The Walking Dead is known for killing off beloved characters, but this one was a real shocker.
CAUTION: SPOILERS AHEAD!
On The Walking Dead, you really never know who is going to get killed. Whether it's your favorite character getting torn apart by the undead or the show's most reviled villain getting his violent comeuppance, no one is ever safe on the AMC horror hit.
In Sunday night's mid-season finale, another main character bit the dust, and it ended up being one of the roughest deaths in recent Walking Dead memory.
Previously, Beth and Carol had been captured by the Atlanta Police Department survivors who are staying at the Grady Memorial Hospital.
Rick and his band of survivors had also captured two APD members, and Rick arranged a trade-off with the hospital survivors: Their two people in exchange for Carol and Beth.
After a tense episode of close calls and political maneuvering, everyone was expecting the worst. But you don't even know what "the worst" really is until you see how this whole heartbreaking affair shook out.
In the closing minutes of the show, the survivors living at the hospital meet in a hallway with Rick, Noah, Daryl and a few others. Guns weren't drawn, but tensions ran high as the exchange was made, and it was successful!
But then, the dark machinations of Dawn presented themselves when she demanded the return of Noah, who had previously been her "ward" before she forced Beth into that role. At first, Rick's group protested, but Noah knew it was the only way to keep the peace.
But then, Beth decided to stand up to Dawn. In a shocking moment that everyone saw coming but was still shocked by, Beth attempts to stab Dawn with a pair of medical scissors and suddenly a gun goes off.
Then the back of Beth's head comes flying off!
In silent slow motion, Dawn raises her smoking gun and begins to, presumably, explain that it was a mistake. But a nearly crying Daryl is having none of it and he blows Dawn away.
In what could have been a blood bath, the remaining Memorial Hospital survivors pleaded for the violence to end. They lowered their weapons and tried to ease the tension.
Rick and the group reluctantly agreed, and Daryl carries Beth's lifeless body out of the hospital. As they are leaving, the rest of the gang is walking up, and Beth's half-sister Maggie breaks down in tears at the sight of her corpse.
It was a tough episode, no doubt. But from the moment Beth slid those scissors into her cast to hide them for later, her fate was all but sealed. It's going to be interesting to see how the core group deals with this tragedy, but it certainly seems like they've had plenty of experience healing from heartbreaking, untimely deaths over the last five seasons.
The Walking Dead is set to return February 8, when fans are sure to see even more chaos, death, mayhem and destruction. Until then, check out the video below to hear from Norman Reedus, who stars as the amazing Daryl Dixon, on all the craziness season 5 has to offer.
You can follow Zach Seemayer on Twitter @ZachSeemayer