If the zombie apocalypse happened tomorrow, we all know exactly who we’d turn to for survival: the cast of The Walking Dead of course. They’ve been existing in a world alongside the undead for 6 seasons now and each character brings something unique and powerful to the dynamic of the team. From Daryl with his rugged exterior, crossbow, and soft heart to Carol and the way she’s destroyed not just zombies, but her own internal demons – you can find a bit of yourself in all of the characters on TWD, which is perhaps why the series is such a hit.
Another underlying message through the series comes from the age old fear of the unknown, the slow but steady ‘thing’ that’s out to get you. Be it loans, an illness, old age, or bad circumstance – you sort of will these things to be slow moving creatures, ones you know are there but ones you can hopefully outrun. The characters on TWD are not only dealing with slaying zombies but coming face to face with their own troubles, finding themselves in this new reality and *hopefully* outrunning anything destructive coming their way.
The question presents itself, who would you turn to specifically in the apocalypse? Would you partner up with Daryl, join forces with Michonne, attempt to survive with a sense of peace alongside Morgan or take on a leader role with Rick? We looked at some of our favorite characters, the ones who’ve managed to survive this long, and made a guide on how to pick your Walking Dead survival partner.
1. General Attitude
Daryl: One word – badass. Daryl is the kind of person you want beside you during a zombie invasion because he knows that surviving means fighting and he’s not scared to do it. From the beginning he’s known what it takes to make it through another day and while sometimes, the decisions he has to make may hurt, it’s always for the good of those he loves. He’s been known to act first and ask questions later and while some may see that as reckless when dealing with the undead, sometimes it’s the only way to truly stay alive. Lesser focused on but just as important, Daryl is softhearted. He would undoubtedly become your best friend, strongest protector, and most loyal confidant – allowing you to rest your struggles on his shoulders to make your own load lighter.
Rick: The leader, through things both good and bad. Rick usually remains calm and levelheaded where the group is concerned but places extra – and at times unnecessary – stress on himself. Rick is loyal, fiercely protective, and feels the most responsible for keeping the group safe, alive, and thriving. Rick’s past has scarred him and created moments of self-doubt that lead him to want to prove to others, and himself, that he’s still as strong as he used to be. Rick realizes, after the death of Herschel, that his humanity hasn’t been forever lost and once he realized that he hadn’t lost himself forever, he found steady footing once again. This footing couldn’t have come at a better time as he took on new leadership and now bows in front of Negan questioning again, how to keep safe the ones he loves.
Michonne: Few words do Michonne more justice than the word fierce. She came into the group and immediately showed her strength while at the same time keeping her emotions and past bottled up inside. While she was slow to open up, once she began to let people in, namely Carl and Rick, the group saw her for the genuine and loyal woman that she was and the group accepted her openly. Michonne’s past is painful, having lost her entire family and carrying the guilt of being unable to save her son, she faces struggles the other characters don’t know the weight of, but she does it with grace and a drive to keep the people around her now – her second family – safe.
Eugene: Eugene is brilliant, and his intelligence is part of what’s kept him alive for so long. In addition to his smarts, he’s also extremely handy. No one knows much about his life before the apocalypse but he’s well versed in many areas and even though he originally lied about who he was, in an effort to protect himself, he’s come to realize that he can trust the people around him. He was seen as weak and vulnerable for a period of time, but as he saw those around him draw strength from the deepest parts of themselves and use it to save one another, he followed suit. Eugene wanted to show that he cared about his new family too, and that he was strong within himself, and that change has allowed him to grow closer to his friends and become more confident.
Carol: Carol started off timid and withdrawn due to the abusive nature of her relationship with her husband but she stayed as strong as possible for her daughter. When they joined with other survivors she began to grow close with Daryl, a relationship that slowly allowed Carol to build strength and confidence in herself again. When she lost her daughter she had two options, she could give up or she could fight; and fight she did. She gained power and determination but in being forced to make difficult decisions, she was exiled from the group because Rick thought she was a loose cannon. Life only got harder for Carol but she kept acting in the best interest of those around her and once Rick realized the weight of what Carol had done and why she’d done it, he welcomed her back to the group and found a sense of respect for her. She’s someone with a large degree of emotional instability, but also with an incredible strength both mentally and physically.
