Spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 5 and the comic series are lurking below.
The greatest aspect of The Walking Dead is that even when it’s at its most boring and psychologically flat, there is always the chance that an unseen threat will rear its head and make surprising mincemeat out of the series’ main characters. Thankfully, Season 5 has started off with a bang and a boom, which means our central cast is facing danger even more swiftly than in years past. Can they possibly all survive until Season 6 begins next year? Not likely.
The death lottery on The Walking Dead is pretty randomly set up, especially when one tries to compare the TV show to the comic book series. But that doesn’t mean some educated guesses are out of the question. With the exceptions of Rick, Daryl and possibly Michonne, no one in this show is free from expendability. Depressing as that sounds, it keeps things interesting, and here are five characters that we think might be biting the bullet (or neck-swallowing the machete or whatever) in Season 5. We’ll start off with the most obvious one.
BobThe Present: Sunday’s episode “Strangers” did not go well for Bob, a character that has up until this point lacked a major character foundation to explain his sardonic and loner lifestyle. He was already looking worse for wear, even when happily talking with Sasha. Then he got kidnapped by the Terminus crew, who wound up eating his leg in front of him. (A subtle bunch, they are.) They haven’t killed him, which could be considered a good thing, but they have him tied up so that he can watch them eat his leg, which is definitely not a good thing.
The Future: There’s something about the casual way that Terminus leader Gareth talks to Bob, mentioning cosmic justice, that makes it seem likely these two are connected in some way. We know nothing about either of their pasts, so that would at least add some context to Bob’s death. Because yeah, Bob is going to die, people. Sure, there’s a chance he’ll get saved by the gang before his entire body is consumed by Terminus, but if this plays out anything like a similar arc for another character in the comics, Bob was already a dead man walking even before Gareth’s crew got to him. Wondering why he was sobbing to himself by that tree? It’s probably because he got bitten at some point earlier in the episode, possibly during that food bank sequence. Either way it goes, I’ll be surprised if Bob makes it to the fourth episode.
TaraThe Present: While actress Alanna Masterson is quite likable and gives it her all when Tara is onscreen, Tara is barely ever onscreen. She was introduced in Season 4 as a Governor sympathizer, which was interesting, and she’s also the only openly gay character in the show. Both of those are great reasons why she should be an important and singular member of this traveling community by now. But after she joined the good guys, the character became mostly just a background distraction, often not showing up in episodes at all. And you know what The Walking Dead does with distractions.
The Future: This spot might have gone to Rosita if not for the way her and Abraham’s relationship plays out in the comics. Tara’s character is exclusive to the show, so it’s hard to gauge just how important showrunner Scott Gimple thinks she is. Maybe she’ll get some major plot direction overhaul as the weeks go by, but I’m thinking we’ve seen the best of Tara’s story already. All that’s left for her now is to fall quickly in love and become zombie food right in front of her new partner.
BethThe Present: Maggie’s half-sister Beth has been around since Season 2, and has seen about as much character development that this series could possibly give a teenager. (Unlike Carl.) She’s become her own independent woman and warrior, but she hasn’t just left behind her optimism and hope. Even when she went off the wagon and got ripped with Daryl, she still remained a beacon of naïve light. And now that she’s bonded with Daryl in a non-sexual way, her disappearance last season has added urgency to the crossbow wielder’s personal story, even as he’s growing accustomed to a more hardcore Carol.
The Future: Now that Daryl has Carol back, there’s not much use for Beth as his sidekick, and she doesn’t even have a good enough relationship with Maggie to build anything out of that storyline. Walking Dead fans undoubtedly remember the ridiculously drawn-out “Where is Carol’s Daughter?” plotline from Season 2 that ended in Zombie Sophia getting shot in the head. Now that Daryl has seen the car Beth was last seen in, it doesn’t look like the show will be dragging her absence out quite as long as Sophia’s , and it presents the perfect “big moment” opportunity to have Daryl failing to save Beth’s life in some way. (Not that he needs any more reason to be surly and withdrawn.) Chances are good that she’ll die by human hands rather than zombie teeth.
Baby JudithThe Present: Like most children on high octane dramas and thrillers, Judith has not become the center of her own storyline and is basically just a dialogue point for someone to ask who’s watching her. She was born into chaos and her mother’s death, and it wasn’t long before she got separated from her father and brother for an extended period, though the tearful reunion in the premiere brought them back together. This kiddo has not had an easy time of it in what hasn’t even been a full year of life.
The Future: Sure, it’s abysmally depressing to consider children dying under any circumstances, but this is TV, and The Walking Dead often only has death to guide its characters emotional traumas. Rick and Tyreese haven’t been the best of friends on this series, so the fact that the less-violent Tyreese has grown attached to Judith could make for a triangular power dynamic should Judith’s life ever be put in danger. And unless the writers pull some kind of time jump where she’s five years old all of a sudden, she’s never going to serve a real purpose here. Syfy’s Z Nation already gave us a ridiculously wonky zombie baby this fall season. It’s only right that The Walking Dead should do it their own way.
GlennThe Present: Like everybody else on The Walking Dead, Glenn’s life sucks. Though he’s one of the only people with a somewhat healthy relationship (with Maggie), this dude has been through six circles of hell to get where he is. And he was only recently tied up in front of a blood trough with his head seconds from being smashed in by a baseball bat, so it’s not like the trek has been all that worth it. He didn’t have much to do in Sunday night’s episode beyond serving as brief comic relief, but it won’t be long before he’s getting beaten up or held at gunpoint by someone.
The Future: Comic fans know how Glenn’s story goes, and the fact that Negan is coming doesn’t bode well for him. (Or anyone, for that matter.) But even if that monstrous villain doesn’t get introduced until next season, there are still reasons to be fearful for Glenn’s impending demise. Over the summer, as this season’s episodes were in production, there were rumors that actor Steven Yeun was seen filming a death scene. That could easily be explained away by a dream or fantasy sequence, but it’s not out of the question to think Scott Gimple and Robert Kirkman would pick Glenn to be the next of the original survivors to push up the daisies. He’s a fan-favorite and arguably draws more audience sympathy than any other characters. It’s probably time to cut him loose.
What do you guys think will happen?