The Best and Worst ‘Walking Dead’ Characters This Week (March 12)

The Walking Dead _ Season 7, Episode 14
Gene Page/AMC
Lennie James as Morgan Jones. It was a toss-up whether to put Morgan on the 'Best' or 'Worst' list this week.

This week on The Walking Dead, it was time for another culling of the B-string. Watch out, auxiliary character who has previously been developed very little but is suddenly super important to the characters whose names people actually remember! First on the chopping block was Benjamin. As something of an adopted son to both Ezekiel and Morgan, Benjamin didn’t serve much purpose on the show other than to move along their character arcs, and move them along he did (particularly Morgan). With the current state of things on The Walking Dead, the best characters are the ones who move the story forward, while the worst are the ones who get stuck repeating themselves until they die.

This Week’s Best

Ezekiel has always come across as more pragmatic than cowardly in his dealings with the Saviors, but watching him give in to Gavin’s every demand was still beginning to get old. It was nice to see him stand his ground for a moment in the standoff over giving up his guns, and even nicer at the end of the episode to hear him agree with Carol that the Kingdom needs to prepare for a fight. It would help if Ezekiel would drop his community theater affectation a little more often, but it’s not as grating as the theatrics of, say, Negan, or really any of the other one-dimensional Saviors.

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Morgan may have over-corrected a bit this episode. It was a tricky decision whether to classify him as best or worst this week, but he was absolutely one of the two. What put him over the edge into the best category was the simple fact that he’s not boring anymore. The pacifism he adopted out in the woods always felt a little forced in its uncompromising nature, but this episode did an admirable job of demonstrating that his peaceful code was the only thing holding back the “Clear” psychosis. Morgan used his renewed bloodlust as an excuse to tear down a few of the structures of artifice that were stacking up and causing the Kingdom story to stagnate. He was in no mood to suffer Richard’s BS, choosing instead to murder him with his bare hands, which is…better, I guess? He also, rather bluntly, told Carol the truth about the deaths in Alexandria, which got her ready to fight again. He’s gone a little too far to the violent side of the spectrum all at once, but Morgan hasn’t lost it completely, so maybe he’ll become a character worth watching again as he tries to strike a balance.

This Week’s Worst

Richard’s monologue about his wife and child was almost enough to bump him up to a dishonorable mention this week, but not quite. Once again, as with the idea to frame Carol, Richard’s plan to draw the Kingdom into war was laughably overwrought. Honestly, has Richard ever met a Savior? Killing people for other people’s missteps is kind their thing. It seems like that’s been pretty firmly established at this point. Why Richard thought he would be the one punished for provoking the Saviors is a mystery. The upsides to the kooky Rube Goldberg effect he set in motion were that it ended up triggering Morgan to lose his long-maintained pacifist composure, and that Richard effectively removed himself from the loop he was stuck in of antagonizing the Saviors in the least practical ways imaginable.

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He who shall henceforth be known as “rat-faced prick” in honor of Benjamin, the throwaway character he shot to get the Kingdom into the war, Jared is the most unlikable and least interesting member of a group full of unlikable, uninteresting people. All he has ever done is provoke the Kingdom for no particular reason, and this week he became so insufferable that even his deadpan boss Gavin couldn’t deal with him anymore. Jared is in desperate need of a sharp stick in the eye, which Morgan might be willing to provide for him as we walks back to the Savior camp.