SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS!
HERE BE SPOILERS!! If you still haven’t read the “The Walking Dead” books from Image Comics, shame on you. But in the interest of fair play, be aware that there are references in this article that will spoil key elements of the comic book storyline.
It’s almost that time…October 12th is coming and Season Five of The Walking Dead will soon be upon us like a pack of ravenous walkers. If four seasons with Rick Grimes and his Amazing Friends have taught viewers anything, it’s that it is a very bad idea to get attached to characters in world of The Walking Dead. There is a real and palpable dread that accompanies each turned page, and the opening of each TV episode. People are going to die and more often than not, neither the character nor the audience sees it coming…or sometimes they see it coming all too clearly. More importantly, along with characters exiting the storyline, new characters will be coming in.
When the two iterations of Robert Kirkman’s world are contrasted against each other, interesting parallels start showing. If you remember the resolution of the Fall of the Prison story arcs from both book and comic, you come to realize that the way the two plotlines played out vaguely resemble each other, even as different characters play roles on the show that feel eerily like ones portrayed by other characters in Kirkman’s ongoing comic book from Image. In the book, Rick loses a hand; on TV it was Herschel’s leg. Herschel’s demise on the TV show mirrored Tyreese’s death in the comic very closely. The extremely ugly scenario played out with Carol, Lizzie and Mika from last season echoed a decidedly unpleasant sequence involving twins Ben and Billy early on in the book. I could spend time pointing out all the similarities as well as places where the stories veer away from each other very sharply, but suggest your getting the books and seeing it firsthand. For those who haven’t checked out the comic book, you really are missing out, since of the two, I’m comfortable calling the comic book continuity the primary storyline.
Anyhow, being an up to date reader of the book and armed with my not-quite parallel versions of the same continuity theory, I’m ready to make my picks on who will be coming in and who will be going out this season. Once again, I’ve only dropped a few minor spoilers so far, and will try to be as vague as possible, but I’m going to start moving fast from here, so if you’re afraid of spoilers from the comic you might want to stop reading.
5.Who’s going out: Bob Stookey. Bob provided some nice storytelling jumping off points last season, but Bob’s alcoholism is eventually going to get him killed. He’s bad luck as he’s been part of two groups who both wound up dead. Plus, getting drunk off your butt and probably snoring like a chainsaw after you pass out means you will end up zombie bait eventually.
5. Who’s coming in: Lilly Caul. Lilly was one of the characters that really drove home to me the level Kirkman was working on in this book. Central to the resolution of the Prison storyline, she’s a strong, capable character who’s still alive in the comic/novel continuity and would make a great supporting character for Season Five.
4. Who’s going out: Sasha. The character Sasha is an offshoot of Tyreese’s daughter Julie from the comic book. When we meet the two of them they are travelling with Julie’s boyfriend Chris and the three of them wind up at the prison along with the group. It doesn’t end well. It was a bit confusing when Tyreese and Sasha were introduced on the show because the character of his daughter had been replaced by a character who is his younger sister. But it’s fine; she’s been a great character. I just have a feeling bad things lie in wait for Sasha, due at least in part to how her counterpart in the main continuity meets her end. I don’t think AMC wants to go where that subplot goes, and I’m not entirely sure they could get away with it, anyway. It’s an extremely dark chapter in a story known for its darkness.
4. Who’s coming in: Dwight. He’s tough to look at, but will be integral to where I think AMC is going to go with this season.
3. Who’s going out: Tara Chambler. I like Tara, but I just don’t see her having the survival/killer instinct needed to make it out of this season with her skin intact.
3. Who’s coming in: Father Gabriel Stokes. In the main continuity, Father Gabriel comes walking up to Rick’s group with nothing but a collar, a rosary, and a Bible. I have heard rumors that AMC will be introducing him soon. I’ve always suspected he had something to do with Beth’s abduction, and I think the priest will play a crucial part in the coming storyline.
2.Who’s going out: Glenn Rhee. If you’ve followed the comics at all, you probably know Glenn’s death was brutal, tragic and very hard to watch. I have enjoyed the fact that the storyline allowed Glenn and Maggie managed to find love despite all the horror and death around them, but I think that clock has just about ticked out. I’m trying to think that maybe there’s a curve coming; perhaps Glenn’s fate will be visited on another character. But if I had to lay odds, I’d say something really bad is coming for Glenn and Maggie.
2. Who’s coming In: Jesus. You read that right, Jesus is coming and he’s hardcore, man. No, he’s not really Jesus…but he looks like Jesus, and he can throw down.
1. Who’s going out: I already talked about this, but since I doubt I’ll be seeing that this season either…I choose Abraham. Abraham’s death in the book is really gut-wrenching for me because it’s so seemingly random. I’ve seen some shots in the trailer that lead me to believe Abraham may be living on borrowed time.
1. Who’s coming in: Negan. Negan is the very bad thing that’s coming; he makes the Governor look like a reasonable, well adjusted gentleman. Negan introduces himself in the most brutal and tragic of ways, and that’s just him warming up. This character will test the resolve of the group and that of Rick Grimes in the most profound of ways. Negan is a seriously bad dude…but he is not boring.
So there are my picks. I won’t be disappointed at all if I’m completely wrong, as I have grown attached to some characters despite my own advice. But this is The Walking Dead, and (almost) no one is safe. I look forward to seeing how the creative team draws from Kirkman’s story to craft an original tale that plays as a dark mirror to the main continuity.
I’ll just be watching with a constant knot of dread in my stomach, because you really just never know.