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SPOILERS!!!

WARNING: This article contains spoilers for the fan fiction it pertains to. Please proceed with caution.


The following page contains a list of tropes found in Dark Days. Be wary of spoilers.

For the page containing character tropes, see here.

A

  • Abandoned Area: By the end of the first season, the University of Alabama is so damaged that the survivors have no choice but to leave.
  • Aborted Arc: William Knight is introduced trying to steal medication from the infirmary via faking a bite mark. After this one scene in episode 8, this is never mentioned again. Word of God states that William's arc in the second half was much larger at one point, but it was reduced as to not clog up the already cramped story.
  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: The basement of the University of Alabama is incredibly large and spacious, with winding corridors leading to many different, random rooms.
  • Accidental Murder: Melanie bashes Mike's head in with a hammer without thinking.
  • Action Girl: Gina and Dahlia in spades. Monica by the end of Season 1, and Erika a little bit too. Kylie joins these ranks in the final few episodes of the season.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Although the series features more of an ensemble cast, most characters often have several led scenes to their name. It's very rare for a character to get a whole episode to themselves, but there's a few examples:
  • Adult Fear:
    • Not being able to protect those you love, or provide for them.
    • Being faced with a medical emergency that has lives on the line, and it's up to you who lives and dies.
  • Alas, Poor Villain:
    • Kate's cult may have been a group of kids who Took a Level in Jerkass, but they were still following her due to manipulation. It's likely they wouldn't have suffered such brutal murders had they not fallen into her grasp.
    • Despite Dahlia doing enough to warrant being killed, she was still human. There was a lot of Hidden Depths to her character and she even seemed to accept Warren's offer for a chance at redemption, shortly before she is murdered.
  • The Alcoholic: Gina and Monica are revealed to be drinkers in a Whole-Episode Flashback.
  • All for Nothing: Caroline takes a group out of the university in an attempt to find safety. They even escape a big scene after Jackson stabs Parker. However, soon after leaving, their efforts to find safety become their downfall.
  • Alliterative Title: "Dark Days".
  • All Your Base Are Belong To Us:
  • Almighty Janitor: A meta-subversion with Clark.
  • Alternate Universe: Confirmed to be entirely separate from the creator's other story.
  • Amputation Stops Spread: It's a recurring theme in the first season for amputation of infected limbs to be a topic of conversation, but it only literally happens twice, in the first and seventh episodes respectively. However, neither time are the amputations on-screen, and only the second time does it actually happen.
  • An Arm and a Leg:
    • Pam attempts to amputate Timmons' bitten arm, but he dies before she can do so.
    • The seventh episode ends on a partial-cliffhanger with Pam about to amputate Alex's bitten arm, though he lives long enough for her to do so, albeit off-screen.
  • An Axe to Grind: Monica wields an axe in the final two episodes of Season 1, and even gets a solid kill with it.
  • And Starring:
  • Annoying Patient: Averted with Blaine Parker in the first season.
  • Anticlimax: Some of the episodes in Season 1 are considered rather bland and don't generate enough consistent interest for future episodes.
  • Anyone Can Die: Uh-huh.
  • Apocalypse Anarchy: Subverted, people are doing pretty well in the university during the outbreak. Mostly. It does not take long at all for shit to hit the fan. The best and worst in people is brought out very very fast.
  • The Apocalypse Brings Out the Best in People: Gina and Monica used to be bullies prior to the outbreak, but ultimately reformed over time prior to the start of the series. Though they still remain tough and stubborn, they're generally kinder and more protective of those around them.
  • Apocalyptic Logistics: Either Pam is really good at conserving medicine, people are incredibly healthy, or they have a shit load, because supplies don't seem to be dwindling whatsoever after a year into the outbreak. It's especially strange when you consider the amount of people living on the campus.
  • Arc Symbol:
    • Walls for Season 1.
    • Roads for Season 2.
  • Arc Villain:
    • Jackson (Ep1-Ep3), Kate and her cult (Ep4-Ep7), Dahlia and the Homeless (Ep7-Ep13), and Arnold Davis (Ep9-Ep13 in flashbacks) in Season 1.
  • Arc Words: "Stay centered." is Kate's mantra in the first season, and is spoken quite often.
  • Artistic License - Medicine: The creator tries to be vague with how medical scenes are handled in the story, due to a severe lack of knowledge on the field.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • Blaine Parker, Virgil Black, and Kylie Washington are three recurring characters who have been granted more screentime has the series has progressed. So much so that they became regulars for the second season.
    • Pam Anderson and Candice Noire have the most appearances and development of any Co-Star cast members in the first season.
  • Ascended Meme: "#MakeParksMain" was a trending meme for a very long time. Come Season 2, and the much desired wish came true.
  • Asshole Victim: Tons. Jackson, Kate, Dr. Nole, Bob, and William, just to name a few.
  • Audience Gut-Punch:
    • Raye's death, also serving as a Surprise Sudden Death.
    • Pam and Candice dying caused a lot of audience outrage, due to them being Breakout Characters.
    • Even though Dahlia was a controversial character, her death scene was still one big Tear Jerker, with her coming to terms with everything she had done, accepting responsibility, breaking down, and willing to take a shot at redemption... only to be murdered with a single bullet through the back of her head mere moments later, by one of her former friends.
  • Audience Surrogate: The university fills in during Kate's final stand in episode seven.
  • Auto Erotica: Averted. It's only "heavily implied" that Warren and Dahlia had sex in the mid-season finale of the first season.

