Ask Not For Whom The Bat Tolls…

**BEWARE: SPOILERS ABOUND, IF YOU CARE ABOUT THAT SORT OF THING**

We’ve had a week to think about it, reflect — for many fans, forgive(?) — now, let’s take a deep breath and look at what we have. Who does Negan select to prove he’s serious by killing one member? On Talking Dead, the two men in-the-know, writer Robert Kirkman and showrunner Scott Gimple were split on whether there were hints in the final scene — semi-hidden clues which could give away the solution to their well-constructed mystery. Well, that’s interesting, but we were going to look either way, so let’s look at some of the possible theories on the web or of our own.

0410twdlineup

Season-Long Game-Changer:  On that fateful Talking Dead, Gimple — when asked why they taunted the fans by withholding the identity of the poor victim of Negan and Lucille’s wrath — responded that season six was a lead up to meeting Negan, while season seven would be dedicated to the aftermath of who died. To impact a whole season’s arc, this has to be someone who’s loss leaves a hole, probably even someone from the We-Will-Riot group.

In The Truck?: The most popular suggestion on the web has to do with the mysterious flash scenes of slivers of light which cued up the show’s return after every commercial break. This was undoubtedly the view from the vehicle housing Dwight’s captures from the end of the last episode. Amateur TWD analysts have suggested this is a classic foreshadow that this view was that of the doomed, limiting the executed to the four in the truck.

In The Path of Negan’s Shadow: The camera hops manically around our heroes while Negan plays the most sinister (and fixed) game of Eeny-Meenie-Miney-Moe ever. As he reaches his endgame, his shadow slips off Rick to the right (and Rick’s left), but his speech doesn’t stop as he announces his choice. While the scene is not exactly true-to-life and laws of space and time don’t necessarily apply in this twisty universe, this would imply that Negan’s victim must be sitting to Rick’s left.

Last View is Trees: Negan makes his entrance from a trailer which is somewhat in front of those kneeling. It is to their left, so as Negan’s soliloquy drags on, the trailer is visible from some points of view and not from others. Basically, anyone on the right side of the line (Rick’s right) would have to see the trailer as they meet their doom, but said doomed only sees the forest as blood runs down.

Tea Leaves: It’s not just a TWD thing, but there’s often moments that foretell that a particular character’s lifeline is winding to an end. Whether it’s Denise overcoming her fears and embracing life or Bob beginning to fall in love to Merle’s (sort of) change of heart, certain moments melodramatically hint the end is near.

The Saviors Greater Good: While at first glance Negan seems sheer brutality, comic book readers contend he’s quite measured. Besides, considering the Alexandrians murdered something like 30 Saviors in their sleep, it’s not surprising he’d be a bit miffed and need a spectacle to even the score. Negan’s M.O. is getting the most out of the communities with which he deals, and killing someone useful would hurt his own cause.

Comic Storyline: Even before Carl was officially spared, he was suspected as safe because his actions are key (and compelling) as the story continues. While Kirkman is known for changing the storyline on screen — it’s the only reason at least one person in our line-up is still here — some future plotlines are more untouchable than others. This also makes other characters more expendable.

Is Glenn: As most fans know by now, his victim in the comic is Glenn. This same scene, almost word-for-word appeared in print, and when the bat came down, it was Glenn whose time had come. In fact, some have slowed down the audio on the finale and claim to hear voices saying “Glenn” and “Ma-Maggie” as happened on the page.

0401wdnegan

Now, many of these are contradictory (foursome in the truck are all to Rick’s right) and there’s no reason to consider these all bearing the same weight, but for the purposes of the exercise, let’s give these a one or zero (and in some cases a number somewhere in between) for how it affects their fates. Negan’s final words before his deadly Lucille swing eliminate Rick and Carl, or his threat to remove Carl’s remaining eye and feed it to Rick carries little weight. So, let’s look at our eight choices, in reverse order of appearance on screen.

Aaron (2.5)

0401wdaaronGame Changer: 0

Truck: 0

Shadow: 1

Trees: 1

Tea Leaves: 0

Greater Good: .5

C0mic Storyline: 0

Glenn: 0

While he’s eminently likable, and clearly a useful recruiter for Alexandria, killing Aaron would be the ultimate cop-out. He’s been a non-entity most of the season, is not from the original group, and it would be hard to see the consequences of his death impacting an entire season. So, congratulations Aaron and Ross Marquand, this is a good race to lose.

Rosita Esipinosa (2.3)

0401wdrositaGame Changer: 0.3

Truck: 1

Shadow: 0

Trees: 0

Tea Leaves: 0.4

Greater Good: 0.5

Comic Storyline: 0

Glenn: 0

Rosita Espinosa has been a crack shot and ferocious soldier, respected in the community, and Negan might see her as useful in that capacity. Plus, let’s face it, while she’s likable enough, in her run on the show she has not made the mark of others in the line-up. However, her death would certainly pull at the heartstrings after her brutal dumping by Abe. Moreover, Negan might see her as a pawn, expendable.

