I can’t say that I didn’t see it coming, this week was as slow as I told people it would be. That then leads me to believe I could have influenced my own expectations of this episode using knowledge of future events. Instead of delaying the inevitable let us jump right into this bigger world that is still tiny compared to what is around the corner. As always for your consideration, spoilers follow for both the AMC produced show and black and white on-going publication from Image Comics. Turn back now if this concerns you. I would like to stress that statement this week. In the following paragraphs I will discuss events from the comics and TV tropes that could potentially spoil the season 6 finale.
I’m going to tackle this a bit differently than usual. I did not think this was a bad episode at all, but I cannot give it fair judgment this week as I couldn’t put my heart into it like I normally do with knowing this is all set up for what is to come, it is simply filler. Hidden behind a bloody scene that shows the norm for Rick now, jaw dropping pancake jokes and hope in the form of a child is something looming that isn’t Negan. He is the threat of war all those that claim he is but for those unfamiliar with the comics he nothing more than a faceless name.
Paranoia possibly leading the way, I cringed as I saw who was going to travel with Jesus to the Hilltop. This is the first of many shots, lines or whatever to hint not at Negan himself but the statement he makes. That statement of course comes from issue 100 in which Negan shows up, takes Lucille, his barbed wire wrapped baseball bat, and proceeds to beat Glenn’s head in until death while Rick, Maggie, Michonne, Carl and others are forced to watch. Event 100, which is now what I will use to refer to the aforementioned death of Glenn, has been discussed before many times I am sure I won’t waste your time with that but shed light on a rare situation we are given. We are aware he coming, we know who is portraying him, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and given how the source material is used, we can only assume he will make a statement as powerful as Event 100.
This show very recently has taken its roots to heart by having Carl take a bullet that a lot didn’t think he would. Now it is time for this show to present how different is from the comics, or is it? That’s the problem we all face and the writers know it. This was all by design. They continue to give us what I feel now is intentional heavy handed foreshadowing for Glenn in the form of long hard camera focus shots, character development speeches, several near death experiences and the bun in the oven, or pancake in the skillet, whichever you prefer. I think he is going to be spared becoming the victim of Negan’s ‘right off the bat’ message. Two people are stepping up to take his place, Abraham and Daryl.
The former currently dealing with juggling two women, questioning his desire to live and dumb founded as to why someone would want to bring a child into this world, while the latter remains the wildcard. Abraham is realizing what he wants and after being nearly choked to death, I think he has woken up and will pursue that type of life. This makes him a huge target for the next main character to die and this is precisely why I don’t think he will be the next one to take the formulaic character development death, it is far too obvious. The internet has given show writers the ability to easily see how the audience picks apart their work. Like previous losses before her, Beth’s death was easily predicted and they are aware of this. Therefore Abraham, on the path to becoming a top crowd favorite, is most likely safe.
With the introduction of Jesus, Daryl’s safety net may have just been yanked from under him. Their characters are too similar. Both men are confident, observant, stoic, kindhearted souls who happen to be badasses and don’t mind being alone. Daryl being more prone to violence than Jesus, the differences are limited and insignificant aside from that. Many shows see similar characters as issues and tend to write one or the other off the show. In fact South Park once faced this issue as Kenny was seen to be too much like Stan and resulted in one of his many deaths being semi-permanent for several seasons.
Combine all this with the fact that Event 100 was a message so profound it shakes the survivors and the audience to their core, you can see why this show has to differentiate itself from the printed source material and at the same time re-convey the powerful message Negan and Lucille deliver. If they were to use Glenn it wouldn’t move us as strongly as it did in the milestone issue as it seems to me many of the comic readers have shared spoilers from the books for various reasons and even your average Walking Dead show fan has knowledge of what is coming next. This leads me to believe AMC is about to test the phrase ‘If Daryl dies we riot.’ Logically a man as popular and as good an actor as Norman Reedus is, he is most likely in high demand and could fetch a high price for any show or movie. Reedus has worked with Kirkman for some time now, The Walking Dead for six seasons and a movie titled Air, it wouldn’t be out of the question for him to want to move on.
I would like to state once more, I liked this episode but it wasn’t as entertaining to me as it may have been to others. The anticipation of the equivalent of Event 100 consumed my thoughts each time I sat to watch down the episode in preparation for Stuff and Things this week. That and classically filler episodes tend to be forgetful and looked down upon by fans sometimes. We had several great moments this week and a large info dump but a serious lack of Carol and Morgan since the shake up between them. One of my favorite moments was Merritt Wever once again being genuinely awkward while Daryl just looks on. Though she may never get the chance to reveal who Daryl reminds her of, and this saddens me. I hope I am wrong.