Spoilers below for the most recent episode of The Walking Dead. Be sure to watch before reading on.
"The Bridge" was one of the most charming episodes of The Walking Dead's 8+ seasons, with lots of warm moments shared between characters. (Anne and Gabriel, whaaat?!?) But something far more sinister was happening in the shadows, with quite a few Saviors mysteriously getting killed off for opting out of a community-wide project. At least, we assume they're all being murdered, since most are merely "missing" at this point. But they probably all met the same violent fate as Zach McGowan's douchebag Justin.
So which of The Walking Dead's many morally flippant characters is responsible for taking those Saviors out like that? Someone that doesn't care about any of them having families back at the Sanctuary, that much is absolutely clear. While waiting to find out more clues, let's run down a list of the major suspects that could very well have committed such deadly acts.
While Daryl isn't readily labeled a cold-blooded killer on The Walking Dead, he has an uncanny knack for ending Saviors' lives. Plus, there's no one in Episode 2 that put a bigger target on Justin's back than Daryl. Especially after Aaron's arm got all fucked up. Daryl probably won't ever get over his stint in the Sanctuary, so eliminating non-helpful Saviors is not above his pay grade. Nor is it outside his realm of pasttime interests.
If anyone could possibly challenge Daryl's immediate distaste for Justin, it's Henry. The long-haired bully literally pushed Henry to the ground when the young Kingdom-ite responsibly aimed to keep the drinking fluids rationed among workers. Viewers can presume that Carol was able to detour Henry's growing bloodlust after Morgan fled VIrginia, but we don't know for sure. Henry always looks ready to jab sharp objects all the way through Saviors' throats, though. So he probably has been doing just that, the scamp.
After Earl's very personal admission to Maggie about his history with alcoholism, she showed off her capacity for empathy by letting him out of his cell. (Which was also necessary for other reasons, but the point remains.) However, Maggie also made it clear that not everyone is capable of redemption, and Negan and the now-dead Gregory might not have been her only focuses there. It wouldn't be the first time that Maggie chose to kill others for the sake of Team Family. Could that be what sets up her initial absence?
If we're talking about reasons for characters to take absence, then Rick could just as easily be the red-handed killer here. After so many years of being The Walking Dead's arguable hero, he has crossed the line into general villainy many times. While sending Rick out on a dark note like this might not be what all fans are hoping for, The Walking Dead has never shied away from dour and hope-free deaths in the past. Will Rick's final moments be the result of Saviors' vengeance?
Whenever Walking Dead features several scenes where Melissa McBride's Carol is smiling, is genuinely happy, and is overly concerned for the majority of those around her, something is totally off. She knows very well what the Saviors did to all the show's main characters, and might not be done with her moral reckoning. Especially with the Saviors that walked out on the bridge project. Carol does not like anyone who impedes upon her friends' well-being, so she could easily be the mystery killer hiding behind kindness and an engagement ring.
For these first two Season 9 episodes, The Walking Dead hasn't established a central villain, which hasn't been the case since early in Season 6. But we know for certain that the Whisperers will be the next major comic book villain to show up on the TV series. It's not like this is a group that can be brought in and explained all at once, so this could be their slow-burn introduction. Having them take out random Saviors might be a way to make them initially appear good-natured, as well.
Cyndie had just one noteworthy scene in "The Bridge," but It was strange enough to warrant further speculation. She had Enid fix up a knife wound that supposedly happened when she was peeling potatoes. But that was not the kind of injury people get from botching a potato-peeling endeavor, and looked more like a defensive wound. Of course, Cyndie would have as much reason to murder Enid as she would the Saviors, since Enid killed her grandmother Natania. Show me the bloody potato as proof, though!
Even more of an outsider possibility than Cyndie, former Savior Dwight might have found the perfect time to sneak back in and take his revenge on Negan's other minions. Austin Amelio isn't currently scheduled to return to The Walking Dead, and is likely trying to find his former wife Sherry. But if he did manage to find her in the month or so that preceded the events in "The Bridge," then he may have felt the need to return and execute any and all loner Saviors that he comes across.
Those are our biggest choices for the culprit, but there are some other wildcard characters out there who could obviously also be responsible. Plus, what if ALL OF THEM are in on it? I might actually enjoy if that were revealed to be the case, where the protagonists are individually killing Saviors in secret, unbeknownst to all the others doing the same thing. Okay, so that's probably far more infuriating than whatever the real answer will be. But who doesn't like a series of good-time coincidences like that?
The Walking Dead will hopefully provide answers for the Saviors' killer soon, so that we can give Justin's murderer a celebratory drink before bringing the justice. Find out more when the zombie drama airs Sunday nights on AMC at 9:00 p.m. For some solid TV fare to pay attention to while theorizing, check out our fall TV premiere schedule.