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Who is going to die on 'The Walking Dead' midseason finale?

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Will someone die on Sunday’s midseason finale of The Walking Dead? It could go either way. Last season, both Hershel and the Governor met their ends at the halfway point. So did Sophia in the Barnageddon massacre that closed the first half of season 2. However, season 3’s eighth episode featured no major character deaths (sorry, not counting Oscar or Zombie Penny), so there is no guarantee that someone will be biting the dust on Sunday. But let’s play the timeless game of “What if…?” to try and determine who might be the one to go should somebody not make it to 2015.

When trying to look at the likeliest subject, you need to take into account both the recent history of character deaths as well as what has transpired so far in season 5. When showrunner Scott M. Gimple took over at the beginning of season 4, one of the changes he wanted to institute was deeper character development so that you cared more about the people when they made their way to the afterlife. That’s why we got a big Hershel-centric episode and two 100% Governor installments just before they both died. (We also got a heavy dose of Carol immediately before Rick booted her out of the prison and her future was in doubt.)

That approach has extended into this season as well. It was no accident that Bob was one of the four people lined up at the trough at the start of the season, or that he got to have a lovey-dovey relationship with Sasha, or that he had that little speech to Rick about the need to be able to come back from the brink should society wake up from this nightmare — all of that was designed to make viewers feel more pain and sympathy as he was eaten by cannibals and then passed away at the church. If someone is going to perish in the midseason finale, the most likely subjects are ones that have recently had beefed up storylines as opposed to folks that have had quieter arcs of late. First off, here’s whom I’m putting on my safe list and why:

RICK

Face of the show, and has been something of a background player the past month. No way he goes.

DARYL

If he dies, fans riot.

CARL

Nope. Not gonna happen. Has been too much of a background character in season 5.

MICHONNE

Still too cool to die. Plus, we’ve barely seen her this season outside of a few awkward conversations with Gabriel.

GLENN

It’s been a light load for him this season as well. He’s too big a character to suddenly kill off without some deeper character study first.

MAGGIE

See: Glenn.

ABRAHAM

Reaching for that bottle of water shows Abraham is slowly rebounding from the Eugene revelation. There’s too much to see in terms of where he goes from here to cut him down now.

EUGENE

How does he adapt in this world now that his lie has been exposed? Again, too much uncovered story here for producers to get rid of the character just after his big admission of guilt. That has to play out a bit.

So if those people are all on my safe list, here are the ones that could be in a bit of danger, going from least to most likely to die.

GABRIEL

In many ways, he sure seems like a dude just asking to be killed. But I would be surprised if they offed him without letting us see him finally evolve from someone struggling so mightily to someone who finally is able to adapt — if not fully accept nor embrace — the brutality of this world. Feels like there is more story to go with him.

TARA

She hasn’t had her moment yet, which leads you to believe she should be safe. But this character has been so damn likable on the show that even losing her without a Tara-centric episode would still hurt. (If she does die, however, maybe everyone can engage in an awkward group fist-bump in her honor.)

SASHA

She got knocked out cold last week, but previews show her up and about in the midseason finale. While we have gotten a heaping helping of Sasha this season, she’s mostly been depressed and angry over Bob dying. I don’t blame her, I guess. However, her dying might just be more of a mercy kill at this point, meaning it would fail to register the same emotional impact as some of the others. I see Sasha getting a stay of execution…for now.

ROSITA

We heard more from Rosita in this last episode than in every other installment combined, which can only mean one thing: uh-oh. Sudden extra exposure is never a good sign on this show. Plus, she finally got accepted by Glenn and Tara as one of their own. Another bad sign.

CAROL

We certainly got a big Carol episode the other week with “Consumed,” which makes you worry that her time may be up, but Carol has become too integral and popular on the show to get rid off now. At least that’s what I hope.

TYREESE

This guy has “sacrificing himself for someone else or the group at large” written all over him. The only question is, when?

NOAH

I can’t help but feel Noah could possibly be on the endangered species list. He left Beth back at the hospital but is now trying to do the right thing in going back to get her out. Good deeds like that often do not go unpunished. Could he perish while helping her escape?

BETH

If anyone is going to die, Beth seems the most likely target. The bummer for her is that she may be a victim of the character’s success. Showrunner Scott Gimple and actress Emily Kinney have combined to make a Hershel’s other daughter interesting this season. While Beth at one point was something of an afterthought and often relegated to second class citizenship status, this season she has morphed into a bold and brave woman ready to stand up and fight. Unfortunately, the fact that we now care enough about her to not want to see her go is exactly what could be working against her. She selflessly smiled when she got captured tying to escape because she saw freeing Noah as a victory. Her biggest moment may come in sacrificing herself once again so that others may live.

Off course, this is all just educated guess work. And just because it is a midseason finale does not mean someone will automatically perish. The Walking Dead often likes to surprise us with the timing of offing characters, so just because Hershel and the Governor went down in the last midseason finale does not mean anyone will here. But enough of what I think: Time for you to weigh in. Do you think anyone will be killed on Sunday? And if so, who? Register your vote in our handy-dandy poll below, and for more Walking Dead scoop, follow me on Twitter @DaltonRoss.