The Walking Dead: 5 episodes that capture the heart of TWD

Lauren Cohan as Maggie Greene, Sonequa Martin-Green as Sasha Williams - The Walking Dead _ Season 7, Episode 16 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC
Lauren Cohan as Maggie Greene, Sonequa Martin-Green as Sasha Williams - The Walking Dead _ Season 7, Episode 16 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC /

There are some episodes of The Walking Dead that really stand out because they capture the essence of what makes the show special.

Watching The Walking Dead marathon is a good reminder that while most of the episodes are excellent there are some episodes that really stand out because they capture perfectly the spirit of hope and the sense of family that make the show so special. The Walking Dead is always at its best when it shines a spotlight on the extraordinary lengths that ordinary people will go to in order to help others and to protect the people they love.

The show also does a great job of showing the power of community and how when the world falls apart the things that really matter have a way of coming to the forefront and the things that don’t matter fade into the background. Allegiances shift often on this show, and everyone has done things that might not be the most ethical. But none of the matters in the end as the survivors try to create a new world that keeps the best of what humanity is and lets go of the petty problems and grievances of the old world.

If I was going to try and sum up what the heart of The Walking Dead is and why we love this show so much these are the episodes that I would recommend to show what the magic of The Walking Dead really is:

Season 1, “Guts”

At this point in The Walking Dead saga we don’t really know yet who Rick Grimes is, we just know he’s in trouble. But that changes when Glenn rescues Rick from the tank and takes Rick into the department store to meet the rest of the run group. The whole story hinges on this one event because it’s from this point where Rick started to become a leader and it’s because of Glenn that Rick manages to find his family. The first episode of The Walking Dead is a good introduction to the post-apocalyptic world but the real story of The Walking Dead begins in episode 2.

Season 5, “No Sanctuary”

“No Sanctuary” is a fan favorite episode of The Walking Dead. There’s a lot of action, which fans always enjoy, but the episode also is centered on the relationships that are really the heart of the show. Carol  has been kicked out of the group by Rick but she still saves Judith and then saves the entire group from the cannibals at Terminus. Rick, Michonne, Glenn, Maggie, and the others fight together in perfect sync to bring down Gareth and to make sure that they all escape. Carol’s intervention combined with the group putting their lives on the line for each other without a second thought are what the show truly is about.

Season 5, “Them”

After the midpoint of season 5 the group is at the lowest point it’s ever been. But they have each other, and they are going to protect that at all costs. Even though they are exhausted and they have no food or water they walk together towards some kind of future. When they take shelter from a storm in a barn and a herd of walkers come through they stand shoulder to shoulder all night long propping up the doors to make sure that the walkers don’t get in. That’s the perfect metaphor for The Walking Dead story. The survivors will stand together against whatever threatens their survival and because they stand together they can survive anything.

Season 7, “The First Day Of The Rest Of Your Life”

Sasha’s decision to kill herself so that Negan couldn’t use her in any way to hurt Rick or the others perfectly captures the intangible connection between the survivors. The willingness to die for the people you love isn’t as rare as some people might think it is, and in that apocalypse world a meaningful death is a good death. Abe and Sasha shared the same willingness to sacrifice their health, their comfort, and ultimately their lives so that others might live.

But it wasn’t just Sasha’s sacrifice that makes this episode one of the episodes that sums up the essence of what makes The Walking Dead what it is. The willingness of all the groups to come to fight for Alexandria and Maggie’s heartfelt speech at the end of the episode typify the special connection among the survivors that gives the show so much heart.

Season 9, “What Comes After”

It’s not possible to understand The Walking Dead without seeing “Guts” and it’s also not possible to understand it fully without seeing “What Comes After”, which brings the original saga of The Walking Dead to a close and starts new chapters for both the show and Rick Grimes. With emotional callbacks and special moments and cameos with Hershel, Sasha, and other characters from the past “What Comes After” is an emotional testament to power of love and loyalty and the indomitable humanity that have always been at the core of The Walking Dead.

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What do you think The Walking Dead Family? What episodes do you think are the best representations of what The Walking Dead is all about? Tweet us @sonyairyna and @undeadwalkingFS to tell us your picks.