Dear Walking Dead Fans – Negan Killed Eugene, Here’s Why

So yes, we have a cliff-hanger. That hated TV plot device used for over a century to get viewers to return to a series after a natural break. As a fan of the show I was gutted but the fact I’m writing this blog post shows how effective they are at creating talking points.

[Spoiler Alert – if you have not get watched to the end of Season 6 of the The Walking Dead – please stop reading now!]

[Spoiler Promise – this article contains no spoilers from The Walking Dead comics set later than Season 6 of The Walking Dead TV show]

So our newest super villain Negan brutally crushes the skull of one of our beloved survivors. Those achingly painfully sound effects surely confirming that the said skull now more resembles a mushy pea. But who did he kill? Well I think common sense allows us to vastly narrow the field. After that we can make an educated guess as to who the writers have in mind.

First let’s remove some names from the list. In the past The Walking Dead had a reputation for killing key characters with little or no warning. Those days however are long gone. These characters are 100% safe, you can safely bet your life savings on that.

100% Safe

Rick

You don’t kill off your heroic lead character after 6 seasons in an off-screen death. I cannot think of one show in the history of television where the lead character was killed off unexpectedly off-screen mid-way through the show’s run. If there was some issue with the actor, then I’m sure we would have heard about it. Charlie Sheen for example was removed from 2 ½ Men but his off screen issues were widely reported in the press. Andrew Lincoln has no such issues, and has just given the performance of his life in this season finale. Not going to happen.

Additionally, Negan kills someone to make a point. To prove his brutality so to speak. He still wants the remaining group to stay together however. He wants them to continue ‘as normal’ and pay a ‘tax’ of half of whatever goods they have or produce. Killing the leader is likely to splinter the group into two or three smaller groups, which would make his objective far harder to achieve. Behind one strong leader, a group is much easier to extract resources from.

Chance of Death: 0%

Carl

Negan stated that should anyone stop him, then his men were to cut out Carl’s remaining eye and feed it to Rick. This points strongly to Carl not being the one getting his head bashed in. Negan’s men would have a hard time getting his remaining eye out of his head which would most likely be a mushy mess after even the first swing of Lucille.

Secondly Negan knows that Rick is the leader, and that Carl is Rick’s son. Negan wants Rick to accept his conditions and go through with the deal. Killing his son in front of him would most likely turn Rick into the psychopath that we saw at the end of season 4 when the biker group ambushed them. If Carl is dead, then Rick most likely turns into a suicidal maniac wanting to get revenge on Negan. He does not become a docile provider willing to give up half his stuff each week.

Finally, Carl is a child, and I cannot for one moment see them running a storyline in an entertainment show where a young helpless child gets beaten to death by a thuggish stranger. Not going to happen.

Chance of Death: 0%

Michonne

For the simple fact that they could not have Negan killing a woman by smashing her over the head with a baseball bat. Even in today’s world of equality, I can’t see the TV network being happy with a large man brutally beating to death a helpless woman. Nobody would find that entertaining.

For this reason, you can remove all the female characters from the list of possibilities.

Chance of Death: 0%

Maggie

For starters she has a massive unresolved storyline. Killing her without revealing what was behind the pains she felt in the previous episode would be a new low for The Walking Dead. I’m confidently saying that they’re not that idiotic.

Additionally, you have the same reasoning as with Michonne. Not to mention the fact she is carrying a baby. Not going to happen.

Chance of Death: 0%

Rosita

With Maggie’s new hairstyle Rosita is the only ‘pretty girl’ left. As much as they might deny it, these networks have unwritten quotas for the quantities of certain types of characters. There is room for one beauty in the same way that there is room for one muscle man (in Abraham), one science nerd (Eugene), one baby (Judith), etc. I don’t count Sasha in this category simply because they haven’t presented her in that way. If you think this is nonsense, look at Rosita’s first scenes, then tell me I’m talking rubbish.

Add the fact she’s also a woman means she is entirely safe from Lucille.

