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Rachel Ward is a survivor of the outbreak in AMC's The Walking Dead. She is the current leader of Oceanside. During the fair, Rachel becomes one of the leaders of the Coalition alongside Michonne, Ozzy, Tara Chambler, Ezekiel, and Carol Peletier.
Rachel is introduced as cunning, somewhat cruel and formidable girl who is a very strong and determined survivor. Like a majority of her fellow Oceanside survivors following their enslavement and punishment at the hands of the Saviors, Rachel has become a battle hardened survivor willing to do whatever it takes in order to protect herself and those she cares about from harm. She is shown to be very capable of cold blooded murder as she suggested killing both Tara and Aaron and appears to be very enthusiastic about removing anything she perceives as a threat and is very untrustworthy towards strangers to her group. Even at an early age she is very formidable and effective in combat, being able to take Walkers down herself and also helping to kill an entire group of Saviors with Molotov cocktails. She is somewhat rude as well as seen when she spits at Tara's feet while the latter was being escorted out of Oceanside.
Even after the end of the war against the Saviors, Rachel is still shown to be bloodthirsty and fully agrees with her group members taking revenge against members of the Saviors, notably Justin and Arat, who were responsible for slaughtering their people following their failed rebellion, proving that Rachel deeply hates the Saviors and will never forgive nor forget their atrocities and even tried to help Maggie take her revenge on Negan by lying to Rick about passing along a message forbidding Maggie from entering Alexandria.
6 years later, Rachel is shown to have matured into an intelligent young woman and an effective group leader and does not appear to be as bloodthirsty anymore due to the Saviors being completely disbanded though she is still willing to provide combat training to help fight back against the Whisperers, showing she is still willing to protect against and neutralize threats. She is shown to want to maintain strong relationships with her allies and work together closely again in order to ensure a prosperous future.
Not much is known about Rachel's life prior to or as the outbreak began, except that she may have lived in or around the Washington, D.C.
Rachel survived the early stages of the zombie outbreak and eventually found herself as a member of a large group of survivors led by a woman named Natania. However, her group would unfortunately be discovered by a large, hostile organization of survivors called the Saviors and under the orders of Simon, Negan's ruthless and sadistic second-in-command, Rachel and her people were forced to gather and provide supplies for the Saviors under threat of death. Eventually, under Natiana's orders, the group initiated a rebellion to fight back against their oppressors however due to being outgunned and outnumbered, their group was defeated. As punishment for their defiance and to deter any further resistance, Simon had his group murder almost every male survivor above the age of 10 in Rachel's group. It is unknown if any of Rachel's family were among the casualties of the rebellion or subsequent massacre.
Following this and being unwilling to continue working for the Saviors, Rachel and her group, consisting mainly of females now, fled their community and established a new home at a location called Oceanside and reestablished their community hidden form the Saviors. In order to prevent the Saviors from finding them again, Natiana ordered any survivor who happened upon the community to be immediately killed in order to maintain the secrecy of their new home. Rachel overtime developed into a bloodthirsty killer willing to slaughter any outside survivor of her group.
Rachel is walking along the shoreline with Cyndie and puts down a zombie with her spear. She soon spots another corpse that is revealed to be Tara. She is about to stab her in the head but Cyndie stopped her, despite Rachel stating that they must kill anyone they come across. After promising not to snitch on Cyndie, she walks away. Later that day, she is seen in Oceanside with Cyndie and Natania but arms herself once the alarm is raised. As Tara attempts to flee, she is stopped by Rachel pointing a gun at her face. Once again, Cyndie steps in and tells Rachel to lower her weapon. The next morning, Rachel is at the outdoor tables with the other residents when she spits at Tara's feet as she walks by. In response, Tara gives her the middle finger.
Rachel appears when bombs begin to go off in the outskirts of Oceanside, she flees with most of the other women and children, until they are stopped by a few Alexandrians. She sits with the fellow residents with her hands on her head.
When Natania and Cyndie talk about fighting the Saviors, Rachel listens, however, it is unknown how she felt about it. Shortly after, when walkers attack the Oceanside residents, she kicks one of them in the leg, and stabs it in the head. She later heads back to Oceanside with her fellow residents.
After the deal is over, Rachel watches as the Alexandrians take the guns, she tells Tara why they're not leaving them with any. Tara responds telling her sorry and giving her the middle finger, once again.
Rachel appears alongside Cyndie, Beatrice, and Kathy in the woods when they find a dehydrated Aaron. Rachel again suggests that they kill Aaron. Later, after Aaron fights off several walkers, Rachel and the other residents of Oceanside surround Aaron, where Aaron convinces them to fight.
Just as the Saviors arrived at the Hilltop to slaughter the people inside, Rachel, along with Kathy, Cyndie, and several Oceanside warriors, ambushed the Saviors with Molotov cocktails, effectively wiping them out and saving the town.
Rachel is present at her former community and watches on as Arat is set to be executed for her heinous involvement in the murder and execution of the people of Oceanside, including Cyndie's family and Beatrice's husband.
Rachel is one of the relays between the communities and work camp, passing along messages between the groups. She receives a message from Rick stating that Maggie is not to be let into Alexandria without an escort and Rachel replies that she will pass along the message. However, she was lying and proceeds to ignore Rick's request and resumes reading her magazine, believing that Maggie deserves her own personal revenge on the Saviors just as the Oceanside women got their revenge on the Saviors.
In the Kingdom, Rachel watches from the crowd as Ezekiel declares they’ve finally accomplished Rick, Carl, and Jesus' dreams of reuniting the communities. “Let the fair of a new beginning begin!” Ezekiel says as everyone celebrates and applauds.
Inside the theater, Rachel and the other leaders listen as Michonne says she’s finally ready for Alexandria to help out. “We’re here now,” she says. Gabriel announces Alexandria is willing to grant asylum to Lydia, but Tara warns if her mother retaliates it’ll be against Hilltop. Michonne reminds her that none of them were trusted when they were first introduced to Rick’s group, and Tara relents.
They all agree to send some of their own to Hilltop to guard against any potential attacks from the Whisperers and Michonne decides to re-establish the charter, establishing that an attack against Hilltop counts as an attack against all of them. Ezekiel then retrieves the original charter as Tara and Michonne finally make up. They all sign the charter, and Michonne tells Gabriel he should sign for Alexandria as the head of the council.
In the fair, Rachel talks with Tara and Gabriel about looking for areas for the residents to train in case of a fight. She proposes the beach and then watches as Tara goes to gear up to go with a second escort to Hilltop.
The next day, in the Kingdom, Rachel listens from the crowd as Siddiq delivers the tragic news, tells them how brave everyone was in their final moments and how he was intentionally kept alive to tell this very story. He encourages everyone to remember the fallen.
Rachel will appear in this season.
This list shows the victims Rachel has killed:
- Rachel's last name, Ward, was not revealed until "The Calm Before" as she signed the community charter.
- With the deaths of Henry, Addy, and Rodney in "The Calm Before", Rachel is now one of only four surviving, named teenage characters, the others being Lydia, Gage, and Alice.
- Rachel is the youngest community leader in the TV series, only being in her late teens.