It’s been five days since a mystery character caught the unfortunate and brutal business end of Lucille on The Walking Dead season 6 finale. I’ve had time to come down from the immediate feelings of betrayal and anger that I felt toward TWD’s writers and producers. (Read my post-finale, freak out reaction at Game-Block and give them all of your loyalty as a reader.)
Three things changed for me.
The first was reading an interview with Andrew Lincoln from Variety. Leave it to Andy to put my soul at ease. It’s what people with a British accent do, even though I read it in his Rick Grimes voice.
Lincoln details the feeling on set among his cast mates and the vision of writer and producer Scott M. Gimple. The cast doesn’t know who died. The moment was scripted as “point of view,” leaving Negan’s victim anonymous.
You think we’re emotional? A member of their family is about to unemployed/die what will arguably be the most horrific death since Oberyn Martell on Game of Thrones that television has ever seen and they have no clue who it is. This death is supposed to change everything for the show.
The second thing that changed was reading an interview from Greg Nicotero, who is slated to direct the season 7 premier. That alone gives me hope. The 15 episodes he has directed are arguably among the best we’ve seen. Nicotero and Gimple have promised that season 7 will kick off with viewers finding out who died. This puts to bed our fear of three to four episodes of parallel stories and backstories prior to the reveal.
The biggest reason that I am officially all in for season 7 is the audio.
I don’t believe the audio is a giveaway that we are losing our beloved Glenn, as we do in the comics. The producers wouldn’t make such a bold mistake because as I stated, according to Gimple, Nicotero, and TWD creator Robert Kirkman, the cast doesn’t know who it is (as also confirmed by Andy Lincoln in the link above and confirmed by Norman Reedus on Talking Dead immediately following the episode.)
The reason the audio reeled me back in is because of the power in hearing the primal screams with the other noise removed. No music. No crickets. No ringing in the ears of the victim. I was flooded with every emotion one could feel in witnessing such brutality.
We know it isn’t Rick or Carl. For the story to work and to justify putting the death reveal off it almost certainly has to be Glenn. Not because of the audio, but because of the impact…but also perhaps because this is a case where the famous death warrents being carried over from the comics.
Glenn’s death has the power to change the trajectory of the show. Glenn represents hope in a hopeless world. We’ve watched this incredible growth of a sarcastic pizza delivery boy who was the bait and leverage for every dangerous situation in the first two seasons into a self-sufficient badass. Glenn is a survivor who never let go of his humanity. The influence of Hershel and love for Maggie created an unstoppable force.
Glenn’s death also moves along the story arcs of Maggie and Tara. It puts both Maggie and Tara in the position of losing literally everyone. Their entire families are gone. Losing Glenn and Denise would bring a great opportunity to take Tara’s character to the next level.
Who else could it be? To have roughly the same emotional impact, it would have to be Daryl. Daryl doesn’t exist in the comics, so his story has been completely fabricated. This season, it feels like Daryl is in limbo. His story doesn’t seem to be moving. Swapping his death for Glenn’s would be a prime way to write him off the show.
Daryl is another character that has been a pleasure to watch grow. He’s gone from an impoverished, bigoted red-neck to one of the respected heads of a diverse family. The problem with killing off Daryl though is that I don’t believe it changes the story.
Daryl is loved by fans, and certainly loved by the Alexandrians. This is his family, after all. But Daryl isn’t symbolic of hope like Glenn, a father-to-be. Glenn is the epitome of brightness in the dark and all that life can offer if you are courageous enough to let it happen. Look at the profound impact his pending fatherhood has had on Abraham and thus Sasha. Glenn and Maggie have changed Abraham’s entire outlook on what the future holds. Daryl does not weild that same power.
While killing off Abraham or Michonne would also have some weight in this situation, I still feel it has to be someone bigger. This moment was hyped and teased for an entire season. Killing off a B character like Rosita or Aaron would be an utter failure. Even Eugene, whom we anticipated dying in this episode simply would not work. It’s not enough.
It can’t be Maggie. The savagery of that act would turn off fans and would undermine Negan’s reputation. It’s too barbaric and revolting, even for this show. Negan is supposed to be a character that we love to hate or just love. Killing the ailing pregnant girl makes it difficult to empathize with him on any level.
Murder her husband though, and there you have a game changer.
Prepare yourselves. It’s going to be a gory, disgusting, and emotional October.