The Walking Dead Villains: Who ISN’T The Worst? Part 5

Andrew J. West as Gareth, The Walking Dead -- AMC
Andrew J. West as Gareth, The Walking Dead -- AMC /
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The Walking Dead - AMC
Corey Brill as Pete Anderson, The Walking Dead — AMC /


“Pete? You’re actually gonna DEFEND Porchdick Pete?” …Yes.

Unlike a few people over this season and the previous one, I don’t believe that Pete is necessarily evil. Yes, he killed Reg, but, as I even said in my previous article, that wasn’t something Pete intended to do; It was an accident.

Corey Brill as Pete Anderson, The Walking Dead -- AMC
Corey Brill as Pete Anderson, The Walking Dead — AMC /

Now, obviously, the same can’t be said about his abuse of Jessie or Ron, but, I think I have a theory about that, so bear with me…

The Walking Dead Theory: Pete was unraveling

If any of you have read the comics, you may know where I’m going, but, for those who haven’t, let me explain: After Pete’s death, Rick eulogized him, and said that he believed Pete did what he did because that was the manifestation of how the apocalypse changed him.

As you can see above, Pete had taken to drinking, I theorize that the reason he was drinking was that the apocalypse, more so than he (Or anyone else in the community, for that matter) let on, was beginning to wear on him. The more he drank, the more angry and possessive he became, and the more he lashed out at Jessie and Ron.

Ann Mahoney as Olivia, Merritt Weaver as Dr. Denise Cloyds, The walking Dead -- AMC
Ann Mahoney as Olivia, Merritt Weaver as Dr. Denise Cloyds, The walking Dead — AMC /

“But, why would he be this way? What would make it wear on him so much more than anyone else?”

Well, if you recall how the town reacted to Jessie putting down Betsy in “Now”, it appears that they weren’t simply shocked by Jessie doing it, but they seemed terrified at seeing Betsy, almost as if it was something they weren’t familiar with.

Now, if they were unfamiliar with seeing people turn, why would that be? People had to have died at some point between the beginning and The Group’s arrival, so…why would this be so shocking to them?

Answer: Because Pete was the person tasked with putting people down once they died. Think about it: He was the town doctor. He was a surgeon, if anyone was likely to be there when people died, if anyone was going to be tasked with putting people down, Hell, if anyone was there when the first Alexandrians turned, it would have been Pete.

Pete would have been the one who had to, time and again, put down his fellow citizens, maybe even friends, when they died. It may even explain his desire to not have Denise present: He may have been afraid she would freak out or waver about putting people down when the time came.

Pete Anderson, The Walking Dead - AMC
Corey Brill as Pete Anderson, The Walking Dead – AMC /

It’s possible that, over time, having to put down so many people was becoming too much for Pete, and he may have turned to drinking in an attempt to drown out what he had to do, or perhaps, a growing fear that the community was living in a fantasy, and that they were denial of just how futile he may have come to believe their efforts were.

Now, obviously, this doesn’t excuse what Pete was doing, but, frankly, I believe that Pete’s behavior was the result of something far more complex than what we saw.

The fact is we know that the apocalypse changes people, look at The Group: Rick, Carl, Michonne, Carol, Abraham, all of them have been changed and affected by what they’ve seen, lost, and done since it started. Is it so surprising that it would affect other people in a similar way?

In the end, I wouldn’t call Pete innocent, but, I don’t think he did things because he was evil or malicious. Like Shane before him, I think what we saw in Pete were the actions of a man who was cracking under the weight of the world he now found himself in. I think the horror, the carnage, the chaos, and the fear that everything they were doing was ultimately futile slowly began to wear him down, until he became the man that we saw.

I think irredeemability stems from people being evil, from basing their actions out of malice, or satiating more base desires, because they’re callous, or because they chose evil when another option was available. I don’t think Pete’s actions were evil, just the desperate attempts of a man to stave off the darkness closing in around him.

More from Gabriel Stokes

But…am I wrong? Who do you think is the most redeemable villain in Season 5 of The Walking Dead? Gareth? Can he be forgiven for the dark path he took his community down? What about Martin? Was there something good about him that I may have forgotten? Or Father Gabriel? Am I giving him too much of the benefit of the doubt, or was his attempts to face his due punishment enough to outweigh his failures? And Dr. Edwards? Did the fact that he was under threat of death absolve him of his guilt? Does his attempts to protect Beth from Gorman help his case?

Related Story: Who's the worst? Part 4

And what about Gorman? Is there any way he can be redeemed? Can anything absolve his actions? What about Dawn? Did Dawn’s efforts to save people outweigh her failure to stop the bad seeds amongst her cops? Or is it Nicholas? Did Nicholas’ attempts to turn over a new leaf make up for his prior cowardice? And, lastly, what about Pete? Were Pete’s actions that of an evil man, or of one simply unable to handle living in a zombie apocalypse? All of this brings us back to that ultimate question: Who is the most redeemable villain of Season 5 of The Walking Dead?

Next: Who's the worst? Part 5

And, of course, if you enjoyed this, and want to hear my ideas on how to survive a zombie apocalypse, you can always pick up a copy of my book, The Rules: A Guide To Surviving The Zombie Apocalypse! You can also find it on Kindle here, and, on iTunes here!