Just what will the world after Alexandria’s awakening bring our beloved ‘The Walking Dead’ survivors in “The Next World”? Viewers, after all, are likely still recovering from the carnage and optimism cocktail that ‘The Walking Dead’ Season 6 Midseason Premiere served thirsty fans last night. Rick’s line, “The laws of averages has got to catch up,” (seen in Ep. 610 sneak peek) indicates his (and the groups) luck may soon run out.
You may be asking yourself, what does she mean, lucky? I get it. Rick and his group just endured a failed plot to reroute a zombie herd; a vicious Wolf attack; the devastating zombie herd that breached Alexandrian walls; a face-off with ‘The Walking Dead’s’ new big- bad, The Saviors; the near-fatal gunshot wound to Carl. How is that lucky? Easy.
The core group survived. Not only did the core group survive, it emerges from these crucibles stronger and more optimistic than ever. Now, back to those laws of averages.
How could one group endure such a succession of tragedy and remain relatively unscathed? At the end of the day, what have they really lost? All members of their chosen and birth families survive and the community is salvageable. The group is due some pain. In an interview with Empire magazine, Gregg Nicotero describes the rest of season 6 as “relentless” and “heartbreaking.”
In the style of Greek Tragedy, our tragic hero’s, Rick Grimes, elevated hopes are setting viewers up for a very hard fall, but there will be glimpses of a promising new world order, providing AMC follows Kirkman’s comic plotlines.
In “No Way Out,” Daryl decimates a Savior road crew. This is a prelude to destruction. The group has long survived the dead and other variations of flesh-eating monsters; it even survived the likes of the Governor, but nothing has prepared them for Negan, a bat-wielding villain whose disfigured code of honor and survival has made him a merciless nightmare.
In ‘The Walking Dead’ trade volume 17, “Something to Fear,” Negan makes his debut appearance after his name is dropped by thugs and leaders. Before Negan, though, Jesus makes his first ‘The Walking Dead’ appearance in trade volume 16, “A Larger World.” Jesus brings Rick greater hope in the form of a neighboring community, The Hilltop.
There at the Hilltop, Rick witnesses the potential for a more “civilized” society and the power of Negan’s word, though Negan has yet to make a physical appearance. The dichotomy of hope and doom thickens.
It doesn’t take long for Rick himself to challenge Negan, yielding Negan and Lucille’s iconic debut…let’s just say it doesn’t end well for one of the group’s beloved characters, Glenn.
But how closely will AMC stick to Kirkman’s comic book panels? So far, Glenn is the Teflon man of ‘The Walking Dead.’ Based on the number of his near deaths, it’s tempting to say the law of averages may seal his fate, but Glenn will likely remain unscathed. It seems too easy, too predictable at this point to kill the unkillable Glenn. We’re all waiting for that shoe to fall.
Consider an equally horrifying alternative. Daryl. Daryl spends the most time outside of safe-zone walls and is the character to, in a way, start the war with Negan when he vaporized a group of Saviors. The good old self-defense argument will not wash well with Negan. In ‘The Walking Dead’ “The Next World” sneak peek, Daryl and Rick alone set out on the open road to scout for resources.
The two men may be strong, but the series has proven that the characters are vulnerable when their numbers of low. Two facing a crew of Saviors, especially when Rick probably has no knowledge of the threat, doesn’t bode well. Let’s face it, short of killing Rick, killing Daryl makes for the most shocking death of a main character.
Daryl is also seen in the sneak peek telling an off-camera character to back off; this likely cues the introduction of Jesus, indicating the conflict with Negan will occur sooner than later.
Another alternative is Maggie. What could be more horrifying than murdering an expectant mother? ‘The Walking Dead’ consistently kills their moral compasses, so killing Glenn would be more of the same. Introducing a villain who doesn’t think twice about killing a pregnant woman seals Negan’s characterization as the most horrifying foe the group has encountered.
AMC’s ‘The Walking Dead’ killed pregnant Lori, but Judith survives. Sam is one child on a heartbreaking list of children killed in the series. But to kill Maggie, Glenn’s last link to hope…the last Greene, AND her baby (another symbol of hope)… that’s the stuff of controversy. Jessie and Sam’s fate may foreshadow Maggie’s death. The mother clings to her child– the two are connected and so too is their demise.
The next few episodes, then, are likely to introduce new characters, conflicts, and heartache. The familiar good versus evil trope is sure to saturate the series as are familiar questions of hope and humility.
At its core, ‘The Walking Dead’ is a study of human nature once the human experience is stripped of the social constructs of “civilization.” Season 6 will, no doubt, continue to strip those constructs and present viewers humanity at its most base in the form of Negan and his ironically named Saviors. Shock is imminent.
You can leave your predictions, questions, and insights in the comment section. We here at NFS are anxious to hear from you.