I wasn’t surprised when I heard AMC and Chris Hardwick describe something that happens in the mid-season finale of The Walking Dead as a “shocking moment,” as that’s usually how these closing chapters are hyped up.
But what is strange, what I don’t understand about this classification, is that the source material comics offer zero clues at all about what’s about to happen, and that even fans dedicated to uncovering the show’s secrets are being purposefully tight-lipped about Sunday’s episode.
Here’s a message (via Uproxx) from The Spoiling Dead, a site that is, as you can guess, dedicated to spoiling future developments on the show to the point where they’ve even faced legal threats from AMC before. But that’s not what’s going on here, they say:
“After careful consideration we have decided that we will not be providing a Q&A or any spoilery bits this week,” admins of The Spoiling Dead said. “AMC has been hyping a very shocking moment that will occur in this episode. I think most of us know this almost certainly means a death. We invite you to draw your own conclusions on what will happen. Review the spoiler journal, filming and discussion threads, and take what bits you can and try to put the pieces together.”
This is…weird. You would think a show dedicated to spoiling the show would have no qualms about revealing what happens here if they know it, but either it’s such a big secret that they don’t know and are pretending they do, or they’re holding back the info for some other reason.
When I talk about the comics offering no clues, it’s because we’re in a part of All Out War that simply does not correspond with any major character deaths I can see. Ahead of this week’s finale, I went back and re-read all twelve issues of All Out War, and I still cannot pull anything useful from that at all that could explain a “shocking” death tomorrow night. Minor comic spoilers and speculation follow.
There are two Negan “counter-attacks” featured in the comics that could theoretically go down tonight. One is a grenade-heavy attack against Alexandria that happened in the comics after Sasha (Holly) was returned as a zombie outside the gates, but we sort of saw that half-conflict already in the suburb last season. There’s also another attack later where Negan sieges the Hilltop with walker-guts coated weapons in order to kill the injured with infection, but that seems like something that may be happening in the other half of season 8, as Negan is in no position to mount that kind of assault right now.
The comics kill Eric, Aaron’s husband, which we’ve already seen on the show, and Denise, which we’ve also seen a long time ago. They blow off Heath’s leg in one of the attacks, but Heath isn’t even in season 8 of the show.
So what the hell is going on? Here are the most prominent running theories right now that don’t have anything to do with the comics, because the comics offer no real clues:
Carl Dies – This is based on some real-life developments, like Chandler Riggs getting a partial haircut and possibly going off to college, but given how important he is to the future of the series, I have a hard time believing this one.
Dwight Dies – I like this theory and hope it’s true, mostly because I hate Dwight. The idea is that Eugene secretly recorded Dwight on his cassette player in their confrontation scene last week and will give it to Negan to reveal him as the traitor. In the comics, Dwight goes on to have a really important role in the series for a long, long time, but it’s possible the show might kill him off here and say, Daryl might take his part instead going forward. Still, the show almost never kills comic characters way early (Andrea being the most obvious exception) and instead usually lets people live long past their due date instead (Carol, Morgan, who have become essentially new characters). I would be surprised if it was Dwight for that reason.
udith Dies – This is a popular theory based on the baby “Gracie” that was found, that Judith will be killed in the crossfire of the war which is why we see Rick so red-eyed in future flash-forwards. The vision of the future where there’s a little girl with a stuffed bunny could be Gracie, not Judith, who Rick raises after Judith dies. Judith died eons ago in the comics when she was an infant during the Governor conflict at the same time as Lori, but I don’t know if that alone seals her fate here. And I don’t know if AMC wants their much-hyped death to be a cute toddler in an age when the show is already accused of being too cruel and brutal.
Other Non-Comic Characters Die – The reason there might not be any clues in the comic could be because it’s a non-comic character that dies. My chief pick for that person would be Tara, as I don’t think The Walking Dead will ever be brave enough to kill Daryl. It could be someone like Carol, who is essentially a different character than she was in the comic, and free from future storylines, but I doubt it’s her.
A Hard Left-Turn From The Comics Path – The Walking Dead has stuck pretty closely to the comics for All Out War, but maybe they will pull an Andrea and kill off someone they’re not “supposed to” at this point in the comics, which may be all of the other characters I haven’t mentioned yet. Some are doomed already in future conflicts, but maybe they’ll be killed early like we saw with Denise. Some might have roles that can be filled by other characters. If one thing’s clear about The Walking Dead is that almost everyone is expendable. Except Daryl, because Norman Reedus has a motorcycle show on AMC.
All in all I…genuinely don’t know what to make of this. I suppose it’s possible the “shocking moment” is not a death, and could be some sort of big reveal like learning who is in that helicopter Rick saw, but a death does seem more likely. It’s rare that this show doesn’t spoil itself or isn’t spoiled by the comics, but it’s made me genuinely curious about what’s happening in the 90 minute finale tomorrow.
But if it’s another fake-out death, can we all agree that we riot?