B

  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Gina trains a gun on the infirmary door while Pam saves Parker from a poisoning in episode six. Tensions are incredibly high, and there's simply no good way for the situation to end. As incredible as the scene is, there is a casualty.
  • Badass:
    • Gina Lestrade, for her toughness and resilience, as well as her skills in taking down the undead.
    • Blaine Parker is recognized as one in the community for surviving two separate assassination attempts and still managing to insult his attempted killer.
    • Kylie Washington earns this role for surviving her near death experience and acting as the 11th Hour Ranger who killed Bob in the Final Boss battle of season 1.
  • Badass in Distress: Most of the 'badass' main characters end up needing assistance in the first season, such as Gina and Oliver. Other characters that fall into this category are Parker, Pam, and Kylie.
  • Badass Longcoat: Even if he's a Jerkass who deserves to die, Bob's big black coat is very intimidating.
  • Bait the Dog: The first half of the first season presents Dahlia Dwelton as a supporting protagonist, only for the mid-season finale to give her a Face-Heel Turn and murder one of her closest friends.
  • Bang, Bang, BANG: Gunshots don't seem to effect anyone much... and most people don't even hear most of them.
  • Battle Couple:
    • Warren and Dahlia, but Dahlia does all of the fighting.
    • Chad and Erika become their antithesis upon joining Kate's cult, with Chad doing most of the fighting this time.
  • Behind the Black: Sometimes characters are taken by surprise by walkers, though this happens rather sparsely. The creator wants to avoid the "Ninja Walker" trope going forward in the series.
  • Being Good Sucks: Warren's pacifism is constantly tested and mocked, even when it starts to drop for more violent tendencies. Most of the deaths around him are blamed on him, either directly or implicitly.
  • Berserk Button:
  • Beware the Nice Ones:
    • Kate is nothing more than a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing.
    • Dahlia is actually the Big Bad of Season 1, though on the surface she's a good friend to many and girlfriend to Warren.
    • Rosa is initially presented as a meek young girl. Then she's presented as a kind scout for the Homeless. Then she's presented as a curious and doubtful girl who might switch sides. Then she shoots Candice and it all goes downhill.
  • Big Bad:
  • Big Badass Battle Sequence: The battle against Bob in the season finale is so intense, it's been compared to a superhero battle. It lasts for a good while, and all of the main characters (sans Dahlia) and two future main characters get in on the action.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Like him or hate him, Daniel shooting Kate was oh so satisfying.
    • The Big Badass Battle Sequence against Final Boss Bob is finally brought to an end when Kylie comes in as an 11th Hour Ranger, and fills Bob with seven bullets and bashes his head in with a hammer, saving everyone and earning herself some much needed revenge.
  • Big Damn Reunion: All of the main characters reuniting towards the end of Season 1 is this, but the one that takes the cake is Gina and Monica's reunion in "Rubicon".
  • Big Good: Blaine Parker is the most likely candidate for this. Warren also falls into this category due to his nice and peaceful personality.
  • The Big Guy: Blaine Parker is this for the university survivors. Bob is this for the Homeless.
  • Big "NO!": Plenty.
    • Raye delivers one after his boyfriend becomes a Zombie Infectee.
    • Dahlia screams several into a walkie-talkie when Natania is murdered by Rocky.
    • Warren closes the season with one, yelling at Wilkes not to kill Dahlia, and failing.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Kate.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Tends to happen a lot, but that's to be expected.
    • Season 1's mid-season finale leaves several people dead, infected students in the university's infirmary, a herd of walkers trapping everyone inside, and a plethora of strangers living in the basement. Not to mention Dahlia kills Raye. It's a truly bittersweet ending that's far more bitter than it is sweet. At least most of the main cast is alive, right...?
    • It gets even worse in the season finale -- almost everyone on both sides is dead, an explosion has rendered the university structurally unsafe and the remaining survivors have no choice but to leave, and a few of the survivors (Warren, Alex, Wilkes) are faced with the deaths of their loved ones (Dahlia, Raye, Trevor) and cry over their deaths/corpses before leaving.
  • Black Cloak: Bob's attire. Also doubles as a Badass Longcoat.
  • Black Comedy: Chad tells Martha Collins to drop dead. She does.
  • Black Dude Dies First:
    • While not the first death in the story, Mike is the first death in Kenny's friend group, and the first character to be killed by another person.
    • Inverted in that two of the final four deaths of Season 1 are black characters; Bob and Trevor.
  • Bleed 'em and Weep: Dahlia cries before and after killing Trevor.
  • Bloody Horror: Too much to list. Just too, too much. And it's not just from fighting zombies.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Why did Kate think nobody would try to stop her when she was luring zombies into the school? Then again, she did murder her entire cult before doing so... so she was probably too insane to think of the outcome. She could've been ready to Face Death with Dignity.
  • Boom, Headshot!: It's the only way to deal with walkers, after all. Aside from that, a plethora of characters suffer this fate, either as a killing blow, or to prevent reanimation after dying.
    • Season 1:
      • The zombified Mike takes a bullet to the brain from Melanie, who is Driven to Suicide and delivers one to herself as well.
      • Daniel finishes off Kate this way.
      • Dahlia shoots Raye in the head with her crossbow.
      • Mona Benevidez takes one to the back of the head thanks to Candice.
      • Bruce murders Jack like this, right in front of Alex.
      • Dahlia kills Bruce and Trevor this way.
      • Minutes later, Dahlia takes a bullet to the back of her head courtesy of Wilkes.
  • Brandishment Bluff: A deadly example at the end of the first season. Warren stages a hostage situation with Trevor in order to get close to Dahlia to try and convince her to stand down... but she calls his bluff, and punishes them by shooting Trevor dead.
  • Breakout Character:
    • Blaine Parker, Virgil Black, Kylie Washington, and Wilkes are all recurring characters in the first season who gained a fanbase of some sort. All four of them ended up becoming main characters for the following season.
    • Though their time on the series was short, Pam Anderson and Candice Noire became fan favorite characters due to their personalities and actions through the first season.
    • Melanie proved to be one, so much so that she's getting a spin-off.
  • Break the Cutie:
    • Warren starts out as a soft-spoken Nice Guy, and ends the first half of Season 1 as a soft-spoken Nice Guy with exponential amounts of trauma, from witnessing the deaths of friends to having someone blow their brains out in front of him and being covered in their blood. It's only a matter of time before he finds out about Raye's death...
      • It continues well into the second half, as he adopts more violent, erratic, and abbrassive traits and acts more verbally hostile to even his friends. Even when he lightens up, even when he makes a plan and goes against the odds to get what he wants (peace, and no more bloodshed), he still loses. The scene afterwards of him crying is absolutely devastating.
    • A smaller case with Alex Michaels, who starts out as a timid boy but slowly opens up more thanks to his boyfriend Raye. Cue losing an arm and Raye dying and he becomes very depressed. It doesn't help that he inadvertently gets innocent Jack murdered right in front of him, too. And in the season finale, he's forced to hear Warren proclaim how much he wants to let his boyfriend's killer live (she doesn't), and at the end he breaks down crying over witnessing Raye's corpse.
  • Break the Haughty: Gina is quite confident in her abilities and is very blunt. But a majority of the season is spent breaking her down and giving her a softer shell. There's a lot of stressful situations for her and she's pushed to her limit, and she breaks down crying in the finale, believing that Parks is dead. Thankfully, he isn't.
  • Breather Episode:
    • Subverted with "Stay Centered", up until the ending.
    • "The Demons" was this, doubling as a Whole-Episode Flashback that dropped a lot of backstory and exposition. Nobody died and the stakes were relatively tame, so it was a good story beat that didn't cause immense anxiety and heartache.
  • Bulletproof Human Shield: Gina uses a dead body as a shield to rush a member of the Homelss shooting at her.
  • The Bus Came Back: Kylie Washington, thought to have suffered a Bus Crash, returned to the university after being revealed to be alive.
  • Bus Crash: On the other hand, the rest of Caroline's group was not gone for very long, and were not so lucky.
  • Butt-Monkey: While the series is not kind to anybody, so far the biggest offender of this trope is Blaine Parker, suffering two assassination attempts and bucket-loads of emotional doubt and turmoil.

