The Walking Dead’s Latest Big Death Continues A Disappointing Spinoff Trope
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The Walking Dead’s Latest Big Death Continues A Disappointing Spinoff Trope

Warning: spoilers ahead for The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live episode 2.




  • The Walking Dead: Dead City killed off many of its new characters shortly after introducing them, simply to keep the focus on Maggie and Negan.
  • The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live continues this trope with Okafor and Nat – especially the latter.
  • Nat had much more to give The Walking Dead universe.

An unfortunate trend gets reanimated in The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live, as a likable spinoff character quickly bites the dust. The landscape of AMC’s zombie apocalypse franchise has changed since The Walking Dead‘s ending in season 11, with the narrative now divided across three spinoffs: Dead City, Daryl Dixon, and The Ones Who Live. Because each release focuses on just one or two The Walking Dead characters rather than a larger ensemble, the spinoffs utilize a markedly different storytelling style. Changing the formula has helped stitch together a franchise that had a few dangling limbs circa 2020.

On the other hand, The Walking Dead‘s new groove has pushed its spinoffs into narrative pitfalls the main show avoided. The purpose of character deaths in The Walking Dead‘s new shows is one such pitfall. Previously, The Walking Dead earned a reputation for killing off major characters with alarming regularity, creating a “no one’s safe” atmosphere. Because the spinoffs have smaller casts and reduced episode counts, killing off the main characters isn’t an option. Instead, AMC’s new shows are resorting to prematurely killing off supporting characters before their potential is fully realized.


Who Okafor Is In The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live Explained

The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live has just introduced Okafor, a new character with major connections to key events in The Walking Dead’s history.

Nat’s Death Continues A Disappointing Walking Dead Spinoff Pattern

Matthew Jeffers as Nat dying in The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live.

In The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live episode 2, “Gone,” Matthew Jeffers’ Nat is introduced and killed off within a single episode. Exactly the same thing happened to Craig Tate’s Okafor in episode 1. This pattern of bumping off original characters in quick succession was one of the biggest sins The Walking Dead: Dead City committed, with Maggie and Negan’s show killing Tommaso, Amaia, Jano, Jones, and Luther, while also wiping out several communities that had the potential to become somewhat interesting. These characters died as soon as their role in Maggie and Negan’s journey expired, and Dead City‘s ruthless approach to lowering the cast catering budget quickly became a transparent trope.

While some characters were always unlikely to reach The Walking Dead: Dead City‘s finale alive, others – particularly Michelle Hurd’s Jones and Karina Ortiz’s Amaia – had much more to offer. The same goes for Nat in The Ones Who Live. Okafor’s death might have been unavoidable as a key stepping stone in Rick’s story, but Matthew Jeffers gives a beautiful performance as Nat, crafting the beginnings of a fascinating new The Walking Dead character over the course of episode 2, only to be killed off as soon as Rick and Michonne reunite.

The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live kills Nat simply because Rick and Michonne finding each other commences the spinoff’s next phase, and Nat would have been a third wheel. The same could have been said for Dead City‘s victims – the board needed wiping ahead of Maggie and Negan’s final showdown with the Croat. The Ones Who Live wiping out Aiden, Bailey, and Nat within minutes of each other has the same stench of clearing out new characters in order to focus squarely on the returning stars.

Nat Had More To Offer The Walking Dead Than 1 Episode

Matthew August Jeffers as Nat after looking through a monocular in The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live episode 2.

Nat had significantly more to give The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live before his untimely death. An emotional backstory – starring Danger, the world’s greatest step-dad – provided Matthew Jeffers’ character with a touching emotional core, while Nat’s affinity for blowing stuff up and making weapons brought something genuinely new, and wickedly fun, to The Walking Dead‘s world. Nat’s cynicism added a comedic flavor, but his soft core and loyalty to Michonne proved the pyromaniac was more than just a joker. Nat would have been a great permanent addition to the Walking Dead franchise, and killing him off simply to free up narrative space is disappointing.

While the shock death is a time-honored tradition in The Walking Dead at this point, the franchise’s new structure makes that trick less effective. The main show’s large cast and longer seasons meant relatively minor characters like Beth, Bob, and Noah could be developed over a season or two, then dramatically killed off before becoming stale. In trying to maintain its tradition of shock character deaths, despite having six-episode seasons nowadays, The Walking Dead‘s current shows find themselves killing off characters before audiences get a chance to properly enjoy them, meaning newbies with heaps of promise like Nat get cut way too soon.

Only 1 New Walking Dead Spinoff Has Avoided Killing Off New Characters

Whereas The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live and Dead City are both guilty of killing intriguing new characters too soon, Daryl Dixon season 1 beautifully avoided the trope. Daryl’s chief companions, Clémence Poésy’s Isabelle and Louis Puech Scigliuzzi’s Laurent, both survived, but so did Sylvie, Genet, and even Codron, allowing their arcs to continue into Daryl Dixon season 2. The only major character death in Daryl Dixon season 1 was Quinn, which happened as part of his wider redemption and, therefore, fit his story perfectly.

By avoiding the temptation to cull its new characters, Daryl Dixon not only created strong new heroes for AMC’s The Walking Dead universe, it also meant Quinn’s death hit considerably harder. By contrast, whatever sadness Michonne and the audience may feel after Aiden and Bailey succumb to the CRM gas attack in The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live episode 2 is eclipsed by the reaction to Nat’s death minutes later. In terms of handling original characters, Daryl Dixon remains leagues ahead of its contemporaries.

Episode #

Episode Title

Release Date



February 25



March 3



March 10


“What We”

March 17



March 24


“The Last Time”

March 31

The Walking Dead The Ones Who Live TV Show Poster

The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live

Created by Scott M. Gimple and Danai Gurira, The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live is a sequel spin-off series in The Walking Dead television franchise. The series picks up some time after Michonne departs from the original series, as she searches to be reunited with her lover, Rick Grimes. Meanwhile, Rick finds himself amid another war between the living and the dead.

Andrew Lincoln , Danai Gurira , Pollyanna McIntosh , Lesley-Ann Brandt , Terry O’Quinn

Release Date
February 25, 2024


Scott M. Gimple

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