Top Ten Best Walking Dead Episodes

With 11 seasons to get our teeth into, not to mention the amazing spin-off shows that are presently gracing our screens, The Walking Dead is a definite contender for one of the best television series to date. So, with perhaps some of the greatest moments in television history, what are the best Walking Dead episodes?

The Walking Dead is recognised as one of, if not the greatest series to ever appear on television. Based on Robert Kirkman’s popular comic book series and developed for TV by director Frank Darabont, The Walking Dead debuted on Halloween night in 2010 with pilot episode ‘Days Gone Bye’ and undoubtedly made a distinct impression on all viewers alike. Eleven seasons later, the show has now cemented itself as the face of zombie TV and horror. By this point, it’s hard to imagine AMC without its flagship show, even with the numerous spin-offs currently on air. 

The comic book series was created by Robert Kirkman under the Image Comics label. It was published from 2003 to 2019, ending with a grand total of 193 issues.  Much of its success can be attributed to the series’ beloved characters, captivating storyline, horrifying set pieces, and of course, the zombies. The key to its appeal might also come down to simple longevity. Just as the original comic from Robert Kirkman ran for an impressive 193 issues, so too has the AMC drama run for seemingly forever.

How Many Episodes Of The Walking Dead Are There?

With a total of eleven seasons, The Walking Dead has now 177 episodes to binge through. It come to no one’s surprise that it is a real challenge to get through that many episodes and still retain all the information being delivered without becoming emotionally compromised because of the amount of action, heartbreak, and turmoil. However, if you’re looking for a series that will take a lot of time to get through, this zombie apocalypse series is the one to binge.

While many former and current fans of the show will likely acknowledge that its halcyon days are but a fading memory, Pop In A Box has taken a look back at the epic legacy of the show and put together what we believe are the top ten best Walking Dead episodes.

Warning – guts, blood, gore, and spoilers ahead!

  1.  “No Sanctuary” (Season 5, Episode 1)
  2.  “Here’s Negan (Season 10, Episode 2)
  3. “The Calm Before” (Season 9, Episode 15)
  4.  “The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be” (Season 7, Episode 1)
  5.  “Too Far Gone” (Season 4, Episode 8)
  6. “The Grove” (Season 4, Episode 14)
  7.  “No Way Out” (Season 6, Episode 9)
  8.  “Walk With Us” (Season 10, Episode 12)
  9. “Conquer” (Season 5, Episode 16)
  10. “Better Angels” (Season 2, Episode 12)

1. “No Sanctuary” (Season 5, Episode 1)

AMC Networks

“And a machete with a red handle. That’s what I’m gonna use to kill you.” – Rick Grimes

The immediate follow-up to the finale of season 4, “A”, does not mess around. In the space of an hour, “No Sanctuary” squeezes in more fist-pumping moments and fan-favourite reconciliations than most seasons achieve in 13 episodes.

Opening with the systematic butchering of people that’s being carried out by the ice-cold Terminus inhabitants is enough to make you turn of the television, but fortunately the series supplied us with one of the greatest takedowns in cinematic history. In what is the best ever episode,

2. “Here’s Negan” (Season 10, Episode 22)

AMC Networks

“I want you to know that you made up for it.” – Lucille

“Here’s Negan” gave Jeffrey Dean Morgan a major opportunity to show off his acting chops, and he absolutely shines in this Negan backstory episode. In this episode, many viewers are able to change their opinions about the character due to the fantastic backstory shown in the hour-long episode.

Over time, Negan has become a lot more sympathetic. He’s befriended Judith, helped Carol defeat the Whisperers, and stuck around as a loyal companion even when everyone treats him with mistrust. For many, he became everyone’s favourite character due to this. Negan has been growing more and more likable and sympathetic since the end of the Savior war, but this episode helped ground him further — not as someone who used to be good and then broke bad, but as someone who walked a much finer line than even he was really aware of.

No character has needed the attention more than Negan. Throughout the many episodes he appeared in, hints of his origin dropped throughout the series in comments and asides (His wife died of cancer, his bat is named after his her, he used to be a gym teacher). Fortunately, all is answered in this masterpiece of an episode.

Lucille (played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s real-life wife and actress Hilarie Burton) is dying of cancer and in desperate need of chemotherapy. Along with his travels to secure the medicine, he’s tied up and threatened by bikers, which delays him giving Lucille the chemotherapy.

This was truly one of the best episodes of The Walking Dead in years. We finally got to see why Negan went down the dark and tragic path after Lucille.

3. “The Calm Before” (Season 9, Episode 15)

AMC Networks

“You’ll see it as you leave.” – Alpha 

The Walking Dead has often trotted out big deaths in penultimate episodes. And “The Calm Beforecertainly carried on that tradition, hitting one of the most lethal moments in the comic books’ run. Instead of ramping everything up for a fierce finale, season 9 landed its brutal brushstroke a week early, nicely defying expectations.

Those of us who have read through the Whisperer arc of The Walking Dead comic will never forget the splash pages of heads impaled upon spikes — the deaths of several notable characters came as a true shock. Although they did not kill the same characters in the comic book run, this was probably the most devastating episode since season 7 premiere.

While the episode’s first half – a B-plot about a film screening – may not be particularly tense, it acts as the perfect window dressing for the horror to come. Alpha and her Walker-skinned gang soon close in on our survivors and deliver a gut-punch unlike any other.