C

  • The Cameo:
    • An out-of-universe example; Warren and Dahlia appeared in Survivors We Become's fourth season prior to the premiere of Dark Days.
    • Kenny Jameson is a surprise cameo character created by fellow user Shay elder.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Dahlia's crossbow from the first episode. It's mentioned on and off and used very rarely up until the mid-season finale, where she fires a very fatal shot.
    • Dahlia coming up from the basement in the fifth episode. It's initially presented as her searching the basement for zombies, though it's possible (albeit confirmed) she was down there for other reasons.
    • Wilkes conceals his handgun quickly in episode 12, in one fast over-and-done scene, and then uses it the next episode.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Kylie Washington, an impressionable, meek young lady who seemingly dies in the distance, only to be revealed as the only survivor of the walker herd, leading her to almost take a level in badass.
  • Choke Holds: How Parker brutally kills William in the season 1 finale, notably cementing his first human kill.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Dahlia, to a fault.
  • Cliffhangers: Constantly. There's at least one per episode, often the ending of each episode. However, some scenes are often left unresolved until an episode or two later.
  • Combat Medic: More 'medic' than 'combat', Pam Anderson fits this. She uses a gun for the first time in the seventh episode, saving Blaine Parker from a walker.
  • Cool Hat: Gina's beret.
  • Cool Old Guy: Blaine Parker in a nutshell.
  • Crapsack World: Duh. Zombie Apocalypse.
  • Critical Staffing Shortage: There's very few professors and other staff members left at the university after the outbreak, resulting in a very small council to take care of the large student body.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Oh boy. There's a lot.
    • Victor Timmons dies writhing in pain and fear on the floor, surrounded by others just watching him struggle. Despite none of the students having ill intent and only being afraid for his life, it ultimately makes the scene very tense and unsettling.
    • Mike is accidentally murdered by his best friend Melanie, which is already bad enough. However, he suffers some bad Eye Scream when his eyeball is crushed by the claw of a hammer, and is smeared down his gashed cheek. The trauma of the blow gives him a few more seconds to speak as he staggers back, but abruptly collapses and dies. Plus, it's not even enough to put him down, and he comes back from the dead in the next episode.
    • Martha Collins, after being overpowered by a zombie, has her throat painfully ripped out. She dies before Chad and Erika, who simply hold her and don't even put her down until after she's already passed. Ouch.
    • Clark, who was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and takes a surprise bullet through the neck. He collapses quickly and chokes on his own blood. The reader isn't even sure if he's fully dead yet before Daniel stabs him in the head.
    • All of Kate's cult. Slashed Throats, anyone? Not to mention Abbie as the one exception who was Too Dumb to Live.
    • Kate herself. She deserved it, but being abruptly shot in the chest, left to lay there and bleed out, and then be shot in the side of the head during your last moments alive must hurt.
    • Peter Holmes, despite being a Red Shirt, tried to be a hero and save Candice from a walker. It ends up taking him down and several others from the herd tear him apart and eat him alive. Daniel saves Candice and they both end up leaving him to die a slow, painful death.
    • Raye Pence gets killed by one of his closest friends and dies alone in the basement, with a crossbow bolt to the forehead. It sticks out the center of his temple and he collapses almost immediately. Nobody even knows he's dead yet.
    • Daniel Noire, killed mid-sentence by having the back of his head bashed in with a prybar and being declared brain-dead on impact.
    • Pam Anderson is shot in the stomach by Bob, and is left to slowly bleed out and die throughout the entirety of the tenth episode of the first season. Several opportunities for her survival are presented but all of them fail, and she dies painfully.
    • To go over the Homeless in rapid succession: Ivan's skull is punctured by rebar, Leroy is stabbed through the back of the neck, Paul's head is axed in half, Bruce is shot close range in the face with a crossbow, Rosa is beaten to death with fists alone, Natania is filled with bullets all over her body, and Bob is shot in the side once, the chest six times, and then his head is mutilated with a hammer. Fucking hell.

