At this rate, these articles could start getting easier to write. After we break down who we think should die next on "The Walking Dead," the "Will Die" section will just be two words: no one.
Once again, no one dies in the penultimate episode of the season, save for a sniper we never knew (nameless and now literally faceless people don't count in this!). That makes it seven episodes and no deaths. Considering this half-season has included a massive walker swarm on a compound, that's impressive. It's also lazy and cheap of the writers.
We get it, you fall in love with these characters, but you're killing your show. "Walking Dead" used to be unpredictable, but now it's becoming painfully formulaic. No one dies unless it's a midseason or a season finale. The only major action happens in premieres and midseason premieres. The rest of the episodes feature incremental progression toward that next finale. This is why viewers are leaving.
"Game of Thrones" has killed characters randomly in the middle of the season. It's ratings are through the roof. "The Walking Dead" used to do that, too, when it was about defying expectations and bringing something totally new to the airwaves. The former is still doing that, and has the viewership to match. "TWD" should get back to its roots.
Congratulations, we've got our second promotion of the season! Eugene Porter (Josh McDermitt) was featured as our "Will Die" candidate a few weeks back, but now he's gone and impressed us so much, we really want him to die.
He's always been a coward and a selfishly motivated person, but he took that to new heights this week. We agree the situation is grim, but time after time he was given an opportunity to do the right thing, and he is so committed to Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and what he sees as the "safer" choice that he went so far as to go and yell in Gabriel's (Seth Gilliam) face that he will not do the right thing, he'll do whatever it takes to stay alive.
So having us see that Eugene's choices are driving him to drink is supposed to make him more sympathetic, right? Well, it's not working. He's been a difficult character to like all along, but he was making some inroads into being heroic with Rick's (Andrew Lincoln) people. Now he just refers to them as his "former traveling companions," and says he's fine with them dying.
Another problem with this strategy of trying to show redemption potential in Eugene, is that this is happening at the same time that we see Gregory (Xander Berkeley) being an agreeable coward who sucks up to anyone and everyone around him. Both men are spineless. The only difference is that Eugene has some useful skills between those eyes and that beautiful mullet. Still means we want him dead just as much as Gregory at this point. There comes a point of no return, and this week's spotlight may have put him well past it.
Based on the characters spotlighted this week, our money is on Tara (Alanna Masterson) biting the bullet. The writers are still operating under the mantra of "If Daryl (Norman Reedus) Dies, We Riot," so the next best thing would be to kill his ally in this plan of theirs which seems to have messed everything up. If nothing else, it inspired Eugene to come up with that plan of his which may have saved the Saviors.
We don't yet know why Rick and the trash people arrived at the Sanctuary to find it empty, but we suspect it means Eugene came through with his plan to save them. If so, then that means that every death at Negan's hands from this point forward is on Eugene's hands as well and thus his above listing. You've earned it, buddy!
Tara's death would have a tremendous impact on Daryl, and considering his character has just been angry and kind of directionless for awhile, maybe that's the solution for him. Give him some guilt that this ill-fated plan ultimately lead to her death, and then her death won't be completely meaningless from a dramatic standpoint.
Plus, what has Tara really done in the past season or two other than be a sidekick to someone else's adventure? It's been a long time since she had a story of her own, and when you're talking about a main character, that's not a good sign.
"The Walking Dead" likes to offer up big name characters to sacrifice in their finales, and Tara would certainly fit the bill. She's been with us for years, and she's built solid relationships with a lot of the cast, so they can have a lot of slow motion shots of everyone looking forlorn. How exciting!
With next week's midseason finale coming up next week, and considering NO ONE has died yet this season, we thought we'd offer up a refresher of our picks so far this season. Maybe we'll get it right and they'll all die next week. We'll find out right along with you, and then start our predictions for the 2018 half of this season.
Should Die: Gregory, Jared, Simon, Gabriel, Jadis, Eugene
Will Die: Gabriel, Jerry, Eugene, Regina, Enid, Tara
"The Walking Dead" wraps up its 2017 run Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.