We’re now only one week away from finding out who will meet a grisly demise at the end of Negan’s bat, Lucille, and excitement for The Walking Dead could not be higher. We have had a cliffhanger like this since Jon Snow’s apparent death at the hands of the Night's Watch at the conclusion of Game of Thrones Season 5. The only difference is that no one is coming back to life after this episode.
With pretty much all of The Walking Dead’s main characters lined up and ready to face their fate, at least one person will be leaving the show forever, and as ever, people are worried for Daryl. Foul-mouthed and grisly he may be, but Daryl has become a real fan-favorite during his time on the show, and the thought of his death is…well, I don’t even want to think about it. For the last few months, Daryl has been very much in Lucille's sights, but there is no need to riot yet, because Daryl isn’t going anywhere.
He’s not, trust me, I just know these things. And there is one very good reason why we haven’t seen the last of Daryl Dixon.
It’s All Too Obvious!
Yep, that’s right. The simple reason that Daryl won’t die is that it’s too obvious. Since the moment Negan bashed in the brains of an unknown unfortunate at the end of Season 6, AMC has literally telegraphed the fact that Daryl is the recipient of Negan’s beating, with little hints at other victims. They genuinely want us to believe that Daryl is a goner, which absolutely screams misdirection.
Let me show you what I mean.
At the end of this recent preview clip, the camera pans down to the mashed brains of Negan’s victim. Very clearly in the shot is the blanket that Daryl was wearing. It’s inclusion in the shot is potentially a HUGE hint to the victim.
Why, only a few days before the big reveal, would AMC drop such a huge clanger and telegraph the victim? Because, it’s all an elaborate trick. The Walking Dead is playing us all for chumps. Well, I’m not falling for it. Just like I’m not falling for this other little misdirection of Dwight wearing Daryl’s signature angel wing jacket.
Daryl's mortal enemy Dwight has been a thorn in his side for some time now, and the fact he somehow appears to have acquired his jacket suggests he has finally got the best of the crossbow-toting hillbilly. Again, too obvious, AMC. It’s a simple trick to get us worrying out our beloved Daryl. If you don’t believe me, think back to the penultimate episode of Season 6 when right at the death, Dwight shot Daryl, and blood sprayed across the screen. Hands up who thought he was dead? And yet, only a short week later, he was hauled out of a truck in front of Negan, and had even acquired a nice, cozy blanket. In the words of Dwight, "He’ll be alright."
Of course, I haven’t answered the question of the jacket. Quite simple really: Negan will take Daryl as a prisoner. The show has a little bit of a Daryl problem, as in what to do with him. As a TV original character, Benioff doesn’t have a comic book arc to follow, which presents problems and opportunities equally, and up to now, Darryl has been handled perfectly. As it stands, Daryl is too valuable to kill off, but that won’t stop AMC from playing with us just a bit.
So, Who's It Going To Be?
You may have heard that Negan is likely to batter two of our heroes to death in the Season 7 premiere, and the obvious candidates are Glenn and Abraham. We know that both are on Rick’s right hand side, which is important based on the blood spatter on Rick’s cheek and Negan’s "right hand man" comment, which otherwise leaves Michonne, Rosita, Maggie and Daryl, all of whom I believe are safe.
Glenn was, of course, the victim in the comics, and it seems unlikely to me that they will change this outcome, so I think he’ll be the first to meet his maker, in a way that will play out identically to the comic books. Afterwards however, I believe that Abraham will attack Negan out of rage, which will get him killed, either by Lucille, or some other weapon. Abraham’s comic book death was gifted to Denise (bet she’s really grateful for that), and he has been notably talking about the future (never a good thing in The Walking Dead), which strongly suggests he is for the chop.
It’s going to be a hard watch whoever takes a beating, but fear not, Daryl is safe. Put down the torches and pitchforks, there is no need to riot yet.