Season 8 of The Walking Dead has delivered the most sustained stretch of action the show has ever seen, and you can expect that to continue with the zombie drama’s midseason finale on Sunday, Dec. 10. There are plenty of questions heading into the last episode of 2017, and we tackle the five biggest ones — including who will die — below. (Read through both pages for the entire article.)
1. Where is Old Man Rick?
Season 8 began with what appeared to be flash-forwards of an older Rick rocking a flat-top and a cane. These scenes — which also featured an Alexandrian harvest festival and an older Judith forcing her family to listen to Weird Al Yankovic’s “Another One Rides the Bus” — appeared to mirror a time jump from the comic that takes place after the war with Negan ends.
But what exactly does it mean here, especially being shown just as the war was starting? Is it a real look into the future, or — like the season 7 feast scene with a departed Glenn and Abraham — more of a dreamlike glimpse at what could have been? More answers could be coming in the midseason finale. Executive producer Greg Nicotero told EW back in the summer that the Old Man Rick scenes are “definitely not a one-time thing,” while showrunner Scott M. Gimple cautioned us before the season premiere that while “we won’t know exactly what that’s about after the first episode, we will know it about halfway through the season. We’ll get an answer to that about halfway through. It’s something that’s going to play out.”
Well, the midseason finale is the very definition of “about halfway through” and Gimple has always stated that he likes to think of his show as telling stories in eight-episode blocks, so episode 8 of season 8 could be when more answers on this are coming. That also could mean more intel being dropped on those other mystery scenes of Rick, sporting bloodshot eyes, talking about his mercy prevailing over his wrath. We don’t know where or when those take place… at least not yet.
2. Will Eugene rat out Dwight?
Eugene promised to stay silent about Dwight being a traitor and helping Rick as long as he would “cease and desist all betrayers of backstabbery.” But that was before Dwight shot down his glider and Eugene doubled down on Team Negan, helping the Saviors with an escape plan to get out of the Sanctuary while stating his intent to do whatever was necessary to survive and not end up like Gabriel or Sasha.
Since Dwight shows no intention of ceasing backstabbery, and Eugene is refusing to help his old buddy Gabriel, might the mullet-man finally turn in the guy whose crotch he already took a bite out of? Without spoiling too much, Dwight plays a key role in the comic in terms of the war and its aftermath, but Gimple often changes or “remixes” those events from the source material, so Eugene turning Dwight into the big boss man is definitely not out of play.
3. Will Maggie kill the Prisoners?
We thought Maggie was taking the high road when she decided to not kill the Savior prisoners Jesus dropped on her Hilltop doorstep, but it turned out she spared their lives for temporary and tactical purposes only. Maggie plans to use the prisoners as a bargaining chip and possible trade for any alliance prisoners Negan may have. But if they serve no purpose in that regard, she still plans to put them down.
Now the question becomes: Will she have to? While Maggie made a very strategic move here, there are still elements of vengeance at play that cannot be ignored. “There are these decisions being made for the safety of all,” Lauren Cohan tells EW. “And it’s just so fortified by her desire to see Negan go down. No matter what moral dilemma she’s in and decision she’s making, it’s impossible for it all to not be colored by that.”
Cohan also says that we will see the ramifications of her decision sooner rather than later. “She knows that there’s a long game to play to make sure this is done right so that it is actually over. There’s more exploration of what it will really mean if we get what we want that comes in the next couple of episodes.”
And judging by Cohan’s response to what we can expect coming up, it seems murdering the prisoners is not entirely out of the question. “It gets really dark,” says Cohan. “I really go into previously unknown territory with her this year. It’s been freakin’ wild.”
NEXT PAGE: Who will die?
4. Where is Oceanside?
We haven’t seen the female-run community of Oceanside since Tara brought Rick and Co. there to steal all the guns in episode 715. Some members of that community back then wanted to take up arms and fight against Negan. But will they get the chance?
Here’s what we know: Oceanside will be coming back at some point. The set was still standing on the Raleigh studios lot when filming began on season 8, and when asked by EW whether we had seen the last of Oceanside, Gimple was clear in his response. “No, we haven’t. They are very much a part of the narrative moving forward.” (Fun fact: The recently introduced Siddiq comes from Oceanside in the comics on which the show is based, but that Oceanside is very different in the source material and the character here appears to have no connection to that community on the TV show.)
Rick recently brought Jadis and the Scavengers back into the fold. Now that he has discovered that the Sanctuary no longer appears to be zombie-infested, might he go searching for more troops in Oceanside? With everything else happening, we probably won’t see Oceanside this week, but rest assured we will meet up with Cyndie, Rachel, and the gang again. The only question is when.
5. Who will die?
If history holds, we will be losing at least one cast regular on Sunday. That’s because a main character has perished in each of the last four midseason finales. Hershel was beheaded (and the Governor was stabbed and shot) at the prison in episode 408, Beth was killed in the hospital in episode 508, Deanna got bitten by at least one zombie in 608, and Spencer had his guts spilled out on the street after a game of pool in 708. So whose number might be up in episode 808?
The obvious pick would be Gabriel. The dude seems half dead already! He’s ready to give his life for the mission of returning Dr. Carson to the Hilltop. Should he do so, that would be a noble way to go for a character that has been seeking redemption for his sins ever since we met him. But perhaps Gabriel is a little too obvious.
Morgan’s future is certainly cloudy with the character’s move to Fear the Walking Dead. Obviously if Fear is time-jumping to run on a concurrent timeline with TWD, then Morgan will survive season 8, but it is entirely possible that the character could be appearing on Fear in the time period when his character was missing on TWD, meaning he could still perish here and appear there. James’ comments on Talking Dead that he was saying goodbye to his old show also hints at a finality that could mean his character does not survive the season. (However, a concurrent timeline, meaning Morgan survives, does seem more likely.)
If Morgan does die, however, it likely would not be until the season finale judging by James’ comments that he basically went straight from the TWD set in Georgia to the Fear one in Austin, so Morgan appears to be safe for now.
As previously mentioned, Dwight could certainly be in trouble if Eugene rats him out, but that character feels like he still has much more to give in terms of story. Gregory’s life is already in jeopardy, being forced into Maggie’s makeshift jail, but he too has additional comic book story that would have to be sacrificed if he were cut loose now.
One other name worth keeping an eye on is Tara. Like Sasha last season, she has been a woman on a singular mission to take out Negan… and we all know how that turned out for Sasha. The fact that Tara has had a beefed-up story line — starting with her argument with Jesus through her rogue mission with Daryl — makes her more vulnerable because that’s often exactly what the show does with characters before killing them off. Of course, Tara is the main link to Oceanside, and if the seaside community is not reintroduced in the midseason finale, it may not make sense to lose Tara — who formed a bond with Cyndie — until then.
I will say there is one main character (who may or may not be one of the characters listed above) that a spoiler site has pieced together as being the person who is going, but while we enjoy speculating, we don’t enjoy spying and spoiling, so we’ll just cross our fingers and pray it’s not true.
Who do you think is in the most danger heading into Sunday’s midseason finale? Weigh in below, and for more Walking Dead intel, follow me on Twitter @DaltonRoss.
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