The Walking Dead or Alive


The Walking Dead PR machine is in full swing, with Norman Reedus, Andrew Lincoln, and others expressing some form of PTSD from reading the Season Six finale script. Josh McDermitt (aka Eugene) put it this bluntly: “You’re screwed! There’s no preparing for it.”

Word is that the long-awaited arrival of Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), head of the Saviors, is set for the last 10 minutes of the episode. Further, it’s been well-established that his M.O. is to kill one member of every group he meets to establish his dominance. There will be a line-up and a selection, and someone will pretty surely be killed. And that doesn’t even get into those who might be in danger during fights with random Saviors, walkers, and who knows what else. Let’s take a look at who is relatively safe and who might be in danger.


The We-Will-Riot Gang

These are the tentpole characters the writers and show-runners transparently fear killing knowing they will NEVER HEAR THE END of it from the vocal fans. In the early seasons, pretty much everyone had a target on their back, and that was part of the allure of the show. However, through the farm and the prison and the Governor and so on, we have become dangerously attached to some core fighters. However, with Negan and his little friend Lucille looming in this episode, no one is safe…well, not really true…it’s doubtful Rick will die, so let’s start with that.

Rick Grimes

0401wdrickActor: Andrew Lincoln

Intro’d: Opening Scene

Role: Fearless (Sometimes Beardless) Leader

Likelihood of Survival: 99+%

While, yes, it would certainly be a most effective shock to execute the star of the show — the leader you’ve followed from minute one of the series — it ain’t gonna happen. As much as it might be a relief to be rid of our wavering and often exasperating hero, there’s too much invested in Mr. Grimes at this point for him to go out like that.

Carl Grimes

0401wdcarlActor: Chandler Riggs

Intro’d: Season One

Role: Whipping Boy

Likelihood of Survival: 99+%

After surviving being shot twice, the second time right through the eye while surrounded by walkers, Carrrrrrl is not going anywhere. Readers of the comic know the story will lose a lot of poignancy post-Negan if Carrrrl is killed off. Carrrrrrrrrrrrrrl!


0401wmichonne.jpgActor: Danai Gurira

Intro’d: Season Two Cameo

Role: Quiet Badass

Likelihood of Survival: 97%

As devastating as it would be, there would be a certain horrible nihilistic poetry to choose Michonne as a certain sacrifice, seeing that she and her kitana are the perfectly efficient walker survival machine. Plus, partnering with Rick hasn’t exactly been a key to long life in this post-apocalypse. However, that won’t happen; the show isn’t near done with Michonne.

Daryl Dixon

0401wddaryl.jpgActor: Norman Reedus

Intro’d: Season One

Role: Slightly Less Quiet Badass

Likelihood of Survival: 90%

It may seem counterintuitive, but getting shot at the end of last week’s episode shot his survival percentage right up. While he might have been the perfect candidate for shock as the ultimate fan favorite — but one with no presence in the comic at all. However, his role as trade bait almost certainly makes this major character fairly safe.

Carol Peletier

0401wdcarolActor: Melissa McBride

Intro’d: Season One

Role: Conflicted Killing Machine

Likelihood of Survival: 85%

Carol’s demise may not spark riots at this point as crises of conscience tend to make fans a bit weary, and she has had a rollercoaster ride of an arc, but she’s still a beloved character. The fact that she’s nomad-ing around the countryside means she may not even appear in the 90-minute finale or get rounded up with the group. While admittedly that’s how the saviors caught her last time, this time she’s not distracted by having anyone to protect. Plus, and this is just my suspicion, with Morgan tracking her, it’s hard not to see them having a protracted episode of wandering and debating the morality of killing in this tortured existence — given the intertwined nature of their philosophies. Maybe they do that in a brutal episode as a form of Greek chorus — either way, I doubt she dies. However, if she winds up in Negan’s line-up, the odds shoot way up.

Glenn Rhee

0401wdglennActor: Steven Yeun

Intro’d: Season One

Role: Kind-Hearted Warrior

Likelihood of Survival: 60%

Ok, if we had not gone through that long period of did-they-or-didn’t-they with Glenn covered in guts and surrounded by walkers below a dumpster, he’d probably be the only person on this list below half-and-half odds for making it through. Indeed, and remember you were warned about spoilage, Glenn’s comic-book line does violently come to an end via Lucille’s wrath upon the entrance of Negan. So, would they put us through all that only to have him come to a sudden end so swiftly. Plus, can this show lose its constant and most consistent heart. Well, given that it now would be almost a stunner to choose him, that just might make him the choice.

