In the penultimate episode of The Walking Dead‘s ninth season, 10 survivors were wiped out by the Whisperers in one of the show’s biggest massacres to date. The fifteenth episode,”The Calm Before,” saw Ezekiel’s fair turn sour when Alpha and her cronies kidnapped and murdered numerous Alexandria, Hilltop and Kingdom citizens, including Enid, Henry and Tara.
With no offense intended to the other fallen characters (R.I.P. Frankie, Ozzie, DJ, etc.), those three were the ones who were mourned the most by fans following the episode’s airing. However, Tara’s death also got a lot of people riled as it spelled the second removal of a rare gay character on the show this same season. The first time it happened was Jesus (Tom Payne) back in the midseason finale.
You’re probably aware that this is a troubling trope not just in TWD but across the television landscape, with the frustrating trend so popular it’s often known as the “burying your gays” trope. And fans were fuming that their favorite series had pulled it off twice in one year.
I LITERALLY DO NOT CARE ABOUT ANYONE WHO DIED EXCEPT ENID AND TARA WHY DID THE SMARTEST DOCTOR AND ANOTHER HILLTOP LEADER DIE (also @ the walking dead stop killing the gays off) #TheWalkingDead
— khalil (@khvl1l) March 25, 2019
THEY KILLED TARA, ONE OF MY FAVOURITE CHARACTERS AND ANOTHER GAY CHARACTER FUCK OFF #TheWalkingDead
— jordan (@jensmish) March 26, 2019
— Krystle ?? (@Kryingkrys) March 25, 2019
I stopped watching when they were too scared to kill off Rick Grimes or Maggie.
It's weird they were too scared to do that but were fine to kill off all but one of their queer characters
— Mouse: Sparkledog edition (@EnbyDal) March 25, 2019
— Lauren (@feistymexarican) March 25, 2019
One fan also remembered that Denise, Tara’s late girlfriend, was also killed off back in season 8.
— Brittany Melia (@bkmelia8) March 25, 2019
In TWD‘s defense, lesbian couple Magna (Nadia Hilker) and Yumiko (Eleanor Matsuura) were both introduced this season as well. However, some fans saw the deaths of Jesus and Tara as a possible response to the arrival of these two characters.
— Syd (@squidr14) March 25, 2019
Alongside Magna and Yumiko, Aaron (Ross Marquand) is the only other prominent gay character left alive on the series. Obviously, The Walking Dead is a show that likes to thin out its supporting cast regardless of their gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or even popularity with the fans, but it’s still saddening that we’ve lost two of the few LGBT characters to this tired old trope that needs to end already.