(courtesy of signandtrade.com)

(courtesy of signandtrade.com)

With the season finale(s) for The Walking Dead coming up, let’s take a look at how things can play out in the Team Prison vs Team Woodbury throw-down show-down; I only wish I had the fore-thought to make it like a NCAA bracket (Rick would be a one seed, a faceless Woodbury resident would be a 16, etc). And please remember: all my predictions are 100% guaranteed correct or your money back.

The word has gotten out that 27 will die by the end of season 3. While that is quite a significant total, one has to suspect that most of these will be random Woodbury citizens. But there also have been rumours that 2 “major” characters will die and that the finale will be a humdinger:

“The Walking Dead fans will not feel cheated by the finale. It’s not a soft close for sure. As [the season] starts to wrap up, it gets stronger, crazier and weirder. Although you’ll never see it coming, when it cuts to black at the end of season three, there will be millions of mouths agape.
-Dallas Roberts, a.k.a. the magnificently-monikered Milton Mamet

Well, that sounds pretty serious, but on the other hand: a) this was an actor promoting a show he’s on; what do you expect his to say, and b) it all depends on how one defines a “major” character. For example, is Milton a major character? Is Martinez? Is Beth or Carol? The Gov is certainly pretty major and he HAS to be one of the 2 to die…doesn’t he? DOESN’T HE?

Let’s break things down, starting with the shoo-ins for surviving season 3:
>Rick…it’s his show and his story. There’s no way Rick makes an exit from The Walking Dead unless/until Andrew Lincoln decides he wants off the show to make feature movies. And while I wish nothing but the best for him in future endeavors, I hope that doesn’t happen for awhile.
>Daryl…because he’s Daryl-%$#*&%-Dixon. And folks are buying “If Daryl Dies We Riot!” T-shirts. Granted that the writing staff probably wouldn’t/shouldn’t base their decisions strictly on fans and popularity, killing him off could potentially torpedo the show. It would be like Fonzie driving his motorcycle off a cliff or Urkel getting mauled by an escaped polar bear at the height of their respective popularities…simply ain’t gonna happen.

And…that’s pretty much it. I think those 2 are 99% safe and everyone else is on the clock. Tick tock tick tock…
We know the show has no fear of 86’ing popular characters given the fact that Jon Bernthal and Sarah Wayne Callies were both 2nd on the opening credits when they were killed.
(Hey, who’s currently 2nd billed? Crap, its Daryl!)
Anyway, here are my thoughts on the rest, beginning with:

The Red Shirts a.k.a. Dead Meat:
>Pretty much everyone seen in Woodbury without a cast credit, including some show favorites such as: guy-guarding-gate-with-backwards-ball-cap, that one chick that’s either Latina or Italian and the fuzzy-headed hippie standing behind Andrea when she gave her speech in town. Obviously the bulk of the corpses come from this group, a number upwards of 20+ I’m guessing…
>Martinez…the Gov’s main muscle, we’ve seen his human side a few times (bonding with Daryl, nodding with warm approval during Andrea’s pep talk), but he’s been just too visible doing too many bad things. There’s a crossbow bolt out there with his name on it.
>Everyone in Tyrese’s group not named Tyrese…I speculated on this in my last re-cap. I get the sense Tyrese has a future on the show (with T-Dog and Oscar gone the role of One Strong Black Male Per Episode is currently open), but I can’t say the same for the others. Allen in particular has the weak and whiny air of someone who dies first in a horror movie…my guess would be that he selfishly causes the death of someone like Sasha or even his son Ben before dying himself. Ben could go either way, but to me he’s sort of like Beth’s boyfriend Jimmy from season 2. With his group gone, Tyrese makes a logical addition to Team Prison or wherever Rick’s team winds up in season 4 if the prison is destroyed…and maybe a love interest for Michonne?
(bonus: do you think Tyrese’s inability to accurately shoot a walker comes up in the finales? I do…)

The extremely-very-likely not to make it to season 4:
>Milton…As the only person who knows about the Gov’s little shop of horrors not currently tied to a chair in the middle of it, it only stands to reason that sad-sack Milton sacrifices himself to save Andrea. I think his former hero the Gov takes him out in the process, and in all fairness I think Milton would rather die than be out in the cruel non-Woodbury world anyway.
>Merle…I think there have been signs leading up to his redemption cycle coming full-circle, which would be sacrificing himself for his brother and the group. Merle knows he’ll never fit in fully with Rick’s group (or likely anyone else really), no matter how many times Hershel Claus sits down and shares the good book with him. He’s all but confessed his sins to those he’s transgressed against, and going out in a blaze of glory protecting his “family” (especially Glenn) makes sense. And Merle’s death could lead to some nice dramatic scenes from Daryl. I wouldn’t be surprised if episode 15’s title “This Sorrowful Life” doesn’t turn out to be an ode to ol’ sorrowful Merle himself.
>Someone from Hershel’s family…that would Beth, Maggie and Hershel Claus. I think there is an excellent chance one of these 3 are gone. I think the writers will want to carry on the Maggie/Glenn romance, so she would be my least likely of the 3 to go. Beth represents an interesting angle in that Coral (Carl) seems to be smitten with her while she seems to be smitten with Rick, creating a future love triangle that could only be allowed to exist in Georgia. Her role on the show is fairly limited, so I give her a 50-50 chance. Which leaves Hershel Claus as the likely old and gimpy recipient of a Woodbury bullet. Hey, you would think that getting your lower leg hacked off with the dullest ax in the history of cutlery would buy you some time, but it’s a merciless (sorrowful?) world in which these survivors find themselves. I’m not sure who will take over Hershel’s role as the White Morgan Freeman of the group dispensing sage greeting-card advice, but I think we should prepare for his exit.