“The Calm Before” is now tied with two other episodes as the highest fan-rated episodes of all time, according to IMDB ranking. “The Calm Before” currently sits at a 9.6/10.

4. “The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be” (Season 7, Episode 1)

AMC Networks

“You can breathe. You can blink. You can cry. Hell, you’re all gonna be doing that.” – Negan

The Walking Dead‘s most controversial hour is easily one of its very best due to the fact that the main cast are put at the mercy of Negan for the very first time. The episode is brilliantly structured in order to keep you guessing about who’s bitten the dust first and plays with the viewers in such a way that the tension is almost too much to bear.

Not only are the deaths in these episodes the most heartbreaking in the entire show, but the deaths are one of the most shocking moments in TV history. Seeing two lovable main characters beaten to death with a bat isn’t a comforting site to see, especially when they were many fans-favourite characters. These deaths were so shocking that they turned some viewers away from the show.

5. “Too Far Gone” (Season 4, Episode 8)

AMC Networks

“We’re not too far gone. We get to come back.” – Rick Grimes

The first-ever mid-season finale made good use of the show’s re-jigged structure, offering an action-packed episode that leads to the destruction of the prison. “Too Far Gone” is the episode fans were hoping to see at the end of season three, with The Governor attacking the prison guns a-blazing in a last-ditch attempt to kill Rick and get his revenge on Michonne.

Forcing Rick into a role of leadership and leading to the brutal death of Hershel, the episode comes complete with almost a whole hour of action. The Governor finally goes toe-to-toe with Rick, and is stabbed by Michonne, whilst Daryl destroys a tank, and the other Survivors flee the prison in disconnected packs.

It’s a hopeless, bloody episode that destroys the prison and any hope the group had of peace, and acts as a major catalyst to Rick’s violent and cynical worldview that will take him over going into season five.

Of course, “Too Far Gone” didn’t come without its casualties, as the show loves to kill off main characters whenever they please.

6. “The Grove” (Season 4, Episode 14)

AMC Networks

“Look at the flowers.” – Carol

It comes to no surprise that season four of The Walking Dead is seen as one of the best seasons within the show. Not only do we get to see the war between the Governor and the prison conclude, but we also get to see one of the greatest episodes of television. Period.

This devastating hour of television answers a question that few people had ever thought to ask: what would a zombie show written by John Steinbeck look and sound like?

Carol’s tragedies revolving around children continue as her adopted daughter Lizzie Samuels loses her sense of right and wrong. As disturbing as this episode is, this is poetry at its finest.

7. “No Way Out” (Season 6, Episode 9)

AMC Networks

“Dad?” – Carl Grimes

Previously crowned by NME as The Walking Dead’s high point, ‘No Way Out’ still stands up as one of the series’ best episodes. The show has an explosive opening (pardon the pun) just four minutes in when Daryl lights up a group of Saviors with the help of an RPG launcher. The narrative switches to a walker-overrun Alexandria as three characters get the chop in shockingly quick succession.

Featuring the brutal demise of many Alexandrians and the loss of Carl’s eye, this episode is full of bloody, shocking, and violent moments.

8. “Walk With Us” (Season 10, Episode 12)

AMC Networks

“Lydia was made for this. To be free.” – Alpha

Bringing two of the most prominent villains from the series into one episode, “Walk With Us” is one of the most gripping episodes in the Whisperers arc. Directed by Greg Nicotero, the episode has everything you’d need to feel reconnected to what made this show great in the first place — there’s lots of Walker action and human drama that pits morality and practicality against each other.

For an episode full of dire circumstances, it’s impressive how much character development is able to come through the tense splitting of characters. Here, the episode allows for emotional payoffs to a multitude of characters, some who do not make it to the end.

9. “Conquer” (Season 5, Episode 16)

AMC Networks

“I was thinking how many of you do I have to kill to save your lives?” – Rick Grimes

Arguably one of the most overlooked episodes in the show’s run, “Conquer” is an episode that allows several storylines boil over as Alexandrians watch through the conflict.

This finale is by far one of the most ambitious and exciting finales to date, with the titling being very appropriate to what occurs in Alexandria. “Conquer” features some of the best moments of the entire season, including the long-awaited return of Lennie James’ troubled survivor Morgan, Daryl and Aaron’s walker ambush, and Rick’s rise to power in Alexandria.

10. “Better Angels” (Season 2, Episode 12)

AMC Networks

“I’m a better father than you, Rick.” – Shane

The doomed love triangle between Rick, Lori, and Shane comes to a bloody end in Season 2’s penultimate episode. After murdering the captive Randall in a fit of psychotic rage, Shane manipulates the group into splitting up so that he can get Rick alone and shoot him once and for all. But Rick’s police instincts kick in at the last possible second and he manages to stab his former partner in the chest before Shane can fire a round. Carl gets in on the action, too, with a surprise shot to the reanimated Shane’s head. In many ways, “Better Angels” plays like a classic daytime soap opera, albeit one filled with flesh-eating ghouls.

For all things pop culture-related, follow us on FacebookInstagramTwitter, and TikTok.

Angus Scott

Angus Scott

Writer and expert

Angus is a content writer, SEO executive, and social media admin who is an avid film enthusiast and binge watches The Walking Dead, Peaky Blinders, and The Office.