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With four episodes left in Season 7 of The Walking Dead, it seems like it should still be too early to start thinking about the finale, since just about anything in the world could change between then and now. Then again, it's impossible not to think about how things will end this year, considering the hysteria that went down after Negan's arrival in the Season 6 capper. Showrunner Scott Gimple has stoked the flames of anticipation by showcasing both the conclusion's darkness and its light. But we can probably expect to say a heartbreaking farewell or two. In his words:

Well, there are losses. As the stakes get higher and higher...things start to get more intense and heartbreaking, and yet everyone has to sort of band together and keep going.

I didn't have any money on The Walking Dead's current season bowing out on an ice cream social, but I still hold out hope for all the protagonists to survive. (Even though I do fully expect Sasha to die, that doesn't mean I can't wish her well into Season 8.) In any case, it doesn't sound like it will just be one character taking the six-foot plunge, since Scott Gimple speaks of "losses." But at least heartbreaking isn't the only adjective used to describe things, as that allows for at least one loss to not be damaging to the good guys. Mild spoilers below for the latest episode, "Say Yes."

the walking dead rick and michonne hugging

Let's hammer out some speculation on the heartbreak, though. Since Sasha and Rosita are working together, perhaps viewers will see another double-blow from Negan like we got at the start of the season. That would be the most depressing way for the material to mirror itself, but that wouldn't make it ineffective. On the other hand, we've already seen Carol's life get put into potential danger through Richard's ill-formed plans, and Daryl has a death warrant hanging around his neck. Oceanside is coming back in some form, and considering that group mostly thinks Tara is dead now, things could get complicated from that. And what about Eugene and his potential villainy? What's more, all of those things could happen prior to the finale, with the episode delivering several further shots to the feels.

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A better case scenario would see just one member of Rick's group (or any decent Kingdom/Hilltop folks) get killed off, with the Saviors, Heapsters and Oceanside people making up the rest of those losses. If the finale, titled "Do It Now," is anything like I expect it to be, then that intensity will get explosive enough to take out several bystanders, innocence notwithstanding. And there will likely be plenty of villains and non-Team Family members to get sacrificed for the sake of badass action.

Before that action arrives, though, we'll get more from the human side of things. In his interview with TVLine, Scott Gimple offered up a more straightforward comparison to the Season 6 finale.

[Season 6's finale] was the noose tightening and things getting darker and darker. This season's finale has darkness and light, real horrific moments, betrayal, and real moments of beauty, redemption, love and friendship. It's sort of the panoply of human and Walking Dead experience.

There's no need to pull out the funeral veils just yet, though, as The Walking Dead still has a few more Sundays on AMC to go before that finale gets here. Check out our midseason premiere schedule to see what's yet to hit the small screen in early 2017.

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