Ranking Every ‘The Walking Dead’ Episode (The Top 21)

The countdown for the seventh season of AMC’s The Walking Dead is almost over. In six days, “The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be,” the first episode of the seventh season is finally premiering on our TV screens.

Prior to the premiere, we have also received great news that the show has been renewed for an eighth season!

Over the previous three weeks, I have been ranking The Walking Dead episodes for Top List, and today is marks the final part of the ranking. Last week, I covered the “great” episodes, listing 21 episodes from the 42nd spot to the 22nd spot among the 83 of the series. This week, I will be ranking the 21 “phenomenal” episodes of the series.

Without further ado:

21. Season 2, Episode 12 “Better Angels”

The penultimate episode of the second season, “Better Angels” gave us a very strong ending to Shane’s arc. The episode also hinted that everyone is infected when Shane and Randall turned into walkers despite not getting bitten. It was a very dramatic episode that featured a lot of action making us fear for the life of our main hero, Rick.

20. Season 3, Episode 15 “This Sorrowful Life”

From one season’s penultimate episode to another, “This Sorrowful Life” definitely beat the season three finale when they gave us development in terms of Michonne’s character, and a very sorrowful ending to one of the best characters on the show, Merle, who, if I might add, made the episode phenomenal. Add Daryl crying at the end when he discovered a reanimated Merle and you’re definitely in for a cry.

19. Season 5, Episode 3 “Four Walls and a Roof”

A brutal episode that featured both an exciting massacre and a sad death, the third episode of the fifth season pays a lot of homage to the source material by remixing where the show was at that point with one of the most iconic moments in the comics. The Termites, as a lot of us would like to call them, were served a dish of “they’re messing with the wrong people,” when they decided break into the church, falling into Rick’s plan, with Gareth getting what he was promised. Bob, unfortunately, also dies in the episode. The episode, is without a doubt, a really great ending and a dark new beginning for a lot of character arcs.

18. Season 5, Episode 9 “What Happened and What’s Going On”

Direction, writing, and performance by the actors, the midseason premiere of the fifth season nailed all these elements. The episode is a proof that there is nobody safe on the show, and that the fans should always expect the unexpected especially when it comes to the deaths of the main characters. We also have to give it to Chad Coleman for his very beautifully heartbreaking performance, and to the dead characters who welcomed him to the other side of life.

17. Season 6, Episode 12 “Not Tomorrow Yet”

“Not Tomorrow Yet” is an action-packed episode that showed us a glimpse into the way the Saviors manage their system, and probably an entirely new side to Carol that may have been realized because of her interactions with Morgan. With the episode’s magnificently built tension, we were given a very powerful ending, and an overall extraordinary episode that made us cheer for our heroes.

16. Season 1, Episode 5 “Wildfire”

The penultimate episode of the first season where we watch the characters deal with the aftermath of the previous episode, “Wildfire” is gut-wrenching in terms of the way the characters seek for a new hope. The episode provided a lot of great moments that if you weren’t hooked with the first four episodes of the series, this episode will definitely make you stick around for the future of the show.

15. Season 5, Episode 16 “Conquer”

One of the most intense episodes of the show, “Conquer” showcased the return of Morgan into the main story, the death of Reg, Glenn’s strength, Sasha’s loss, and how the main group has finally grown into a family. Other than the brilliant writing, performances by Steven Yeun, Sonequa Martin-Green, and Seth Gilliam also provided great highlights making this one of the greatest episodes of the series.

14. Season 5, Episode 8 “Coda”

Beth died, Daryl cried, the entire world cried. “Coda” wasn’t well-received, but the episode definitely provided a lot of great moments to contribute to the series. I still remember the way I reacted to Beth’s death, who I have been rooting for since the second season for seeming like an underdog. The way the other characters reacted to her death is also very remarkable, especially Maggie.

13. Season 6, Episode 13 “The Same Boat”

An episode that seemed to focus on the strength of female characters in the apocalypse, “The Same Boat” showed us a wonderful performance by Melissa McBride, and Alicia Witt who portrayed a savior named Paula. This episode also showed us that the killing has really taken its toll on Carol’s humanity, and an entirely different side to Maggie who is now ready to kill.

