10 questions we need to be answered in this season's The Walking Dead finale
After one of the most controversial openings to any recent season of television, series seven of The Walking Dead shambles to a conclusion tonight.
The zombie caper spattered back onto our screens last October with an orgy of blood-letting shocking even by its sinew-crunching standards. A sociopathic show of strength by newly unveiled villain Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) culminated with nerdy good-guy Glenn being beaten so badly his eyeball popped out.
With many loyal fans appalled the producers pledged to dial down the gore – though they would later appear to contradict themselves by insisting the storyline justified the torture Negan inflicted upon Glenn and his companion Abraham.
Whether the latest run of episodes exits on the same bloody terms as it entered remains to be seen. Either way, the finale – which airs in the US tonight and on Fox at 9pm tomorrow– promises to be a nail-biter.
Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and the other survivors from Alexandria Safe Zone are about to take their rebellion against Negan straight to the Saviour overlord’s fortress. Can they triumph or will Negan, aided by his trusted baseball bat Lucille, crack further skulls? Here are eight questions we need answered.
1: Does Negan make it out alive?
With Rick reclaiming his vengeful “Ricktator” persona, it’s possible Negan is on borrowed time. On the other hand, Jeffrey Dean Morgan has hinted the character will be still in The Walking Dead next season. If that is the case, is there a danger tonight’s showdown might be more damp squib than cranium-shattering spectacular?
2: Is Sasha doomed?
The future is far from rosy for hot-headed Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) who dashed into the Sanctuary hoping to assassinate Negan as he fraternised with his several wives. Instead, she finds herself in lock-up. Here we should note that Martin-Green has been cast as the lead in the forthcoming Star Trek Discovery reboot. The Walking Dead has insisted she will be able to appear in both shows. But is that merely a cunning misdirection ahead of Sasha’s elimination?
3: Has Eugene turned for real?
Mr Mullet (Josh McDermitt) has seemingly gone to the dark side, insisting that he “is Negan” at every opportunity. He certainly sounded sincere when, in his heart to heart with Sasha last week, he confessed to lacking the moral strength to resist the Saviours. But, in addition to having the worst interpersonal skills on the show (even worse than the zombies), Eugene has a rocket-fuelled IQ. So it isn’t beyond the bounds that he is playing the long game against Negan.
4: Has Dwight truly betrayed The Saviours?
Negan’s side-kick (Austin Amelio) was waiting for Rick and the crew back at Alexandria at the conclusion of penultimate episode. He was never fully on board with Negan’s reign of terror and with ex-wife Sherry (claimed by Negan in exchange for Dwight’s life) having fled, there is nothing holding him to the Sanctuary. On the other hand, Negan isn’t someone to be double-crossed lightly. The jury is out on whether Dwight’s betrayal is a true stab in the back or a calculated ruse.
5: Is Carol ready to kill again?
The one-time bad-ass (Melissa McBride) swore off violence and went to live in a cabin in the woods. However, she has been stirred back to action with news of the death of Glenn and Abraham at the hand – okay, bat – of Negan. However, the last we saw of her, she was helping King Ezekiel re-plant his vegetable garden – hardly the actions of an avenging angel itching to get back in the game. Carol still has to prove she’s fully in the skull-cracking zone.
6: Is this going to be another gore-fest?
The Walking Dead returned with a sickening squelch and there was further violence in the mid-season finale as Negan liberated the lower intestine of Spencer, a second-string resident of Alexandria. So is it to be third time a (very disgusting) charm for the show? Or will it find a way to shock and move us without resorting to bucketfuls of viscera?
7: What is Gregory planning?
The snivelling head of The Hilltop (Xander Berkeley) was tempted to plant a dagger in Maggie’s neck. Instead, he has fled the colony for an unspecified location. What has he up his sleeve and will it involve a heinous sellout to the Saviours? Probably.
8: Will King Ezekiel’s tiger finally do something interesting?
The leader of The Kingdom (Khary Payton) is a pretty slick guy. He has dreadlocks, speaks like Henry VIII – and, best of all, has a pet tiger named Shiva. But to date Shiva’s activities have been limited to purring, sitting down, and bonding for life with Daryl. With the finale upon us, is it possible Ezekiel will coax his pet into actually helping out with their existential struggle for survival?