Warning: spoilers ahead for the Season 7 premiere of The Walking Dead.
The Walking Dead kicked off its seventh season with an episode that few of us would probably describe as beautiful, as new bad guy Negan brutally beat two of the good guys to death with his baseball bat. Abraham was the unlucky soul who won Negan's twisted game of "eeny meeny miney moe," and he was the first Alexandrian to meet Lucille face-to-face. He got off one last defiant one-liner, but he also snuck in a rather lovely gesture to Sasha that viewers may have overlooked. Check it out:
Despite landing two love interests in the span of only a couple of seasons, Abraham was never the most romantic character on The Walking Dead. Unlike Glenn, he didn't use his final sentence to make a heartbreaking promise to his lady love, so fans of the Abraham/Sasha romance may have felt like the duo didn't get a fitting farewell. They may not have been a couple for very long, but their connection in Season 6 was important for both of their character arcs, and so the small peace sign that Abraham made before getting the first whack of Negan's bat was a callback to some of his and Sasha's happier times as a twosome, and it gives a certain degree of closure that would be otherwise absent.
This wasn't an easy gesture to spot, especially for those of us who were too focused on the baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire to pay any attention to Abraham's fingers. According to Michael Cudlitz, the peace sign was deliberately kept subtle. Cudlitz explained his mindset going into Abraham's decision to make the peace sign in his final moments, saying this:
It was to Sasha. Nothing is to the audience ever. Everything is for the audience, but nothing is to the audience. For those paying attention, the peace sign is something that was between me and Sasha throughout the series. It was an unspoken, very loaded peace sign. We had to find a way for Abraham to connect with Sasha for him to say good-bye specifically to Sasha. We had already established in the finale of last year that eye contact was not broken. He got knocked down, he came back up. We could add dialogue, but there was no way for him to turn away or nod nothing to Sonequa. Going back into it, we had to figure out a way to tell Sonequa, tell Sasha, that everything would okay and to say good-bye. That was what we came up with.
Well, no wonder Sasha started crying before Negan took the first swing! I'm a little sniffly myself, and I didn't even particularly like Abraham and Sasha's romance. He had a matter of seconds between the realization that Negan would be playing tee ball with his head and the first swing, and he used them to give one last sign of farewell to Sasha. Michael Cudlitz's reveal to Vulture puts a whole new spin on Abraham's death scene.
Glenn was obviously the bigger character of the two to bite the dust in the Season 7 premiere; he'd been around from the very beginning, whereas Abraham only turned up in Season 4. It made sense that Glenn would get the grander exit, but I'm still glad that Abraham got more in his last scene than just a brutish one-liner. He said the best goodbye he could in a very limited window.
Tune in to AMC on Sundays at 9 p.m. ET to see what's next for Sasha now that she's lost Abraham on The Walking Dead.