5. Merle Dixon
Merle’s death, like Lori’s, was a redemption. Merle went through a huge transformation in just a couple of episodes in season 3. Seeing how Daryl had changed and taken on a real leadership role in Rick’s group must have been difficult for him. When Daryl and Merle were first reunited it looked like things were going to go back to the way they used to be for the Dixon brothers. Daryl chose Merle over the group.
But then Daryl decided he needed to go back to the group and Merle know that things would never really be the same. Daryl was no longer his tag-along little brother. He was grown man and a leader capable of making his own decisions.
To his credit, Merle did try to make it worth with the group. But it was clear that the others were not going to forgive and forget what Merle did to Glenn and Maggie. And Rick’s guilt over Merle being left on the roof cuffed to a pipe wasn’t enough to overcome the rest of the group’s distaste for Merle’s personality.
Merle was right that the others would never have been able to turn Michonne over to The Governor. And ultimately he wasn’t able to either. But his decision to release Michonne and take a suicide run at The Governor all alone was the act of a hero. Merle may have been a flawed hero, but he went out a hero nonetheless.