D

  • Daylight Horror: Most of the drama and terror that happens in the first season occurs in the morning or afternoon, with few exceptions.
  • Deadly Environment Prison: Kate brings a herd of walkers into the university's walls for her last stand, before her death. Still, she does end up trapping everybody inside.
  • Death by Irony: For all her bullshit, Kate is assassinated.
  • Deep South: The series is set in Alabama.
  • Defiant to the End: Kate almost seems ready to face death. Before she's shot, anyways.
  • Demoted to Extra: Clark was originally part of the main cast, but the rewritten storyline caused him to fade into the background and become a Mauve Shirt.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Melanie accidentally killing Mike out of panic sends her into a horrible depression, which causes her to kill herself.
  • Destined Bystander: Pam Anderson is one, initially appearing as a minor recurring character before taking a level in badass in saving Blaine Parker not once, but twice from two completely different assassination attempts, with one of them involving poison. Since then, she's become more of a major supporting character.
  • Deuteragonist: Dahlia, for the first half of Season 1. Raye is also this, as the Tritagonist, for the first half.
  • Developing Doomed Characters: The fact that the entire cast right now is a prominent ensemble should definitely worry you for each and every one of them. Especially when you consider the creator's track record.
  • Devoured by the Horde: Expected in a zombie story.
    • Caroline's group gets massacred by one outside of the university. The Bus Came Back for one of them, though.
    • Numerous university redshirts, including Peter Holmes, are devoured by a herd let in by Kate Gardens.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Dahlia choosing to let the Homeless live in the university basement, without ever considering the possible fallout until much, much later. By that point, it's after her murder of Raye, which also does not have the intended results.
  • Disposing of a Body: The initial big mystery of the series is how the undead are getting inside the walls of the university. It's revealed in the eleventh episode that they're not coming from outside -- they're members of the Homeless that have gotten sick and died, and the only way to dispose of the bodies effectively is to set them loose as walkers upstairs and make other people dispose of them.
  • Double-Meaning Title: Specifically with some of the episodes. "Stay Centered", "Deep Beneath", and "The Words That Turn Us" all have a Title Drop in a quote from Kate Gardens, signifying her rising power in the university and how much of a Big Bad she is. The following episode, "Nightfall", is spoken in a quote from Blaine Parker following Kate's death, signifying his return to power and that Kate is no longer in control.
  • Downer Ending: The first season ends with almost everyone dead, low on supplies, grieving lost loved ones, and without a home.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • Melanie, after she accidentally murders her best friend, shoots herself through the skull.
    • Dahlia almost is, moreover becoming a Death Seeker after her Despair Event Horizon.

E

  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • Chad is portrayed as a below-average-IQ, hotheaded douchebag of a jock, though the early three episodes of the series portray him as more awkward, smarter, and somewhat friendlier.
    • Flashbacks reveal just how close Dahlia, Caroline, and Melanie were, so it's a bit strange that they didn't share many scenes together prior to their deaths and didn't really positively acknowledge each other.
  • Elite Mooks: Alain and Abbie in Kate's cult, among the recurring characters. Doesn't apply to major characters like Chad and Erika.
  • Ensemble Cast: Just about, even the recurring characters get a lot of screentime and development.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Candice Noire, who ultimately serves as a bit of a Breakout Character as well.
    • To a lesser extent, Blaine Parker, who is practically a major part of the main ensemble despite being a Recurring Character. See Fake Guest Star below.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Wilkes makes his debut by immediately plunging a knife into Raye Pence's stomach.
  • Eureka Moment: Erika has one in episode 11, realizing that the walkers that were getting into the university were actually deceased Homeless members being sent up from the basement to reanimate and be dealt with.
  • Extra Long Episode: Once, twice, thrice...
  • Eye Scream: Mike's death involves his right eye being smashed and smeared across his cut up cheek with the claw of a hammer.

F

  • Failed a Spot Check:
    • Timmons is taken by surprise by walkers in the series premiere and it costs him his life.
    • In the fifth episode, Martha Collins turns a corner and instantly gets attacked by a zombie and has her throat torn out.
  • Fake American: English actor Tom Holland portrays the American character Alex Michaels.
  • Fake Guest Star: Blaine Parker in the first season, having incredible relevance to the story, even a few more appearances than some of the main cast, but only being billed as a guest star. Despite being a Recurring Character, his relevance and development has made him a Breakout Character.
    • He does, however, get a Promotion to Opening Titles for Season 2.
  • Fanservice: Plenty! But... not in the traditional sense. Given the community this story is written for, the fanservice provided by the narrative amounts to desired character kills and main character promotions.
    • Fan favorite characters Parker, Kylie, and Wilkes all got a Promotion to Opening Titles for Season 2, which greatly pleased the fanbase.
    • The only nude scene described was actually with Kylie... after she had just been raped by Bob. Not only was detail cut short for the sake of taste, but the scene itself is clearly the antithesis of fanservice.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Kate Gardens embodies this.
  • Firing One-Handed: Averted by everyone except for Blaine Parker, who tends to shoot his revolver with one hand.
  • Five-Man Band: The university council:
    • Blaine Parker (The Leader/The Big Guy)
    • Virgil Black (The Lancer)
    • Colton Drake (The Smart Guy)
    • Peter Holmes (The Mentor)
    • Olivia Dent (The Chick)
    • Kate Gardens was also originally a part of this group, before she betrayed Parker and became a Big Bad.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: Raye is only doubtful of Dahlia's allegiance moments before she turns and kills him.
  • Foil: Plenty.
    • Dahlia is a foil to Warren. Both are presented as the heroes of their own stories, who both strive for peace, but where Warren believes pacifism is best and refuses to kill, Dahlia believes violence is a necessary evil, but ultimately the ends justify the means.
    • Virgil Black, the quirky, emotional, determined guidance counselor, and Kate Gardens, the emotionless, manipulative, evil therapist.
    • Daniel Noire, the hard working, straightforward cop. He is the right hand to Blaine Parker, leader of the university. He is distant from his family and leaves emotions out of his work, and will shoot people if they're a threat. Contrast with Wilkes, the emotion-driven, noble right hand to Dahlia, leader of the Homeless, who cares greatly for his family and makes every decision with those close to him in mind, and will even turn sides if he feels he's on the wrong one.
  • Foreshadowing: Done by the bucketloads in all of the author's works, to the point of being a recurring trope. Elements featured in the story include:
    • Dahlia's crossbow, taking a page from Chekhov's Gun in the meantime.
    • Dahlia going down to the basement in the fifth episode, foreshadowing The Reveal of strangers in the basement.
    • Melanie, in a more obvious form of foreshadowing, mentions to others that "she will be with Mike soon", shortly before killing a reanimated Mike and taking her own life with a bullet through the head. It's even sadder when you remember she murdered her best friend on accident.
    • Alex, in the second episode, mentioning seeing danger in the university. Though initially this referred to the few walkers that had somehow gotten inside, this later proved to be far more detrimental, with the rise of Kate Gardens and her cult, the walker invasion brought on by her, and the slew of people living in the basement. Damn, Alex, talk about being a prophet.
    • Daniel says in the fourth episode that "[he'll] shoot anyone [he] considers a threat", and in episode seven, he does just that.
  • Forgiven, but Not Forgotten: Oliver joining Kate's cult before defecting. Subverted in that nobody harbors any ill-will towards him because of it.
  • Forgotten Fallen Friend: Averted constantly. Caroline's group is mentioned in nearly every episode following their deaths, and other characters like Mike and Melanie are mentioned as well.
  • For Want of a Nail: There's a lot of "if" statements to be made here, but ultimately, if only Dahlia had never volunteered to be a guard for the university in those early days...
  • The Friends Who Never Hang: A lot of the cast interacts with specific people more than others, and some haven't interacted at all yet. This is bound to happen when you have Loads and Loads of Characters.
  • From Bad to Worse: Constantly.
    • Shit hits the fan very fast in just the first seven episodes of the series. Pacing is very fast.
    • Just when you think the zombies trapping everyone inside the school at the end of "Nightfall" is bad enough... "Daybreak" sees everyone taken hostage by a bunch of strangers living in the basement.
      • Even as the conflict intensifies, severely hope spots are presented and in the fight to break free, most of everybody on both sides ends up dead, and there's no winners by the end of the fight. Hell, everyone is left without a home by the first season's ending, due to an explosion rendering the building structurally unsafe.

