*This column was originally published on Fan Fest News but I felt like sharing it here with you guys too because I heart you*
Geeklings! I’m totally going to break the 4th wall for a second (is that even possible when writing for the interwebs?). I have been looking forward to writing this column since I found out I’d be handling the Walking Dead reviews this season. I’m talking Carl eating pudding levels of excited. That’s right. My history with the Walking Dead spans both the comics and the show so I’ll have all types of Robert Kirkman undead knowledge to sling at your eyeholes, and I’ll try my best to separate the two. Mostly I’m just really excited for the opportunity to break down this upcoming season with you guys because if it’s anything like I expect then it’s going to be crazy town banana pants. Or maybe more accurately, Pee Pee Pants City. Yeah, it’s going to be Pee Pee Pants City real soon…
Last season of the Walking Dead was a little bit up and down, having started red hot but then plateauing until after the winter break. Once the show started to focus on Negan and the Saviors it picked up a momentum that lead to a fantastic finale, with arguably, the best ten minutes in Walking Dead history. I’m fully aware that last season took a lot of flak for ending a number of episodes with “did they or didn’t they just kill off a character I love”. There was the great Glenn debate, the where did Daryl just get shot argument, and the what the hell just happened and who did it happen to finale. I for one never really got upset with the first two cliffhangers because I never believed that they were true. Maybe it’s because of my comic book knowledge or maybe because it just seemed implausible, but I never once thought Glenn was dead or believed Dwight killed Daryl. Both of those characters deserve tremendous send offs and those moments didn’t equal the importance of the character. As for the finale…well, that’s different. I fully expected to watch Negan take out one of our survivors and was a little surprised to see the show avoid it, but I wasn’t really angry. As angry as a large section of the interwebs has been it hasn’t stopped people from talking, and I imagine Sunday’s viewership will be through the roof because people need to know. No matter how you slice it that’s good television. I get it the anger though. But come Sunday no one is going to be thinking about the Glenn or Daryl fake outs, they’re going to be thinking about what did they just see and how can they maybe unsee it (you won’t be able to sorry).
For me this will be my second time going through this Walking Dead moment. I can recall exactly where I was when I read issue #100 (that’s where we meet Negan in the books) and watching as he killed off a beloved character. The scene was horrific and shocking and instantly classic. How do you make the new villain impactful and important? You give them a moment that will instantly make the audience hate them. Instantly.There’s no debate. When Sunday’s episode ends you will hate Negan and you’ll be justified buuuuuut in his defense Rick did start this. I know, I know, such blasphemy.
Before we get into the who let’s talk about the why. How did we get here? How did we get into a situation where Rick has been so clearly out foxed? The simple answer to that question is arrogance. Last week I found myself “arguing” with my sister about Rick’s leadership, and while she was wildly defending him and the choices he made I went the other way. Everything that happens Sunday is Rick’s fault. No question. Yes, Negan will be responsible for the death but it’s Rick who puts the bat in his hand.
Throughout the course of the Walking Dead we’ve watched as Rick has reluctantly taken charge or that whole Rictatorship don’t question me rule. We’ve seen him become a farmer who doesn’t want to use a gun and we’ve seen him go bat shit crazy ripping people’s throats out with his teeth and pulling a gun on the town folk of his new home. I for one have watched my relationship with Rick rise and fall based on his leadership methods. Reluctant Rick was weak and kind of annoying (dude, Shane is totally mocking you with his existence), Rictatorship was trying to find his footing still, Farm Rick was blind, and Throat Biting Rick almost ruined everything. I know that none of those traits sound like positives but in the world these characters live in you sometimes need that type of leadership. But you also need a type of leader that is willing to check his ego at the door.
The assault on the Saviors was so miscalculated and arrogant it’s no wonder Rick got played the way he did. Not once did Rick really take the time to figure out what he was up against. Not once last season did he have a clear idea of who or what Negan was nor did he really have a grasp on his numbers. Not to mention Rick had no idea just how loyal Negan’s people are to him. Were they weak and easy to break or were they going to follow Negan to the bitter end much like our survivors do with Rick? Rick just figured because he killed some cannibals and beat a Governor that Negan wouldn’t be a problem. Well, he couldn’t have been any more wrong and now we’re in a situation where we’re not only seeing the death of one of our survivors but also the breaking of Rick. He has never experienced a loss like this and watching him hollow eyed and shaking as Negan has full control is alarming. It’s like all the fight had been sucked out of him. True leadership is how our leaders pick themselves up after they fall. Insert Batman Begins quote here, “why do we fall down?” So we can get back up. But will Rick be able to shake this very personal and intimate death in order to stand up again or will this hollow him out and force someone new to step up?
