Over the course of its eleven seasons, The Walking Dead has had plotlines that rocked the audience to their core. From small but deeply personal storylines, to the wide-ranging wars between communities and groups of survivors – The Walking Dead has a long history of impactful stories.
Buried in the mix, however, are distinctly less impactful stories. Plenty occupy a middle range of developing minor characters or providing diversions as more major plots were set up. But, certain storylines in The Walking Dead’s history have the dubious honor of contributing almost nothing to the overall storyline.
7. The Other Prisoner Group Were Killed Too Quickly
Before the Governor is revealed as a major antagonist, season 3 focuses on Rick’s group discovering the prison and beginning to make it habitable. They encounter a group of five prisoners who have been locked in a cafeteria since the beginning of the outbreak.
Three of the prisoners are killed off shortly after their debut, leaving just Axel and Oscar. Eventually, the two work out a truce with Rick’s group, and seem like they may become important characters with development. They are killed off in quick succession just as fans began to enjoy them, leaving their introductory storyline somewhat pointless.
6. Sophia’s Disappearance Stalled For Several Episodes
Much of season 2 of The Walking Dead left Rick and his group occupying part of Hershel’s farm as they attempted to find Sophia, who had gone missing in the chaos of a walker attack. For several episodes, the group largely camp out without much progression as search parties are sent out.
After all that time, it is revealed that Sophia had been turned into a walker, and was inside the zombie-filled barn all along. The reveal is considered one of The Walking Dead‘s signature scenes – but the plotline itself contributed little to the plot other than some character development for Daryl Dixon.
5. Rick And Jessie’s Romance Brought Little To Either Character
The group become concerned with romance and relationships once they are in Alexandria. This signals the group are back in something resembling civilization after months spent focusing on survival. One of these romances is between Rick and Jessie, who are attracted to each other despite Jesse’s abusive husband, Pete.
After Rick kills Pete, the two begin a relationship together – with some time dedicated to it. However, it all comes to naught when Jessie is killed in No Way Out, and Rick begins a relationship with Michonne. Although Jessie was not an unpopular character, many fans believed the romance brought nothing to the plot.
4. The Sickness In The Prison Only Affected Carol Long-Term
Season 4’s first plotline focuses on an outbreak of a rapidly-fatal disease in the prison, and the hardships of governing through it. Most of the season’s first half is spent on this storyline, with several developments that seem like they will have great importance on the future of the prison’s society.
The illness is cured by Hershel, but there are some ramifications. The plot quickly shifts to the Governor’s second attack that destroys the prison’s society and renders everything that happened as pointless. The only long-term impact of the sickness was on Carol. Carol began a new storyline after Rick exiled her for killing two of the initially infected – although that character development had already been in progress for some time.
3. The Wolves Were Among The Least Impactful Villains
The Walking Dead has had a great many impactful and popular villains groups. From hostile survivors to would-be conquering empires, the post-apocalypse is littered with dangerous people. Many of the dangerous people affect the survivors – ranging from killing members, challenging their morals, to eventually joining them.
The Wolves, villains for part of season 5 and 6, ultimately do none of this. The group spends most of their time offscreen fighting with traps. Compared to villains like The Governor or the Saviors, the Wolves brought almost nothing to The Walking Dead.
2. Merle And Daryl Leaving The Prison Was Short-Lived
Merle was one of the first antagonistic figures and one who had an impact that far outweighed his screentime. The Walking Dead revealed Merle severing his own hand to escape a horde of walkers and began the development of his brother, Daryl, one of the most popular characters.
Merle returns in Woodbury, and eventually returns to the survivor group with his brother. Given his previous tensions with the group, he leaves, and Daryl goes with him. Despite the potential for a major storyline between the two brothers, little comes of it. Instead, Daryl returns to the prison before long, and after Merle faces a rocky welcome back. Ultimately, he goes out in an unsuccessful attack against the governor.
1. Grady Memorial Hospital Had Potential
Beginning in season 3, the world of The Walking Dead began to expand with a variety of other communities. Some of these went on to be massively important. Others fell by the wayside, but none more significantly than Grady Memorial Hospital.
Run by former police, the Hospital is a community that claims to be maintaining law and order, but kidnaps people and forces them into labor. It is an interesting group with potential for more exploration, but is only present for a handful of episodes that go nowhere. The only fallout from the storyline is the anticlimactic and little-mentioned death of Beth Greene and the introduction of Noah (who dies shortly after anyway).