Despite being a show that lasted 11 seasons, only had one good love story. As a series that explored the lives of well over a dozen survivors in a zombie apocalypse over a long period of time, romance was bound to prop up among some of the characters. And over time, numerous relationships, both romantic and platonic in nature, formed and collapsed as the series progressed.
With zombies and other threats constantly putting their lives in danger, there wasn’t always room for romance, with characters like Daryl spending the majority of their time in the series dealing with more pressing matters. This was also true for Rick, who went a few seasons without a love interest after Lori died. But, at some point or another, wound up giving nearly every major character on the show – even Daryl and Negan – a romantic storyline before concluding. By the end of the series, had offered a long list of these subplots. However, only one stands out as a truly worthwhile romance, whereas all the others fell short.
The franchise’s best love story began rather early in the series’ lifetime. As early as season 2, the show began to explore the dynamic between Maggie and Glenn, who grew close during the time Rick’s group spent on Herschel’s farm. This romance didn’t develop overnight, and was instead something that the show played out gradually. It started with an attraction, expressed mostly by Maggie, and grew into something deeper as time passed. made Maggie and Glenn’s romance a core element of the series and continuously found opportunities to examine various facets of their relationship.
Viewers saw Maggie and Glenn overcome numerous obstacles, with the two characters successfully getting through the conflicts that occurred on the farm and in the prison, the war with the Governor, and what happened at Terminus. Their dynamic remained strong, with Maggie and Glenn eventually becoming married, expecting parents. It ended tragically, but even with , the shownever stopped proving the strength of their relationship. Years have passed since that tragedy, but the show has yet to give Maggie, another love interest, and justifiably so. Maggie said herself in season 11, when condemning Negan for what he did, that she would “
How handled Glenn and Maggie’s romance is in contrast with most of the show’s love stories. Its approach to Negan and Lucille was heartfelt and genuine, but was contained in a single flashback episode. This relationship wasn’t a part of the main story. As for those that did take place within the present, most were lacking in compelling narratives and were difficult to get invested in to any significant degree. That was the case with both the Jerry-Nabila and Alden-Enid romances, which occurred in the background. Others simply grew frustrating or petered out pointlessly, which was the fate of Carol and Ezekiel’s relationship, which fell apart after Henry’s death.
One of the biggest problems with romance in is that in most situations, the show didn’t bother to explore what they were built or how they came to be. The series saw Glenn and Maggie go from strangers, to friends, to lovers, to a married couple. Their relationship grew naturally, allowing the moments they had together on the show to feel earned and organic. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for so many of the show’s other romantic subplots, including those that became crucial to the series.
Several of its romances lacked in proper development. For instance, Rick and Michonne’s romantic pairing just suddenly happened, without any preexisting tension between the two characters. An arguably worse example of this was the surprise reveal that Gabriel and Rosita got together after season 9’s six-year time jump. inexplicably turned this into one of the most important relationships of the final seasons, regardless of the fact that there was no setup for it whatsoever. Prior to season 9, there was no reason to believe that Gabriel and Rosita would (or should) become romantically involved.
All things considered, romance was not one of the show’s strong suits, with Glenn and Maggie’s love story continuing to be the only one that worked really well from start to finish. Of course, that’s not to say that its various character interactions were poorly handled overall. had several great relationships, but most of them weren’t romantic. Aside from Maggie and Glenn, its best character pairings were just platonic friendships. This was illustrated by Rick and Daryl’s brotherly dynamic, the complex relationship between Daryl and Carol, and for each other across several seasons.
It’s true that has a better track record with non-romantic relationships, yet the franchise has elected to make romance the centerpiece of at least one of its three upcoming spinoffs. A synopsis for has confirmed that their love will play an integral role in their next arc. In fact, AMC has even gone as far as to call their show “” Based on what else the synopsis has revealed, the strength of their relationship and their desire to get back to each other will be what drives both of them in the spinoff series.
As if making the show a love story wasn’t troubling enough on its own, repeated failures when it comes to romance make this a massive concern for the spinoff. The series is a highly-anticipated installment, largely because it’s on track to reveal what Rick Grimes has been up to while also providing some long-awaited answers to the franchise’s CRM mysteries. Focusing too much on romance during a heated conflict with the CRM could easily result in an unnecessary distraction. That, combined with history of slip-ups with its love stories, signals that an would be a huge mistake for the series.