Abraham Ford (2.9)

0401wdabrahamGame Changer: 0.5

Truck: 0

Shadow: 0

Trees: 0.5

Tea Leaves: 0.8

Greater Good: 0.2

Comic Storyline: 0.9

Glenn: 0

Here’s where this exercise may fail, as Abraham has generally been in the top three of most amateur prognosticators, and I can’t say they’re wrong. However, he’s in the crosshairs mostly for his unspoken interaction with Negan, where he’s the only one to make eye contact which leads to a pause for appraisal in Negan’s speech. Some are speculating Negan is annoyed by Abe’s arrogance. I read this as a sign of respect — it has been a trait which has served him well in walker days. Abraham would be a useful soldier in Negan’s army. He’s also on borrowed time — was he only kept alive at the Battle of the Half Mile Shortcut to be killed days later?

Eugene Porter (4.6)

0401wdeugeneGame Changer: 0.6

Truck: 0

Shadow: 1

Trees: 1

Tea Leaves: 1

Greater Good: 0.7

Comic Storyline: 0.3

Glenn: 0

Oh, poor Eugene! Just as he’s starting to prove his worth, he gets captured and the points here do not add up as great for him. The whole finale felt like ratcheting up to give Eugene the most sentimental sendoff ever. He proves his mettle, earns the absolute respect of Abe, and even gives away the blueprints for his munitions factory. Also, while he’s a survivor, does he look like that to Negan (and I could totally see him calling Eugene a “champ” — and, yes, I know he says those words in the comic book)? But do they really want to lose the show’s biggest fan in the cast in Josh McDermitt.

Sasha Williams (4.5)

0401wdsashaGame Changer: 0.5

Truck: 0

Shadow: 1

Trees: 1

Tea Leaves: 0.5

Greater Good: 0.5

Comic Storyline: 1

Glenn: 0

As with Rosita, Sasha is an accomplished post-apocalyptic soldier who Negan could see as a strength or as a pawn. She’s also the other end of the Abe Ford love triangle (got a type, huh, Abe?). She’s also not in the comics, so that doesn’t help her cause. She’s been around since the third season, and has been through a lot, but for all that time, her impact might be more on the group than on the audience.

Michonne (2.5)

0401wmichonneGame Changer: 1

Truck: 1

Shadow: 0

Trees: 0

Tea Leaves: 0.4

Greater Good: 0.1

Comic Storyline: 0

Glenn: 0

Michonne’s only real danger is her relationship with Rick, as dating him currently owns a 0% survival rate — that is before these two fell into bed together. It would be stunning, but Negan likely knows her value — it’s hard to imagine her legend not booming across the land. Considering she’s a survival machine, falling in a randomized children’s game would be the deepest cut.

Maggie Greene (4.7)

0401wdmaggieGame Changer: 1

Truck: 1

Shadow: 0

Trees: 0.5

Tea Leaves: 0.9

Greater Good: 0.8

Comic Storyline: 0

Glenn: 0.5

Most civilized people would likely not kill a pregnant woman, but civilization ended years ago. And something clearly has gone wrong with her pregnancy, prompting Negan to even suggest “putting her out of her misery.” She’s the one person for whom not being Glenn doesn’t help. They could easily swap the love of her life, and Glenn’s earlier outcry might not have helped either’s cause.

Daryl Dixon (3.5)

0401wddarylGame Changer: 1.1

Truck: 1

Shadow: 0

Trees: 0

Tea Leaves: 0.2

Greater Good: 0.2

Comic Storyline: 1

Glenn: 0

The head of the We Will Riot Gang will probably be ok. Although he has no equivalent in the comic book and is already bleeding from a gunshot courtesy of Dwight. He would be the ultimate game changer (and would likely take two seasons of recovery). There’s gotta be a reason he was shot, and it doesn’t seem to be to face the bat. And even a blind Negan could see that, as much as Daryl could be a rebel thorn-in-one’s-side, he’s worth trying to keep around.

Glenn Rhee (5.2)

0401wdglennGame Changer: 1

Truck: 1

Shadow: 0

Trees: 0

Tea Leaves: 0.7

Greater Good: 0.5

Comic Storyline: 1

Glenn: 1

Yes, I did contrive to come up with an order which would end on Glenn. He’s the victim in the book, he was in the truck, he stepped out of Negan’s line, and as valuable as Glenn is as the calm conscience, quick thinker, and able fighter, how would Negan necessarily know that. Would the creators put us through that multi-episode scare to have it end so suddenly and so predictably? If past is prologue, yes, most definitely. I hope it isn’t true; I wouldn’t bet my kitana or crossbow on it, but this wouldn’t be the first, or even the second time, he’s escaped certain death.

0410glennclosecall.jpg

So, there you have it. Or don’t, as we haven’t really come to any conclusion. Even if we did, the show, while one of the best escapes on television, hasn’t always been a stickler for logic. At this point, it really could be anyone. But thanks for playing. If you could kill a walker on the way out, it’d be a great help.

Watch The Walking Dead sixth season finale on AMC‘s site and past seasons on Netflix.

Season 2 of Fear the Walking Dead airs tonight at 9pm on AMC

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s