Chance of Death: 0%

Sasha

I am frustrated with what they have done with Sasha this season. Other than flirting with Abraham and being a bit moody she has done absolutely nothing. Ironically, going by the history of The Walking Dead this means she’s unlikely to be killed off right now. (They have a history of building up a character and giving them airtime before killing them. Eugene fits that bill currently.)

Add to that she’s also a woman, so you can safely remove her from the list.

Chance of Death: 0%

 

The above 6 characters are 100% safe in my opinion. Next come two characters that I believe to be probably safe, but I certainly cannot rule then out.

 

Probably Safe

Aaron

I am including Aaron on this list rather than further down because all talk for the last 6 months both officially and unofficially (though I admit I don’t have quotes from official sources), was that there was going to be a ‘major character death’.

Aaron is not a major character. He does not fit this profile. Everything so far has painted Negan as the biggest villain of the series to date. To have him kill Aaron then let the others go would be weak television, with minimal emotional impact. The scene that has been talked about for years would be remembered in TV history as the death of an irrelevant character. The Walking Dead writers have made some terrible plot decisions of late, but even they I’m presuming wouldn’t let this opportunity go to waste.

Important Caveat: However, there is one logical way that it might in-fact be Aaron. That would be if they decided the ‘major character death’ could in fact be in episode 1 of season 7. Negan kills Aaron first, then one of the main characters breaks free and charges at Negan in an attempt to kill him. They are restrained, then Negan proceeds to smash their head in as well. This would give the show both a valuable cliff-hanger, plus the emotional impact of a major character death on-screen to kick-start season 7.

If I were the writers, I would probably do this. Yes, the viewers will be annoyed for the first moments of season 7, but then you immediately get them engrossed once more by the shock death of say Glenn.

Chance of Death: 10%

Daryl

Ever since Negan’s arrival was confirmed last November people have been discussing who would likely be ‘Lucilled’. A name never too far from the top of the list was Daryl. In recent times Daryl appears to be more consumed with his attempts to kill Dwight than in protecting himself. He blames himself for the death of Denise, as he let Dwight go, who proceeded to steal his cross-bow and then kill her with it.

Daryl is also arguably the least connected of the survivors. Two seasons ago he had time with Beth, then time with Carol, but he never seems to fully connect with another character.

However, Daryl is by all accounts a massive fan favourite. This may not have been the writers’ plan back in season one, but certainly now he is quite probably the main reason a certain percentage of viewers watch the show. To kill him off would leave a giant hole in the cast.

You can add to this the fact Norman Reedus has another project with Walking Dead TV network AMC, with him driving around on a motorbike, suggesting that he is on good terms with his employers. AMC know Reedus is extremely valuable as Daryl, and it makes no commercial sense whatsoever to lose him as a character. If I was commenting on a novel, or perhaps a movie, then Daryl’s death would be logical. However, the fact it’s a TV show that has no problems with ridiculous cliff-hangers such as the Glenn dumpster truck farce simply to keep up ratings and ensure the paid advertisers are happy, suggests that commercial realities certainly do affect the plot.

For this reason, I think it’s unlikely to be Daryl, although the foreshadowing early in season 6 (when he was on the ground with the bike helmet) leaves me to accept that it is possible.

Chance of Death: 15%

 

So now we are left with 3 characters, who for me are the only likely candidates if they go for one death during the scene. If my caveat above turns out to be true, then the character killed at the start of season 7 episode 1 would come from the list below.

 

Abraham

Negan’s desired outcome is that Rick’s group fall into line and accept a system whereby half or more of all their property is ‘taxed’ by Negan, who then provides some assumed protection in exchange for this extraction of resources. This would be a workable scheme in a hypothetical zombie apocalypse and potentially advantageous for both sides. Negan is a pragmatist and all evidence suggests that his regime appears to be large and successful. I make that assumption based on the fact his men seem unquestionably loyal, and he himself appears at ease and confident.

