The Walking Dead universe has a checkered history with unlikable characters. I’m not talking about the villains, either. I’m talking about the inconsistent characters. The whiny characters. The many who have been character assassinated along the way. To be honest, rooting against particular characters on The Walking Dead is a tradition that’s almost as fun as rooting for our favorite characters to survive.
Until recently, Lori Grimes held the unofficial title of the least popular character in The Walking Dead history. Everyone hated Lori Grimes. Even Steven Yeun — who plays Glenn in the series — hated Lori Grimes, and Sarah Wayne Callies (who played Lori) knew it. To her credit, Callies leaned into it, because she knew Lori had to die. She cheated on Rick with Shane, then she turned on Shane, then she asked Rick to kill Shane, and then she turned on Rick when he did exactly what he asked her to do. The gruesomeness of her death notwithstanding, The Walking Dead fans were happy to see her go. (Grimes was so unpopular that fans were even irritated when Zombie Ghost Lori showed up.)
Lori’s death did not bring relief from unpopular characters on the show, however, because Andrea — a previously beloved character — sprung up in Lori’s place to take the mantle of least liked character in part because she decided it was a good idea to sleep with The Governor. She turned on Rick’s camp. She even turned on Michonne in order to stay behind, and unlike Lori’s character, Andrea’s arc was not dictated by the comics. At some point, I think, the showrunners realized that they’d inadvertently assassinated Andrea’s character, and they were left with no choice but to kill her off to appease the fans. (She is still alive in the comics.)
After Lori’s death, there was a spell where fans decided that they hated Carl Grimes and his pudding because he too often fit into the spoiled brat TV trope. After Carl grew up and developed some badass skills, the audience eventually came around on him, but then turned on Father Gabriel, who was not only useless, but sold Rick out to the leaders of Alexandria.
Father Gabriel eventually redeemed himself as well, but by then, The Walking Dead audience had moved on to a new least favorite character: Sam Anderson. We flirted with a hatred of Sam’s father, Pete, and we strongly disliked Sam’s brother, Ron, but Sam was the absolute worst. Not only did Sam waste a perfectly good cookie, he eventually got himself and his mother killed in a chain reaction that would also cost his brother his life and Carl his eye.
In the sixth season of The Walking Dead, fans’ irritation turned toward Morgan, a once popular character whose belief that every life matters tried our patience, especially after that belief nearly got Rick and Denise killed when a Wolf escaped on Morgan’s watch. By the end of the sixth season, however, Morgan had finally broken his no-kill vow and put a bullet through someone to save Carol. The only semi-unpopular character we have left on The Walking Dead now is poor Enid, last seen locked in a closet.
Then came Fear the Walking Dead. Through the first season of The Walking Dead spin-off, none of the characters managed to lift off. They all simmered at a low level of irritating or annoying. As the second season wore on, however, a few began to break out — Strand, Nick, Alicia — while others like Travis, Madison, and Ofelia continued to be met with shrugs.
And then there’s Chris.
Chris is an unholy amalgamation of Lori Grimes, Andrea, and Homeland‘s Dana Brody. He is awful. Inconsistent, destructive, and whiny. It was bad from the beginning, when he was only a creepy character who might have had romantic feelings for his would-be stepsister. Now, he’s a full-blown sociopath, and he’s not even the fun kind we love to hate, like King Joffrey.
It has not been a gradual transition, either. After his mother died, a switch flipped. Dead-eyed, Chris started killing zombies for thrills. Barely concealing a grin, he put the life of his entire family in danger and killed a hostage for no reason other than he thought it would be cool. Killing people is to Chris what frog baseball was to Beavis and Butt-head, something he does for kicks. He later stood over Madison apathetically while a zombie tried to kill her, and he offered no assistance, only a shrug. Days later, Chris walked into Alicia’s room while she was sleeping, pulled out a knife, stood over her like a creepy stalker and would have stabbed her and Madison had they not woken up and caught him in the act. After that, he ran away and he took a little boy hostage because he could. The lives of others mean nothing to Chris.
His father Travis — God bless him — did not abandon his irredeemable son, however. Travis decided to leave the comfort of his group behind in order to save his son from himself, but it was a pointless endeavor. Chris is not mentally well. Given the opportunity to join a new crew of deplorables, he jumped. Given a chance to kill another man — whose house he had broken into — Chris didn’t hesitate. He shot a farmer dead and expressed absolutely no remorse. When his dad called him on it, Chris basically said, “Whatever, Dad.” Later, Chris duped his own father into believing that he was a changed man, playing upon his dad’s sympathies so that he could wrestle away Travis’ gun and James could kill Brandon. Was it necessary to kill Brandon? Absolutely not. Did it serve any purpose? Nope. Chris just likes to watch people die.
There have been a lot of annoying protagonists in The Walking Dead universe over the years, but with the exception of Lizzie, none of them actually deserved to die for being unpopular characters. Chris deserves to die. He has no soul. He thinks he’s a Daryl — someone who has adapted to the zombie apocalypse — but he’s more like a Ron, someone who is broken, whose mind is irreparable. If he is not taken out soon, he will kill more innocent lives, not to save his own or to defend others, but because he likes it. There have been worse people, bigger villains — The Governor, Gareth, Negan — but no one has sucked like Chris on Fear the Walking Dead. Worse still, Chris sucks for no good reason. There’s no rhyme or reason to his awfulness. He’s not building a community. He’s not trying to amass any power. He’s not even into cannibalism. He just sucks for the sake of sucking.
Lori Grimes: Step down. There’s a new worst in The Walking Dead universe.