G

  • Gambit Pileup: Warren, Dahlia, Kate, and Daniel all march to the beat of their own drums with different goals for the future of the university and how to get there.
    • Of these agendas, the most complex one is Dahlia's, of which the reader has little to no information on.
  • Genre Blind: Mostly averted, the danger that's present is very obvious and handled by all parties involved, but outside of that, people seem relatively smart and able to handle their surroundings and the situations at hand. The only real exception is Abbie, who continues to backtalk Kate even though she's been disarmed, and this results in her death.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Daniel may be a dedicated defender of the university and the people within, but he's still a Hate Sink.
  • Gorn: There's plenty of it. The creator has a certain love for it.

H

  • Handicapped Badass: Blaine Parker, who had been stabbed and even poisoned, and hadn't fully recovered from either before getting out of bed, insulting his would-be killer (his poisoner, Kate, though he was stabbed by Jackson earlier), and even helping students fight the walkers and saving people during the invasion a day later. He never even got back in bed to recover after waking up from his poisoning.
  • Hate Sink: Daniel is this, from his personality to his actions. The only redeeming quality is that he's not on the evil spectrum, though he proves that sometimes Good Is Not Nice.
  • Heel Realization: In the first season's final episode, Dahlia finally sees the monster she's become, and turns into a Death Seeker.
  • Heroic BSoD:
    • Warren gets one after Melanie shoots herself. Dahlia also does as well, for this and for the deaths of Caroline's group, though it's short-lived.
    • Kenny gets a really bad one because of Melanie's death, and Mike's apparent death as well, enough for him to be Put On a Bus for a whole episode due to grief.
  • He's Dead, Jim: Necessary in order to make sure people don't return from the dead.
  • Hidden Depths: A majority of characters slowly unravel to have these. A notable example: Gina's tough and rude exterior overlays a very caring personality underneath, and by the end of the first season she's essentially merged the two together.
  • Hope Spot: Plenty.
    • Despite the walkers trapping them in he university, the first season’s halfway point features Raye and Alex sharing one touching goodbye as Pam prepares to amputate Alex’s bitten arm. Tragically, shortly after, it becomes impossible for Raye to reunite with his boyfriend.
    • Towards the end of "Rubicon", the group is finally getting back together and ready to break free. Then Candice is shot, and Rocky goes on a rampage.
    • Warren's final attempts to get through to Dahlia begin to work... until one Big NO! and a Boom! Headshot later, and his girlfriend's bloody corpse is now in his arms.

I

  • Iconic Item:
    • Gina's beret.
    • Dahlia's crossbow.
    • In a few Memetic Mutations, Pam's scalpel and Melanie's hammer.
  • Iconic Outfit: Parker is almost always in a suit, Daniel is always seen in a police uniform, and Pam is most often in medical attire (as she is a nurse).
  • I Did What I Had To: Dahlia's justification over her murder of Raye.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Aside from a slew of Double-Meaning Titles, the fist season has a few examples of these.
  • Impairment Shot: Daniel's first shot into Kate's chest, before he shoots her in the head.
  • Interface Spoiler: One look at the episode listings reveals Kylie's survival, right in the description of episode 10.
  • Irony: Episode 12 features an argument between Gina and Warren. Gina wants to kill Dahlia and the Homeless, and Warren wants to leave in peace. By the end of the first season, they both get what they want -- everyone is dead and they've got no choice but to leave the university.
  • It's a Small World After All: The first season is restricted to the University of Alabama, but they're forced to leave by the end. Season 2 will explore the world beyond the walls.

J

  • Jerkass: Jackson.
    • Kate also falls under this category, but this is due to her actions and not her behavior. Chad and Erika later become this.
    • Daniel is also this to a degree.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Daniel, while not a man with bad intentions, is emotionally distant. He is especially jerky in the mid-season finale of the first season. Regardless, he's primarily a Hate Sink.
  • Just Following Orders: Subverted with Oliver, while he's a part of Kate's cult. He comes to realize he doesn't like what he's doing... and doesn't follow through with the attempted assassination of Blaine Parker. He backs out and turns good again.