So why then would he kill Abraham? Well, he wishes to weaken Rick’s group’s fighting power without affecting their ability to produce goods. To kill a leading fighter both terrifies those who relied on him for direct protection in the past (Rosita, Eugene) and also weakens the fighting force of the group and thus the power that Rick can wield.

Abraham made-up with Eugene in the episode, has had extra airtime of late, and has made plans for the future with Sasha. In Walking Dead land these are prime indicators that a character is extremely vulnerable. You only have to look at Denise a couple of episodes ago to see the same pattern.

If the writers wanted a way to kill a major character, but leave the Glenn/Maggie dynamic in the show, then Abraham is the obvious choice.

Chance of Death: 20%

Glenn

It’s widely known that Glenn is the one who gets beaten to death in this scene in the comic book series. Given that recent seasons have been fairly faithful to the source material you immediately get a solid case for it being Glenn.

However, Glenn already nearly died twice in the season, firstly during the absurd dumpster truck zombie scene with Nicholas, then secondly when he was surrounded by zombies on returning to Alexandria with Enid. Now perhaps they are suggesting that Death gets ‘third time lucky’ with Glenn and finally takes him away. More likely in my opinion is that they tested the water so to speak with Glenn’s “death” earlier in season 6 to see fan reaction, then have perhaps decided that he’s too valuable to be killed off.

To explain this point slightly better. I think if they were happy for Glenn to die, then he would have been killed on-screen by Negan, replicating the comic exactly, with Maggie’s reaction right after creating a staggeringly emotional TV moment that nobody would forget. The fact we didn’t see this, makes me think they are leaning towards keeping him on the show.

Think of the death of Lori, and how we saw Rick’s reaction right after. That was golden TV, and one of the key moments of the series. Glenn dying in front of Maggie would be arguably 10x more powerful, as Lori wasn’t exactly a fan favourite. It would instantly become one of the all-time most memorable Walking Dead sequences. Would they really give that up for a cheap cliff-hanger? When someone like Eugene can be used instead. Not in my opinion.

Finally, I think that with Maggie in theory still pregnant, you have the opportunity there for a ‘happy couple with baby’ on the show, which offers a lot in the way of potential storylines. Plus, the potential need for baby milk formula, diapers/nappies etc. gives them plenty of excuses to send Glenn scavenging. Add to that the fact the couple got together on the show, and you have an incredibly valuable character connection which would be gone in an instant if Glenn was now dead.

My assumption is that they aren’t fully decided who Negan killed, but they are moving away from the possibility of it being Glenn.

Chance of Death: 25%

Eugene

I have Eugene down as the most likely victim due to the way his character has evolved in recent weeks. Any Walking Dead fan will tell you how time and time again a character’s death is preceded by consistent additional airtime. I will give you a few examples. Beth, Tyreese, Nicholas, Merle, Lizzie, Dale, Denise. I could go on.

Eugene started off as ‘the saviour’, he was after all the one who got them to go north, towards Washington. When he revealed he was lying all along about that his character went into a rut, and did very little for a long time. Then just recently he’s become this dynamic warrior who is making plans for a bullet factory.

However, his character arc now feels complete. He made-up with Abraham, he gave Rick the plans for the bullet factory, he even offered himself as the RV driver to give the others a chance to evade the Saviours and get Maggie to the Hilltop. He has no potential love interest, nor does it appear that his brains will be needed beyond the bullet factory.

The fact he was the reason they headed to Alexandria/Washington is enough to qualify him as a ‘major character’. I wouldn’t at all be surprised if he was killed in the finale, with perhaps another major character going at the start of season 7.

[Update: Check out the theory in the comments about Eugene being a mole – at first it sounds elaborate, but then you realise it would instantly make the whole of the finale make a lot more sense. Then of course Negan, who had a deal with the previously confident looking Eugene, flips it on it’s head, kills him, and thus wipes out all evidence that he was the mole whose work lead Rick’s group right into Negan’s trap. To complete the setup, Enid is also working for the Saviours, and poisoned Maggie while cutting her hair, thus making the whole trip necessary in the first place. Enid wanted to go on the trip to ensure she was free of Alexandria just in case her cover was blown.]

