As the midseason finale of "The Walking Dead"'s fifth season approaches, fans are left wondering just how things will shake out for our band of survivors. Last week's penultimate episode before the hiatus left the gang splintered into several different groups, all in various states of disarray.
The death toll so far this season among major characters has been small, with only Bob (Lawrence Gilliard Jr.) biting the big one (after getting bitten by both zombies and cannibals). As longtime fans of "The Walking Dead" know, a lack of loss is never a good sign, since lives are fairly expendable on this show; the longer someone sticks around just seems to prolong the inevitable.
With that grim thought in mind, here's a breakdown of where each character stands heading into the last episode of 2014. Who's safe, who's on the bubble, and who's definitely going to die? Read on for our predictions.
Rick (Andrew Lincoln)
Sheriff Grimes seems the least likely of the group to be a goner, solely because he's been the main character since day one. And while Rick has undergone several different personality changes throughout the series, this current iteration – out for blood, and out for the core group of survivors, no matter what – seems to be the most logical. After all, you'd be pretty warped, too, after going through what he has, and you'd want to protect yourself and your friends at all costs. He's been undermined by Tyreese and Daryl in the plan to spring Carol and Beth from Grady Memorial Hospital, a plot that's quickly unraveling thanks to that latter pair's last-minute switcheroo. We're thinking the good sheriff is going to take charge right quick, and carry out his uber-bloody (but ultimately effective) original gameplan.
Daryl (Norman Reedus)
Daryl didn't exactly do the group any favors by changing Rick's strategy, and now, it seems like rescuing Carol and Beth – the two most important people in his life – may be a lot harder than he originally planned. Reedus has gone on record recently saying that this episode made him cry, and that can only mean one thing: either Carol, Beth, or both are going to die. None of those options will leave Daryl in a very good frame of mind; just how much his mistake of backing Tyreese's half-assed plot will affect those women's fates is yet to be determined. We expect Daryl to survive the showdown at Grady; his psyche, on the other hand, may never recover.
Carol (Melissa McBride)
Carol has also been through a lot this season, grappling with her place in the group, and in the world, ever since she rejoined Rick and co. Her conversation with Daryl while scouting out Beth in Atlanta was telling: she's not sure who she's supposed to be, only that she keeps changing, and doesn't know whether it's for the better. That type of existential crisis seems to make Carol a marked woman, especially now that she's in bad physical shape at Grady, and at the mercy of Dawn (by way of Beth's attempts at medical care). Her death isn't a certainty, though it's a strong possibility.
Beth (Emily Kinney)
In the same boat is Beth, who's been separated from everyone since the end of season four, when she was snatched by some cops from Grady. She's come into her own as a character over the past season and a half, and that could be the precise reason why her days are numbered. Will she sacrifice herself in order to ensure Carol's escape? Will someone other than Dawn or Dr. Edwards catch her administering medicine to Carol? The odds of the show offing her are strong, though the writers may want to trade Carol for her to show that the older woman has already accepted her fate in life, while the younger woman is just beginning to understand her own.
Tyreese (Chad L. Coleman)
Tyreese made a bad move in changing Rick's plan, and with Sasha unconscious after getting tricked by one of their captives, he may be too overcome with guilt for that mistake – making him an easy target for someone to pick off at Grady. Tyreese has been through plenty of strife already with the loss of Karen at the prison in season four, and then dealing with the maniacal Lizzie. It would seem awfully cruel to off him now, too – but we can't imagine he'd cope too well with the loss of his sister, either. It may be more humane to put him out of his misery should Sasha meet her demise.
Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green)
Speaking of Sasha, she was knocked out cold by Bob 2.0 at the end of last week's episode. We're betting she survives that scuffle, but in her haste to make up for her foolishness, she may just commit even more errors. Her character could really go either way, though if she's anything like her late boyfriend, her suddenly adopting an optimistic attitude doesn't bode well for her.