Maggie Greene

0401wdmaggieActor: Lauren Cohan

Intro’d: Season Two

Role: No-Nonsense Negotiator

Likelihood of Survival: 52.5%

If you were inclined to select someone whose death would have as much emotional impact, to take Glenn’s most unfortunate place, look no further than his pregnant wife. Plus, she did just double over in pain a few hours after Glenn noticed an odd bruise on her back. Has she felt the baby kicked recently?  Just what happens in the event of a miscarriage? Would she have a zombie fetus inside her. Ok, that’s probably not what happened, but it’s still ominous. I’d say she’s 50/50, but added 2.5% for the show’s investment in setting her up as the new voice of Rick & the Alexandrians.

A Sad Love Triangle Plus Eugene

It’s hard not to see one of this bunch, who have survived longer than any TV viewer could expect, not see their wiki status (and color) change in the finale — even if just to up the drama going into the 7th season.

Eugene Porter

0401wdeugene.jpgActor: Josh McDermitt

Intro’d: Season Four

Role: Lovable Schmuck

Likelihood of Survival: 95%

At this point, as inept as he is at killing walkers, Eugene feels about as close to untouchable as they come. There’s a lot of usefulness for him in future plotlines, plus he has kind of come to represent the chaos and unpredictability of who survives in this afterworld.

Abraham Ford

0401wdabrahamActor: Michael Cudlitz

Intro’d:  Season Four

Role: Friendly Duke Nukem

Likelihood of Survival: 80%

It’s hard to see them disposing of the surly soldier (and conflicted loverboy) so soon after sparing him from his comic book demise. Plus, there’s some juice in having him survive at least one of his flames. That being said, he almost Abraham’d the first saviors we saw into killing him, so if he’s in the Lucille line-up, all bets are off.

Rosita Espinosa

0401wdrositaActor: Christian Serratos

Intro’d: Season Four

Role: Lovelorn Good Soldier

Likelihood of Survival: 65%

Other than being on the receiving end of the cruelest post-apocalypse dumping ever (oh, oblivious Abe), she has not had much to work with other than being a reliable warrior. That being said, of the four we know are in the hands of the Saviors, she’s the most expendable.

Sasha Williams

Sonequa Martin-Green

Intro’d: Season Three

Role: Steady Survivor

Likelihood of Survival: 60%

Sasha has lasted longer than anyone could have expected, and she’s had her moments, notably standing bedside with her sweet pal Bob until his very last minute. Her initial flirtations with Abraham were nuanced and adorable, but their relationship does not set off fireworks. I can’t help but envision a heartbroken Abraham awkwardly interacting with Rosita while mourning Sasha — or losing both.

The Other Pre-Alexandrians

Morgan Jones

0401wdmorgan.jpgActor: Lennie James

Intro’d: Episode One

Role: Post-Apocalyptic Caine

Likelihood of Survival: 75%

He’s been a popular choice for fodder this season. With his unflinching adherence to non-violence, he has exhausted many fans. Moreover, his death would play into a worldview that there’s no place for the non-ruthless in TWD times. That being said, he’s possibly the strongest, most intricate character in the show’s universe, and deserves more than a cheap death. He’s currently wandering towards Carol — the raging yang to his sober yin — and see Carol’s write-up for my thoughts on that. While a few weeks ago, that might have led to one murdering the other, Carol is now more open to Morgan’s way of thinking. Morgan’s not done yet. Although this horse whispering preview is a bit ominous.

Tara Chambler

0401wdtaraActor: Alanna Masterson

Intro’d: Season Three

Role: Surviving Mostly Off-Camera

Likelihood of Survival: 75%

Where is Tara anyway? She has most recently been on a long run with Heath, aka Alexandria’s Glenn. She presumably doesn’t even know about the death of her girlfriend yet. Tara’s been absent much of the 6th season. Some of that surely has to do with actress Masterson’s pregnancy, but the absence is noticeable — sometimes. In her favor for surviving the finale, she’s nowhere near the group. However, that likely means she and Heath will be waiting at the compound when Glenn, Michonne, Rosita, and an ailing Daryl are (probably) brought there. But, hey, she’s made it this far.

