Which Character Will Die on the Midseason Finale of The Walking Dead? Examining All the Evidence
Last night's episode of The Walking Dead, "Crossed", was mostly set-up for the midseason finale, which has been described as "gnarly," "deadly," and all manner of other adjectives that tell us we should start breaking out the tissues. A "major death" in the style of Hershel in last year's midseason finale has been teased for quite a while. Here are the most likely candidates (vaguely from least likely to most likely), and all the evidence for and against their demise:
-Back in July, the Spoiling Dead revealed rumors that Glenn would meet his maker at some point this season:
RUMOR: We have heard from multiple sources about a possible death. Word is the death of Glenn was filmed yesterday. It's possible it could be someone else like Bob, but Glenn was the name given.
-Spoiling Dead also cited this tweet from co-star Alanna Masterson:
When someone great is gone.— Alanna Masterson (@AlannaMasterson) May 27, 2014
They later updated: "Adding fuel to the fire: Steven reportedly left set at 2 or right around then. Alanna's tweet was at 1:28. It's said that Steven was hugging production members and shaking everyone's hand while leaving."
This tweet seems even more damning for Glenn now, since halfway through the season we know that Glenn and Tara have occupied the same subplot, so Alanna Masterson has been working with Steven Yeun a lot. It would make more sense for her to tweet this about him than about Emily Kinney or Melissa McBride, as I'm not sure she's shot a scene with either actor.
-It's possible that Glenn will die in the season finale, but his death scene was reportedly shot in May. Filming for the fifth season started in beginning of May and ended just two days ago, so if these rumors are true then the midseason finale is a better candidate.
-Glenn (spoiler!) died recently in the comics, when the nefarious Negan beat him to death with a baseball bat. Negan has been teased to show up at some point this season, and there was possibly a glimpse of him during the Terminus plotline, but he hasn't been nearly enough of a presence to kill off a major character. That being said, the show often diverges from the comics, so you never know.
-The writers are clearly setting up an ill-advised ship between Glenn and Rosita, and there would be no purpose to the overt hints in last night's episode if they were going to kill Glenn this week.
-There are arguments to be made that both Carol and Beth have already had proper "send-off" episodes, but Glenn has been mostly relegated to the background this season. A death now would end his narrative very abruptly.
-Plus, it just seems like a long shot that it would be someone other than Carol or Beth, considering that they are both imperiled at the moment. It's very possible that Glenn will die this season, but they haven't laid enough foundation for him to die next episode.
Either Carol or Beth (Or Both)
-Norman Reedus cried for an hour while filming the midseason finale. He was quoted as saying about filming a particular scene, "I sat on an apple box with my head between my legs and just bawled for an hour. I really wanted to not tear up during the scene, I wanted to be like I wasted every tear in my body before we started shooting so I just sat there and cried and cried and cried." It's difficult to imagine Daryl having this pronounced a reaction to anyone's death who wasn't either Beth or Carol, his two best friends on the show. This quotation, especially, makes it seem like he's at least a little bit in love with whichever character dies in the next episode: "[Daryl]'s one of those characters where they keep dangling a carrot in front of him and he keeps reaching for it but the carrot falls in the mud right before he's about to get it."
-Norman Reedus spoke about Daryl's mindset during the midseason finale in a recent interview with Hollywood Reporter: "He doesn't want anything to happen to Beth, so if he can avoid bullets flying back and forth and get her out of there, that's his first option. Daryl in seasons one, two and three would have just gone in there and burned the whole building down and taken the bodies out. But now he's thinking and doesn't want to lose Beth or get hit by a stray bullet or caught in the crossfire.... The main concern is not hurting our girls in the process. Daryl keeps losing girls, it's a lot like real life!"
-The shippers. Nothing fuels ratings like a love triangle (except maybe a perfunctory lesbian experimentation plotline), and killing one or both of these characters would also kill off a major aspect of the fanbase. That being said, this show has not historically been very focused on romance, and I can easily see them prioritizing the action and pathos over the shippers. In fact, they may be more likely to kill one character off in order to avoid getting too entrenched in typical love triangle melodrama.