Which brings us to the who. Just who did Negan choose in the world’s scariest game of eeny, meeny, miny, moe. This is the question that’s been plaguing us since the credits rolled on season six. It’s what we’ve been breaking down the audio for hoping for clues. It’s why we’ve been breaking down the last frames meticulously in the hopes that a reflection can be seen in Negan’s eye. Again, you don’t get this level of obsession if you’ve completely pissed off your fan base which is why I argue the reaction to the cliff hanger to be irrelevant. People just want to know things.
So let’s try and figure out who is going on a date with Lucille. You know, the fun part. Yes I classify figuring out what fictional character dies as fun. What is my life? Kind of awesome actually but that’s besides the point. Let’s break down the possibilities into three categories. The No Ways, The Maybes, and the Most Likelys.
The No Ways– Out of all the people there we already know that Rick survives (thank you teaser clip) so he’s off the list. I will argue that Eugene, Aaron, Rosita, Sasha, and Maggie are also off the board. Everyone who isn’t Maggie just isn’t that impactful. Think about it. Yes it’ll be upsetting to see one of those characters get their heads bashed in but will it really ruin your life? This death is going to ruin your life. It has to. The hype is real and Negan needs to walk away looking like a monster (something the Governor never achieved) and these characters don’t have that type of street cred. I include Maggie in this list because there’s no way that the Walking Dead is going to have a pregnant character die by having her head caved in by a bat. While the Walking Dead likes to shock us it’s not Game of Thrones, and even Thrones killed their pregnant lady by stabbing at a wedding. I guess that makes it better? Everything about that felt awful. I’m sorry.
The Maybes– There’s only two people who go on this list, and that’s Carl and Michonne. Here’s why it’s not them though. I feel at some point this is going to become Carl’s story (insert your Coral groans here) and killing him now wouldn’t have the impact it deserves. I mean the kid just got shot in the eye can we let him rest a little bit?! Plus Negan says if anyone moves to cut out the boys other eye. Why would he need to do that if he was beating him to death? That’s just simple math. As for Michonne, I just don’t see it happening. She’s too strong of a character to bite it like this. The way this character is constructed if she is ever going to die she needs to die fighting not on her knees waiting to be picked. While these two are contenders they’re not very likely.
The Most Likelys- That leaves us Daryl, Abraham, and Glenn. Here’s why it’s not Daryl. Negan will want to make a statement in choosing whoever he kills. Picking someone who he thinks represents either the strongest of Rick’s party or the heart of. Daryl is hunched over with a gun shot in his shoulder. How strong could he possibly be? That will be Negan’s miscalculation. Now Abraham raises an interesting question because he’s the only one in the group to not be intimidated by Negan and goes so far to raise himself up and maintain eye contact. Negan could see him as a possible threat and might want to get him out of the way so he doesn’t have to deal with him at a later date when he’s super pissed. Take away Rick’s strength and break him that way. Or rip out his heart and take away his will to lead which would be the Glenn choice. Glenn has proven that he’s the emotional one in this moment having run out to defend Maggie. While noble and dismissed by Negan it could be exactly what he was looking for. The person who showed the courage and heart to take a stand. Think about it? Who has the more impactful death here? Abraham? Maybe. It’ll suck and I’ll miss his interesting string of curse words but it doesn’t even compare to what Glenn’s death would do to this show and it’s audience. It’ll be awful to watch and will instantly catapult Negan through the stratosphere as one of television’s biggest bad guys. I’m sorry Geeklings but I think it has to be Glenn.
Man, there is just so much to cover and I feel like I’ve already talked your ear off. Here’s a couple of quick thoughts before I leave.
- Who are those mysterious men in armor with Carol and Morgan? Do they have anything to do with the Kingdom and the guy with the tiger in the trailer? Of course they do. Expect this story line to play as the “bright” side of this episode.
- With the recently released clip is the Walking Dead hinting at a possible comic story line that happened way back when the Governor was around? I’m thinking it is. I don’t want to get into it too much because spoilers but I’ll hand it to the show if they go for it (yes I put a very obvious hint in this sentence).
There you have it Geeklings. Who do you guys think Negan is going to use for batting practice on Sunday? Feel free to sound off in the comments as they are all yours. Let your voices be heard. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@iamgeek32) as I’ll be live tweeting the premier spoiler free on Sunday plus it means we can talk geek together. I’m always up for talking with my Geeklings. If you want more of my word adventures you can turn to my site, Fan Fest News and check out more of my head thoughts. In the mean time take a deep breath and just tell yourselves that whatever happens Sunday will make you stronger. Feel free to cry, hell, I’m sure we’ll all be doing that. And don’t forget to tune in Sunday night with my episode review. Good look everyone! Be strong
Images from AMC