I was really looking forward to the season finale of The Walking Dead. Ninety minutes, directed by Greg Nicotero, introduction of Negan, someone from our crew was going to die, and there’d probably be a cliffhanger. Would the cliffhanger be all their fates or just the one, I didn’t know. In my estimation, I’d say it delivered. I would have liked to have known who it was that did die, but from everything the cast and crew had talked about, we already knew that we would not know until they came back in the fall for season 7.
I’ve already written a reflection on the finale and what happened in that episode. I would like to reiterate that I enjoyed that episode a lot. It did not go the way I had expected, but it also kept me on the edge of my seat, and feeling the same things Rick and Co. were feeling as day turned into night, and Maggie’s condition worsened, and by the end, the stress was overpowering. I was as much of a mess as Rick was.
After reading one or two (or more) theories about who got the bat, I thought I’d share my two cents. Or actually my eleven cents, one for each character in the lineup.
One thing that surprised me was that I did expect that Carol and Morgan were going to be in the lineup. I would have chosen Carol to be the one to die because of her behavior over the last few episodes. Of course, with her and Morgan heading towards The Kingdom (we presume), they’re safe for the moment.
One final spoiler warning. Spoilers include all seasons of The Walking Dead as well as the comics and things that I’ve heard about the comics and about Negan that may or may not be true. I don’t read the comics, so they may be spoiled for you and I may have misunderstood some things. Comic readers, please correct me on actual spoilers, not speculation. I’m going to go from right to left of how they were lined up for Negan and give you my rundown for each of them.
Eugene is one of my top three choices for death. Part of my reasoning is that he’s already said his goodbyes, he’s made peace with Abraham after both lying to him and dissing him with the whole you’re services are no longer required. Whoa! I thought he was dead when he said that – the restrain on Abraham was impressive. He’s given Rick his bullet recipe/formula, and he’s proven, finally that he’s ready to be a more productive member of the group, ready to finally fight, ready to not be a coward. He grew so much in this last season, but still remained our lovable friend. It would be sad to see him go now that he was coming into his own. One thing against his dying in the season finale/premiere is that while the whole group would be sad to see him go, especially that way, he just doesn’t give the emotional punch that a more central character would. There is also Negan’s reference to the victim taking it like a champ, and I don’t see Eugene not groaning, not wailing, he’s not used to that kind of pain, and I think his reflexes would get the better of him even if he wanted to remain on his knees.
Unrelated to actual plot, I believe Aaron’s safe because they just killed Denise and received some fan backlash in killing a queer character. I don’t believe they’ll kill the only gay character on the show in a long term relationship. As far as plot goes, and his place in the group, as much as he’s an Alexandrian, he’s also a part of Rick’s crew. Daryl trusts him, and he’s been with them for some serious shit. He’s volunteered to go with them, he’s backed Rick’s play more than once, he went with them on the Savior massacre. He’s as much one of them as anyone is. He’s expressed to Daryl how he and Eric were like Daryl in their outsider status for different reasons, and I think for that reason, he’s gravitated towards Rick’s group. I consider him a bridge to Alexandria, much in the way that Tobin was looking to be when he apologized to Rick as he helped shore up the braces on the walls. He’s also got an added relationship with Maggie, being the first one to know she was pregnant, and helping her go after Glenn.
Carl’s not dying. For one thing, I think Negan admired his bravery even if it seemed like bravado. Carl still has a coming of age story with Enid, and moving into a new phase in his role with the family now that Judith is getting older and Michonne is joining them. I’ve also heard that in the comics, Negan has taken an interest in Carl.
I think Sasha’s safe. She’s pretty upset and emotional while they’re kneeling in front of the headlights. She’s quietly weeping. I’m also not sure that she packs the emotional punch for the audience or even for the group. Anyone of them dying is going to affect them tremendously, but there will definitely be a difference depending on which character gets it. If she dies that might push Rosita and Abraham back together, but it might also give Rosita mixed feelings about her old friend.
Rick’s not dying, although I saw an interesting theory that his death would be a rebuilding of the entire group, which would be compelling. Negan doesn’t want to destroy the group; he wants them to work for him and killing Rick would put them into too much disarray and therefore not as solid as they’ve been the last couple of seasons. He would not only break their spirit, but their will. The group would lose all of its cohesiveness, its mind-reading, anticipating the others’ moves, all things that serve them so well. They’d have to regroup, and that doesn’t help Negan’s cause. He doesn’t want to break them apart; he wants to show them who’s boss, and express their non-option in the whole situation.
I don’t believe he’ll kill Maggie. This partly stems from Negan not killing women (at least in the comics from what I’ve heard), and if he stopped in front of Maggie, I don’t care what Negan said about not screaming, Glenn would trade himself for her. Not to mention that none of them would let her get the bat. They all believe in that baby being born. Negan also saw that Maggie was brought in on a stretcher. She’s already weak and ill, and she may die on her own. Killing her brutally won’t prove his point of him being the strongest. In fact, it may have the opposite effect by picking on the seemingly weakest of the group.
He’s my number two choice for being Lucille’d. For one thing, when Negan first approached him, he raised himself to his full height on his knees, which was pretty impressive. Abraham’s broad and he’s probably the most physically menacing of all of them. He looked Negan right in the eye; he didn’t waver, he didn’t flinch. He’s probably Negan’s most formidable foe one on one. He would also take it like a champ. He’s also just gotten his feelings for Sasha in a good place. They’re talking about having a baby. Rosita’s still upset, but she saved his life on the train tracks. He knows that they’re still family. He made his peace with Eugene, and gave him his props for the last few episodes. He congratulated him on stepping up, on taking on more responsibility, finding the bullet factory place, and volunteering to be the decoy so the rest of them could carry Maggie to the Hilltop. Emotionally, there is only one other person who would have more emotional impact than Abraham. Denise also took his comic book death so he is quite possilby on borrowed time.
She was also pretty defiant when Negan looked at her. She was violated by having a part of her hair cut off, so I think she might not die until she gets her revenge for that like she did with the Governor. She’s also just gotten into a steady relationship with Rick, and she’s been a Mom to Carl and Judith since season 4. Even before she and Rick were together, Carl considered her family (to the point where he loved her so much he’d kill her as a walker [6.10]), and I don’t believe they’d have him lose another another at this juncture in the story. Her death, like CArl’s or Judith’s would put Rick in that dark place that Negan doesn’t want him in. Negan wants Rick functional and killing Michonne affects that.
Daryl’s a tough one. I’m about 90% sure that he survives, but as far as emotional impact goes, his death would be explosive. I know people keep looking to his new show on AMC, but he filmed that while he was filming The Walking Dead. As far as we know he’s never been turned down for any other projects that he’s wanted to do and has done several in multiple areas of the arts including movies, videos, and gallery art, not to forget his photography. Outside of the plot, he’s a very popular character, although I am not of the mind that AMC would lose enough viewers to keep him if the story didn’t warrant it. Story-wise, he’s in the middle of an arc with Dwight, where he either needs to kill him or forgive him and work with him, and to be honest, I just don’t see that happening. Daryl has also reversed five and a half seasons of being the good guy, giving chances, giving the benefit of the doubt, and while he needs to go through this vengeance/drinking/anger arc, he also needs to come through it. He has more story to tell. I’ve never shipped him with anyone, but after what they’ve been through, I would not be surprised to see a hookup between he and Rosita, whether a one night stand or something more or not at all. YMMV. I also see him as a loner, and asexual, so he doesn’t need a romantic partner (male or female) to make his story relevant. His story also includes a huge dose of guilt for whoever it is that does die. I’ve mentioned that he’s reverting back to his wounded animal from earlier seasons, and I think he needs to come through that. So, no death for Daryl. Probably. No, no, I’m sure. Mostly.
I think Rosita is safe. If it’s true that Negan doesn’t kill women, that’s one reason. She’s pretty frightened, so it’s not much of an impact to have her be the example for the whole group. I don’t know if she’s been tortured, but she’s definitely been battered. She owes Dwight almost as much as Daryl does, so it would be nice for her to get that closure and kill him. No offense, I really like Rosita, but I just don’t see her death as giving the fans the emotional wallop that TPTB want. Her breakup with Abraham was pretty horrible, and I don’t think most fans like to kick people when they’re already down.
Glenn is my number 1 choice for death. One reason is that he’s the one who gets it in the comic books, so there’s that. The fact that they’ve left the reveal until season 7 suggests to me that it will be someone who we’re expecting. Steven Yeun’s contract ends with season 6, although that could also be a red herring like taking his name off the credits when he was under the dumpster for three episodes. I’m not sure AMC can afford another fake out of Glenn’s death. His death leads to other things in the comic book story – Maggie’s move to the Hilltop, the birth of her baby, etc. Glenn is a first season character who is important to the entire group and the fans. He’s become the moral compass, hell he’s always been the moral compass. He’s also become the cheerleader of “home” and having a home and a home-life. He’s one of the strongest proponents of family and their being a family. He has a separate relationship with every one of them. He’s a lot to lose. That’s why I think it’s him. My heart is already breaking.
Here are a few good links that I found that give some interesting points and leave you with something to think about: