For me, there is only one person that could be Negan’s victim: Abraham.
Unlike most of The Walking Dead viewers, I had the chance to steel myself against last season’s brutal cliffhanger, as it had already been spoiled for me months before I got round the watching it.
Going into season six, I knew all about the anger felt by viewers over a scene some would come to call a ‘cheap, viewer-baiting trick’ — and by some, I mean me.
Even The Walking Dead official twitterer saw the shitstorm of pissed off fans coming…
You guys aren't going to like this #TWDFinale
— The Walking Dead (@TheWalkingDead) April 4, 2016
Soon, entertainment websites were awash with articles asking the very question I am asking today: who did Negan kill? The issue, however, was that these articles appeared only days after the episode aired. Avoiding what was perhaps The Walking Dead’s biggest spoiler ever became simply impossible.
No surprises then, that come June — when I finally got round to The Walking Dead finale — I knew every detail that was to unravel in those last few minutes.
But I’m not bitter…
It did give me an opportunity, not to just prepare myself for the upcoming baseball batting action, but also to watch the characters carefully: looking at how the show portrayed them and how their character arcs ran.
After analysing the shifts and twists that ran through Walking Dead season six, my pick for the wall of
fame death — and answer to the question who did Negan kill? — is the foul-mouthed, ex-military man, Abraham.
Why? I’ll tell you why:
All the Heavy-Handed, Walking Dead Style Foreshadowing
There is plenty of foreshadowing that points towards Abrahams demise.
His character has seen some pretty massive changes, including the end of his mission to save the world and his departure from a relationship with Rosita.
In recent episodes, the creators did a lot to humanise our friend Abraham. He had a handful of scenes dedicated to exploring his character, putting a bit more humanity behind that gruff exterior. We are now more invested in this character than most others and I don’t think that’s a coincidence.
After a prolonged period of unrest, unable to adapt to a world without purpose, Abraham finally found peace in Sasha. Out of all the couples that came together in season six, this was the one that seemed the most genuine and least forced, thanks in no small part to Abraham’s actions and a complete change of character tone. He is now a man at peace, not a man at war with himself. His arc has come full circle.
Let’s not also forget that good things never happen to the men in Sasha’s life…
Finally, we saw Abraham make peace with Eugene. What more of a sign do you need than these old friends saying goodbye?
Abraham Showed Negan He Wasn’t Afraid
When Negan wandered round, joyfully looking for a new brain to splatter all over the woodland floor, he approached Abraham.
You don’t have to be an eagle-eyed viewer to notice Abraham squaring up to Negan. The badass ex-army officer looks his soon to be killer in the eyes and shows no sign of intimidation, and that was his downfall.
This entire process is designed to inspire fear, to intimidate the group into surrendering. In this moment, Abraham showed us, and Negan, that he would not be intimidated. The shot lingers on Negan long enough for us to know he realises this.
To leave somebody alive that could not be intimidated defeats the point of the exercise. You don’t kill the weak, the easily subdued, you kill the ones who fight back.
Except for Glenn, Abraham is the only one to show Negan he was prepared to fight back, and Negan is smart enough to not give him that opportunity.
The Process of Elimination
With both these points in mind – Abraham’s character development and his defiance against Negan’s threat – we should also look at the other characters, to see if they fit the bill of our baseball bat taking champion like Abraham does.
Negan said it himself, he doesn’t want to kill them. He wants them subdued so they can produce and supply resources for him and The Saviors. To batter either Maggie, a pregnant woman, or Carl, a child, to death would lead to war. There would be no peace, no matter how contentious.
Maggie and Carl: Safe
When you want to subdue people, you don’t kill the easily subjugated. Eugene was unsurprisingly terrified during the whole ordeal. Sasha also appeared to show some genuine fear when confronted with the business end of Negan’s beautifully crafted bat, Lucile.
If you’re in Negan’s head, trying to work out the best tactical kill, you wouldn’t be battering in the people who seem more willing to kowtow than others.
Eugene and Sasha: Safe
For Negan to have order, he must have control. To smash in the brains of Rick, the leader, a person who he immediately identified, would make little sense. There is also precedent for Negan sparing the leader before. The Hilltop gang had their main-man spared, so why not Rick? He is also uncharacteristically quiet during Negan’s little game and is the first to accept the group’s fate. This act of submission is exactly what Negan was looking for.