Chance of Death: 30%

 

So there you have it, I think the writers are still not 100% decided who Negan killed, but for me it will most likely end up being Eugene. It would make a lot of sense if it was Glenn, but they would give up the possibility of an epic on-screen death later in the show. Eugene however, can die now, be the ‘major character death’ and nothing too valuable is lost from the franchise.

Finally, I think after following the comics relatively faithfully in recent times, it almost seems inevitable that they will decide to switch something important to keep us guessing. Follow the comics 100% and the element of surprise for hardcore fans disappears.

Either way, we’ll find out in October 2016. Please leave a comment if you think I’ve missed out something obvious.

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Oli Norwell

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23 Comments

  • So here’s my, albeit somewhat far-fetched, theory about what is going to happen. I think it’s possible it’s going to be Carl. I know, everyone is saying that Rick and Carl are safe because they think Negan pointed to Carl when he said “Cut out the boy’s other eye and feed it to his father,” but I don’t think that movement was a definitive point anywhere. But what he actually said was, “Cut out the boy’s other eye and feed it to his father and THEN we’ll get started.” I think Negan needs everyone to SEE what is going to happen, but it doesn’t matter if the person he’s beating to death can see. The intro to the comic books clearly states that this is a story about RICK. Negan spends an inordinate amount of time pointing out that Carl is Rick’s kid. Negan needs to completely destroy Rick and so what better character to beat to death right in front of Rick than Carl? During his speech, Negan isn’t speaking to the group as a whole, he’s speaking only to Rick. I know in the comics, Negan seems to have a weird respect for Carl, but I don’t know if the producers of the show think the TV audience would buy this. I know someone else isolated the audio of the beatdown and it seems to sound like Glenn yelling out for Maggie, but I think that’s inconclusive. That’s my theory, but Gimple and these writers are a bunch of real fuckers, so who knows what they’ve got planned. All I know now is that the genuine apprehension and suspense I was feeling for the last six episodes or so now has all the authenticity of basically waiting for them to announce the winner of goddamn America’s Got Talent or some other such bullshit.

    • I see your point, and it does have some merit. I’d argue though that Negan appears to be a pragmatist. He is probably quietly impressed at how Rick’s gang managed to kill so many of his men. So while he needs to strike fear into them, I think he also knows that they could be extremely valuable if he could get them to join the Saviours. Killing Carl would make Rick turn into a 10x crazier psychopath than he was when Lori died back in season three. Most likely he’d do anything to try to kill Negan, and end up dead himself. From Negan’s point of view that’s just a huge waste of effort, and a missed opportunity to get a tough battle ready group under his control.

  • Yeah, I have nothing to come back against that with. It all depends on what the showrunners come up with. I just thought the Carl angle was interesting. I’m going with that one just so I can be disappointed again. I’ll keep checking in to see if any other theories emerge and again in October. Sheesh. OCTOBER??!!! Goddammit.

  • I have a theory that possibly the Saviors have gotten to Eugene. Here are a few points. A leopard changing his spots like Daryl for example is an exception rather than a rule. Eugene used lies and deception to convince a group of people to protect him and transport him from Houston all the way to Georgia. He has no qualms about sacrificing others to save his own skin. Based on that, I present the evidence.

    1. In the machine shop, the way that he overreacted to the whole “dibs is dibs” thing and unloaded on Abraham was so over the top that it shocked me as a viewer as well as Abraham who left Eugene behind to “find his own way back”. So Abraham leaves first, but Eugene is captured by a good sized group of Saviors who coincidentally have taken Eugene hostage and have shot and killed Denise. We’re they looking for Eugene? How did Dwight know Eugene was from Alexandria?

