So, Who Died in The Walking Dead?
Yes, this question, the very same one I address Twitter after every episode of everyone’s favourite zombie-exterminating TV show, carries a particular relevance after the last episode of season six. And, for no particular reason other than the fact I was reason a hilarious article about what NBC originally wanted The Walking Dead to be, I think it’s time to talk about the cliffhanger that I liked and everyone else wanted to feed to the Governor’s zombie daughter- who Negan killed at the end of season six.
For one thing, before we dive straight into the wild speculation, I want to talk about why this cliffhanger is actually a really good bit of television-an accolade I rarely muster up for TWD, but this time, they earned it. If the finale had closed out on the mangled body of Glenn/Maggie/The Gay One Who They Better Not Kill After Finishing Off Denise etc, that would have been what people were talking about. All discussion around the show would have hinged on “holy shit, I can’t believe they killed off X!”.
And that was decidedly not the point of the finale- the point of the finale was to introduce Negan, which they did, with great style and panache. The episode closing out on him committing some unspeakable act of violence was the right choice, stylistically speaking, because it allowed the attention to linger on Negan and who he was as a villain instead of transferring it to whatever beloved (“beloved”) character had bought it. So, I think it’s a great finale, and not showing who actually died was a good choice, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to speculate on who actually did meet Lucille in Last Day on Earth.
Okay, let’s rule out the obvious nos here- Carl doesn’t die, Rick doesn’t die, because they’re both far too important to the plot. Even though the show is attempting to tease Rick’s potential death, he just…look, it’d be one of the first legitimately shocking things TWD had done in a long time if Rick did buy it, but he just won’t, because the writers have a stockpile of gruff monologues that aren’t going to emote themselves.
I also don’t think any of the women present die-Maggie is pregnant with some plot points for the next season and a half, so they’d be fools to kill her off, Sasha has wanted to die for ages (well, if the show’s poorly-articulated, heavy-handed symbolism is to be believed, anyhow)and that would remove some of the impact of her death, and the show never spent enough time with Rosita to make her death a shocking loss. Michonne is the only woman I think might be in for it, what with finally finding happiness with Rick etc, but I think her arc still has places to go and they’d be foolish to kill her off now with so much about Michonne still to explore.
Okay, so we’ve ruled out a good six people there. Who’s left? For the same reasons as Rosita, I don’t believe Aaron is in for it, and I’d be pissed if they killed off another one of the queer characters in a death meant for one of their straight ones (I really fucking liked Denise, okay?). Daryl, in my opinion, will make it through because he’s an enormous fan favourite and his relationship with Carol (and a few other characters) provides part of the emotional backbone for the show. And that leaves us with the final three: Abraham, Eugene, or Glenn.
Now, I hope it’s Glenn who’s in for the chop here. I know he’s a fan favourite and what have you, but his arc is so utterly finished that the show would honestly be wise to drop his dead weight while it could. Glenn’s death has been teased and almost occurred a hundred times over, to the point my friends and I have a well-backed-up theory that he’s actually immortal, so surely, surely it’s going to happen now. I don’t care if that’s what happened in the comics and therefore it wouldn’t be a surprise. Glenn’s story is over, and it’s time to release the excellent Steven Yeun back into the wild and onto a better show.
But I think Glenn is likely going to be fine, because he’s well-liked as a character and ha just knocked Maggie up, and the real question is whether it’s Eugene or Abraham. Now, Abraham I think makes most sense from a plot perspective, because he’s by far the biggest and scariest dude in that pack. Logically, Negan should want to take him out because of the physical threat he causes, and the fact that it takes him a good few hits of his baseball bat to get him on the ground leans the victim towards Abraham.
But on the Eugene side of the coin, much of his arc has revolved around becoming a stronger, braver person, and it did feel like that arc had placed a pin in that development with his storyline in this episode. While The Walking Dead has rarely been good at retiring characters when they actually should be retired, it would make sense for Eugene’s arc to end here-and I feel like Negan’s comment about whoever he kills taking two strikes to go down could be the show underlining Eugene’s transformation from canny-but-lying coward to the selfless soldier he became.
So, yes, I think Eugene’s in for the chop. I could be wrong- and the show could disappoint me yet by going with a less central character- but I’m placing my bets now and will expect everyone reading this to buy me a pint if I’m right. We have to wait till October 23 for the start of season seven, but at least you’ve got Fear the Walking Dead to tide you over. If that isn’t more painful than a meeting with Lucille.