[Warning: the follow article contains Walking Dead comic book spoilers and super lame baseball references]
It’s the ninth inning of The Walking Dead season finale.
Negan is at bat, looking ferocious yet suave. Team Rick is in the outfield, rightfully weary, beaten, and morally defeated.
The Saviors beam with pride in the background as their captain channels his best Babe Ruth and scans his bat dramatically across the sky. Negan calls his shot, swings with all his might, and then… CRACK! The screen fades into total darkness, Negan’s target unknown.
This scene comes straight from The Walking Dead‘s landmark 100th comic issue, where, spoiler alert, Glenn is ultimately chosen as Lucille’s playmate. It would seem obvious then that Glenn would also die in the TV series, but because series creator Robert Kirkman and show runner Scott Gimple don’t always keep to the script (case in point being Carol, who should have been killed off seasons ago), even diehard readers of the comics were left scratching their heads after the finale.
So… who did Negan batter to a pulp? Let’s try to narrow it down.
Negan confirmed that Carl and Rick are safe (did anyone actually think Rick would die?), and assuming that Negan’s policy of not killing women is carried over from the comics, then Maggie, Sasha, Michonne and Rosita should be safe, as well. Plus, whoever died needs to be important enough to the current story and audiences to justify such a horrendous cliffhanger, which rules out Eugene and Aaron.
This leaves only three logical victims on base: Glenn, Abraham, and Daryl.
3rd Base: Daryl
Daryl Dixon doesn’t exist in The Walking Dead‘s comic book world, so if Robert Kirkman decided to save Glenn’s character, then Daryl is the practical and obvious sacrificial pawn. He isn’t incorporated in any canon story lines, so there really isn’t a reason why they need to keep him around any longer.
…Well, except for the fact that he’s without a doubt the most popular character on The Walking Dead.
Most of the show’s advertising campaigns and official merchandise heavily feature Daryl, and he even is the main character in The Walking Dead‘s mobile game. Killing Daryl would be financial suicide for AMC.
But if Norman Reedus for some reason wants out of the show (perhaps to work on Boondock Saints III?), then this is his golden opportunity to go out with a bang.
2nd Base: Abraham
Abraham is currently on borrowed time.
His character was supposed to die a few episodes back, but Dr. Denise, being the champ she was, took Abraham’s arrow for him. This makes it entirely possible that The Walking Dead delayed Abraham’s death in order to use him as a sacrificial pawn during Negan’s deadly game of eenie meenie miney mo.
Yet it’s also possible that Abraham will be sticking around for the foreseeable future.
He is currently the only member of Rick’s group with military experience and know-how, and if Alexandria is to wage war against the Saviors, then that experience will be absolutely essential. Plus, the budding relationship between Abraham and Sasha has only just begun, and it seems very clear that this relationship will be explored in further detail (when did The Walking Dead turn into such an epic romance story?)
And let’s be real, do we really want to lose Abraham’s wit? ‘Dolphin smooth’ is officially in my vocabulary thanks to good ol’ too-honest Abe.
1st Base: Glenn
If The Walking Dead does decide to stay true to the comics and kill Glenn, then they’ve basically been foreshadowing it for the entirety of season 6, and even a little of season 5.
Season 6 first teased audiences with the prospect of Glenn’s death during Dumpstergate, where The Walking Dead trolled fans into believing that Glenn was dead, only to reveal much later that a well placed dumpster saved him from becoming walker lunch. It was revealed soon after Dumpstergate that Maggie and Glenn are expecting, which lovely as that may be, doesn’t spell good news for the apocalyptic love birds. Literary-wise, a new life nearly always signifies the end of another, and Maggie’s current medical issues with her pregnancy only serve to further foreshadow Glenn’s death. This is a motif that The Walking Dead has used before (remember Lori and Judith?), so this theory isn’t a far stretch.
Perhaps one of the most obvious pieces of foreshadowing occurred way back during the season 5 mid-season premiere. In ‘What Happened and What’s Going On’, Glenn stumbled upon a baseball bat, which he later used to crush some rotting skulls in. Was that a coincidence? I’ll leave it up to you to decide.
There are plenty of other moments throughout the past season that may have foreshadowed Glenn’s death, but some fans believe that the most damning piece of evidence occurred during the actual first-person beat-down scene. Check out the scene once more, this time in slow motion with audio enhancements:
All signs seem to point towards Glenn, but would the The Walking Dead put fans though a summer of hell just to kill off the character everybody thought was going to die anyways?
We’ll have to wait until The Walking Dead returns in October to find out!