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2016 was an extremely deadly year for major TV characters, and The Walking Dead was definitely the home of a handful of those fatalities. The Season 7 premiere served as a broader introduction to Jeffrey Dean Morgan's antagonist Negan, and it also served as a stomach-churning outro-duction for Steven Yeun's Glenn and Michael Cudlitz's Abraham. The latter was the first to feel the skull-crunching force of Lucille, and when asked what went through Abraham's mind during those final moments, Cudlitz offered up a rather touching answer.
I think he was praying that it would be him. I think that at this point, at the point we're at in the end of Season 6, Abraham knows he's figured out these guys. He knows that this kind of operation to work the way it is, for all of the men to be under his control the way he is, there's a lay of the land. He sees when Negan is describing what he has to do now, that someone has to pay for this, he knows that he wants it to be him, because he wants to protect everybody else. That's just in his nature. I think he feels once he is chosen, he really is at peace.
Michael Cudlitz gave his explanation during an interview for Skybound Insider, where he sat alongside comic book creator Robert Kirkman, and it's an answer that makes a hell of a lot of sense, considering where the character's head was at during much of Season 6. Upon shifting his romantic interests from Rosita to Sasha, Abraham seemed to be shifting from good-time puppy love to something deeper, which gave him cause to tap into his emotional core, as evidenced in part by him talking about starting a family. And while a focus on those kinds of personal thoughts seemed to doom Abraham just by Walking Dead logic, perhaps he was foreshadowing his death in a different way.
Many TV shows give certain characters a plot-based boost of character development just as they're about to get killed off the show, and Abraham definitely got some of that, but there may have been a deeper meaning there. (And really, Glenn was fake-killed prior to his legitimate death, so there are exceptions for all rules.) By mentally accepting that he might be ready for a family and new leash on life, Abraham was really understanding and re-embracing his former role as a father and protector. And a true protector doesn't play favorites, so this was indeed the mindset he needed to grasp onto in order to be able to look up at Negan with such conviction and bravado, with death just seconds away.
And it really did only take about a minute or two of watching Negan first big scene to prove that this was not a cat who wavered in the face of dissension, so once Abraham realized that it was his number being called, there wasn't much room inside of him left for protest. Well, for a form of protest that didn't involve telling Negan to suck his nuts, anyway. Speaking of, I guess it's saying something that Abraham wasn't thinking about something of a more sexual nature as his last thought, though I suppose it's hard to get aroused when one's head is about to be turned into mulch.
We won't be seeing Abraham when Season 8 comes around, even though we DID see him in the Season 7 finale, thanks to Sasha's daydreams. But a lot more mayhem and excitement will be there, and it'll hit AMC at some point in October. In the meantime, check out our summer TV schedule to see what shows are hitting primetime in the coming months.