Michonne (Danai Gurira)
Sadly, Michonne hasn't had much to do this season, though taking a backseat to characters like Carol or the more-recently-introduced Abraham and Eugene isn't such a bad thing. She's back at the church with Carl and baby Judith, though they've just been ditched by Father Gabriel. Whether the trail of blood he left behind from a foot injury leads zombies to swarm the place remains to be seen, but we think this sword-wielding badass will live to chop off heads another day.
Carl (Chandler Riggs)
Another character that hasn't really done too much this season, Carl also seems like a safe bet for survival. Rick has been through a lot since losing Lori; killing off his kid may send him off the psychotic deep end again, something the viewers definitely don't want to see (and a stupid character flaw that the writers no doubt want to try to avoid repeating if possible). He'll keep wearing his dad's hat, and keep watching over his sister, for the foreseeable future.
Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan)
These two have been linked since their first meeting in season two, and their fates on this show are as well. The happy couple spent so long searching for each other last season that it wouldn't seem fair to just off one and leave the other to mourn; either they both die, or neither of them does. Maggie was last seen rushing to the aid of Eugene, who was heard gasping for breath off-screen. Since we don't know definitively yet whether or not he's alive or undead, Maggie's future depends on whether she becomes zombie Eugene's first meal. We're hoping she and her husband live happily ever after (or as happy as they can be in the zombie apocalypse), but we wouldn't be surprised if something bad befell them, either.
Abraham (Michael Cudlitz)
He was in a pretty fragile state of mind following the revelation that Eugene was a fraud. He's been almost catatonic since, though his acceptance of water from Maggie toward the end of the last episode indicates that he still has some fight left in him. But will that fight cost him his life? It's hard to say now, since the D.C.-bound crew is still stuck in limbo trying to decide its next move. If Abraham can keep his head, he'll be an asset to the group for years to come; if not, he'll be one of its next casualties.
Eugene (Josh McDermitt)
As mentioned above, we don't really know what's happening with Eugene, since he was knocked out cold by Abraham after spilling his big secret. He spent all of last episode lying on the ground, and only began to stir off-screen toward the end. It wouldn't be the first time "The Walking Dead" faked us out if that zombie-esque grunt turned out to be nothing more than a man gasping for air, but we wouldn't be surprised if the worst came true, either. But Eugene is too much fun to toss aside just yet, we think; he may live to quip about his Tennessee Top Hat another day.
Rosita (Christian Serratos)
Finally, Rosita gets a bit of a personality. After basically being the living embodiment of Zombie Apocalypse Barbie, this belly shirt-clad babe stepped up in the last couple episodes, squaring off with Abraham and showing off her survivalist skills. Before last week, we would have said she'd be easily expendable. Now, we kind of hope the spunky chick sticks around. But that all depends on what the group decides to do now that its mission to D.C. has ended prematurely – and if Abraham still has her back.
Tara (Alanna Masterson)
I've been kind of hard on Tara this season, and not without good reason: the writers just don't seem to know what to do with this character, and that makes her non sequiturs and overly-jokey one-liners fairly grating. She's extremely childish but also thinks she's extremely tough; she wants to fist bump everyone she meets and come up with mnemonic names for the group while the others are off catching fish and filtering water. In short, Tara just doesn't seem like a character worth saving, and that's why she's first on my list to go. Whether the writers care enough to script her a fitting ending remains to be seen.
Gabriel (Seth Gilliam)
Father Gabriel started out more promising than he's become, and I'm still waiting for him to do more than just freak out at every opportunity. His lack of ability to kill walkers will hurt him in the long run, and leaving a trail of blood that leads straight to the church may also hurt those inside it. He seems like an easy, obvious mark for death – almost too obvious. I'd say the writers will almost certainly off him, if I didn't have a sneaking suspicion that they're saving him for another twist down the road.
The midseason finale of "The Walking Dead" airs Sunday, November 30 at 9 p.m. on AMC.
Photo credit: Gene Page/AMC
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