My Twitter feed is full of hate from fans of The Walking Dead over last night’s season finale. The complaint? A cliffhanger that leaves in question which of our beloved characters is beaten to death by Negan and his barbed-wire wrapped bat named Lucille.
Seriously? Cliffhangers have always been an important part of serial storytelling. Why should fans expect otherwise? Remember “Who shot J.R.?” from the TV drama Dallas? It’s important for the show to leave the fans with something to talk about and to analyze as we wait six months for the new season.
And boy oh boy do we have stuff to talk about!
Here’s a video where I explain my theory, or you can keep reading below: https://youtu.be/3GJXx1MRSDY
After careful analysis, I have concluded that the most likely answer to the question posed by Talking Dead host Chris Hardwick, “#WhoIsIt?” is Aaron. Let me explain how I came up with this conclusion:
The first thing I did was map out the positions of all the characters in relation to Negan. From Negan’s left to right, they appear on their knees in this order: Glenn, Rosita, Daryl, Michonne, Abraham, Maggie, Rick, Sasha, Aaron, Carl, and Eugene.
I tried to follow the “eenie, meenie, miny, mo” but found that Negan and the camera skipped around, making it impossible to use that as a guide.
So then I watched Negan’s body language. After he says, “You are it,” and stops before the victim, he says, “If anybody moans, anybody says anything, cut the boy’s other eye out and feed it to his father.”
This leads me to believe that the victim cannot be either Carl or Rick, even though Negan adds, “and then we’ll get started,” because he immediately raises the bat and “gets started.”
Negan’s body language also reveals that Carl is to the right of the victim. When he says, “cut the boy’s other eye out,” Negan sways slightly to his right, as though indicating that Carl is on his right. This tells me that the victim cannot be Eugene, because Eugene is to Carl’s left.
Negan’s eye movements, as he’s talking, indicates that there are characters on both his left and right. If he were standing in front of Glenn, who is on his far left, Negan would not look further to his left. Since he does, this tells me that the victim cannot be Glenn.
When Negan lifts both arms up just before he brings Lucille down on his victim, there is a shadow of Carl’s hat across Negan’s upper body (another fan captured the image, and I went and rewatched and paused my TV to confirm it). The fan that originally tweeted the photo meant the victim must be Carl. I think the light is to Negan’s right. If you look at everyone’s shadows, they are all to Negan’s left.
So this shadow, along with Negan’s eye and body movements, leads me to believe that the victim must be Aaron.
We are set up with some red herrings to believe other characters will be sacrificed. First, Abraham, with his speech to Sasha about being ready to have a child, hints that he may be the one to be killed off. We’ve seen other characters who transform just in time to die (like Denise). Plus, Abraham rises to the occasion when Negan stands before him, suggesting that Abraham is prepared to die bravely. Eugene is another. We even saw him basically saying goodbyes. I expected him to be sacrificed as he nobly drove off in the RV to distract the saviors so Maggie could be saved. Maggie is another. Negan threatens to put her out of her misery, leading us to believe that, since she’s too weak to work for him, he’d make an example out of her. And then there’s Glenn, who meets his end by Negan in the comics.
Despite all of these false leads, Aaron is the most likely character to meet his death by Negan, in my opinion. What do you think?