It could be said every good mom is something of a badass. Whether its juggling work and home life, solving their children’s deepest problems, or simply offering an earnest ear to lean on, all good moms are tough and tender in equal measure.
In TV land, though, the most badass moms go above and beyond. They are true fighters, fending off enemies, shedding off drama, and even dealing with life-and-death situations, all in the name of their kids. In honor of Mother’s Day 2018, here’s our list of some of the most badass moms on TV today. (Note: Some spoilers ahead.)
June (Offred) – The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu)
Beaten, bruised, and forced into sexual and childbearing servitude in a dystopian hellscape, June (Elisabeth Moss) fights through it all to simply remain sane — and for the chance to hopefully one day reunite with her daughter and husband. Even as she’s stripped of her own name and identity in this riveting series, June is not afraid to stand up to authority to preserve her humanity, and the glimpses of her pre-apocalyptic life shed light on just what a great mother she was.
Reece – The Crossing (ABC)
Reece (Natalie Martinez) steals every scene of this sci-fi thriller as an adoptive mother from the future with superhuman powers. She’ll do whatever it takes to save her child from a deadly disease, including nonchalantly jamming a syringe into her side to extract bone marrow. It’s cringeworthy, but displays this mother’s dedication to the child she risked everything to save.
Maeve Millay – Westworld (HBO)
Even though she’s not even human — and her child is little more than a mere story written by her creators — this badass host (i.e. robot) is a dedicated mother nonetheless. After she and her daughter are killed in countless recollections, she still feels a connection with the young girl and believes she’s out there somewhere in the nightmare land in which she’s been damned. Despite being unsure about her past, the feeling for her long-lost daughter is what drives Maeve, even if “she” is more accurately an “it.”
Madison Clark – Fear the Walking Dead (AMC)
Madison’s (Kim Dickens) life pre-zombie acopalypse as a high school guidance counselor was always about the children, but she dealt with many personal struggles, including an authoritative father, and a son with a serious drug problem. So it’s no surprise that when the apocalypse hits, this mom is out for blood and doesn’t hesitate when it comes to protecting her children – whether it’s from drugs, human threats, or the walking dead themselves.
Rainbow Johnson – Black-ish (ABC)
Tracee Ellis Ross
She’s a doctor. She’s a mother of five. And while she may not wield a weapon or kill zombies, she keeps it all together, dealing with her husband’s crazy antics and the constant insults from her live-in mother-in-law, all the while maintaining the family’s solid upper-middle-class life. Though the latest season depicts some trouble in paradise for the couple, Bow, as she’s lovingly called, still approaches tough situations with poise, dignity, and humor.
Lady Stark – Game of Thrones (HBO)
Another dedicated mother of five, Catelyn Stark (Michelle Fairley) was fiercely protective of her kids, even as the world fell down around her. From staying by her son Bran’s side in illness to serving as a key adviser to her son Robb as King in the North, she was always there, right until the bitter end. Before his death, Robb’s last word was “Mother.” Her true badass moment? She brutally kills the wife of the man responsible for her son’s attack before getting killed herself.
Mellie Grant – Scandal (ABC)
Sure, Mellie (Bellamy Young) falls into a deep depression after her teenage son is murdered: What mother wouldn’t? But she rises above all the drama, scandal, and political mess to become the first female president of the United States, all while being a fierce and protective mom to her two remaining children.
Gloria Mendoza – Orange is the New Black (Netflix)
The inmates at Litchfield look up to her and even fear her: One stern look, and they cower at her feet. Yet, while Gloria (Selenis Leyva) is rough around the edges, her caring, motherly nature still peeks through, and her teenage son has always come first. She even recently risked her own freedom and the support of her fellow inmates for her child. What more could you ask?
Joyce – Stranger Things (Netflix)
Imagine having to essentially torture your own child in order to save him. It takes a special kind of strength, and Joyce (Winona Ryder) has it. Dealing with her son’s disappearance, then his possession, she stops at nothing to free him, including turning her entire home into a Christmas tree. What will come next? The fact that she’s able to pull herself together under such incredibly terrifying circumstances makes this mother something extra special.
Carol Peletier – The Walking Dead (AMC)
Our second pick from the same zombie world, Carol (Melissa McBride) might have lost her own biological daughter, but she has become the mother figure for just about every child she’s encountered since. From to training kids to fight to baking cookies and delivering them with cold, hard threats to grade schoolers, there’s always a lesson to be learned, even if it comes with some grit. And let’s not forget that it was Carol who had to make the tough decision to execute a murderous and mentally ill child for the greater good.
Audrey Bernhardt – Sneaky Pete (Amazon Prime Video)
As the matriarch of the Bernhardt family and key figure in the family’s bail bonds business, Audrey (Margo Martindale) takes in her grandchildren when her daughter and son-in-law die in a car accident. She’s certainly rough around the edges, not afraid to utter a verbal threat or even pull out a gun if necessary, but she’s utterly loyal to her family, no matter what.
Queen Elizabeth II – The Crown (Netflix)
Is there anything more badass than being the longest-reigning monarch in U.K. history? Thrown into the position of queen of the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth realms, Elizabeth II (Claire Foy) leads with grace and honor on this Netflix biographical series, all the while still serving as a dedicated mother to her children. Not afraid to take risks and fight for what she believes in, she gave up her personal life for duty. The real Queen on which the character is based still continues her reign 65 years later, at the age of 92.