. Of course, Hershel should not have been keeping walkers, but since they weren’t posing any imminent threat and Rick’s group were simply guests, killing the walkers really wasn’t their call.
4 Manipulating Oceanside
Season 7 put our characters in a spot that sent them to their wits ends, desperately trying to rally the troops to defeat Negan and the Saviours. After the events of the premiere, in which Negan infamously murdered Glenn and Abraham, Rick’s group was willing to do just about anything for revenge and justice.
Tara discovered the community of Oceanside in the sixth episode of season 7, “Swear”, but she agrees to keep the relationship peaceful. Oceanside does not appear again until the second half of the season when Tara brings in Rick and the others, who ultimately take extreme measures to manipulate the community of women into joining the fight against the Saviours.
3 Letting Alpha Slip Past Them And Kill Innocent Civilians
This particular incident was not technically the fault of anyone individually, but it happened because of the fact that the communities were so divided, no one really knew each other anymore. Alpha was able to slip right under the radar without raising any suspicion.
This would lead to the deaths of several minor characters, and some more major characters as well, such as Tara, Enid, and Henry.
2 Taking Advantage Of Lydia
Despite being taken in by Alexandria back in season 9, Lydia is still very much an outcast in the community due to her unfortunate background. Lydia obviously had a very toxic, problematic relationship with her mother, therefore she didn’t really have a choice in being a Whisperer, yet she’s still treated pretty poorly by most of the people in Alexandria.
In addition to this, the community’s main “use” of Lydia is to use her as a “human shield”, as Carol put it, since they’re confident that Alpha won’t destroy Alexandria as long as her daughter lives there.
1 Torturing Aaron
The second half of season 5 portrayed the group in a deep depression in the aftermath of the fight with both the Terminus cannibals and Grady Hospital. They were at a very low point when Aaron came upon them, but the way they reacted to his presence was still pretty cruel.
Aaron only wanted to offer them shelter in Alexandria, as he and his boyfriend, Eric, were the community recruiters at the time. The group did not respond in kind, and Rick ultimately tortured Aaron, both emotionally and physically.
NEXT: The Walking Dead: 5 Characters Who Got Better As The Show Went On (& 5 Who Got Worse)
Savannah Di Leo