The Walking Dead: Top 100 Moments

51 of 101

51: Dale Dies

Episode 211 “Judge, Jury, Executioner”

Original Airdate: 3/4/2012

Submitted By: Wade Wainio

Dale’s death on The Walking Dead forever changed the dynamics of the show.  Often described as the “moral center” to Rick’s group of survivors, Dale was also a practical man.  He always defended his positions adequately, even to those who strongly disagreed with him.  As a result, he seems like one of The Walking Dead’s strongest and most respectable characters.

When he was randomly attacked by a walker in a field, it took many viewers off guard.  What a way to go!  Still, it illustrated that people can die at any time, under any number of circumstances.  It seems to drive home the importance of people like Dale, or those who make us question ourselves.

A big issue while Dale was alive?  Should Rick have executed Randall, the outsider?  For Dale, it was never a settled matter, and never would have been.  Why?  Dale wasn’t only a stubborn moralist, but someone capable of looking at all sides of a situation, seemingly indefinitely.  It wasn’t enough that he merely state his position.  He saw it as equally important that everyone else elaborate upon and justify their own.  In that sense, he was a true intellectual and philosopher (especially compared to someone like Shane).  No one else could do that as well, which is why Dale had power.

In some ways, Hershel stepped to the plate and occasionally filled the gap left by Dale’s departure.  However, Hershel just wasn’t the same.  Unfortunately, more kids growing up don’t want to be like Dale.  They’ll aspire to be the macho types like Shane, Rick or the Governor.  They’ll drag the world deeper into the muck, and take little time to ever question why, or notice the true dimensions of their decisions.

Long story short, Dale is missed.