So my least favorite event from the entire run of The Walking Dead comic finally made its way to the small screen with the season finale of season six of the show. Some comments, speculation and of course spoilers for the show and the comic after the break.
I’ve come to accept over the years that my memory isn’t all that great in many cases. While I can probably quote the first 15 seasons of The Simpsons, there are lots of things I can barely recall from day to day. I’ve come to embrace this somewhat as it makes it easy for me to rewatch shows and movies and reread books and comics without remembering too much of what happened.
But one thing that has remained seared in my brain since I saw it in July of 2012 was the splash page of Glenn’s head after Negan first brings Lucille down upon it. It was horrific and his cries out to Maggie to save him, knowing she (or anyone) could do nothing (and that it was already too late) made it even worse.
I’ve hated the character of Negan ever since. I understand he is a fantastic villain, but this was just the first of many issues where Negan would do horrible thing after horrible thing. I’m sure it is personal preference, and maybe my own life experiences have slanted my view of the world, but I will always hate people like Negan. I know he is fictional and I know that is the point. But I couldn’t wait for Rick to wipe the look off that smug assholes face. The Governor was a great villain too, but I didn’t feel this way about him.
It is for this reason that I have been dreading Negan’s arrival on the TV version of Robert Kirkman’s money maker. It was hard enough to read that scene the first go round, I really didn’t want to watch it in live action. But leading up to the finale, that sure seemed like what was going to happen.
A familiar game of “who will die on the finale?” began amongst fans. Speculation was rampant in these parts, but of all the options I could think of, there was one that never came to mind. Even knowing the show would be a cliffhanger, it never occurred to me that we would not know who was executed by Negan. When that time came, and after Negan’s sadistic game of “eeny, meeny, miny, moe”, the show switched to the point of view of the eventual victim (and really, the viewer).
I will admit that after Negan brought Lucille down for the first time, for an instant I was relieved. I would not have to see that horrific scene with Glenn from the comics played out before my eyes. It wasn’t much of a reprise though as Negan kept swinging as the screen faded to black and all that could be heard were muffled screams and the sounds of someones head being smashed like that collage of Polaroids from a few episodes back.
Unlike many, I’m not up in arms with the decision to not reveal who died. Many are saying it would have been better to show the death and leave the summer to pontificate on the consequences. I’m fine with spending until the fall wondering who it was and seeing endless theories and speculation, like this one:
(Another interesting theory is that it has to be someone from the van as each commercial break came back with a POV shot from someone in the van. Which would point towards Daryl, Michonne, Rosita or our friend Glenn.)
I think the Walking Dead production team have their work cut out for them trying to keep this a secret after new the season begins to shoot in May (I believe). Will they have to keep someone on set or hidden away somewhere until the season seven première? “Well, Norman Reedus has a different show coming out this year on ABC, I guess he’s not on Walking Dead anymore.” That’s a simplified example, but in this day and age of internet leaks and everyone having a camera on their hips and unlimited information at their fingertips, the littlest tidbit will get around quickly.
So the question remains, who died?
I have nothing to back up what follows, but here are my gut feelings:
- It’s not a woman. I don’t know why I feel this way, but I’m pretty sure it is a man. I could be wrong here. But as I’m sure we’ll see in season seven, Negan has other uses for women that are probably obvious. So I think Michonne, Rosita, Maggie and Sasha are safe. If I’m wrong, I think Rosita is the most likely of this group.
- I really doubt it is Rick, Carl, Michonne or Darryl. While the show has had its share of main characters bite it (Hershel, Beth, Shane, etc) in many ways they have painted themselves into a corner with its biggest hitters. The show has become so popular that when you hear the phrase “If Darryl dies we riot”, you believe it. I would put Carol in this list as well, but she wasn’t present at the final scene. It could be argued that Glenn and Maggie should be in this list too. If I’m wrong here, I’ll go with Michonne, but I don’t see that happening. (Plus Negan makes the point to say that if anyone tries to interfere to feed Carl’s remaining eye to Rick. One of the few clues that can be used to rule anyone out.)
- It’s just too obvious to be Glenn. While the show for the most part uses the backbone of the comic book to get from point A to point B, the path it takes is often very different. The list of current survivors in the comic and the show is completely different, including Mr. Dixon, who isn’t even in the comic. They have used the events surrounding character deaths straight out of the comics before, but changed the person involved to keep people guessing. I think this is one factor in it not being Glenn. But what sticks out more to me was Glenn’s death fake out earlier in the season. Why go through all that trouble just to have Glenn die again a half dozen or so episodes later? That said, maybe show runner Scott Gimple takes the Princess Bride approach and knows that we think it will be too obvious and do exactly what we expect as the least obvious maneuver ever.
So, who does that leave? Abraham, Eugene and Aaron. Let’s forget Aaron, since his death, while tragic really wouldn’t have the impact that this calls for. That leaves the two I picked as the mostly likely victims before even seeing the finale. I think Abraham is a possibility. He’s a big enough character now I think that his death will have the desired effect. I wonder how much of the second point above will come into play though? Will the producers want to keep him around because he is such a great character?
So last, but not least, we have Eugene. He was my number one pick from the get go, and the show did him no favors by wrapping up his character development arc in a neat little bow and sending him off in the RV as a hero. The scenes with Eugene and Rick in the beginning and between Eugene and Abraham just before our gang splits up, were typical Walking Dead “we’re going to shine the spotlight on this side/background character and then say goodbye to them.” Remember Dr. Denise’s similar arc that ended with her standing up for herself and then finding an arrow embedded in her eye socket?
My one hesitation with Eugene is that I don’t know if he is a big enough character to justify these happenings.
One thing this episode did confirm for me though is that I would last 5 minutes if a real zombie apocalypse ever broke out. If an episode of a TV show could have me weak in the legs and ready to throw up throughout, I don’t think I’d fair well when the real walkers show up. And I’d probably die a stupid death too.
“Hey! Was that Jimmy that just got ran over by that truck from the Acme Pillow Factory?”
“Who cares! We gotta move!”