Stop me if you've heard this one before: Sergeant Abraham Ford is one of the most divided characters among The Walking Dead fanbase.
Seriously, I don't even think Lori or Andrea caused such a divide between between fans when they were still alive - and Lori almost rivals Denise for most useless, burdensome survivors in a zombie apocalypse. Some fans loved Abraham's blunt style and his colorful, TV-appropriate euphemisms, while others viewed him as a misogynist jerk who treated his girlfriend like garbage; Abraham was like an alternate version of Shane Walsh, except Shane could back his actions up and, more often than not, was right about the points he made.
Still, that didn't stop most of the fanbase from losing it on Sunday night as Abraham was picked by Negan, the series' newest biggest bad, to be the first member of Team Family to get intimate with Lucille. In a bloody death - though not as bloody and violent as Glenn's - that left our heroes in tears, Abraham went out as he lived: a defiant badass who became a survivor.
As we mourn the loss of television's greatest cigar smoker since Bunk Moreland, now seems like a perfect time to look back at the best moments of Abraham Ford from his days on the road to the final days in Alexandria. This should go without saying, but there are some spoilers in here, but the majority of these moments are relatively old by the show's standards. Ready to cry at all of the nostalgic moments? I'm not, so make sure to have some tissues next to the Bisquick the next time you're making pancakes. If you missed our look back at Glenn's top ten moments, make sure to check that out as well.
10. Light 'Em Up: I'm cheating here because I myself am a huge cigar aficionado, but watching Abraham enjoying his love of cigars even two years into the zombie apocalypse always brought a smile onto my face. Only someone like Abraham could take the time to smoke some Cubans while also watching out for the undead!
9. Enjoying The Show: This is not only one of my favorite Abraham moments, but of Tara Chambler - and keep in mind, this is only Tara's fourth or so appearance in the show. After Glenn rescues Tara from the burning prison and the two set off on the road to find Maggie, Glenn collapses from a mix of what is left over from the sickness that rendered him useless for the prison battle and pure exhaustion; Tara, thinking she's just lost her newest friend and savior, beats the ever-living hell out of a walker that was about to end Glenn's life two and a half seasons before he was supposed to expire. After that, the lovable lesbian jumps up and starts yelling at the screen...well, the scene itself is worth watching on its own.
Bonus points goes to AMC for going the extra mile to make sure that Abraham, Eugene, and Rosita were all wearing the exact outfits in this episode that they wore on the cover of issue 53, their first appearance in the comic.
8. Pancakes: Flash forward from Abraham's initial appearances to one of his last appearances, this time in an RV on the way to The Hilltop. As the subject of Maggie's pregnancy is discussed, Abraham and Glenn have the following conversation.
Abraham: "When you were, uh, pouring the Bisquick, were you trying to make pancakes?"I just hope that Michael Cudlitz got some free Bisquick delivered to his house for that shameless promotion. What a line!
Glenn: "Uh... Yes? Oh, okay, um..."
7. Priorities: I want you to imagine this for a second: one day earlier, you escaped from a cannibal-filled compound in large part not only due to a mysterious woman, but also this bearded, alpha male leader who insisted on returning to finish them all off. By all means, this man appears to be dangerous, maybe even more dangerous and calculating than the same people that held you and your people hostage...and you stand up to him when he tells you that moving the man you're protecting who claims to have the cure to the zombie apocalypse in his hands. Hell, Abraham and Rick nearly trade blows during the exchange! Abraham is...was...awesome!
6. Hope and Change: This is one of those things where the actual words do more justice than a snippet I'd write, but I'll also comment on how adorable Judith is in this scene and how at home Rick looks with his daughter. Even if Judith may biologically be Shane's (we still don't have confirmation, but I like to think it's actually Rick's), you can tell in this scene that in Rick's eyes, she's his for good.
"I look around this room and I see SURVIVORS. Each and every one of you has earned that title. To THE SURVIVORS! *group toasts in return* Is that all you want to be? Wake up in the morning, fight the undead pricks, forage for food, go to sleep with two eyes open, rinse and repeat? 'Cause you can do that. I mean, you got the strength. You got the skill. Thing is, for you people, for what you can do, that's just surrender. Now, we get Eugene to Washington and he make the dead die and the living will have this world again. And that is not a bad takeaway for a little road trip.... However this plays out, however long it takes for the reset button to kick in, you can be safe there. Safer than you've been since this whole thing started. Come with us. Save the world for that little one. Save it for yourselves. Save it for the people out there, who don't got nothing left to do except survive."Awesome.
5. Forgiveness: So by this point, you should know what actually happens with Eugene and "the cure" he keeps promising: there is none to his knowledge because he's not a scientist (the show never hints at what he actually was prior to the apocalypse, though he was a high school science teacher in the comics) and Abraham absolutely destroys him in a scene you'll see later below (I just blew it). But, what stands out is how Abraham eventually comes to forgive Eugene when the two sit above Tara's comatose body in the Alexandria Safe-Zone's infirmary. How easy would it have been for Abraham, a man who already nearly killed Eugene once, to just dismiss the man and tell him to "screw off" because of his lying? And yet...Abraham manages to forgive Eugene! People are always going to hate Abe, but this was the scene that permanently sealed his spot among my favorite characters in the entire franchise.
4. A Deadly Rescue: Honestly, the moment I started to dislike the
Shatnerians Alexandrians wasn't Aiden or Nicholas because cocky jerks, nor was it Deanna's dismissal of Pete beating Jessie because he was a doctor. No, it was the sheer nonchalant ignorance from the construction workers when walkers trapped Francine, a female Shatnerian, and they all appeared to give up. Abraham, however, remembered the pledge he took to protect people from the armed forces and tore through the undead to save a woman he likely never had even spoken with before that day. Abraham, you rock, dude.
3. Taunting The Devil: Remember that part I mentioned about Abraham standing up to Rick? Yeah, Ole Abe takes it up a notch immediately and makes that encounter look like a preschool fight when it comes to dealing with the final opponent the sergeant takes on in war. Immediately after Negan smashes Lucille into his head, a dazed and bloody Abraham still manages to deliver one of the best 'final word' lines in history.
"Suck...my...nuts."That right there is how you give one final middle finger to the censors and those afraid of exposing bad language to minors. It's not quite a 'getting crap past the radar' type of thing, but would I rather hear Abraham taunt Negan like that then tell him to "go f*** himself" and have that be muted it? Nope.
2. You said WHAT?: Again, this is one of those iconic scenes where the video itself will do it more justice than I can, but I want to explain why it's on this list. A common fan theory is that Eugene has a form of autism or Asperger's, meaning that he can take plenty of hits without his body ever telling him "OW, THIS HURTS!" It only takes one punch from Abraham to knock everyone's favorite fake scientist out and then, the red-haired soldier just keeps going. Boom. Shabaam! Boom! Pow! Before Negan entered the fray, I'd argue that this was one of the more violent human-on-human moments in the entire series and it's made even more human by Abraham falling to his knees in tears at the end. Was it over guilt about beating a defenseless man within an inch of his life or because all of this had been a sham? That's up to you, though I prefer it being a mix of both.
1. Don't Drink The Poison: And yet, despite all of that, Abraham still shows some care for Eugene when the group is out on the road when he knocks a bottle of water out of his hand. Keep in mind that this bottle of water came from a package that the still-to-be-introduced Aaron had left for them and for all the group knew, it could have been filled with poison or walker guts. When Eugene volunteers to drink - likely due to the guilt from lying - and starts, Abraham slaps the bottle straight out of his hand to protect the man that had lied and betrayed him just weeks earlier. Why? Because Abraham, for all of his negative flaws (especially how he handled leaving Rosita), is a good man who clearly cares about Team Family and will do whatever it takes to keep them alive.
God bless you, Abraham. May you enjoy the cigars and pancakes in heaven, my friend.
[Featured Image by AMC]