    2. In the ensuing shootout when Eugene bites down on the lead bad guy’s wanker, several Saviors are killed and Daryl and Abraham are nearly hit but Dwight, who had a pistol doesn’t pistol whip or shoot Eugene, in fact Eugene gets off unscathed.

    3. Skip to the finale. Eugene and his new found bravado volunteer to go on this trip, and even boldly steps out front at the first roadblock with Carl and Rick. He then carefully navigates each alternate route, each of which lead to an elaborate roadblock, possibly in a predetermined order. But we have seen Eugene in the past display his ineptitude at navigation.

    4. Seemingly out of options, and with other capable tacticians aboard the RV (Aaron, Rick, Abraham), Eugene comes up with a brilliant plan to send the group into the woods on foot in the dark, where they are almost immediately discovered as though Eugene knew exactly where to lead them, which happens to be right where Negan’s trailer is parked and the other hostages are being held in a van.

    5. Of all the brave fighters on the RV, the cowardly weakling volunteers to be the martyr who diverts the Saviors attention on himself so the others can go undetected through the woods. There are a ton of Saviors I admit, but there is a lot of dark forest to cover.

    6. As Eugene drives off he flashes this sinister grin, and then is almost immediately “captured” and is already at the site when Rick arrives. Add all of that up and Eugene appears to be the inside man. Now if Negan was really retaliating for the men Rick killed, then maybe Abe or Daryl dies.

    Maybe Negan had promised Eugene safety in exchange for his help but decides to kill him to keep him quiet. And if Rick finds out later that Eugene led them into this trap, Rick will kill Eugene himself.

    4

    • Wow, I’ve gotta admit I think you might be onto something there! The more I read your points the more they make a lot of sense. If it was true then it would be extremely clever.

      And like you say, Negan then kills him to cover his tracks. In a show like Breaking Bad this level of complexity was common in the storylines, my only fear is that The Walking Dead in the past has kept things pretty simple, it would be a big change if they were to suddenly introduce a complicated storyline. Though fingers crossed, it would be fantastic if this were the case.

      You can also add to your theory that Enid may be a spy, who was given orders to go and poison Maggie when cutting her hair to create the need for the trip in the first place.

  • It’s going to be Glen! They have saved him twice now and I think it was all a build up to actually killing him! He’ll die, Maggie will lose the baby and move to take over running Hilltop! They also started the show by showing it from someone’s perspective inside the van, with a follow-up about midway, then ended it from the person who’s about to die’s perspective! But then who really knows for sure and we have a long time to hash through it!

  • Who is the “Steve” guy above? He seems rather immature, maybe someone who was exiled from Reddit? Steven, if you don’t like the show then stop watching it. We, as fans of the TWD, don’t need to hear your trashing the writers of the show. Pretty simple.

    • Oh, so sorry there, Tom; if you don’t want to hear people trashing the show, then you should maybe stay off the internet, because I haven’t seen a lot of positive comments about that finale from anybody, really. I stand by my original comment – these writers and Scott Gimple in particular are a bunch of fuckers. The whole Glenn’s dead fakeout, even going so far as to remove Steven Yeun’s name from the credits. And then this ridiculous cliffhanger. I’m just as big of a fan of the show (and the comics, for that matter) as you are and just as entitled to watch and comment on it. Pretty simple, indeed.

  • It’s either Abraham or Eugene.. But mostly , Abraham.. Negan said if someone moves he would cut the boy’s other eye and feed it to his father. So Rick and Carl are eliminated.. It wasn’t a woman( I have not read comics, but read somewhere that Negan doesn’t murder women). Neither Glenn nor Daryl,because when Negan starts beating the person there is no hair on screen (before the person’s eyes) as Glenn and Daryl do. And when Negan was standing in front of Abraham, Abraham kneeled strong unlike others and had his head above watching Negan. Rest all were weak and broken, he wasn’t. And also while hitting the person Negan says -“taking it like a champ” and I think Abraham was only person strong enough emotionally and physically to take that hit. And I don’t think they would kill Aaron as he is not that important character to be killed by Negan. So, all these theories suggest that it might be Abraham who is killed.
    Anyway we got to wait till October to know who it is.