Side Note: I think this list is going to prove how much I love Carol as a character, and Melissa McBride as an actress. Will someone please just give her an Emmy?

12. Season 4, Episode 16 “A”

RICK. RIPPED. JOE’S. JUGULAR. Also, “They’re gonna feel pretty stupid when they find out…they’re [screwing] with the wrong people.”

11. Season 2, Episode 7 “Pretty Much Dead Already”

An absolutely depressing episode, the midseason finale of the second season delivered a very powerful build in tension that lead to a very extraordinarily shocking ending. Who wasn’t flabbergasted when Sophia walked out of that barn? It was a really impactful scene, and I think it made the wait for the second half of the season unbearable to most fans.

10. Season 5, Episode 10 “Them”

Two very powerful moments: “We are the Walking Dead” speech, and the group fending off the herd of walkers by barricading the door one by one. It’s one of the more emotional episodes of the series that provides a lot of contemplation to the viewers, and a room for relationship-building, and character development.

9. Season 2, Episode 11 “Judge, Jury, Executioner”

To everyone who reads the comics, this episode will come off as a surprise because of Dale’s death, which was a very gut-wrenchingly powerful end to one of the core characters of the show. Carl’s character development is also remarkable because the episode shows how he had become a more expandable character.

8. Season 3, Episode 12 “Clear”

There is something about the subtlety of “Clear” that makes it one of the phenomenal episodes. Other than the return of Morgan Jones, the character development for Michonne is also beautiful to watch, and explored the potential relationship that Michonne could form with Rick and Carl. Because of its amazing focus, the episode was lauded by critics with many saying that it is one of the best episodes of the show since the pilot.

7. Season 4, Episode 14 “The Grove”

This is the Carol Show now. I think no words can express how gut-wrenching this episode was, so I’ll just leave it at that.

6. Season 6, Episode 2 “JSS”

I reiterate, this is the Carol Show now. Carol showed us her one-woman army tendencies when she was faced with the danger of the Wolves in this episode. Other than that, we were given a backstory, an annoying pacifist, and amazing performances by the new characters.

5. Season 3, Episode 4 “Killer Within”

A memorable episode that featured the deaths of Lori and T-Dog, “Killer Within” was terrifying, gut-wrenching, and shocking. The episode contributed a lot of memorable moments in the series, such as Lori giving birth, Carl having to gun her down before she turns, and Rick’s heartbreaking reaction to that.

4. Season 4, Episode 8 “Too Far Gone”

This episode left me speechless. Not only did we get a really iconic moment from the show, they actually had to remix that to make it more impactful and emotional for all of us. This episode marks the death of Hershel, and the Governor, as well as the destruction of the prison, and the division of our characters as we head onto the second half of the fourth season.

TIED FOR FIRST PLACE:

1.1. Season 1, Episode 1 “Days Gone Bye”

The episode that started it all, “Days Gone Bye” definitely set a new standard in the Horror genre. There were dull moments in the episodes, but even those moments seemed like highlights because of the way they were presented.

1.2. Season 5, Episode 1 “No Sanctuary”

We’re talking, once again, about The Carol Show here. After the cliffhanger we were given at the end of the fourth season, we weren’t sure what to expect for the premiere of the fifth season. It was really unexpected, because usually, they would spill a lot of juice in one place before they burn it to the ground, but Terminus didn’t stand a chance. The reunion at the end, Morgan’s appearance at the post-credits scene, and Carol’s badassery definitely made this episode one of the top tiers of this ranking.

1.3. Season 6, Episode 9 “No Way Out”

Entertaining, thrilling, and emotional, “No Way Out” definitely opened the second half of the sixth season with a bang. The iconic moments from the comics that featured the death of the Andersons, Carl losing an eye, and the Alexandrians making a stand against the walkers definitely made this episode one of the best. I think words aren’t enough to describe what I felt when I watched this episode, I was just cheering for everyone as they killed the walkers.

That’s it for the Adrenalist Writer’s Top List Special “The Walking Dead episode rankings.” Stay tuned for more TWD posts on my blog, because starting next week, I’ll be posting episode reviews and other stuff about the show.


What are your favorite TWD episodes? Sound in the comments below!

Header Image: AMC

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