The Walking Dead series has run for 12 years, and during that time, many deaths have shaken the fandom. Deaths that have been gruesome, heartwrenching, and frequently shocking. But, for this writer, the death that has always stood out was Sophia’s. It was one of the first deaths that pulled at viewers’ heartstrings partly because she was sure to be found but mostly because she was a child. She didn’t have a major role, but she was always present in the first season, and she was always on viewers’ minds as the survivors searched for her.
This scene made many fans realize this wasn’t a typical series. This one wasn’t afraid to push things to the max and make the viewers uncomfortable and feel the pain of loss along with the characters.
As the series has gone on, viewers have become more vocal, and it seems to have hindered the creator’s confidence in being able to push scenes like the barn scene. If something like this happened in a recent season, the fandom would come unglued, especially if it was to a fan-favorite character.
The Walking Dead – Sophia’s death
Sophia was portrayed by Madison Lintz and was only seen in a handful of episodes. But, being one of the children in the series, she was expected to be protected from harm. When she went missing, it was assumed that Daryl or Rick would surely find her, or she would never be found and presumed dead. Never did viewers think she would exit the barn as a walker.
The Making of the Barn Scene video (below) is a great behind-the-scenes look into this episode. Many can vividly remember seeing the thin, frail ankles emerge from the barn as the camera pans up and reveals that this walker child is Sophia. Everyone stares in horror; not even Shane, who moments before was in a fit of rage, killing walkers like a mad man, could move a muscle. Carol’s reaction hits you in the heart like one of Daryl’s arrows, and then we see Carl’s sweet little face look on in complete sadness at the loss of his friend. And Rick, always the leader, does what no one else can. He aims his gun and pulls the trigger putting Sophia out of her undead misery.
The video makes this scene seem much lighter than it appears in the episode as the cast jokes about the heat of the day, you can hear the walkers calling out which character they are heading towards, and two walkers casually talk about getting some food. Norman Reedus shares that today is the day his girlfriend Maddy will be killed on set, as Lintz developed a crush on Reedus and told everyone he was her boyfriend. Melissa McBride, who plays Sophia’s mother, Carol, shared her thoughts on Sophia’s small little ankles and how fragile she looked. A very young Madison Lintz shares her experience making this scene in the video.
This is one scene that will always be thought of as a memorable one in The Walking Dead universe.