We are finally here — on the precipice of both 'The Walking Dead' season 7 finale and war. But where is here exactly?
SPOILER ALERT: Read only if you have already watched Sunday’s “Something They Need” episode of The Walking Dead.
We are finally here — on the precipice of both The Walking Dead season 7 finale and war. But where is here exactly? After the penultimate episode, Sasha has been captured by Negan (which is kind of what she gets for attempting to infiltrate the Sanctuary by herself), Dwight has proclaimed a desire to help take down Negan, Rick has robbed the ladies of Oceanside of their guns, and Morgan is off sharpening his stick somewhere while Carol decides how close she wants to get that tiger at the Kingdom.
There are a lot of loose ends still out there, so let’s take a look at five burning questions heading into the April 2 season finale. [SPOILER ALERT #2: We will take a look at future events in The Walking Dead comic book which may or may not also happen on the show, so if you do not want to know about what happens there, best to stop reading right here and right now.]
1. Have we seen the last of Oceanside?
On our trip to Oceanside in season 7’s penultimate episode, Rick stole all their guns and Tara flipped off a little girl. Not exactly the most friendly of visits. So does that mean we’ve seen the last of the female-and-kids only community? Probably not.
The Saviors killed all the men in that community so there is still an outstanding grudge in play. Plus, several of the inhabitants — like Beatrice and Kathy — appear willing to fight and proficient in battle. Will they finally break away from leader Natania and settle the score with their tormentors? Even if the Oceansiders do not come to their senses in the season finale, it’s hard to imagine that we are completely done with this group, especially when there could possibly be something brewing between Tara and Cyndie (sorry, Denise — R.I.P.).
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There is no reliable road map moving forward based on Oceanside’s involvement in the comic. It appears much later there and in a very different form (not all women, for one thing, and no connection to the Saviors). But the guess here is that the community as a whole or at least a few people from it will play a role moving forward. Hopefully we have not seen Tara flip Rachel off for the last time.
2. Is Dwight now a good guy?
One of Negan’s right hand men returned with Rosita to Alexandria and professed a desire to help them take down Negan. But is he bluffing? After all, we saw Negan tell Sasha that some birdies told him Rick is up to something and he was preparing a response. Could he have sent Dwight to infiltrate Alexandria as a spy?
Not likely. Dwight’s entire arc has been built on lingering resentment toward the guy who stole his wife and ironed off half his face. So now that Sherry is gone, Dwight most likely feels he has no reason to stick around and help the psychopath. Dwight has had a few other chances to do the right thing… and promptly ignored every single one of those chances. But this feels different. Okay, just another warning as we are getting into super-spoilery comic book stuff now, so avert your eyes if you do not want to know.
All clear? Good. In the comic book, Dwight’s desire to help take down Negan is real. He goes back to the Sanctuary and acts as a spy for Alexandria. And a pivotal moment comes when he must make a big decision to pick a side. We will not say what that moment is and how it plays out because that is down the road a bit, and who knows if the TV adaptation will play out similarly. However, at this point, consider Dwight to be on the level in his desire to exact payback on his tormentor.
3. Is war upon us?
You betcha! I mean, the next arc in The Walking Dead comic is even called “All Out War,” so that gives you a pretty good indication as to where things are headed. Rick has spent the past seven episodes amassing artillery and an army and we are finally closing in on seeing them in action together.
So what better time to begin that war than during the season finale? (And I have some ideas on exactly how that war will begin a little bit later.) The good news for fans is that it is unlikely we will have a rerun of last year’s cliffhanger season finale. Showrunner Scott M. Gimple already told EW that the finale will have an ending of sorts, while also setting the table for season 8. But expect the fireworks — or, perhaps more accurately, grenades — to begin launching on April 2 as the battle is joined.
4. Will Negan die?
If you were hoping to see Negan get his comeuppance and be done with by the end of the season, you will most likely be disappointed. For one thing, you can’t expect “All Out War” to be fought and resolved in a single episode. After all, it’s all out war! That takes a bit of time. Also, without getting too much into the long-term story of the comics, let’s just say Negan could possibly be around for longer than you might expect.
