The Walking Dead returns on Sunday with the resolution to the months-old cliffhanger. Who did Negan kill? Which one of the crew ended up on the business end of Lucille? The answer is likely to be traumatizing, but we’re ready. We’ve had a long time to think about it, so Myndi and EJ started speculating and they each made their pick for the most likely victim. Now, we’re both going to mention who dies in this scene in comic, but neither of us think it’s going to be that person. But it might be, so consider this an official SPOILEE ALERT for the comic and possibly for the show. You’ve been warned!
MYNDI – So, I think there’s a more obvious theory, which EJ covers rather thoroughly and which makes a lot of sense. But I also think there are additional possibilities that might be more surprising and still provide the payoff needed from such a huge cliffhanger. I think we can rule out Aaron, Carl and most obviously Rick. The first does not have the emotional capital built up with the audience and the other two are the heart of the show; not to mention, Rick is seen in the post-killing teaser that made the rounds online last week. You can bet that if Carl had died, even the Ricktator would not have been that composed. There was also Negan threatening to cut out Carl’s other eye if anyone made a peep during the beating, so I don’t think he’s going to be killed.
The next bunch includes three of the four women in the group. Maggie, Rosita and Michonne. In the clip, Negan mentions something about Rick’s “right hand man” and, well, call me sexist, but I don’t think he would say that if he’d offed a female. I also see these three physically strong ladies as keys to the future for our group. Rosita isn’t as dear to viewers as the other two, but that’s yet another reason her death wouldn’t qualify as such a huge cliffhanger. I also think Rick’s reaction to the murder of either pregnant, vulnerable Maggie or his lover Michonne would be a little more visceral than it seems in the clip. And from Negan’s perspective, offing a woman at this juncture (especially one who is obviously in agony already) would seem a bit weak.
Eugene is a unique character on this show in so many ways, and as much as he seems to have come to terms with impending death before the season finale ended, it might almost be too easy to have him die. Negan would also likely see this quivering mass of humanity as too easy of kill to prove to the group that he means business.
That leaves us with Sasha, Daryl, Abraham and Glenn. Sasha is the female most likely to die, but there is still much to be explored with this character. She has just finally started to come out of her funk and is starting a relationship with Abraham. While many people are aware that–SPOILEE ALERT! SPOILEE ALERT!–Glenn was Negan’s victim in the comic, having him be the victim here, would almost seem like a cop out. Much like Glenn dying here would piss off audiences to no end, losing Daryl Dixon at this point would probably break the internet. Plus, he has to have a showdown with that slimy Dwight guy, doesn’t he? That leaves us with Abraham. He’s a character with just the right amount of investment from the audience to elicit high emotions. He’s also just had a massive change of heart and is ready to have kids and look at life in a whole new, positive way. But Abraham Ford will look death right in the face and sneer. He’ll take it like a man. And he’ll leave a bloody, ginger corpse for us all to mourn.
EJ – There’s really no way around this, so I’m going to have to talk about who dies in the comic. I don’t think it’s going to be the same person but it could be, so consider this a SPOILEE WARNING. If you keep reading, that’s on you.
In the comics, Negan kills Glenn in this scene. Now, it should be noted that the TV version includes characters who died earlier in the comic (like Abraham) and characters who don’t even exist in the comic (Darryl). I mean, Carol and Judith have both been gone for a long time in the comics, so it’s not like they aren’t willing to break with that continuity. And I really don’t think it’s going to be Glenn.
I can’t quite put my finger on it, but there’s something about the way the producers got so weird about Glenn’s fakeout death last year. That was a great story moment and his surprise return should have been a great surprise, but then they jumped in to release a statement that Glenn’s story wasn’t over yet and even demanded that he not appear in the fatality montage on Talking Dead. I still don’t understand that at all, but it’s even more peculiar if they planned to kill him off in a year.
More than that, the show has already done the stories about people dealing with Glenn’s death. We’ve had an episode about how it affects Maggie, which would be the biggest story to tell there. That’s the most interesting thing about killing Glenn, and now it’s already been explored. And in the comics, his death is the motivator for Maggie to go rogue and become almost an antagonist to Rick and company. I don’t think that works on TV because nobody’s going to buy Lauren Cohan as a vengeance-addled sociopath. (The whole Greene family plays out as a lot more likeable on television.)
And so, and this is killing me, I think it’s going to be Maggie who dies. I don’t want that. Not one bit. But it’s the most interesting choice. As interesting as most of the characters on the chopping block are, losing them doesn’t fundamentally change any of the others. We’d miss Eugene, but his loss wouldn’t be big enough to warrant a months-long cliffhanger. There’s such a big turnover in this group that the only ones who’d have the emotional impact would be Glenn, Maggie, and Darryl. I think the eventual death of Darryl will be a big event in and of itself so he’s out. It has to be Maggie.
We know how Maggie deals with Glenn’s death, but we don’t know how Glenn would cope. I can’t see TV Maggie just snapping, but I can see Glenn losing it. There are stories there. And I hate to say, it but Maggie’s at sort of a dead end on the show. She’s pregnant, and on this show there are two outcomes. If the baby doesn’t survive (and it was implied at the end of last season that she was in the throes of a miscarriage), it kills her. If everything’s OK and she has a baby, then this is the zombie show with two infants. A second baby doesn’t bring anything to the story. And, if it’s Glenn who dies, it would be a second baby born immediately after a parent’s death. There’s no way they’d retread something so specific, right?
I don’t like it. Maggie is one of my favorite characters and Lauren Cohan is awesome. I am probably less interested in the show without her. But in terms of storytelling, she’s the one who makes the most sense.
Let us know your pick in the comments and then we’ll see who’s right on Sunday night!