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Walking Dead Star Thinks Character Was Killed Off For Bizarre Reason

The Walking Dead's penultimate episode of season 9 didn't pull any punches, and neither is one of the stars whose character suffered a grim fate. 

Katelyn Nacon, who portrayed Enid on the hit AMC series, has an opinion as to why the budding doctor was killed off — and it isn't too flattering toward the show's creative talent. As you might have guessed, spoilers for the episode "The Calm Before" follow.

First, a little background: Enid was introduced in The Walking Dead's fifth season as the sole survivor of a family who fell prey to walkers. Prone to going it alone and initially mistrustful of others, the teenager slowly began to develop a bond with Carl during season 6, and eventually also grew close to Maggie (assisting during her pregnancy) and Carol, whom she came to look up to as a parental figure. During the events of season 8, the unceremonious exit of Carl — with whom she had been dancing around the edges of a relationship — threatened to bring her world crashing down, but after the season-ending battle at Hilltop, she took an interest in medicine, studying under Siddiq during the year-and-a-half-long time jump preceding the current ninth season.

Nacon was promoted up to the main cast for season 9, and her character finally given a bit more screen time — and something resembling a story arc — as she was revealed to have become Hilltop's resident doctor after the six-year time jump following Rick Grimes' exit from the series in the episode "What Comes After" (although she was still saddled with the secondary title of Love Interest, this time for Alden). Despite Nacon's promotion, she wasn't given a heck of a lot to do as the conflict with the Whisperers — a ruthless band of survivors who wear the skins of walkers — began to heat up in earnest.

Then came "The Calm Before," which saw Whisperer leader Alpha (Samantha Morton) threaten the newly united communities of Alexandria, the Hilltop, the Sanctuary, the Kingdom, and Oceanside with a massive horde of walkers, which she promised to unleash if the Whisperers were not left alone. Not content with this simple warning, however, Alpha somehow managed to kidnap no fewer than ten of the communities' residents, including Enid, and decided to use them to send a grisly message. Daryl, Yumiko, Michonne, and Carol — who had already endured more than their fair share of tragedy throughout the series' run — came upon the severed, reanimated heads of their friends displayed on pikes at the border to the Whisperers' territory. Only Siddiq was left alive to tell the tale of how they fought valiantly to the end; along with Enid, viewers bid a horrifying goodbye to Tara, D.J., Rodney, Addy, Tammy Rose, Henry, Ozzy, Frankie, and Alek in one of the most brutal endings to an episode of television since Game of Thrones brought us the Red Wedding.

Enid is a character original to television, never having appeared in the Walking Dead comic series (although some have suggested that she functioned effectively as a replacement for Carol's actual daughter Sophia, whose death in season 2 announced that the TV series would have zero qualms about deviating significantly from the source material). Nacon is of the opinion that her character was chosen to be killed off for a simple, kind of ridiculous reason — the writers just plain hit a wall with her.

Speaking with Insider shortly after "The Calm Before" aired, Nacon said that — even though she was somewhat surprised to have lasted for five seasons in TWD's cold, hard world — she had a feeling that Enid's stalled character development during season 9 spelled trouble. "I thought I was going to die in like season six," she said. "I didn't think my character was going to last as long as it did. So I'm glad I made it as far as I did. But I mean, I don't know. I think around season eight, things started to slow down a lot for [Enid]. She was kind of in the background a lot, and her story wasn't really progressing. Even with season nine, she became a doctor, but the show didn't really progress more with her character other than her becoming a doctor and getting a boyfriend. So I think, honestly, [the writers just ran out] of content for her, or something? I'm not really sure."

That's a pretty harsh assessment — but Nacon didn't stop there. She went on to gently suggest that perhaps this wouldn't have been the case of the writers had bothered to craft an effective arc for Enid in the first place, rather than continually shoehorning her into the role of romantic interest. "At the beginning of the year, I thought it was going well with her learning how to be a doctor and everything. I thought there was going to be some exciting things to come, but I was a little bummed out with... just kind of being pushed down into a love interest role." Just to make sure her point was clear, she continued, "It's sad that you have a really strong independent woman character on your show already, but then, you put her storyline so focused on a man."

It's safe to say that The Walking Dead has endured a fair amount of criticism over its writing in later seasons; indeed, the internet positively abounds with think pieces trying to parse out just where the show went wrong, and how it might be able to right itself moving forward. But when one of your dear, departed main cast is lobbing this kind of pointed criticism at the writers' room immediately after her departure, you might just have problems that can't be fixed. 

Only time will tell if the series is able to come back strong for the recently ordered season 10, but first, there's the matter of closing out the current season to attend to. Its final episode, somewhat predictably titled "The Storm," will drop this Sunday, March 31.