‘The Walking Dead’: After Negan’s New Discovery, Is Rick’s Life in Danger?

Spoiler Alert
Gene Page/AMC
Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan.

[Spoiler alert: This post contains spoilers from the March 11 episode of The Walking Dead.]

Fans of The Walking Dead have been through a lot this year. It has been nothing short of a whirlwind, between dealing with Carl’s (Chandler Riggs) death to the potential loss of Maggie’s presence if Lauren Cohan’s contract negotiations fail. Taking all of this into consideration, it wouldn’t be surprising if there were any more casualties before Season 8 finishes up.

In Sunday’s episode, “Dead or Alive Or,” events that took place indicate even more brutality lies ahead. For instance, this season’s focus has been on the all-out war between the allied Alexandrians, Hilltop and The Kingdom, and Negan’s (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) people, which makes one of his discoveries in this episode all the more compelling—and utterly dangerous.

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Tara jeopardizes the Alexandrians, Maggie makes choices, Negan has a plan.

Gabriel’s (Seth Gilliam) ailments, possibly caused by infection via walker guts, could prove that the potential for serious illness from coming into contact with the material is in fact possible. After Eugene (Josh McDermitt) mentions psychological warfare by catapulting the walker guts into their enemies to Negan, the Lucille wielding wild man sees the opportunity he’s been looking for in this war. The battle has suddenly taken on a new meaning as Negan realizes that he can utilize the walker guts to coat weapons, in the hope that just coming into contact with the gore will cause lasting damage to his enemies.

So what could this new development mean? Well, it may offer insight into how Rick (Andrew Lincoln) became so injured in those possible flash-forward scenes where he’s leaning against a tree with a bleeding wound on his side. According to an article for The Hollywood Reporter, this storyline would align with the source material—the Robert Kirkman comic books of the same title.

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Although the show has rarely deviated from the comic, the showrunners have proven that they are willing to flip the script when necessary. (Just look at Carl’s death, where the oldest Grimes child is still very much alive in the comic book.) Could the aforementioned scene of a wounded Rick translate into a memorable comic moment when he was shot by Dwight (Austin Amelio) with an arrow just when Negan started implementing this “germ warfare?”

While the likelihood that Rick will perish this season is slim to none, it doesn’t mean that he’s necessarily safe either. The deviation from the comics by killing off Carl proves that the writers aren’t keeping anyone safe. And the introduction of biological warfare could also give the survivors yet another threat to have to worry about, besides walkers.

For the moment it is difficult to determine who will be the next victim on The Walking Dead, but knowing that it could be anyone at any time is what’s always made the show so intriguing and heartbreaking to fans.

The Walking Dead, Sundays, 9/8c, AMC