'Walking Dead' Death Watch: "Who's Next?"

Following the loss of Chandler Riggs as Carl Grimes, the AMC zombie drama's violent stakes heat up in the next episode.
Gene Page/AMC

[This story contains spoilers for the most recent episode of AMC's The Walking Dead, called "Honor."]

The death of Carl Grimes, one of few series regulars from the season one days, remains fresh on the mind for Walking Dead fans. With that said, it's time to turn one eye (too soon?) toward the inevitable question: "Who's next?"

Indeed, those two deadly words are given voice in the trailer for "The Lost and the Plunderers," the 10th episode of the AMC zombie drama's eighth season. The question comes from Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), king of the Saviors, uttering the threatening phrase into a radio. The person on the other end of the call: none other than Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), understandably mourning the death of his son Carl (Chandler Riggs).

"You are," Rick barks back at his foe.

Of course, it's hard to know who will fall first in the battle between Rick and Negan. Smart money puts Rick ahead of his enemy, since he's the day one protagonist of this series. Then again, the final image of "Honor," season eight's midseason premiere, in which Carl took his own life after succumbing a fatal zombie bite, calls Rick's security into question. In the scene, Rick leans against a tree, bleeding badly from the abdomen. The hero is still alive in the Walking Dead comics on which the show is based, but so is Carl. In other words, the source material is no longer a surefire road map for anyone's survival prospects, if it ever was.

Watch the action-packed trailer below:

Will Rick or Negan be the next person to lose their lives in "All-Out War," the name of the conflict currently ensuing on Walking Dead, at least according to the comic books? There are likelier targets on the board, as a secret scene from the next episode indicates. In the clip from AMC, labeled "Just One, Simon," Negan tells his right-hand man Simon (Steven Ogg) that he needs to restore order among "the Heapsters," the nickname given to Jadis (Pollyanna McIntosh) and her fellow garbage-dwelling survivors. Simon suggests it's time to wipe out the junkyard, given their recent decision to side with Rick and the Alexandrians, but Negan offers a different perspective.

"I need you to hear me on this, Simon. Those piss-stained double-crossers may have pulled a triple-cross, but it doesn't change the fact that they are still a resource. So you're going to choke back whatever shit is stirring up inside you and remind them that a deal with the Saviors is a lock, stock, suck-my-barrel deal. Deliver the standard message: take one out and the rest will fall in line. Just one, Simon." 

Watch the scene in the trailer below:

Who will Simon choose to kill from the Garbage People? Good question — and it assumes that Simon will be the one who has the choice, and not the other way around. Given the question Negan poses to Rick in the trailer for the next episode of the season, it's worth tackling ourselves: "Who's next?" Here's a quick rundown on who we're immediately worried about among the Walking Dead roster: 

• Jadis: If Negan and Simon get their wish, there's no one more recognizable among the Garbage People than their leader. Really, is there a second-in-command who would provide any emotional impact should he or she depart the series? If Negan and Simon's attack is meant to move the viewer, then the only candidate is the person in charge of the show.

• Simon: Granted, Negan's losing Saviors left and right. Gavin (Jayson Warner Smith) was just stabbed through the throat, the latest lieutenant removed from the board. Meanwhile, Eugene (Josh McDermitt) and Dwight (Austin Amelio) have both fled the coop. Simon needs to stick around for a bit longer, if only to give Negan a scene partner. Then again, Simon's death feels like it's a matter of when, not if — and when could come as soon as the next episode, theoretically.

• Gregory (Xander Berkeley): The former manager of the Hilltop was last seen as a prisoner under Maggie (Lauren Cohan), and in the trailer, we see Maggie making good on her midseason finale threat to deliver members of the Saviors to the Sanctuary in boxes. Could Gregory be the next person she makes an example of? There's comic-book precedent to believe it's possible.

• The Oceansiders: Aaron (Ross Marquand) and Enid (Katelyn Nacon) are seen with active roles in the next episode based on the trailer, embracing each other at one point. Last we saw them, the two Alexandrians were last seen at the mercy of the members of Oceanside, having accidentally killed their leader. In the trailer, they seem like they have found their way into the community's better graces, but will that hold should the Saviors — or a zombie horde — find their way into their world?

• Rick: It's not likely we'll lose the Walking Dead protagonist right away, not this close after he's lost his son, and likely not until we reach the season finale. But when we hit that moment? It's absolutely on the table, given the condition we see him in in the final image of "Honor." It's also possible that Rick could sustain some sort of mortal injury in the next episode, given that we see him and Michonne still inside the walls of Alexandria, battling their way toward safety. Even if he doesn't die in the next episode, he could suffer a wound that leads to his death later on down the line.

Who will die in the next episode of The Walking Dead? Sound off in the comments section below, and keep checking THR.com/WalkingDead for more coverage of season eight.

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