-The Spoiling Dead had this to say about the midseason finale:
"We received some information a while back stating the MSF would have a death and would be bloody. Last night we saw Noah escape the hospital as reported. Recently, we stated that Noah would be used as a "bargaining chip" when the group goes to the hospital for Carol and Beth. Noah "volunteers" to return to the hospital with Rick's group.
No one finds Beth as a walker. There is a 'standoff' of sorts. Beth has the choice to leave and has a moment of gumption (or weakness, depending on how you look at it) that leads to her demise. Beth ends up believing that the choice she makes is a necessity in the end. But Beth doesn't envision things ending the way they do. Beth's death will be a harrowing moment not only for Beth, but for Daryl, Carol and the others as well."
-Beth has been absent for a large portion of the season, which means that her death would, practically speaking, have less overall impact on the plotlines and group dynamic.
-There's a slightly convoluted theory that Beth would be presumed dead in the finale, but actually still be alive. This comment was left under the aforementioned Spoiling Dead post:
"[Beth] is presumed dead in episode eight and revealed alive in episode 10 and doesn't return until episode 16. That's why Emily [Kinney] has been gone for months. That's why the clocks in 'Slabtown' pointed to four, eight and 10."
-The writers seem to be setting up another potential ship between Beth and Noah, which has been just developed enough that fans are aware of it, but not developed enough that Beth's death would have any impact on that level.
Noah's gonna date Beth then he's gonna die. Because being Beth's boyfriend is like being the dark arts teacher at Hogwarts. #TheWalkingDead— Alyssa (@TalkRheeToMe) November 24, 2014
-Beth has only recently gone from a mostly disliked/ignored character to a well-liked one. Her character is just beginning to come into her own, developing from a wispy, fragile character to a gritty and cunning one, and killing her at this point would just feel like that work had gone to waste. Although one could argue that the writers are trying to make her more beloved in order to increase the dramatic impact when she's killed off, this season has distinctly felt like the meaty middle of her story, rather than the end. Which brings us to...
-Many speculated that Melissa McBride's extremely emotional response to the fanbase at New York Comic Con was the behavior of an actress who was "on her way out." This may sound extremely subjective, but the details are actually quite compelling, especially since she started crying after saying the words "[Playing this character has] been the time of my life." I hate to say it, but that sounds very much like a goodbye.
-Carol is already close to death, which may sound like it would be too predictable, but it would be a very Walking Dead move if the writers had Carol recover just in time to join the epic battle, tantalize fans with the idea that she'll survive, and then have her go out in a blaze of glory.
-Last week's episode, "Consumed," served as a perfect, almost ridiculously stereotypical send-off episode for Carol. It brought her entire character arc full circle; she's gone from a beaten down, battered woman to a strong, The flashbacks essentially served as a Carol highlight reel, not to mention that there were repeated references to Carol going to Hell. If she were to die a heroic death, perhaps saving Beth in the process, it would be a fitting absolution for the actions that are causing her consumptive guilt, and, although no one really wants her to die, on a storytelling level it would be a satisfying end to a character everyone has come to love and admire.
If Carol dies we riot #TheWalkingDead— The Walking Dead (@TheWalkingHumor) November 24, 2014
I had originally thought that Beth was the most likely contender, as Carol is more beloved and has been widely recognized as one of the most well-written characters on the show, while Beth's fanbase is just starting to gain traction. However, Hershel was beloved as well, and upon examining "Consumed" a little more, it seems that the character is reaching her natural end. I'm a big fan of both Beth and Carol, and don't want either to die, although if I had to pick one to survive, I'd pick Beth. I will confess to being a Bethyl shipper, but I also just think there's a lot more room for interesting character development, while Carol's story has an organic beginning, middle, and end.