K

  • Karma Houdini Warranty: So far, all the antagonists have gotten their comeuppance to some degree, in one way or another.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence:
    • Mike mutters half of a final sentence before dying of his Eye Scream injury.
    • Daniel's head is bashed in with a prybar mid-sentence.
  • Knife Nut: Played pretty straight with Abbie.

L

  • The Lancer: Virgil is this to Blaine.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Kate's actions ultimately cause her downfall. A well deserved downfall.
    • Partially Jackson as well, getting devoured after attempting to leave Kylie for the walkers.
  • Last Episode, New Character: Colton, Olivia, Peter, and Wilkes are all introduced in "Nightfall", the mid-season finale of Season 1.
  • Last-Name Basis: A recurring theme is the younger characters referring to the adults as "Mr./Ms./Mrs. [Last Name]" out of respect. This, in turn, adds depth to who certain characters are as people, when you consider their current character arcs.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: Kylie Washington's growing role in the story makes her a Walking Spoiler, due to her early death fakeout.
  • The Leader:
    • Blaine Parker, to the university.
    • Kate, to her cult.
    • Dahlia, to her friends, and the underground strangers.
  • Leave No Witnesses: Raye stumbles across Wilkes, and almost comes across the Homeless, so Dahlia... deals with it.
  • Life-or-Limb Decision: Occurs when both Timmons and Alex are bitten on their arms.
  • Like Brother and Sister: The bond between Warren and Gina basically screams this.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: There's nearly 80... in the first season alone.

M

  • Made of Plasticine: Walkers are relatively easy to put down with blows to the head from melee weapons, and people have no trouble with doing this. However, freshly deceased or reanimated corpses are also fairly easy to put down, with Timmons having his head easily bashed in with a thermos by Kylie.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Kate.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": Everyone upon the walker invasion in episode seven.
  • Mauve Shirt: A plethora of the Ensemble Cast have names and somewhat detailed personalities and some screentime before they die.
  • Mercy Kill:
    • Timmons, after he reanimates, is bludgeoned by Kylie.
    • Mike's zombified self is shot by Melanie.
    • Martha Collins has her head chiseled in by Chad after her death.
  • Monochrome Casting: All of the main cast in Season 1 consisted of white Americans, though the recurring cast was more diverse. By Season 2, two African-American characters were Promoted to Opening Titles.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Dahlia's murder of Raye.
  • Murder is the Best Solution: Gina adamantly believes Kate needs to die to ensure the safety of the university, and Monica agrees with her. However, the vote among the council leads to her imprisonment instead.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Melanie immediately has a moment of this when she kills Mike.

N

  • Never Trust a Trailer: The mid-season finale of Season 1 had a preview released, with every scene in it appearing in the episode except for the last scene, which features Dahlia saving Raye from danger. In the actual episode, Dahlia kills Raye.
  • Nice Hat: Gina's beret is an Iconic Item she's never seen without.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: The entirety of Season 1 is Dahlia's fault. All of it. Literally. All because she wanted to help out and go on watch.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Blaine Parker allows Caroline's group to leave and find safety, wishes them the best, and promises them they're allowed to return at any time should they want to. Jackson's response is to brutally stab him in the abdomen as many times as he can before he's dragged away.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown:
    • Subverted in episode 7, Chad is intercepted before he can beat up Virgil after assuming he was the one who murdered the cult.
    • Played straight with Rocky beating Rosa to death in episode 12.
  • Non-Action Guy: Warren, which isn’t a trait you want as the lead character.
  • No One Could Have Survived That: The third episode's walker herd. And yet, somebody did.
  • Not a Zombie: Inverted in episode six. Warren is about to kill Kylie, believing her to be just another infected, before she reveals herself.
  • Not Quite Dead: Parker, having been nearly murdered twice, and Kylie, for surviving a walker herd single-handedly.
  • Not Using the "Z" Word: In typical The Walking Dead fashion, the word "zombie" is never used.
  • No Zombie Cannibals: The walkers are only attracted to human flesh, after all.

O

  • Offhand Backhand: Candice pistol-whips her husband Daniel in the seventh episode.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Kylie was taken down by a walker herd and seemingly killed, but she somehow managed to fight off a large majority of them and get away unharmed to return to the university.
  • Once Per Episode: At least one character dies each episode, over the course of the first season. The only exception is episode two.
  • One Steve Limit: Played straight. Nobody shares a first name so far.
  • Only One Name: A plethora of characters are only referred to by their first names.
  • Out of Focus: Some episodes feature main or recurring characters having less screentime than other episodes. Overall, Chad, Erika, and Rocky are subversions, as they have had more screentime in later episodes. Monica is currently the biggest offender out of the main cast.

P

  • Pacifism Backfire: The council votes to imprison Kate instead of kill her. It results in her escape, the murder of innocent students, and the invasion of the university by walkers.
  • Parental Neglect: Rocky wants to be close to his adoptive father Daniel, but he seems to have no interest in developing a familial bond.
  • Perpetual Smiler: Kate Gardens, up until her death, which is the first time she stops smiling.
  • The Plan: Kate makes a bunch during her run as the cult leader. Even though they all fail, they still deal quite a bit of damage and result in numerous casualties, some even postmortem.
  • Plenty of Blondes: Though not in the majority, a large number of the university survivors are blond, including the protagonist.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Dahlia tells Melanie to do whatever she needs to do to get through her pain. She says she will, and Melanie promptly shoots herself.
  • Precision F-Strike: Despite cursing being incredibly common, Blaine Parker drops his first ever swear to Kate after he's almost poisoned by her.
    • "Get out of my face you filthy cunt."
  • Punny Name: Victor Timmons, whose name is a pun on the word "victim". How depressingly fitting.
  • Put On a Bus: Caroline and her group leave the university in the second episode, and aren't seen again. Subverted, in that they return as cameos in the third episode, only to die in a bit of a Bus Crash.

