Spoilers for The Walking Dead are below.
In the world of The Walking Dead, it seems like a funeral director would be a lucrative occupational path, if only jobs and money and ceremonial mourning were still things that existed. The show took away yet another one of the survivors tonight, and it was thankfully one of the Alexandrians, Denise, who took one to the head for the team. While I am indeed sad that the criminally underused Merritt Wever will now be referred to as a “former” cast member, I’m more intrigued by how her death’s twist from the comic book source material might be as big a sign of bad things to come for one particular person in the season finale. And his name rhymes with babe-raham.
Denise wasn’t a major character in the comics, but she was important as the resident doctor, and she dated Heath and had her own interesting demise on the page. On the show, though, Denise has not left nearly as big of a mark, though she has had some memorable moments, like saving Carl’s head and surviving a kidnapping and having that Tara thing. In the end, though, her death might be more important than her life was, if only to temporarily clue us into how Negan’s big entrance could make Abraham’s time on the show very temporary. Goodbye, Denise, and we’re sorry you had to see that whole baby thing in the pharmacy.
Denise was killed with a crossbow bolt through the head right as she was delivering a lively speech, and that projectile was one delivered by the crossbow-wielding Dwight. (Son of a bitch totally earned that understated bit of facial scarring.) Comic fans know that this was almost exactly Robert Kirkman’s original plan for Abraham’s death, though, as the character was shockingly taken out on the page in mid-conversation. This many seasons into The Walking Dead, fans are quite used to Kirkman and showrunner Scott Gimple switching up the page-to-screen events to keep people guessing, and having Denise take on Comic Abraham’s memorable murder is an arguably good sign that the show might be saving Abraham’s skull for the end of Negan’s bat.
I definitely breathed in a sigh of relief when Denise was the one spouting gibberish after getting shot, as Abraham is a highly quotable and all-around great piece of the ensemble, and having him go out so suddenly like that in the show wouldn’t have felt right. It did seem likely that his recent emotional drama was an indicator that big and possibly deadly changes were coming in his life, both when considering the source material as well as this show’s trend of mid-characters getting more attention just before they get killed off. But it has to be a more powerful bit than that, and his connection with Sasha thankfully happened after all that ugly business was over with.
Abraham is probably the most important character whose death would only cause protests rather than burn-it-down riots that Daryl or Carol’s death could incite. Sure, it could still be Glenn who gets his head bashed in, or it might be Daryl, Carol, Morgan, Tobin or anyone else. Negan might bash his own head in, just to be quirky. But my
Personally, knowing Negan’s comic plans only makes the show more exciting, and I love it, as almost anything can happen by the time Season 6 comes to a close. (Hopefully not this thing, though.) But there’s usually a really good reason why the creative team messes with the comic moments, and I think there is a damned good chance Abraham avoiding one catastrophe tonight has only locked him in for a bigger one in the coming weeks. What do you guys think?
The Walking Dead airs Sunday nights on AMC.
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