WARNING!!! SPOILERS FROM THE WALKING DEAD SEASON 6 FINALE AND POSSIBLY THE SEASON 7 PREMIERE PLUS THE COMICS AND THE REST OF THE SERIES.!!!
You have been warned . . .
So The Walking Dead left us hanging on a huge cliffhanger at the end of the Season 6 finale. The show gave us the long anticipated introduction to comic book villain Negan and he bashed in the head of one of the major characters with his barbed-wire-wrapped bat Lucille. But then we don’t know who it was because of the point of view shot they used and the fade out as the episode ended, leaving viewers hanging until October to see which one of their favorite characters died. I’ve already discussed in detail (at this link) how this sort of manipulative ploy to keep viewers on the hook for seven months is completely unnecessary for the most-watched show on television and actually denigrates what has been a high quality television entry throughout its six seasons (though it slipped some this past year).
Of course the cliffhanger launched endless speculation across the web on who died with people picking apart those last few minutes to find any possible clues. And that led to AMC becoming spoiler-Nazis and going so far as to threaten legal action against sites like The Spoiling Dead claiming copyright infringement. I have some very harsh words about AMC’s ill-advised stance at this link.
And that has led me to this point where I am going to throw out my predictions on who I believe was at the wrong end of Negan’s bat. Now before I proceed, I just want to say that personally I hate this sort of crap. Picking apart episodes to find spoilers is just a waste of time and there are plenty of better things to do with your hours in the day (like tying to stay caught up with the massive number of sci fi / fantasy shows currently on television). At my Twitter site, I rarely pass along spoiler-filled headlines, and those annoy the crap out of me if I have an episode waiting for me on my DVR and I’m trying to maneuver through the Twitter-verse. But AMC has pissed me off so bad with their hostile stance toward fans, especially after they are the ones who set up the situation in the first place that has so many people speculating (that ending has network-exec-tinkering written all over it).
So spoil I am going to do, because I have a pretty good idea who was Negan’s victim.
Now I should point out that I have no inside information and I haven’t seen any leaked scripts and I’m not looking at the pictures from the Season 7 production or anything like that. I base my predictions mostly on an analysis of the final sixth season episode along with the trends we have typically seen on the show and from television in general. So if AMC wants to come at me with their lawyers for offering a critical analysis with predictions in a country that supposedly believes in free speech, I’m right here.
Note that I do not have any spoilers in the title of this post and that only those people who freely choose to read past all this rambling will learn my predictions. But one last time in case you missed the multiple instances above: WARNING. SPOILERS. AHEAD!!!!!!
So let’s do this as a process of elimination:
Rick is not the one who died. He is the main character in the show and he is still alive in the comics. Plus. the finale sets up a whole story arc where he must face the consequences of his arrogance, i.e. thinking he and his people can take on anyone and anything in their zombie-pocalypse world. Also, Negan said that he wouldn’t kill Rick.
Daryl is safe too. He’s the breakout star of the show, even though he was criminally under-utilized this last season. The fans would also absolutely revolt if Daryl was the one to die, so there’s almost no chance the show would go there. But there is one contingent to that. Daryl could be the one to die if Norman Reedus wants off the show. But despite his lack of screen time, I don’t believe that is the case. He has opened a restaurant and bought a house in the Georgia area where the show is filmed, so he has settled there for now. And I don’t think his restaurant or his bike show are cutting into his time too much. So unless they have completely kept under wraps a desire by Reedus to leave the show that made him internationally famous, I consider him safe.
Next, I’m eliminating all the women from contention. It’s a pretty brutal death that the character suffers and I don’t think AMC wants to deal with a violence against women controversy. I could be wrong about that, but I just don’t see them chancing that. Carl as well, because that invites violence against children claims (though admittedly Carol did execute Lizzie back in Season 4). Plus, Negan’s comment about if anybody does anything cut the boy’s other eye out and feed it to the dad.
So that leaves us with four possibilities: Aaron, Eugene, Glen, and Abraham. I’m going to toss Aaron out first because he’s not a major enough character and that would be far too anti-climactic after seven month’s wait (plus, it invites more bury-your-gays controversy). So consider him safe.
Next is Eugene and the episode surely seemed to telegraph that he was destined to meet Lucille up close. There was the (almost too) long goodbye between him and Abraham where they also buried the hatchet on their past issues. There was the scene with him giving the recipe for bullets to Rick upon the assumption that he would not survive the ordeal. And there was his sacrifice of going off in the RV alone as a diversion so that the others could sneak away from the Saviors. But . . . all that was so telegraphed that I think it was used as a diversion from the real victim. Eugene was made to seem like the obvious choice, so I’m betting its not him.
Which leads me to my top pick . . . good ol’ Abraham. And here’s the case for him being the person who went one-on-one with Lucile: First, he’s a pretty tough cookie and Negan made a comment about the person taking the initial hit “like a champ”. Two, he’s already dead in the comics. He’s the one who took the arrow through the eye instead of Denise. Three, Abraham had a pretty defiant stare-down with Negan during that final scene that may have brought him undue attention. Four, and most important, the scene where he and Sasha talked about having a baby. Nobody gets to be happy in The Walking Dead and future plans are almost always a death knell in this show (go back through all the episodes and you will see the trend). This is actually a common trope through many television shows as well. Characters start to make future plans, or they finally hook up after a long time and then one dies shortly thereafter (which means that if I’m wrong about my assumption on the women above, Sasha could be the target).
But then there is one other character still in the running and that one ties to the point-of-view scenes we saw throughout the final episode. There were several quick POV shots from inside the trailer holding the people Dwight had captured, and a theory going around the internet suggests one of that group met their demise because Negan’s final attack was also at the POV angle. Among the people I have narrowed it down to, that leaves only Glen. But would they really go there? After the much reviled faux-death earlier this season and teasing his death several other times over the course of the show? He is the one who gets bashed in by Lucille in the comics, so its possible. And his previous non-death could have been trying to throw us off from his ultimate fate. So he could be the one who died, though I believe fans would consider that a very unsatisfying resolution considering the all the baggage the show has around his character.
That keeps my top choice as Abraham, but Glen is a close second. And Eugene is a distant third. But I do strongly believe it is one of those three. Not because I have any inside information, mind you, but based on my critical analysis of the episode along with what I know about the comics (I have not read that far, though, I have just heard the spoilers). I could be completely off-base here, and Negan’s victim could be a character I haven’t even considered. But I feel pretty confident it is one of those three and would put the most money on Abraham. (Does Vegas have a line on this one?)
I won’t be watching the Season 7 premiere, though, because I have decided to boycott the show (which used to be my favorite) this coming year and start my re-watch of Babylon 5. AMC’s actions against their viewers after stringing them along and providing an unsatisfying ending to the Season 6 finale are just inexcusable. I will watch all of the seventh season at some point, though. It’s still a great show, despite the ill-advised network tinkering, and I will want to get caught up. But I will likely wait until it comes out on DVD and then buy a used copy just to make sure AMC doesn’t get any of my money. And I’ll be watching the spoilers from the Season 7 premiere to find out if my predictions were right, because I’m not a spoiler-phobe.
We’ll revisit at that time and see if I called it, but in the meantime you have my predictions to chew on and feel free to offer your own. But be warned: the big bad corporate monster AMC may come after you if you speak your mind and try to make a guess on how that ill-conceived cliffhanger from Season 6 turns out. And if you want to see how to do a season finale right, go watch Game of Thrones, especially all of Season 6. AMC, that’s you I’m talking to.