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Andrea has come thisclose to dying in every season finale so far. She considered suicide in season 1 and almost got chomped in season 2. Her arc in Woodbury has been an unexpectedly huge part of season 3...but now, she's on the wrong side of a pending war between the Grimes Gang and the Governor's Crew. I bet she lives...but I also bet she takes down one of her former friends.
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Hershel already lost a leg to the walkers. That earns him at least one full season of safety. Still, just because he'll be alive doesn't mean he won't suffer.
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True, Rick is the nominal hero of The Walking Dead. But he's also been descending into madness this season, tormented by visions and slowly coming unglued. And you could argue that, in the grand Dead scheme, Rick is sort of a Moses figure, there to guide the characters to a better place but unlikely to make it to that better place himself. Plus, Game of Thrones did it. And come on, isn't The Walking Dead ultimately building up to the moment when Carl has to shoot his dad in the head?
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Sweet Beth Greene has a key advantage in the death sweepstakes: She's almost never on the front lines of zombie fighting. She also has a key disadvantage: In two seasons of television, she's done very little to contribute to the group besides sing a lovely little song and flirt vaguely with Carl. This season of Dead has been brutal for the benchwarming characters — farewell, T-Dog — and killing Beth wouldn't even be the show's first angelic-blonde-youth fatality. Still, I'm betting she pulls through.
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Daryl's ornery older brother finally staged his long-awaited comeback this season, and has spent his return getting himself high up on everyone's Kill List. His old pal the Governor just declared him an enemy of the state, and his torture-session with Glenn probably won't go over well with the Grimes Gang. Merle's advantage is that he's a fan-favorite. But you could also argue that he's Dead's mini-boss — he's the Goro to the Governor's Shang Tsung. So if they opt to keep The Governor alive, Merle might just meet his maker. (Fortunately, we can still see him in dreams.)
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The Governor's science guru initially seemed like a master plotter. But his experiments on the walkers don't appear to have gone anywhere. And can Milton find a place in a Woodbury that's preparing for war? I'm betting the show goes the opposite route with him and gives him a baptism-by-blood to make him a born-again killer. But maybe it'll do that and kill him.
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We don't know much about Tyreese's sister, besides the obvious — she's managed to survive for many long months in the zombie-infested wasteland that used to be called America. Lately, the new characters introduced in Dead don't have a long lifespan (four out of the five prisoners we met in the season premiere are dead). I bet Sasha dies and sends Tyreese on a Hammerin' Time kill spree.
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Oh, Carol. Dear Carol. You've lost pretty much everything — abusive husband, sweet daughter. You're in love with a man who can never love you the way he loves his crossbow. The question isn't if Carol will die; the question is when, and whether it will be tragically inevitable or hilariously nihilistic. Still, she's gotten good with a rifle, so I bet she takes down some of The Governor's men before the end.
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The last prisoner standing, Axel seems like a good fellow with a gentle spirit who knows he isn't long for this world.
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2. The Governor
The big question: Is season 3 building up to a final showdown between Rick and The Governor, a showdown from which only one man can walk away? In this reading, Walking Dead is going to adopt a season-long Big Bad model like Dexter or Justified: The Governor will make way for a new nemesis in season 4. Then again, it could be that The Governor is the Big Bad — the perfect bizarro-inversion of Rick — the Lex Luthor to Rick's Superman, a man who lost his family, made a stable society, and compromised all his principles immediately. I'm betting it's the former. We'll know in eight episodes.
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1. Ben and Allen
Might as well be named ''Meatbag #1'' and ''Meatbag #2.''