2. Zombie Killing Style
Daryl: Takes no prisoners and acts on instinct, being well trained with not only his crossbow but various other weapons. Daryl is strong, quick, and confident making him a forced to be reckoned with. His killing style is rehearsed and almost studious, making him someone the group relies on heavily for their safety. Plus there was that one time he took out 3 zombies in the single swing of an arm…
Rick: Rick is also an incredibly skilled survivor, having been a sheriff before the apocalypse, he knows his weapons and when to use them. He is the leader of the group, putting the heaviest weight on his shoulders to keep them safe and keep the zombies out. He knows that it’s kill or be killed, and he’s got too much on the line to risk that.
Michonne: Michonne’s weapon of choice is her katana and her skill with it is uncanny. Upon first seeing her, she had two zombies chained up without arms or jaws, proving that not only can she skillfully kill a zombie, she can debilitate them if necessary, and during an invasion she realized that zombies don’t attack one another, so she saved herself with a few swipes of a weapon. She’s very tactical in her killing style.
Eugene: Eugene’s killing style isn’t as polished, and though he has slain zombies, he spent a lot of time relying on others to take the blunt force of any attacks they ran into, playing into a victim role himself. We anticipate that we’ll see him become stronger in his attack while his confidence continues to grow.
Carol: Carol is skilled with a knife and revolver, and her kills haven’t been solely on the undead. She thinks of the safety of everyone involved before using a weapon and knows that sometimes that means the necessary death will result in a painful emotional experience for the living. She’s smart and while sometimes emotions can cloud judgment, she usually always makes the right call.
3. Greatest Weakness
Daryl: Daryl’s greatest weakness stems from the soft heart he originally tried to conceal, and while it’s not a weakness to allow yourself to love, it’s a great risk when you’re dealing with the undead. Daryl has lost people close to him, and while everyone in the group has suffered great losses, Daryl places blame on himself and it makes it harder to accept and move beyond the absences.
Rick: Rick’s biggest weakness is the responsibility he puts on his shoulders for things in which he has no control. Rick, again, is the leader of the group and when anything goes astray or things go off of a path that makes sense to Rick, he feels guilty even if he had nothing at all to do with the situation. Taking on the role of a leader is not a weakness, but not knowing when to accept that some things are beyond your control is, and Rick still has trouble with that from time to time.
Michonne: Michonne’s biggest weakness was a sense of self-loathing from being unable to save her son which resulted in her being afraid to let anyone close to her for a very long time. She blamed herself for far too long for something out of her own control. This made her vulnerable in a way that was almost more damaging than living amongst the undead.
Eugene: Eugene’s greatest weakness comes from the vulnerability he allowed himself to show for so long. He allowed the rest of the group to take on responsibility that he should have carried himself and it made everyone around him an easier target. He had a moment of clarity when he knew he had to start carrying his own weight, but it’ll take some time to build up completely.
Carol: Carol’s greatest weakness is the way she allows herself to be eaten up inside before “burdening” those around her with her fears or concerns. She fears, maybe without saying so, that if she were to be honest about what worries her that she’d appear weaker. This results in her having moments of severe panic and breaking down.
Daryl: Daryl came into the group as a loaner and while he clicked first with Rick, the others were more hesitant to welcome him due to his rough exterior. He connected quickly with Carol as well, letting his guard down, and the more time he spent with the survivors, the more he opened his heart. We’ve not seen Daryl in a romantic relationship per say, but we have seen him care deeply about the people around him and that soft and compassionate side of him is part of why everyone loves him so much. Daryl would be your best friend, a soft place to land, and a trusted voice of reason when you need it.
