'The Walking Dead' safe havens, ranked: From Negan's Sanctuary to Hershel’s boring farm
If there's one maddening consistency about The Walking Dead, it's that Rick and the group are going to create or discover a new post-apocalyptic community only for something bad to happen that forces them to move on and create or discover a new community — and the cycle will repeat itself as many times as necessary. By our metrics, seven seasons into the AMC series, that's meant 10 separate safe havens that have been, or continue to be, heavily featured.
Not all of them are bad — one of them has a damn tiger and a choir — and they invite discussion. Perhaps the most tempting question for anyone who thinks about the zombie apocalypse: Which community would be the best to live in once society crumbles?
After introducing another community in season seven's third episode, Mic has ranked the 10 most-featured safe havens in The Walking Dead, offering pros and cons for each hypothetical community. Here's how they rank, from best to worst:
1. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Pros: The first major post-apocalyptic safe haven the group encounters is the CDC, and boy, does it have some perks: There's running water (hot water!), a plethora of food and beds to sleep on and it's probably the most safe-guarded community. It's locked from the inside; in fact, the group couldn't have barged its way through without the lone surviving doctor at the facility opening it for them.
Cons: That lone doctor? Unfortunately, he's there to inform you that once the backup generators are kaput, the CDC will automatically self-destruct as a precautionary measure. Also, he never found the cure for the outbreak.
2. The Kingdom
Pros: There's an adorable sunbathing tiger named Shiva; every meal is cobbler; if you want to join a choir, you actually can; movie nights. As an added perk, King Ezekiel's right-hand man Jerry is chock full of cheesy puns.
Cons: There's a tiger. And it needs to eat.
Pros: It's a walled-off suburban community, so there's ample space (and houses) to stay in. Mind you, these are upper-middle-class houses most of us couldn't afford pre-apocalypse. As an added bonus, Carol occasionally swings by your porch with cookies.
Cons: You are part of the crazy-ass Ricktatorship, and you owe Negan about half your shit.
4. Hershel's Farm
Pros: The rural farm is quite isolated, meaning fewer possible encounters with zombies. Surviving on the land and making your own crops comes easier than other places — it's a farm, after all.
Cons: You will be so bored that you'll wish you were dead.
5. Hilltop Colony
Pros: They have a man named Jesus in the community, meaning you can technically find Jesus in the apocalypse.
Pros: There are occasional barbecues in Woodbury, shining light on the importance of camaraderie in an otherwise bleak, zombified future. It is safely guarded by the lackeys of your leader, the Governor. His name is a bit menacing though, right?
Cons: Ultimately, the Governor turns into a murderous pirate when he's bested by Rick. You're dead.
7. The Prison (West Georgia Correctional Facility)
Pros: The prison is, by definition, closed off. While the aesthetic is a bit unpleasant — being you'd be staying in a cell — it's still a bed and a safe place to sleep. Technically, all prisons have cafeterias, too — so there's a place to cook food.
Cons: Being walled off in a post-apocalyptic life is like a symbolic prison; now you're in a literal one. There's insufficient safeguarding for the flu... or tanks.
8. Grady Memorial Hospital
Pros: The location is well-protected by members of Atlanta's law enforcement who stayed in the city after the zombie outbreak. Because the safe haven is a hospital, there's also no shortage of medicine, which is typically in short supply in other havens. The group's leader, Dawn Lerner, has an exercise bike. (Maybe you can use it while rewatching old episodes of Seinfeld?).
Cons: Dawn will turn the other cheek to Grady's cops sexually assaulting women, which is abhorrent and terrifying. Non-officers are subject to life as a quasi-prisoner, constantly indebted to the enforcers who keep the place safe, and are forced to do manual labor. Dawn is also really bad at negotiating.
9. The Sanctuary
Pros: If you are a fan of monologues about rules, its leader Negan has them at the ready. The Sanctuary also features zombies on spikes at the entrance, which we assume deters other groups from trying to attack it.
Cons: You will be forced to listen to "Easy Street" until the end of time.
Cons: The food is people.