The Top 10 Walking Dead Episodes of All Time

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The Walking Dead is an AMC television adaptation from showrunner Scott Gimple pulled from the pages of the hit Image comic series by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard. The series stars Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, Danai Gurira, Khary Paton, Lauren Cohan, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Chandler Riggs and Melissa McBride. Season eight will debut October 22, 2017.

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Based on the comic book series written by Robert Kirkman, this gritty drama portrays life in the weeks and months following a zombie apocalypse. Led by police officer Rick Grimes, his family and a group of other survivors find themselves constantly on the move in search of a safe and secure home. But the pressure each day to stay alive sends many in the group to the deepest depths of human cruelty, and Rick discovers that the overwhelming fear of the survivors can be more deadly than the zombies walking among them.


When The Walking Dead returns for season 8 this coming Sunday, October 22, 2017, it will be the 100th episode of the series! In celebration of this huge landmark, I’ve decided to rank my 10 favourite episodes of the series so far.

MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD

#10. No Sanctuary (Season 5, Episode 1)

Director: Greg Nicotero

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Otherwise known as the episode where Carol went Rambo and saved the frikken day, and everyone else for that matter by launching a solo assault on the cannibal compound that is holding Rick and crew hostage. This was an amazing episode not only for the amount of action and violence that is has, but also because of the emotional reunions that happen at the end. Rick and Carl discover that baby Judith was in fact alive and fans’ hearts all over the world melted when Daryl hugged Carol. It was the perfect episode to open a season and bring everyone together after various characters were split up in season four.

#9. Live Bait (Season 4, Episode 6)

Director: Michael Uppendahl

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After a slow opening, season 4 kicked into gear when it shifted to a multi-episode arc focusing solely on the villainous Governor so we could find out what happened to the dude after Woodbury was burned to the ground. Two reasons why I love this episode – 1) The opening scene has the best musical moment of the series, featuring The Last Pale Light in the West by Ben Nichols and 2) We get to sympathise with the show’s big bad and see the world from his point of view. There hasn’t been a better use of music since this episode and I love how it also adapts some great bits from the novel series written by Jay Bonansinga.

#8. The First Day of The Rest of Your Life (Season 7, Episode 16)

Director: Greg Nicotero

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We waited WAY too many episodes to see Shiva the tiger in action, but it was well worth the wait. You didn’t really think Negan was going to crack Carl’s skull did you? I loved this finale – easily the strongest season closer in several seasons for the series. We saw a major character die in shocking fashion (one of the few twists that worked better on the show than it did in the comic) and for the first time all season we saw the good guys get one over on the evil Saviours. It was the first battle of many to come (in season 8’s All Out War storyline) and did I mention that a tiger kills some dudes?

#7. Guts (Season 1, Episode 2)

Director: Michelle MacLaren

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The second episode of the series works best as a companion to the pilot. If you’re looking for a wicked Halloween movie to throw on in October, just pop on the first two episodes of The Walking Dead for one of the best zombie “movies” of all time. After Rick escapes death and meets up with Glenn for the first time, the two hatch a plan to rub zombie gore all over themselves in order to sneak through a herd of the undead. This episode was loaded with action, Michael Rooker (hell yes to more Rooker) and is paced wonderfully, getting fans a good look at how cities fall during the zombie apocalypse.

#6. Beside The Dying Fire (Season 2, Episode 13)

Director: Ernest R. Dickerson

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Look. If there hadn’t been a farmhouse zombie invasion on The Walking Dead, then they’d be criticised for doing it wrong. Shortly after Rick and Carl kill Shane, they realise that a walker herd is about to descend upon their peaceful little ranch and eat the shit out of Herschel’s family. This was one helluva chaotic episode, loaded with action, fire, Herschel’s never-ending shotgun clip and complete anarchy. I legit wasn’t sure who was going to make it out of this situation alive – because nobody was prepared for this assault.