Q

  • Quirky Curls: Oliver and Virgil. Makes their relationship all the more fitting in hindsight.

R

  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Parker is this, as the leader of the university he has to look out for everyone and understand each situation to handle them accordingly. He's pretty good at this.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: In the seventh episode alone, Candice gives one to Daniel, and Warren gives one to Kate, surprisingly.
  • Reckless Gun Usage: Gina defending the infirmary from Kate's cult results in a sudden shot causing an Accidental Murder.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Subverted with Oliver, who leaves the cult and receives numerous death threats from Alain. Instead, Alain is the one who dies the following day.
  • Removing the Head or Destroying the Brain: The only way to properly take care of walkers, though while the former makes the body useless, the head will remain active and dangerous until the latter is achieved.
  • Rescue Arc: The sixth episode is all about the tension regarding Blaine Parker's emergency surgery, due to being poisoned. Pam is the nurse attempting to save him, while Gina is armed at the door, keeping the cult outside.
  • The Reveal: The mid-season finale of the first season dropped two major bombshells, in that the basement is filled with a bunch of strangers and their leader is one of the protagonists.
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: Parker has one in-universe. Otherwise, the gun is actually one of the author's favorites.
  • Room Full of Zombies: "Nightfall" features the courtyard of the university being filled with zombies, swarming and surrounding the main building in seconds and trapping the remaining survivors inside.

S

  • Sacrificial Lamb: Numerous recurring and minor character deaths have left behind noticeable or major ramifications.
    • Victor Timmons' death causes the base of the story to begin, which leads to Caroline and her group leaving and then dying. Their deaths then spur the remainder of the half-season's story.
    • Roger Mulligan's death in the flashback at the end of "Daybreak" is what spurs Dahlia to begin to save people in need, which then leads into the present day conflict.
  • Sacrificial Lion:
    • Raye Pence is the first major character death, and his death introduces Dahlia's true colors, reveals the strangers living in the university basement, and sets up the story for the back six episodes of Season 1.
    • Daniel Noire is offed right at the end of the first season's mid-season premiere, right before his character arc could take off and spiraling his wife and adoptive son down very unexpected arcs.
  • Sadistic Choice: Daniel forcing Dahlia to shoot Roger Mulligan dead at point-blank range, or else he'll do it himself, at the end of the first season's eighth episode.
  • Sanity Slippage:
    • Heavily implied with Dahlia since the flashbacks.
    • Daniel, at the very end of Daybreak, has finally let the stress overcome him and shoots three people dead.
    • Parker begins to show signs of this after the events of "Hard Times".
  • School Saved My Life: The university has kept people safe for about a year. Ironically, the first season ends up subverting this trope.
  • Second Episode Introduction: Played straight with Candice Noire and Alex Michaels, both of whom are introduced in Season 1, Episode 2 (obviously the second episode of the entire series).
  • Secret Keeper: Dahlia, which proves to be pretty detrimental.
  • Ship Tease:
    • Parker and Pam were teased long before they became a thing in "Daybreak".
    • Ginica, or Gina and Monica, are not explicitly teased in-universe, but are a relatively popular ship in the fanbase. According to Word of God, both characters are not actually LGBT, however.
    • Wylie, or Warren and Kylie, are one of the most, if not most teased/desired ship in the story so far.
    • Another Warren ship is Wina -- Warren and Gina. Though not teased at all in the story, it's another popular ship in the fanbase.
  • Shoot the Dog: Melanie shoots a reanimated Mike to prevent him from suffering or being a threat.
  • Simultaneous Arcs:
    • In season 1; the zombie invasion mystery, and the threat of Kate's cult all occur at the same time. Not to mention a third one, involving strangers in the basement, has been going on as well, entirely in secret.
    • Bumped up to eleven in the second half of the first season, where the Homeless storyline splits up the major characters and causes several mini arcs to play out at the same time as each other.
  • Sleeping Single: Averted with Warren and Dahlia halfway through Season 1.
  • Slept Through the Apocalypse: A running joke in the fanbase regarding Monica's latest appearance in the present day being her sleeping midway through "Nightfall". Three episodes later, it is implied she is still sleeping, and the constant jokes regarding whether or not she will even return to the story has led to a Memetic Mutation.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Caroline, despite only being in three episodes, and only having a defined role in one of them (cameos in the other two), continues to be mentioned and mourned well after her death in episode three. The impact of her death, as well as the fall of her group, spurs the rise of the cult and the ensuing drama from that point forwards.
  • The Speechless: Though not in universe, Sandra is this, as she had no lines at all during any of her appearances. This is often played for laughs in the community, with a running gag being her being a mute.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Raye, with an 'e', not to be confused with Ray.
  • Steel Eardrums: Played straight, characters are relatively unaffected by gunshots, especially ones very close to them.
  • Stepford Smiler: Subverted with Kate Gardens; she doesn’t smile to manipulate people into thinking she’s nice, she smiles because she believes what she’s doing is good. Doesn’t change the fact that it’s still a very evil smile.
  • The Stinger: Almost every episode has one that leads into the next.
    • "The Roundabout" ends with Parker being stabbed by Jackson, leaving his fate unknown (though he does survive).
    • "A Bridge Too Far" ends with Caroline's group dying and the threat of a herd in the city becoming present.
    • "Stay Centered" concludes with Melanie running away from her Accidental Murder of Mike.
    • "Deep Beneath" ends with Parker suffering a seizure induced by poisoned medicine, and Gina screaming for help. It's the most tense cliffhanger up to that point.
    • "The Words That Turn Us" has a much more hopeful subversion, where the tension between Parker and Kate is briefly alleviated to reveal that Kylie Washington did not die in the herd, and returned to the university alive.
    • Back to hopelessness in "Nightfall", where Dahlia murders Raye to defend a stranger named Wilkes, and reveals a bunch of people living in the basement.
  • Surprisingly Sudden Death: A trope used excessively by the creator, with numerous characters falling under this trope:
    • Caroline and her group. Subverted with Kylie Washington.
    • Mike's accidental murder by Melanie, whose suicide is an equally surprising death, despite obvious foreshadowing.
    • Kate Gardens, moreso with her cult. Most shocking deaths include Alain and Abbie.
    • Raye Pence's murder, made even more surprising by who exactly killed him.
    • Daniel Noire's death in "Daybreak", being a second main character death, one right after the previous, and so early in the series, too.
    • Pam Anderson and Percival Nole's deaths in "Hard Times"
  • Suspiciously Stealthy Predator: The undead manage to be incredibly ninja-like in taking people by surprise, despite being slow, loud, brainless organisms.

