The Best and Worst ‘Walking Dead’ Characters This Week (Feb. 19)

The Walking Dead _ Season 7, Episode 10
Gene Page/AMC
Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon

In true Walking Dead fashion, this week’s list of best and worst characters holds some stunning reversals. Some characters who seemed to be getting their act together last week have completely gone off the rails, and others who seemed to be up to some shady business have now proven themselves to be among the most trustworthy.

The new group Rick, Michonne and the crew encountered, with their inappropriately primitive cavewoman speech and inexplicable porcupine-zombie garbage arena, would undoubtedly be on this week’s worst list, but so far, they’re more “plot device” than “character,” so we’ll deem them ineligible.

This Week’s Best

The reunion between Daryl and Carol this week was one of the most heartfelt moments The Walking Dead has been able to dredge up for quite some time (despite the fact that Carol is still being difficult, see below). Overall, it was a strong episode for Daryl, starting with the fact that he finally got his hands back on his weapon of choice, a crossbow. When Richard divulged his plan to frame some nameless drifter for taking out a Savior patrol, not only was Daryl smart enough to piece together that the drifter was Carol, but he was also unflinching in his resolve to put an end to Richard if any harm came to her. This impulse to protect Carol extended to protecting her from the knowledge of the many Alexandrian deaths, allowing Daryl to show off his compassionate side, along with his muscle.

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From the clues in last week’s episode, it was a reasonable bet that Gabriel wasn’t making off with Alexandria’s supplies without cause. The revelation that he had been kidnapped by this strange group of Mad Max-esque wasteland ruffians proved that Rick’s trust hadn’t been misplaced. Not only did Gabriel lead Rick and the others back to their supplies, but he also took the negotiations to the next level with a quick hostage-taking and some words of high praise for Rick’s abilities. This certainly got the attention of the warrior woman in charge, and it proved once again that Gabriel is all in with Rick’s cause.

Honorable Mention: Tara
Words of reason are never unwelcome on The Walking Dead, despite the fact that they tend to fall on deaf ears. Tara didn’t have a whole lot to say this week, but she said enough to counter Rosita’s recklessness. “We’re not looking for a fight right now, we’re preparing for one.”

This Week’s Worst

Rosita isn’t happy, that much is clear. After proving herself an asset with the explosives last week, she’s gone back to being a grumpy dunce who’d rather rush headlong into a conflict than get the resources she needs to put up a real fight. How’d that work out for Olivia and Eugene, Rosita?

It seemed for a while like Richard was the best hope viewers had of expediting the process of getting Ezekiel involved in the war effort. Now it seems like he might still help get the Kingdom in on the war, but only if he himself dies and Ezekiel gets mad about it. Richard’s plan to lure Ezekiel into war by killing Carol was not only immoral, but also, even more unforgivably illogical. Step 1: Kill Saviors. Step 2: Saviors Kills Carol. Step 3: ??? Step 4: War. If Richard believed that Carol’s death was the only thing that could get Ezekiel into the fight, why didn’t he just go kill Carol and frame the Saviors for it, instead of adding the extra complexity of framing Carol for killing Saviors so the Saviors would go kill her? Or better yet, if war really is the best solution, why didn’t he just skip Carol and start killing Saviors in the Kingdom’s name, forcing his community to fight whether it wanted to or not?

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Dishonorable Mention – Carol
At this point, Carol is a broken woman, unable to handle the loss of those she cares about or her own vengeful impulses. This could have been an affecting storyline had it been handled a bit more gracefully, but as things stand now, Carol’s hesitance is yet one more stumbling block that needs to be removed before any meaningful plot development can take place on the show. Carol has been hiding from reality out of a sense of self-preservation for long enough. If the current political landscape in the U.S. has proven anything, it’s that mental breaks are important from time to time, but withdrawing from the resistance entirely is not a responsible option.