Rick: Rick is loyal but once he gets burned he rarely reapproaches the flame, especially if those he love felt the heat as well. If you’re one of Rick’s trusted companions, you know you’ve got someone on your team that cares, that wants the best for you, and that will protect you no matter what; in the apocalypse what could be better? Rick lets his guard down and exposes someone underneath with almost a childlike innocence, he wants the world to be a better place and though he may never admit it, he believes in a happy ending. Rick loves, romantically, with all he’s got but his relationships stem first from friendships which makes them stronger. Rick would be a big brother type to you, and you’d always have a sense of safety.
Michonne: Michonne has a loyal and loving heart, but she first kept it locked away. Upon opening up to the people around her, Carl and Rick first, she found that having a sense of family even after the loss of her first one wasn’t a bad thing at all, and that she had room in her heart to love people again. Michonne’s past is a painful one and the guilt she carried for so long only made it harder for her to have successful interpersonal relationships, but once she began to forgive herself, she started to thrive in a way we hadn’t seen of her before. Michonne would be a teacher to you, someone you could look up to and confide in and learn from.
Eugene: Eugene has a tendency to rely on people sooner than most, having a hard time navigating through the apocalypse, he found it easier to find others to stand with and lean upon. Eugene is loyal and kind, caring and funny, but a bit reserved too. He’s the kind of person you can have a good laugh with, the kind of person you can trust with your secrets – even though he’s definitely got his own – and the kind of friend you need in a setting like this. As he navigates his way to being more of a leader and taking on more responsibility for himself and others, he’d be an awesome person to grow with on a similar journey, both of you finding solid footing together.
Carol: As the show has progressed Carol has grown farther and farther away from people, but with seemingly good reason. She’s just closed in on herself a bit generally and it makes relationships with other people hard. Currently, she’s in a bit of a situation and one of the only people who are able to reach her, on a physical or mental level, is Morgan. She’s someone who has experienced great pain and been burnt by it, but she continues to try anyway. Carol would need you as much as you need her, even if she didn’t show it, and perhaps in a way, you’d both draw strength from yourselves and one another.
5. Greatest Strength
Daryl: Daryl’s greatest strength is just that, his strength – both mentally and physically. He is brave, determined, smart, and masterful in his fighting technique, his problem solving, and his day to day way of life. He has faced death and beat it more than once, both from the living and the undead and he’s not been weak enough to fall victim to any obstacle in his way.
Rick: Rick’s biggest strength is his quick thinking. He acts almost reflexively in situations but there is always a concentrated effort of thought put into it. He knows what is at stake, what is worth the risk, and how to navigate through the awful situations the group has faced. This quick thinking has been key in saving not only himself but those that he loves.
Michonne: Michonne’s biggest strength is her selflessness, after being unable to save her son, she devotes herself to saving the people she loves now and that trait is something that might be seen by some as a weakness, but it only enhances her as a person. She’s tough, she knows it, and she’s not afraid to be seen as a threat because she welcomes the challenge.
Eugene: Eugene’s greatest strength is his intelligence. He is knowledgeable in a number of areas and that along with his ability to build and repair necessary items for camp and the group as a whole has kept them alive and resourceful. His ability to use his intelligence to also know when change is necessary and do what needs to be done to adapt has kept him alive, and is looking to be resourceful to those around him as he grows.
Carol: Carol’s greatest strength is knowing how and when to act, even if the decision brings an unfavorable outcome. Some people would try relentlessly to save a bad situation or even a person who only causes harm, Carol looks out for the good of the group and the general wellbeing and even if it brings unfavorable circumstance to herself, she does it anyway. This separation of emotional attachment has helped her save lives and you need a person like that on your team when you’re trying to survive.
Based upon five parts of each character’s persona you can see what makes them tick, what relatable strengths and weaknesses you possess, and what valuable personality traits each member brings to the table. After 6 seasons, it’s obvious that the group wouldn’t be the same without every single one of them, there’s definitely one who is most suitable to being your survival partner.
‘…but I knew him’