#5. Killer Within (Season 3, Episode 4)

Director: Guy Ferland

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Yes – this is the episode that spawned an endless flurry of Coral memes (see above), but it was also the most heart-breaking and emotionally exhausting episode of the series to date when it aired. Seriously you’re going to do THAT on episode FOUR? I think this was the moment when fans realised that NOONE was safe on the series and at literally any time, your favorite characters could die horribly. Carl had to shoot his own mother in the face, minutes after giving birth to his baby sister. The scene when Rick realises what his son just went through, is easily the best chunk of acting that Andrew Lincoln has done in his career and it’s a crime he hasn’t been recognised for an Emmy.

#4. No Way Out (Season 6, Episode 9)

Director: Greg Nicotero

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When a massive herd of walkers manages to breach the walls of Alexandria, fans were left wondering if Rick and crew would ever be able to remain in one place for more than a season… This episode, which should have been the mid-season finale (the episode before this one was a punk ass tease…), is one of the most violent and terrifying in series history. We revisit the ‘Guts’ method, as our survivors venture into the swarm of zombies to make their escape, only for the littlest one to freak out and get eaten to death in front of his mom and brother. That scene was fucked up even for The Walking Dead, and we’ve seen kids die on this show before. What follows is absolute mayhem as Carl gets shot in the face, Michonne stabs another kid to death for shooting Carl, Rick hacks off his girlfriend’s arm to prevent her from dragging his son into the herd… It was a complete nightmare. And I loved it.

#3. The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be (Season 7, Episode 1)

Director: Greg Nicotero

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The season seven opener… The episode where we all finally got to see who Negan murdered to death with his beloved barbwire laced baseball bat ‘Lucille’. Again — should’ve been a season finale but the writers decided to jerk fans around with the worst cliffhanger in the history of television. That’s OK though, because they followed through with what has to be the most uncomfortable hour of TV I’ve seen since the Red Wedding on Game of Thrones. Jeffrey Dean Morgan killed it, literally, as he chewed up the screentime and smashed the faces of not one, but TWO beloved main characters. Abraham (who should’ve died a few episodes earlier…) and Glenn (yes – just like the comics in issue 100) were beaten to bloody, gory pulps of meat. Some fans thought this one went too far, but I have to disagree – it was necessary to take the wind out of Rick’s sails and show him that he’s not invincible. Plus – the death of Glenn has to be the most disgusting scene of television in 2016 (maybe ever). I’m a sucker for pushing the envelope and Greg Nicotero (the best director in TWD history) went for it. No fucks given.

#2. Too Far Gone (Season 4, Episode 8)

Director: Ernest R. Dickerson

“Kill them all!” uttered the Governor, right after he hacks off the head of Herschel and proceeds to launch a full assault on the prison. This episode was insane – an incredible and scary display of power from a villain that wasn’t nearly as frightening as he should have been back in season 3. This was the moment comic fans had been anxiously waiting for and it did not disappoint. In the comics, it was Tyreese who got the samurai sword decapitation but writers wanted to give that honour to the beloved Herschel, who became vastly more liked on the show than in the comic books.

#1. Days Gone By (Season 1, Episode 1)

Director: Frank Darabont

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The first ever episode of The Walking Dead is a masterpiece. The extended opener, directed by Frank Darabont, is a work of art. As I said earlier, this episode alongside the follow-up ‘Guts’ makes for one of the best zombie movies of all time. From the first time Rick encounters the little zombie girl holding her bloody teddy bear, all the way to the end when Rick rides his horse into the city and gets swarmed by a herd of the undead — ‘Days Gone By’ is just the perfect episode. I can re-watch all of the episodes on this top 10, but the first one will always be my favourite. I’ll never forget seeing it for the first time when it aired and just being overjoyed to see one of my favourite comic books come to life. Darabont adapted the comic with absolute precision too, delivering a show to the world that would forever change the landscape of zombies in both film and television.

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Editor-In-Chief of Fox Force Five News. I had a zombie cameo on the opening page of The Walking Dead issue #91, where I was killed with a machete... It was awesome.