Walking Dead: Audiences and Critics Agree on Worst Episode of the Entire Franchise

A Season 5 episode of The Walking Dead spinoff Fear the Walking Dead is the lowest-rated episode of either show and the only episode in the entire franchise to score below a 5.0 rating on IMDb. User votes determined the ten worst episodes and the ten best episodes of the flagship series: 706, “Swear,” earned the lowest score of the main show with just a 5.6 rating, and 609, “No Way Out,” was crowned the highest-rated episode of either show with a 9.7 rating. No episode of Fear has scored above a 9.0 rating and its Season 1 finale, “The Good Man,” is that show’s highest-scoring episode with an 8.5 rating.

The penultimate episode of Fear the Walking Dead Season 5, “Channel 5,” is the lowest-rated episode of both shows with just a 4.8 rating determined by 1,007 votes. While “Swear” is the only episode of The Walking Dead to score below at least a 6.0 rating, four episodes of Fear failed to score above a 6.0, and they all belong to Season 5.

That season, which wrapped in September with a massive cliffhanger surrounding the fate of Morgan (Lennie James), is not only the worst received season of Fear on Rotten Tomatoes — it scored only a 55% approval from critics — it's the only season of either show designated as “rotten.”

In “Channel 5,” Morgan and his traveling band of do-gooders — Alicia Clark (Alycia Debnam-Carey), Victor Strand (Colman Domingo), and others belonging to a caravan of displaced survivors — keep one step ahead of villain Virginia (Colby Minifie) and her Pioneers when they're forced to fend off an attack from a herd of walkers. The meandering episode was notable for airing the franchise's first-ever selfie-related death.

Critics also determined “Channel 5” to be the worst episode of the season: it scored just a 17% on Rotten Tomatoes. That 17% also makes “Channel 5” the lowest-scoring critical performer of either show, with the Season 5 finale, “End of the Line,” in second place at 23%. No episode of The Walking Dead has ever scored that low, and only Season 8 episode “The King, the Widow, and Rick” comes close at 35%.

Fear showrunners Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg addressed poor reviews and fan backlash at the end of Season 5, saying in a post-season interview, “We told the story that we believe in and we’re proud of what we did.”

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The showrunning duo are now developing Season 6, to premiere on AMC sometime in 2020.

The Walking Dead Season 10 returns with new episodes Feb. 23 on AMC. For more TWD intel, follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter.