Despite describing The Walking Dead's season six finale as one of the greatest character introductions in television history, the show had a resounding swing and miss with the arrival of Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). Rather than showing which person Negan beats to death with his barbed wire-laced baseball bat, Lucille, the series opted for a POV shot from the perspective of the victim, without any indication of who that might be. Not the best way to end your season, but a great way to anger your fan base.
(Editor's note: Spoilers for the comic books ahead).
Lingering questions over who was at the receiving end of Negan's bat will resonate with frustrated fans in the months to come — a stark contrast to the scene's counterpart in the comic book series. In the comics, Negan ends up picking Glenn (Steven Yuen) after a similar game of "Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe" to claim a victim. The end result is a lot more clear: It's shown, in disgusting detail, how Negan clubs Glenn in front of the group, including his wife Maggie (Lauren Cohan).
It's a big moment in the comics, as Glenn was a beloved fan favorite — much like that of Daryl (Norman Reedus) on the show. Like his TV counterpart, comic book Glenn is has a strong touch of humanity in the post-apocalyptic zombie wasteland, and seeing him murdered with glee at the hands of a new villain is a game-changing tonal shift.
Thus, it's considered one of the most iconic moments in the comics, appropriately happening in the series' 100th issue. A scene-by-scene rundown of Glenn's death from the issue has been provided by YouTuber Garrett Gomes, which you can check out below (though be warned, it's gruesome).
Conversely, who's actually killed in the season finale is very much up for debate — though already some people have created their own theories. One Tumblr user slowed down the audio while Negan was whacking the victim with Lucille, and comes to the conclusion that it's still Glenn. One particular line seems to suggest the person getting hit screams "Mag- Maggie!" identical to Glenn's dying words in the comics.
Other theories have suggested that the victim would be Daryl or Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) — and there are many other important characters lined up in a row when the credits roll. However, no matter who's confirmed dead in the season seven premiere, the critical consensus is that The Walking Dead's showrunners have failed and angered their fan base. Instead of executing (literally) the most memorable scene in the comics — akin to the Red Wedding in Game of Thrones — a cliffhanger destroys all the tension built up, and a strong performance by Morgan from the onset.
"That person's death is what would have destroyed our Alexandrian's sense of order and sent them tumbling into Negan's world order," E. Alex Jung wrote for Vulture. "Now that sense of finality has been delayed for a new season entirely, inevitably dulling the emotional impact the death would have had. It's a bit of a cheap move — and one Negan never would have approved of."