On the bubble:
>Carol…come on, she’s been the Red Shirt-est of the survivors since season one! She’s been at the top of every “who’s going to die next?” discussion, but just like those offers to add-on an ASK.com toolbar, she just keeps on springing up. At this point, it would actually be a surprise if she DID finally buy it, which means that the writers could very well do it to keep us on our toes (wait, did that even make sense? Reverse-reverse-reverse psychology?) And like Merle, a Carol death could lead to some emotional scenes featuring Daryl proclaiming his love for her too late, which would of course makes his fan girls squee with delight before passing out.
>Andrea…well, she would certainly be a major character, wouldn’t she? While I think there’s a good chance she makes it out of her current predicament and joins back up with Team Prison, there’s no denying that her story arc is playing out in a very similar fashion to Lori’s: a major character who’s become very unpopular with fans  and who’s made questionable/selfish decisions, and who could go out with a very noble, heroic death to redeem herself. Given her past with Michonne, I could very easily see her reverse her “warm bed over a friend” decision and sacrifice herself to save Michonne and/or kill the Gov.

The wild-cards/shockers:
>Michonne…like I said in my previous re-cap, I think she has some longevity on the show. She is an extremely popular character who we are just now see beginning to develop; I can’t see her going out just yet. I would almost put her in the Rick/Daryl category.
>Glenn…more likely to die than Michonne in my opinion, but still not just yet. Like I said earlier, I think the writers will want to take the Glenn/Maggie story into season 4, their relationship representing hope for the future. NOTE: my opinion on this may change if Maggie turns out to have gotten pregnant from their naked sumo wrestling encounter. Now, THAT could make for some tragic mess right there.
>Morgan…I think a number of fans would like to see Morgan come riding in to save the day for the prison; the door for that happening was certainly left open in “Clear”. However if he does, I think it would be the last we would see of him. Perhaps by saving Rick’s team, he could finally CLEAR and allow his troubled mind to rest in peace. Also, see my One Strong Black Male Per Episode theorem; it would either be him or Tyrese.
>Coral…OK, I think his birth name is actually “Carl”, but his daddy calls him Coral and that’s good enough for me. I really really like how tough and self-sufficient the writers have made him this season, quite a turn from the annoying little turd who just wouldn’t stay in the dang house when he was supposed to. I think the story is almost his as much as it is Rick’s and I would be very surprised if it ended in the next 2 weeks. But…if the writers were really set on sending shock waves throughout the viewers, allowing Coral to die would do it in a much grander fashion than just Hershel and/or Merle. And besides, Rick now has 2 kids, making one expendable, right? And of course they wouldn’t kill off…
>Judith L. A$$-kicker…or would they? As we know from the pilot episode, this show has no qualms in going where most shows refuse to go: the taboo of killing children. And those who read the comic book know that Judith didn’t even make it to term, instead being blown apart in Lori’s womb by…
>Phillip Blake, a.k.a. The Gov…ah yes, the ultimate wild-card. Given that he’s the Joker to Rick’s Batman, he absolutely HAS to die, right? Well, I THINK that he does…although I certainly don’t assume it’s a given. I could very easily see the Gov slipping away into season 4 and beyond, like Darth Vader flying off the Death Star just before it explodes. And while I think many fans won’t be happy unless the Gov gets “Sho-gunned” in the finale, his escape might make more sense if he had a hostage with him: the afore-mentioned Judith L. A$$-kicker…see, as you may recall, the Gov had this daughter named Penny. And Penny was taken from him in a way that he did not seem pleased with…and he might just be interested in running off with a substitute…

Hey, its just a thought; probably doesn’t go down like that at all, but whether he dies a brutal death or lives to terrorize another day, I do believe this:

The Gov will take something of Rick’s.
Whether its by killing Coral or killing Judith L. A$$-kicker or both or kidnapping one or both (or holy crap killing one and taking the other), the Gov will do something to cause Rick extreme emotional duress on his way out the door. Although they are clearly on the opposite sides of the good/evil spectrum, their struggles and dips into insanity have been somewhat mirrored this season…when their poker game is finally over, one may come out ahead but only at a very high price…

And you can bet on that…

P.S. The double-down long odds trifecta bet? That would have to be something we really haven’t seen so far on the show: someone dying and coming back as a walker to exact a little revenge on a worthy candidate. Maybe a zombified Milton or Andrea chowing down on Phillip “Governor” Blake? That would be epic!

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avatar J. Christopher Smith (10 Posts)

Chris is a lifelong fan of anything dark + macabre, beginning with the old classic black-and-white horror movies (that he had to sneak and stay up and watch) as well as campy TV fare such as The Addams Family, The Munsters, and The Night Stalker. That led at an early age to the writings of Stephen King and Peter Straub, then onward to the works of artists such as Edgar Allen Poe, Edward Gorey, Thomas Harris, Carl Hiaasen, Chuck Palahniuk, and of course, Dr Seuss. Chris was born + raised in Middle Tennessee, received his further education at Western Kentucky University, and currently lives among the moss-covered oaks of historic coastal Southeastern Georgia. In past lives he's been a long-haired bass player in college rock bands and an over-worked restaurant manager, but currently crunches numbers and curb-stomps spreadsheets for a Fortune 500 company. Chris enjoys spending time at his spooky marsh-front manor (dubbed the Monster Plantation or Monsta P) with his lovely wife Melanie, their dogs, and a monkey butler named Amos Moses.

One Response to March Madness comes to Woodbury! Handicapping the field of who lives/dies for The Walking Dead season 3 finale(s)…

  1. I have to say I agree with most everything in this article lol… I am a lil sad to see Merle go, I love the villains on this show!

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