The latest episode of The Walking Dead, perhaps unsurprisingly, featured yet another shock death but this particular one has sparked a backlash from fans.
Season six, episode 14 – “Twice As Far” – saw Alexandria’s doctor Denise (Merritt Wever) die from a nasty arrow through the eye (mid-sentence, no less) fired from Daryl’s crossbow by returning villain Dwight (Austin Amelio).
In an article following the episode, Vanity Fair described Denise’s death as “part of a troubling TV trend” which has recently seen three lesbian characters die across three different TV shows (The 100 and Jane the Virgin).
Joanna Robinson states that this is a case of the writers utilising the “well-established trope known as ‘Bury Your Gays'” and fans seems to be in agreement.
Adding fuel to the fire is how the death scene plays out exactly as it does in the show’s graphic novel counterpart – the difference being the comic kills off male character Abraham (played in the series by Michael Cudlitz), not Denise.
It’s also being argued that this trope – also known as “Dead Lesbian Syndrome” – is heightened by the way in which Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs) managed to survive a bullet to the eye in episode nine while the arrow to Denise’s eye kills her instantly.
Fans expressed their frustration over Twitter.
Of course. OF. COURSE. Of course The walking dead uses the bury your gays trope. Of course Denise doesn't get to be strong. Of course.
— WahWah (@sheisawantedman) March 21, 2016
The walking dead spoiler//
Denise is dead wtf shes one out of the only two lesbian characters on this show they cant do this
— ✨Star Prince Megan✨ (@NELSONNMURDOCK) March 21, 2016
denise died in the walking dead wtf i am so MAD her and tara were my fav couple why why why
— shauna (@shaunagrv) March 21, 2016
Denise’s death leaves Tara (Alanna Masterson) as the show’s sole surviving lesbian. The show features a gay couple, Aaron (Ross Marquand) and Eric (Jordan Woods-Robinson) and while they still remain alive in the series, Vanity Fair argues that their relationship has never really factored into the overarching plot.
The Walking Dead has one more episode to go until its season six finale. It’s reported to be a 90-minute special featuring the much-hyped introduction of antagonist Negan (Jeffery Dean Morgan).