Season 7 of The Walking Dead has been a failure both critically and for AMC’s ratings, but things are about to come full circle. What was once considered a monster TV hit, appealing to American audiences across geographical and political boundaries, has become a slow crawl toward the finish line. Some fans blame the lack of walkers (and the urgency they bring to the screen!), but most believe Negan’s hold on Rick and his fellow survivors is just more depressing than anything else.
Robert Kirkman, creator of The Walking Dead comics and head of the huge franchise, has said that he believes the show will continue into a twelfth season. Watching Rick, Michonne, Carl, and Daryl stall out in the middle of Season 7 has made that claim seem a little naive, but there’s plenty the show can do to put itself back on an exciting track.
Though the AMC drama has changed quite a bit from the comics, it appears that all the necessary pieces are in place for war. The most important characters in the last two episodes of Season 7 are likely to be Dwight, Sasha, Rick, and Negan. Here’s why.
The Mysterious Archer
At the end of the third-to-last episode of The Walking Dead, Rosita turns to see a shadowy archer between two cars. Optimists might hope that Daryl traveled all the way to Saviors’ home after he enjoyed a heart-to-heart with Maggie, but the mysterious dude about to confront Rosita is more likely Dwight.
Dwight hasn’t shown much as far as disloyalty to Negan on AMC’s drama yet, but in the Walking Dead comics, he calls his bitch (now one of Negan’s wives) a bitch and kills people for Negan, all in the name of not blowing his cover. Of course, in Kirkman’s original story, Dwight outs himself as a double agent for King Ezekiel much earlier in the story, but there’s still time.
If fans are correct about the comic book storyline sticking around, we might see evidence of Dwight being the anti-Eugene in the very next episode. He’ll either take Rosita to Negan or let her escape, and that will likely seal his allegiance either way. If Negan has cracks in his Saviors foundation, Rick’s gang has a real chance as a coup.
Sasha Essentially Becomes Holly From the Comics
Sasha Williams, like Daryl Dixon, is an AMC original character created for the television show. Fans are pretty sure, given that she just launched herself into Negan’s compound on a suicide mission this week, that she will live out a comic book character’s storyline until the bitter end. Holly, a woman who dates Abraham in the books as Sasha did in the show, attempts to go down swinging by sacrificing herself to the Saviors. Negan mistakes her for Rick’s girlfriend (Andrea in the comics) and tries to hold her for ransom. Eventually, she’s killed, and her death’s reveal puts Rick and the gang in serious trouble. It’s an awesome cinematic moment that ties into our next theory.
Negan is a racist and can’t tell black women apart
In the Walking Dead TV show, Rick is currently dating Michonne instead of Andrea. Since Michonne is a black woman, in order for Negan to mix his female prisoner up with Rick’s girlfriend, his prisoner would have to be the same ethnicity. Since Sasha is the one currently in Negan’s compound, it looks like Negan is going to confuse her and Michonne. That, as anyone who’s watching The Walking Dead, turns the misunderstanding into a situation that’s a lot more racist. Weirdly enough, Negan doesn’t like to be called racist, in either the comics or TV show, so that’ll be a strange issue to contend with.
If Negan does confuse Sasha for Michonne, he’ll likely save her from being raped while she’s held prisoner, and will then kill her and use her body as a Trojan horse to get into Rick’s stronghold. In the comics, Negan puts a bag over the dead and reanimated Holly’s face, offering her back to her friends as collateral. Once they take her inside, she bites and kills one of Rick’s allies as they take the bag off her head.
Fans are probably on the right track with this prediction, because actress Sonequa Martin, who plays Sasha on The Walking Dead has already been cast as the lead in Star Trek: Discovery. That means her days on Walking Dead are numbered, and we can’t think of a much cooler way to go out in Season 7 than as the catalyst that finally sparks war between the Saviors, the Kingdom, and Rick’s folks.
There are only two episodes left in Season 7, but adhering to the comics once more will crack out a couple things that the show needs to do to regain viewers. First, Negan must be removed as the show’s central focus. Second, something has to force the opposing sides into all-out war. Third, the show can’t sustain itself focusing solely on whom Negan will kill each episode, and twisting both Negan and Rick’s expectations will shake things up.
The Walking Dead airs Sundays on AMC at 9 p.m. EST.