Carly Lane
April 04, 2015 6:00 am

It’s been almost an entire week, and we’re STILL trying to get over the season finale of The Walking Dead over here. While it’s true that the second half of this season was slightly more subdued in comparison to the rest of the show, you can’t deny that we’ve been through the wringer with Rick Grimes and Co.

And it’s been CRAZY. We love The Walking Dead for many reasons: It’s action-packed, well-written, and the characters are complex and thoroughly developed. We also love what a huge role women play in the show, and how equally they’re represented. So many television programs don’t do a great job of including tough, resilient women on their roster, but The Walking Dead isn’t one of them. These strong female characters have had some of the most fascinating character arcs on television, and we’re still keeping our fingers crossed that most of them will make it out of this alive. While we wait for the next season to begin, let’s celebrate the ladies of TWD we love and have loved.

They represent anyone’s ability to survive a tough situation.

The journey that Carol has taken over the course of The Walking Dead is by far one of my favorite things about this show. She starts out timid and afraid, the victim of abuse, and she experiences the ultimate tragedy when she loses her daughter to the walkers. She’s been through trauma upon trauma, and through it all, she’s emerged even stronger for it. At this point in the show, she’s one of the people who have stepped up and proven themselves a worthy ally. Even Rick realizes that the team is stronger with her than without, especially after she tears through a compound with little more than the guns strapped to her person to rescue them. She’s smart, cunning and knows how to survive. In short, she’s a badass.

They aren’t afraid to stand up for themselves.

At the start of the series, Maggie is little more than Hershel’s rebellious daughter, but as the show progresses it’s clear to see that her struggles have a much deeper root in personal loss. It’s sad when you realize that Maggie has essentially lost her entire family since Beth’s passing, and while she’s still wrestling with her grief it doesn’t stop her from doing what she has to do to survive. She’s married to Glenn, but their relationship isn’t based on her needing to rely on him for strength. If anything, theirs is an equal partnership where they save each other in equal measure.

They represent the importance of letting someone in.

Michonne is a character whose arrival was literally shrouded in mystery and darkness, and it’s taken us a long time to learn about who she is. She doesn’t open up to just anyone, and the fact that she’s lost several people she cares about hasn’t helped, but gradually she’s started to share more about her past with people like Rick and Carl. More than that, she’s even started to view them — and Judith too — as somewhat of an unofficial family. It doesn’t completely alleviate the pain of losing her own flesh and blood, but in the midst of so much upheaval, there’s nothing wrong with grasping on to a little stability, wherever one can find it. Seeing a softer side of Michonne is evidence that she’s a survivor, because she hasn’t let this world bring her down.

They know it’s okay to rely on others and have an open heart.

Sasha has gone through SO MUCH this last season, and it’s pretty evident she’s not okay. In her time at Alexandria, she’s stays up most nights. She hunts zombies to distract herself from thinking about Bob, her brother, Noah. But she’s such a strong woman —she survived the epidemic back at the prison, and she’s not afraid of zombies OR humans. What sets Sasha apart from the rest, is that she realizes it’s okay to be afraid. It’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to need help sometimes. While Sasha is lost right now, we’re confident she’ll find her way back.

They teach us that you shouldn’t stop doing what you love.

For Beth, it’s always been singing. It was a passion of hers on the farm, and it was something that continued throughout the group’s exile — to the prison and beyond. She’d sing while they were sitting around the campfire, or in the middle of an abandoned funeral home, or in the heart of the cell block. Beth’s singing was proof that no matter how bad things got, you could always fall back on the one thing you loved doing. It was hope. It’s why Daryl fixed up that motorcycle in Alexandria, why Dale always wanted to work on his RV, why Hershel read his Bible when he could. For every part of their lives that has irrevocably changed, there are just some things that can’t.

And at the end of the day, sometimes all you need is a hug.

(We miss you, Beth.)

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