  • I think all these theories and speculations are equally valid. The knock on it being Eugene, though, in my opinion, is that I’m not sure how heartbreaking and devastating his death would be, and everything that we’ve heard and read indicates that this could be the most shocking death of the entire series so far. I keep coming back to Carl, for the reasons I outlined above but also for some other reasons. For example, someone somewhere else pointed out that the producers would never go for murdering a child in this fashion, but I don’t know. The part with Sophia was a little hard to watch, plus let’s not forget when Carol killed Lizzie. Also, I haven’t seen anybody mentioning the part in the finale when the saviour played by Steven Ogg threw the gun he took from Carl back down on the ground directly in front of Carl, so that Negan would know that Carl had one of the saviours’ stolen guns. Perhaps Negan holds a special kind of hatred for people he perceives as having stolen from him? I think Negan needs to kill the person whose death he knows will have the biggest impact on Rick – Negan doesn’t know Rick and Michonne are a thing. He doesn’t really know the status of any relationship between Rick and anyone else, except for Carl.

  • Is this a clue? When they used to behead people in olden times they would cut their hair first so the axe would cut cleanly.

  • I’m really thinking it’s Eugene as well. He was getting more air time recently, and his character has really been building up. As far as Maggie losing the baby goes, I’m not sure on that one. If Glenn is the one that gets killed, then I think it would be a good move to let Maggie recover and have the baby, being a part of Glenn. Otherwise, she would have lost everything. Her parents, her sister, then Glenn and then her baby. I don’t think they will let her lose the baby, but, who knows right?! As far as Daryl goes, I reallllly hope it’s not him. He’s my fave, but I really do love the whole cast. I think that they may let him live, and actually get that piece of Dwight that he’s been after all this time. I just don’t know! All I know is, we have a long wait ahead of us and it’s killing me!

    • Thanks for letting me know Lucas! It’s incredible that people think it’s okay to do that sort of thing. The guy didn’t even ask. I guess it’s a compliment, he must have liked it!

  • I will tell all cinema is amazing. If you watch the last moments in slow motion position yourself as Rick. As neegan passes each person a shadow appears on each persons face showing you the direction he is walking in. With that said the persons up to be killed would be located on his left. That would include Abraham, mishone, Darryl, rosita and glen. So to me it looks like a fan favorite “Darryl” will be killed. Out of those three “Darryl” has a new television show coming out. At one point in the episode glen told him “you gonna get yourself killed”. Most talk about a character being in the spotlight right before being killed. In this case the writers highlight “Eugene” to make the viewer belive it’s his time to go. I think this time they kinda reversed things. “Darryl” who is always at the front of the pack seemed to get a quieter role in these last episodes. It will be heartbreaking to see him go but not as bad as it could have been. “Darryl dies”

  • The spy theory is far fetched.I figured out it was Eugene for a completely different reason.
    When Eugene drove off in the RV and was captured by the Saviors-he did not give up thier location in the woods until Negan promised to kill him-and no one else.His arc from coward to self sacrificing hero is complete.

  • “hated TV plot device used for over a century”… So, which television series were using cliffhangers in 1916?

  • I figured Eugene was dead, too. When he passed on the recipe to make bullets to Rick he was no longer needed but his work would live on. When he went from being a coward to a survivor his character’s journey was complete. When he and Abraham embraced I was sure there was a musical callback to the death of Laurie, so there was a 50-50 chance that it wouldn’t be one of them who dies (I picked the wrong 50). Plus, at a recent convention the actor seemed well groomed and thinner – as if he was no longer playing the character and was on to something new that required a different physique. My eyes and brain all lied to me!

    • Yeah, I had similar thoughts. I guess with the sudden desperate need for bullets, his value will now skyrocket. When predicting his death, we didn’t realise moronic Rick would hand over literally all the weapons that they had.

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