We also can’t forget, obviously, that Rick is the lead of the series. I imagine his plot armour is thick enough to repel even Negan’s blows.
Now Glenn has a lot of things going against him. He was killed by Negan in The Walking Dead comics and his little outburst seemed to strike a nerve. However, I’m still certain he’ll be walking away from this encounter. First and foremost, to kill him might be just too obvious. If the creators want to surprise us, to have the audience to go “holy shit”, why would they kill off the character known to be battered to death by Negan?
Glenn has also had so many near-death experiences before and to kill him off now might seem kind of cheap. Surely some of his other potential death scenes would have been far more dramatic and moving?
However, there is one big, fat pregnant reason that makes me think Negan would spare Glenn over Abraham. Glenn’s outburst makes it clear that Maggie is so important to him that he would risk death just to protest her murder. With this sort of blind love comes to ability to be manipulated. If Maggie is under constant threat of death, it’s far less likely Glenn is going to risk her getting hurt by acting out against The Saviors.
Negan has built a powerful army, more dangerous than anything we’ve seen on The Walking Dead before. This cold, calculating motherfucker isn’t going to miss a trick, and the ability to control Glenn through Maggie is one of them.
Moving away from the reasons going on inside Negan’s head, we have to look at the series as a whole and how the creators want to move forward with The Walking Dead season 7.
To kill Aaron would have almost no impact for the audience, utterly defeating the point of such a cliffhanger. Sure he is a good character, but right now he’s only one step up from the nameless residents of Alexandria.
Daryl is also unlikely. Not only is he a fan favourite, but he also has unfinished business with Dwight. The writers know they can’t leave that story untold.
Daryl and Aaron: Safe
In my opinion, the only other possibility for our brain-splattered victim would be Michonne. She has little interaction with Negan, is likely to be perceived as deadly considering she carries a massive sword — although Negan might not have seen this — and showed little fear when she and Lucile came eye to tip.
Still, like Daryl she is a fan favourite — perhaps it’s the unique weapon type? — which makes her an unlikely victim.
Michonne: Sorta safe, maybe?
There you have it, in my mind, it has to be Abraham. He has no plot armour, his character arc has reached a satisfying end, he’s made it clear to Negan he won’t be fucked with and most everyone else has a good reason not to die.
He makes it look like a tough decision, but Negan knows exactly who he’s going to kill.
What’s your answer to the question though? Who do you think Negan killed?
“Interesting theory, but I’m afraid I’d have to disagree. I think there’s
great potential for Eugene to get the bat.
In this last season you really see his character develop and come out of his shell, especially driving the RV in the last episode.
A common move by showrunners is to build up an undeveloped character, causing the audience to connect more and care for them, only to axe them come the season’s end. A great example of this was the Oberyn in GoT. New guy comes in, steals the show and boom: crushed skull – fuck you J.R.R Martin!
Because he’s had such a turnaround this season, instead of his usual but believable cowardice, I think he’s definitely getting the axe, especially with all his constant “blah blah I’m a survivor BS”.
Let’s also not forget the Abraham went off the rails a bit this season. He was basically poised to leave, he wanted out but his relationships developed, especially with Eugene. The two now appear to have formed quite a bond and a very believable friendship. If Eugene is killed in front of Abraham, he’ll literally lose his shit. Seeing his best friend killed will set Abraham straight, screw his head back on and he’ll stick by Rick till the end to get his revenge.”
Thanks Ryan. You’re wrong, but thanks.
Your idea about Eugene being built up to die is great but it has only recently started to happen, whereas it has been happening to Abraham all season. Eugene’s newfound sense of survival also means there is plenty that can be done with his arc, while Abraham’s has reached a satisfying end.
Also, I want to remind you that Negan is the one with the bat. He doesn’t know shit about this change, but he does see a snivelling coward. The only person in the group to be visually shitting themselves.
To me, it would seem bizarre for Eugene to die given Negan’s motives. Why kill the guy who is clearly going to be the easiest to control? Let’s also not forget that Negan himself stated the victim was taking it ‘like a champ’. Can you see Eugene taking anything like a champ? He’s a survivor now sure, doesn’t mean he’s going to be brave in the face of death. Abraham on the other hand…