Of course, as we’ve noted many times, characters’ fates can often vary wildly from the comics to TV. Carol was offed a long time ago in the books, yet is still kicking on AMC, while Andrea was murdered back in season 3 on TV yet is still alive in comic book from. Baby Judith? She never made it out of the prison, yet was last seen on television trying to ignore Tara in Alexandria without looking like she was trying to ignore Tara. So one can only read so much into possible longevity.
However, there is too much story to get to with the “All Out War” arc that demands Negan stick around — at least into season 8. He and Lucille are not going anywhere yet.
5. Who will die, then?
So if Negan is not going to bite it, who is? There is one Alexandrian in particular peril who looks likely to meet her maker in the season finale, and we are about to get into some seriously spoilery comic book territory so I once again implore you to look away if you do not want to know events from the comic book.
In The Walking Dead comic, Abraham leaves Rosita, but not for Sasha. That’s because Sasha does not exist in the comic. Instead, he leaves her for an Alexandrian named Holly. Further confusing the matter, there was also an Alexandrian Holly in the TV version who died during the attack by the Wolves, but she and Abraham never hooked up. Anyway, the comic Holly — upset about Abraham’s death at the hand of the Saviors (although he got an arrow through the eye in the comic, like Denise on the TV show, rather than a barbed-wire bat to the skull) — drove a school bus into the Sanctuary on a suicide mission to allow Rick and Co. to escape.
Holly was then captured and, like Sasha on TV, almost raped by a Savior named David (who was then killed for his transgression by Negan). So clearly Sasha has been getting the Holly storyline. What she should be really worried about is what happens next. In the comic, Negan delivers Holly back to Alexandria — kind of the way he brought Carl back, but kinda not. That’s because he brings Holly with a bag over her head, — kind of the way he brought Eugene to the Sanctuary, only kinda not. That’s because when the Alexandrians remove the bag, Holly is revealed to be a zombie and bites Denise (who was still alive in the comic then… although clearly not for long).
It’s a huge moment from the comic and one that would be surprising for the TV show to omit. Throw in the fact that actress Sonequa Martin-Green has already landed the lead role in CBS All Access’ Star Trek: Discovery and it looks to be a pretty easy bet that Sasha will not make it out of season 7 alive. (We asked Martin-Green and Gimple about Sasha’s fate, and you can read what they had to say about it here.)
But there is one possible reason why The Walking Dead would not kill Sasha off in this way: It’s already been done — on Fear the Walking Dead. The companion show pulled the same stunt in the season 2 episode “Captive” when Madison did a prisoner exchange to get her fiancée Travis back. Only problem was her prisoner had already turned. So Madison delivered him with a bag over his head — much like Negan and Holly in the comic — and once the zombified prisoner’s bag was removed, he bit the person receiving him… much like Holly and Denise in the comic. (Take a look at the image below.)
I asked Fear showrunner Dave Erickson if that was a direct homage to the Walking Dead comic moment, and he indicated it was not. “It’s just a similarity because I missed that issue,” Erickson told EW then. “None of my EP partners mentioned that, so it is a coincidence. I guess it’s tricky when you’ve written as many issues as Robert [Kirkman] has, I guess it’s inevitable that there’s going to be moments when we echo something from the comic book, but it was not intentional, but if people want to take it as a homage, all the better.”
It’s actually fascinating that nobody flagged this major event from the comic as being something that the prequel show should stay away from because it was a big moment from the comic that would likely be played out later on the main series. But now that’s it already been done on Fear, the question becomes: Will The Walking Dead still go ahead and do it again anyway? We will have our answer on April 2.
For more Walking Dead intel, listen to Christian Serratos (Rosita) on the EW Morning Live podcast above (along with Steven Strait of The Expanse and Malcolm from Survivor), and follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss.