This post may contain big spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 7 Episode 8, so just be warned of that before you read any further.
The Walking Dead Season 7 has been a bit of an odd fish so far, dotted with location establishing episodes which feel more like chunks of filler than anything else. Surely it will all tie together a bit further down the line, but the beginning of the season has played out as fairly lackadaisical and not really all that interesting. Until this weekend's episode that is, which was chock-full of more Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) than you can shake a wire-wrapped baseball bat at.
Episode 7 — "Sing Me A Song" — was a little surprising. Of all the episodes we've seen this season, it was perhaps the one with the most fealty to the comic books. The scenes between Carl (Chandler Riggs) and Negan play out in a manner almost identical to Robert Kirkman's The Walking Dead, and when Negan rocks up to Alexandria with Carl in tow, the exchange between him and Olivia (Ann Mahoney) is again lifted almost word for word from the page.
And in the comics — The Walking Dead Issue 111 — Negan does pretty much the same thing as in this episode, albeit without the inclusion of Carl and baby Judith (RIP comic book Judith). Rick is out gathering supplies, so he puts his feet up on a porch, drinks some lemonade and awaits his return.
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This is where Spencer rocks up. In this stage of the comics he's been following a similar path as his TV show counterpart has this season. He's bitter towards Rick over the death of his parents, and has expressed displeasure at the fact that he's still in charge of Alexandria. So Spencer approaches Negan as he sits on the porch, and asks to speak with him.
Now, in the TV show Spencer (Austin Nichols) has already gone off-track in this episode, telling Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) that he wishes Rick wouldn't return from his supply run, before heading off into the woods and retrieving that crossbow. It looks like he's been set up to move against Rick (Andrew Lincoln) here — but it might be setting him up for something else altogether.
Because, in the comics, this is where Spencer dies. In Issue 111 Spencer approaches Negan and voices his misgivings about Rick and his leadership, suggesting that Negan kills Rick and allows Spencer to replace him as the leader of Alexandria under Negan's rule.
As you might imagine, Negan doesn't take kindly to Spencer's wormy attitude. He tells Spencer that — if he had any guts — he'd have killed Rick and taken over Alexandria by force, himself. And then, to illustrate his point, he guts Spencer with a hunting knife.
It does seem like this may be about to happen in the show. Spencer is not very popular right now, and he's already expressed his dislike of Rick and a willingness to go along to get along with Negan. And at the end of "Sing Me A Song" the exchange between Spencer and Rosita (Christian Serratos) is as follows:
Rosita: "You're just going to give it all to them?"
Spencer: "Thats what Rick wants us to do... right? That's what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna do more than that... They're here."
Rosita: "He's here"
He whistles towards the Savior at the gate, who opens it for him. The "I'm gonna do more than that" line certainly seems to suggest that Spencer may try to appeal directly to Negan regarding Rick's leadership over Alexandria. And we know that the Negan of the TV series is just as disparaging of weakness as the Negan of the comics is, so there's one way that conversation is likely to end. Also, we haven't had a really good nasty death in a while, we're long overdue.
Although, just because this happened in the comics doesn't mean it's definitely going to happen again here. The TV show often takes massive detours away from the comic books, usually to good effect. And just when it seems like they're setting up a big death, things can switch around — as was the case of Abraham (Michael Cudlitz), with his comic book death being taken by Denise (Merritt Wever) instead.
Although, Abraham didn't last much longer after that to be fair, The Walking Dead characters do have such tenuous life expectancies.
Do you think Spencer is going to bite it in the next episode of The Walking Dead? Have your say in the comments, and check out the promo for the next episode and mid-season finale — Hearts Still Beating — below!