Questions, theories and more questions after The Walking Dead's season six finale
Warning: Contains Spoilers from the comics and The Walking Dead season finale Last Day on Earth.
Spoilers ahead, it's your last chance...
All that, for…well, that?
Nearly 90 minutes of perfectly executed tension, not so subtle foreshadowing (the episode was called Last Day on Earth after all) and a build up to the greatest war Rick and co have ever seen - just to end on a cliffhanger. I had my suspicions about that aggravating cliffhanger after The Spoiler Dead shared a leaked script last week, but after a season of highs, lows and meandering character arcs in between, TWD already has me hook, line and sinker for the next series. If not just to see who was killed.
Before we spend the next six months calculating angles, shadows and slowed down Tumblr audio to determine who bit the bullet (or in this case, the bat), let's look at the facts.
There are 11 possibilities, but my bet is there are only really five candidates. We know Rick and Carl are safe - Negan told his cronies to “cut out the boy"s other eye and feed it to his father” if anyone intervened. Lovely.
“There's some hints there, I'll say that,” comic book creator and co-executive producer Robert Kirkman said on The Talking Dead after the show's finale. He aid the character who died was “beloved to everyone”.
Indicating an entirely new direction for season seven, he echoed The Saviours’ sentiments that our favourite walker fighters “aren't the good guys here”. “From his perspective, he's the hero of his own story most villains and if we had been following him all this time, we'd be 100% on board with that.” Well, Rick did orchestrate the mass murder of dozens of Saviours, so there's that.
If we're to go by what Kirkman says, we can count out Aaron, who is too new to be beloved. And Rosita might be a badass, but she's played too small a role to cast any real impact with the remaining characters. Which leaves seven. Let's also exclude Sasha, whose main arc has revolved around her being a love interest to bigger players. That's six.
Eugene’s acceptance of his potentially impending death earlier in the episode suggests to me he's too obvious of a character to kill off. He's another character we've only known since season four and I feel like he's not done making an impact just yet. Plus, his “beloved” status is pretty new given his newly developed backbone - let's face it, up until now, his mullet was more popular than he was. This leaves five. Five viable options and any of their deaths would break our hearts.
Let's look at the candidates...
I thought Glenn’s dumpster death fake out back in November pretty much guaranteed his survival, but it looks (and sounds) a hell of a lot like it’s Glenn. Somebody has taken the liberty of slowing down the audio of the last 20 seconds and after listening a few times, it certainly sounds like Maggie screaming the loudest, indicating it could be everyone's favourite pizza delivery boy. It's no secret now that Glenn is famously killed by Negan in episode 100 of the comics and while the show hasn't been afraid to create its own independent storyline, I wouldn't put anything past them. Negan saying he's “Taking it like a champ” sounds like Glenn quietly accepting his fate, safe in the knowledge that his pregnant wife Maggie is safe.
Those slowed down screams could just as well belong to Sasha or Rosita crying out for Abraham. TWD bosses seemed hell bent on using the second half of the season as a means to build up to Negan's finale arrival and it did not disappoint (well it did, but that's not Jeffrey Dean Morgan's fault). Their recent fixation with Abraham’s past and potential future with Sasha could have been a way for us to fall for him before he was killed. Alternatively, producers could have wanted us to get emotionally attached to him in order for him to fill the shoes of one of Rick’s original right hand men. In the comics, he's the onle who got the arrow in the eye in last week's episode, meaning they could have killed Denise in order to facilitate his death now. And one of Negan's henchman telling Rick to be nice to the "people in that RV" might have been foreshadowing that they were the only members of that group in real danger.
"Taking it like a champ” definitely sounds like Abraham, who looked like he was about to volunteer to be beaten to death when Negan approached him during the most terrifying game of Eenie Meenie Minie Moe ever.
It's been suggested that the entire Walking Dead narrative is an exploration of how much one man (Rick) can take before he's pushed to the brink (in the comics, Judith died in the prison with Lori). Losing yet another love interest and another chance at a happy ending could send Rick over the edge yet again. Michonne is certainly beloved and would also show the magnitude of the battle ahead. If Michonne, the sword wielding, zombie camouflager can't survive in the world of the "new order", then what help is there for anyone else? “Taking it like a champ” wouldn't be out of character for Michonne. Knowing that Carl was watching might mean she'd play down her pain.
He's been my number one prediction since we first found out someone was going to go. But I don't see why TWD would break our hearts with a fake out shot in the shoulder in episode 15 only for him to get it in the head in the next episode. There are two popular theories as to why Daryl was the one who we thought would be on the chopping block; One being that AMC have given him his own show (Ride with Norman Reedus). Let's debunk that shall we? With months until season seven airs and the show's significant mid-season breaks, there's plenty of time to do both. Network bosses could simply want to capitalise on one of the most beloved characters on their biggest ever show. The second reason being the fact that Daryl doesn't even exist in the comic book world, meaning his death would be an easy way to facilitate a more comic friendly plotline next season. The "Taking it like a champ” reference? Would you imagine Daryl going any other way?
In my opinion, she's the least likely to go and Maggie has a big future as one of the show's major players. In the comics, she becomes the leader of the Hilltop Colony and cares for Enid as her own. Thanks to that haircutting scene before she doubled over in pain, it looks like that we'll see that storyline continue pretty accurately. “Taking it like a champ” ? Given that she was pretty much on death’s door at the time, she may have simply passed out. The likelihood? Can you really imagine Glenn just sitting there with his wife beating beaten to death in front of him? Thought so.
See you in October.