T

  • The Team: The university survivors are the Big Good, while the cult led by Kate is the Big Bad.
  • Team Dad: Blaine Parker is this to the university survivors.
  • The Teaser: One is released for the mid-season finale of Season 1, and it reminds readers they should Never Trust a Trailer.
  • Thicker Than Water: Rocky still loves his abusive, cold, distant father, even in death.
  • Those Two Bad Guys: Chad and Erika while part of Kate's cult, after they Take a Level in Jerkass.
  • Title Drop: While the series itself has yet to be name-dropped in-universe, the episode names are uttered at least once each episode, per title, by the characters.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • Can be somewhat justified with Timmons. After such a long streak of peace, nobody would really expect walkers to somehow breach the inside of the university. It would be pretty easy to be taken off guard and bitten by a threat that hasn't happened in so long it wouldn't be on your mind. His panicking isn't exactly in the same boat, though, and if he calmed down long enough for Pam to operate, they likely would've gotten the arm off in time for him to live.
    • Martha Collins, for walking around a corner and getting taken by one zombie.
    • Abbie, after being disarmed, continues to backtalk Kate, earning herself a knife to the throat.
    • Kate, unarmed and out in the open, about to be surrounded by the zombies she's luring in, is almost baffled in her final moments that she's been shot.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Pam, as through the first seven episodes of the series, she saves Blaine Parker three times, with two of those times being attempted murders. She saved him from a stabbing, a poisoning, and even a walker in the mid-season finale with a perfect headshot from a distance, but that was the first time she's ever fired a gun. Not to mention her newfound confidence in her surgical prowess as she prepares to amputate Alex's arm is incredible as well.
    • Candice as well, to a degree; not putting up with your husband's bullshit and pistol-whipping him when he backhands you is pretty damn awesome.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass:
    • Kate's whole cult after their manipulation, notably Chad, Erika, and Alain.
    • Briefly Oliver, when he joined Kate's cult, before he Took a Level in Kindness upon defecting.
  • Took a Level in Kindness:
    • Gina and Monica were bullies prior to the undead uprising, but have since dropped that behavior.
    • Also applies to Oliver, after he abandons Kate's cult.
  • Trailers Always Lie: The teaser for "Nightfall", and the setup for Season 1B, suggested Raye would survive. But he doesn't.
  • Transplant: Somewhat. Warren and Dahlia were created for this series, but first appeared in the fourth season of Survivors We Become as special crossover characters, well before the main series ever premiered. Despite this, they do not share continuity.
    • Also partially applicable to Alex and Kenny, due to being characters from other creators/works.

U

  • Undying Loyalty: Kate's cult. Barely any of them revert to their normal behavior.
  • Unspecified Apocalypse: It's never stated how the dead came back to life and caused the fall of humanity.

V

  • Victim of the Week: Victor Timmons, Martha Collins, and Peter Holmes in the first half of the first season.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Kate comes off as inconspicuous, and her cult goes unnoticed until she begins to commit her atrocities. However, even then her cult thinks highly of her.
  • The Virus: The walker infection takes over the brain and reactivates a part of it after death.

W

  • We Used to Be Friends: Kate used to be a member of the university council, before betraying Parker.
  • Weapon of Choice: Dahlia uses a crossbow, Parker has a revolver, Daniel has his Glock, and Gina is most prevalent with a survival knife.
  • Wham Episode: "Nightfall" in spades, solely because of the ending.
  • Wham Line:
    • In "Deep Beneath", after Dahlia tells Melanie to do what she needs to do to overcome her grief, and moments before Melanie shoots herself:
      • "I will."
  • Wham Shot: The series is full of several.
    • "Deep Beneath" has a literal shot, with Melanie shooting herself, right after she delivers a Wham Line.
    • "The Words That Turn Us", Gina lifting the gun up to the infirmary door, and the calm moment of realization and understanding of the situation, sends home the message that somebody is going to die at some point in the standoff.
    • In "Nightfall", a hefty one occurs when the group wakes up the next morning, happy for the future, only to discover Kate has escaped and she's murdered her entire cult. Not to mention Kate herself gets shot, Alex gets bitten, and then Raye sees Wilkes watching him from the basement. That, and his death, followed by Dahlia's betrayal and the reveal of strangers in the basement makes the whole thing a candidate for a Wham Episode.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: Season 1, Episode 9: "The Demons" is 99% flashback, with the only scene set in the present being the very end.
  • Windmill Crusader: Kate, when taking her beliefs into account. This ultimately leads to her downfall.

X

  • TBA

Y

  • You Are Already Infected: Everyone already carries the disease, and the only way to prevent reanimation after death is with violent trauma being dealt to the brain, usually by headshot from a ranged weapon or by direct attacks with melee weapons.

Z

  • Zombie Apocalypse: It's the Crapsack World they live in.
  • Zombie Gait: Walkers are usually incredibly slow, as the stereotypical zombie would be. Though they don't say "Brains", they still snarl and growl.
  • Zombie Infectee: Happens uncommonly, but is dealt with pretty well. Affected limbs are amputated if possible, and those who are bitten on the abdomen, the neck, or other irremovable parts of the body are either mercifully put down, or restrained until death. Should they reanimate, they're put down for good.
  • Zombie Stories: Literally.
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