We were all probably thinking the same thing at the close of last week's nerve-rattling episode of "The Walking Dead," when the crumbling church tower finally collapsed, knocking down a chunk of Alexandria's wall and giving a massive horde of walkers access to our delicious living heroes inside: This can't possibly end well. And with only one episode left to go before taking a few months off, it's probably best to prepare yourself for tragedy.
So let's consider this "what to expect when you're expecting the worst." (Obviously, spoiler warnings for anyone not caught up on the show, but the good news is AMC wouldn't let us watch this Sunday's episode early, so we're as in the dark as you are.)
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The official word from the network on this episode, titled "Start to Finish," is that the trouble that's shambled its way into Alexandria this time around is a threat that "might be too big to defeat." That's putting it mildly. The hit series returns February 14, but let's look at who may or may not still be there when it does.
It's been a roller coaster of emotions for Glenn fans this season, after that horrific fake-out earlier that made it look like he was being torn to shreds by walkers. Then the show made us wait weeks to find confirm he was OK. Now he and Enid (Katelyn Nacon) are stuck outside the wall — and poised to help out their friends in some heroic fashion. But hopefully not too heroic. And while the show has diverted from the comic books plenty, it seems safe to assume Glenn has more important things to focus on after this episode, so he'll likely make it through the night.
OK, we'll just say it: We're really worried about Morgan (Lenny James). A lot of this season has been devoted to his spiritual reawakening and new devotion to non-lethal force. Hell, he even got his own super-sized flashback episode. And his philosophy has been challenged by Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Michonne (Danai Gurira), and he's harboring a psychopathic prisoner in his basement. The algebra on this one does not look good for him, except for one important variable: Morgan is a total bad-ass.
While there might be plenty of fans out there who are sick of teenage Carl (Chandler Riggs) always making it through while more well-liked characters die off, we're really hoping this isn't how he bites it — from a bullet shot by another obnoxious teenager (Austin Abrams) looking for petty revenge over his dead dad. Kids, come on. It's a zombie apocalypse. We don't have time for these sorts of lesser cable show shenanigans.
This season has been pretty liberal with the body count among Alexandria's under-prepared and untrained residents. During the attack by the Wolves a couple episodes in, we actually lost count of how many of them died after 12 or 13. And on that big, bold mission that kicked off the season — to clear the quarry of a massive horde of walkers — it seemed the only casualties on the big mission were newcomers to the show. We're just going to go ahead and assume that the producers will continue to use the Alexandrians as zombie fodder in favor of our more longstanding heroes — as long as Dr. Denise (Merritt Wever) survives, because she's awesome.
So, place your bets and strap in for what's sure to be a pretty bumpy ride Sunday night. As fans of the comics know, whatever happens in Alexandria by the end of this episode, something much more sinister is on his way.
Follow Ned Ehrbar on Twitter:@nedrick