Father Gabriel Stokes

0401wdgabrielActor: Seth Gilliam

Intro’d: Season Four

Role: Reformed Coward

Likelihood of Survival: 50%

In the previews, he’s seen left in charge of security. That’s either a recipe for disaster or for a trademark noble death. The outlook is not great for a character who’s kind of run his course of usefulness. We already have another Lion-who-found-his-courage in Eugene and a better pacifist/warrior in Morgan. Good luck, gentle Gabriel, you may have to meet those parishioners who you doomed to death back in the day.

The Alexandrians We Care About

I’ve been told by Scholar Brad that there are plenty of reasons in the comic-book future to believe at least a few Alexandrians will hang around for a long, long time. However, I’d be shocked if in an episode that’s sure to be a bloodbath, with the current bodycount on “our” side of 1 vs. the Saviors’ roughly 40, that we don’t lose a few.


0401wdheathActor: Corey Hawkins

Intro’d: Season Six

Role: Thoughtful Gatherer

Likelihood of Survival: 90%

While he’s not been particularly hashed out, between the philosophical dustup with Michonne and some tender moments watching Glenn kill Saviors, Heath just feels like a character whose development has more to come. Plus, he’s currently out on that mission with Tara and if he’s captured, he’s also safe as his killing by Negan would be the ultimate cop-out.


0401wdaaronActor: Ross Marquand

Intro’d: Season Five

Role: Affable Recruiter

Likelihood of Survival: 75%

The most outgoing and friendly of the original Alexandria compound was also one of the first to latch onto the necessity of ferociousness. He’s a resourceful and strong character, which based on narrative consistency, should give him a fighting chance. However, his death would also pack the most emotional punch of any of his group. That being said, if it’s at Negan’s hand, it’s kind of a cheat — kinda a lot.

Spencer Monroe

0401wdspencerActor: Austin Nichols

Intro’d: Season Five

Role: Wild Card

Likelihood of Survival: 65%

The last survivor of the Monroe Dynasty has proven his worth on many occasions, but he is also prone to impetuous, and even plain-dumb, decisions. As a one-time annoyance of sorts, he’s also a good candidate for a noble death.


0401wdolivia.jpgActor: Ann Mahoney

Intro’d: Season Five

Role: Quivering, But Steady

Likelihood of Survival: 60%

She’s borderline for this list, but it’s impossible to really dislike Olivia, and her moments during the Wolf Invasion nervously holding up the gun were endearing. But let’s face it, she (probably) just wasn’t meant for THIS world.


0401wdtobin.jpgActor: Jason Douglas

Intro’d: Season Five

Role: Alexandra’s Everyman

Likelihood of Survival: 60%

He’s got a bit of a target on his back due to his relationship with Carol. However, that’s likely what will save him, particularly since he wisely did not leave the confines to blindly chase Carol.


0401wdenid.jpgActor: Katelyn Nacon

Intro’d: Season Five

Role: Post-Apocalyptic Emo

Likelihood of Survival: 60%

She’s definitely overcome a lot, and is one of the most completely defined characters of the Alexandrian bunch. She’s a strong fighter, but hasn’t always shown the desire to keep on going. It doesn’t help her odds that her death would make Carl sad. So, if she doesn’t make it, like, whatever. Then again, she’s survived bloodbaths in other venues.


0401wdericActor: Jordan Woods-Robinson

Intro’d: Season Five

Role: Aaron’s Boyfriend

Likelihood of Survival: 50%

I don’t mean to reduce anyone’s role to who they love, but if you look for an image of Eric from The Walking Dead, it’s as many images of Aaron as Eric. In the image we used, who do you think we cropped out? Really, in the post-walker world, it’s really as if he exists only to one day cause Aaron ultimate sadness — or maybe mourn Eric.

The Alexandrian Red Shirts

Names: Mikey, Bob, Kent (?), Barbara(?), Bruce(?), Scott, Francine, Anna, probably a Taylor or a Jonathan I’m missing.

Likelihood of All Surviving: 10%

Likelihood of None Surviving: 5%

While The Walking Dead have been known to clear out the day-players during season finale bloodbaths, it’s even more hard to see them kill off all these background figures this time around — they’ll save some for early next season.

To Sum It All Up:

0818talkingdead.jpgWhile it’s likely the episode will rack up enough non-Savior, non-walker body counts so that Talking Dead‘s “In Memoriam” feature will bleed past Midnight, the most difficult pill for fans to swallow will likely be that WE WILL NOT KNOW TONIGHT who it is that Negan selects. Word is — and keep in mind this is a program that loves to play the media and our expectations — we will be kept in the dark as to just whose candle is violently snuffed out until next season. Someone send an ambulance for Chris Hardwick.








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