by Ryan Rigley
"Walking Dead" fans everywhere were shocked by the death of one of the series' major characters at the end of this past week's episode, "Judge, Jury, Executioner." While fans of the television show were stunned that a character with such a prominent role could be killed off so easily, fans of the comic book were even more surprised, considering the character's prominence in Robert Kirkman's original series.
This character, who shall remain nameless until after the jump, was calm, caring, compassionate... and now very dead. Which goes to show us that no matter who you are or how you act, you are never truly safe during a zombie apocalypse.
Click past the jump to find out who we're talking about! Oh, and spoilers. Obviously.
Dale Horvath, an elderly man with a heart of gold, was ripped open by a walker and subsequently put out of his misery by Daryl Dixon at the end of this week's episode. His death has been met with heavy backlash from fans of both the show and the comic book for a number of reasons. Here are five reasons that we'll sorely miss Dale.
» 5. Humanity
In many ways, Dale was the core member of the group, holding them together with his endless compassion for others. Dale had a strong sense of what was right and what was wrong. When it came time to decide the fate of the prisoner, Randal, Dale was adamant about letting the boy live. In fact, he was the only one who felt this way. And now that he's gone, it's only a matter of time before the group transforms into a wild, unfeeling tribe of savages.
» 4. Foresight
Almost instantly after returning to the farm without Otis, Dale knew that something was different about Shane. He could just sense it. Dale was always the most perceptive member of the group, easily reading and understanding what was going on below the surface. When T-Dog was plotting to steal the RV and make a run for it, Dale could sense that he wasn't feeling well and was able to talk him down in a matter of minutes.
» 3. Experience
Dale was the only member of the group that actively kept track of time, taking great care to continuously wind his watch. In many ways, Dale was also the most experienced in terms of survival. With wisdom beyond his years, Dale was a key player when it came down to any and all decision making. Both Dale and his RV were essential for the original group of survivors to band together as a community back in Atlanta.
» 2. For Andrea's Sake
Without Dale, Andrea is undoubtedly stuck in relationship limbo as Shane continues to struggle with his "feelings" for Lori. Since Andrea has known Dale for the longest amount of time, out of anyone currently in the group, she is also most likely going to be hit the hardest by his passing. Adding to that is the fact that Dale cared enough about Andrea to prevent her from killing herself back when the CDC exploded at the end of Season 1.
» 1. His Shirts
It takes a lot of moxie to wear a Hawaiian shirt during a zombie apocalypse. Dale had not one, but three different Hawaiian shirts that he would alternate on a weekly basis, along with his fishing hat in classic old man fashion. The fact that he chose to wear such bright, colorful outfits during such a dark, depressing time says a lot about his outlook on life and who he was as a person.
What did you think of Dale's death? Let us know in the comments below and on Twitter!