I know we’re a full five months out from The Walking Dead’s Season 7 premiere, but I find myself thinking more and more about that infamous final scene to Season 6. For whatever reason, I wasn’t so caught up in identifying Negan’s victim. I was more wrapped up in wondering how this new development—being knocked down a peg or five—is going to change the group dynamic for Rick & co. Whose head got bashed in? That could wait.
Now that I’ve had some time to absorb everything (and watch that final scene on YouTube over and over), I’m no closer to identifying which character spent his/her last day on earth in the episode entitled, Last Day On Earth. But thought I might break it down a bit to some mathematical possibilities; sort of like handicapping the race, so to speak. Like the ultimate game of Survivor, our heroes have a 1/11 chance of winning the worst game of eeny-meeny-miny-moe ever.
Before We Get Started. Please, No Spoilers
This entire exercise is purely a speculative take, based only on what I’ve watched on the show. You may have other ideas, which is great. I hope you share them. But let’s set a couple ground rules first.
If you’ve gone searching out spoilers from spies in Georgia who are watching the comings and goings at the shoot locations, please don’t share those here. Stick to what we’ve seen in the TV show, thus far.
If you’re a comic fan, you likely have other information, too. We already know it’s Glenn in the comic, but know nothing about the rest of this story with Negan, so please be mindful of subtle, spoilers. Call me old fashioned, but I still like to be surprised on Christmas morning.
Still with me? Here goes.
DEFINITELY Not Dead
Maggie, Michonne, Rosita and Sasha
Sure, Negan’s a horrible human being who may not be above beating a woman’s brains in to make a point, but there’s no way we open Season 7 watching that. No. Way. Something as dramatic and awful as that may play in the comic, but it would become distracting from the overall plot. No longer would it be a story about survival. The Walking Dead would become about misogyny and violence against women. I doubt AMC wants its centerpiece drama to fall down that rabbit hole, so no women shall be beaten to death just now.
Chance it’s them: 0 percent
Along the same lines as above, Negan doesn’t seem too interested in killing a kid (even though he rightfully calls him out as a “future serial killer”). Again, it would be hard for audiences to stomach and might become the focal point of the show, rather than the storyline. True, The Walking Dead has shown no mercy to children in the past. I still love the opening scene of the first episode when Rick has to shoot a dead, “walker” child in the head. That set the tone and let the audience know The Walking Dead doesn’t screw around! But kill Carl? I don’t know. It seems that would be a bridge too far if Negan’s intent is to keep this crew earning for him. Watching his son die would render Rick ineffective. I don’t think Negan wants him in that state.
Chance it’s Carl: 0 percent
It can’t be Rick. Sure, the simple fact that Rick is the centerpiece character tells me it’s not his time. Also, Negan’s not going to make an example out of the leader of the gang. He needs this crew in good shape; subservient and scared, sure, but in good shape to expand his empire. So Rick is not “it.”
Chance it’s Rick: 0 percent
The Definitely Maybes
That means everyone else is fair game. But some might be Lucille bait before others. Let’s tick down the possibilities.
The Walking Dead has killed off major characters before, so Daryl’s number could definitely be up. I doubt it, though, for similar reasons as to why Rick is spared. Daryl’s too strong an asset to kill just to set the tone. He’s a loose cannon, but he’s already been shot and isn’t posing any threat just now. Plus, Daryl’s one of the most popular characters on TV. The fans would lose their minds over this.
Chance it’s Daryl: 10 percent
This one seems to be the most popular pick among cynical fans who think showrunner Scott Gimple is a jerk for using a cliffhanger in the first place. In the eyes of these fans, this is a cheap, storytelling device to get the audience lathered up and waiting several months for a weak payoff. Sure, get everyone hot and bothered, thinking it’s going to be something epic when, in reality, it turns out to be The Walking Dead equivalent of a red-shirt guy in Star Trek getting his head caved in. At least, that’s the theory behind Aaron getting whacked. Plausible? Absolutely. But I’m not ready to buy it just yet. I think it would be too obvious, so I think Aaron gets spared.
Chance it’s Aaron: 25 percent
If The Walking Dead TV show adheres to the comic storyline, then Glenn’s fate has already been sealed. All we can do is wait for the Season 7 opener and watch in horror as the honorable Glenn meets his fate. I don’t think I’m spoiling it for anybody when I say there’s a better-than-good chance Negan kills Glenn in this scene. There’s a part of me that could see Gimple doing this as a way to stick it to those fans who are mad at him. “Think I’m just screwing with you? Think again. Here’s Glenn’s head busted open like a watermelon.”
Chance it’s Glenn: 37 percent
The Last Day on Earth Goes To…
It’s down to these two. Which will it be?
A lot of Internet chatter focuses on our favorite ginger being the victim. I can see this as a strong possibility. Negan knows he’s not the leader, but needs to send a message so he takes out one of the biggest, strongest members of the pack. Also, Abraham shows no fear when Negan locks onto him. For whatever reason, I’ve got Abraham in my head when Negan says, “…takin’ it like a champ!” as he strikes his victim. Who would be most inclined to stand up to Negan and show no surrender in that situation? Sadly, Abraham is moving up my chart with every passing day.
Chance it’s Abraham: better than 50 percent
Poor, lovable Eugene. He’s a fan favorite in the way they love a mascot. He’s funny, quirky and sometimes misunderstood, but never dangerous. You get the sense he gave up ample information when Negan’s men caught him and worked him over. In Negan’s mind, I’m sure he’s got Eugene pegged as a follower, a worker bee. Is he important to the group? Yes, in a sense. He figured out how to make ammunition (and already passed that info on to Rick). Unless he indicated to Negan he knows how to do this. Otherwise, is Eugene an asset? He’s a regular guy who’s been clever enough to ride along with the right people, to this point. The moment he was flying solo, he got caught. And, in keeping with my theory that Negan wants Rick’s crew to remain strong so it can earn for him, I think Eugene is “it.” Hate to see you go, Eugene. We shall miss your mullet.
Chance it’s Eugene: 75 percent
From the beginning, I thought Eugene was the one who got whacked by Negan. However, as time goes on, my mind is changing a bit. I could definitely see Abraham, Glenn or Aaron being the victim, too. It all depends on Scott Gimple. Does he go purist (Glenn), obvious (Aaron), pitiful (Eugene) or tough guy (Abraham)?
I guess we’ll find out on Sunday, 9 October 2016.