Who Is The Surprise Guest 'The Talking Dead' For The 'Walking Dead' Mid-Season Finale? It's Either a Casualty or a Killer

Who would have thought that the thing making me most nervous about tonight's winter finale of The Walking Dead would have little to do with the show itself. The guests for Sunday night's Talking Dead with Chris Hardwick include The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman and actor and comedian Keegan-Michael Key. Also, a mystery cast member on the panel, leaving us all dying to know who is the mystery guest on The Talking Dead? Whoever it is holds some major role in Sunday's "Coda."

So I've done some digging and hypothesizing.

We have already heard from Emily Kinney and Tyler James Woods this season. Usually, the reason The Talking Dead withholds a cast member's name is because that character is about to die unexpectedly. I am in denial about the possibility that either Carol, Beth, or Glenn could die in this Sunday's episode "Coda," so I refuse to even entertain the thought that Melissa McBride or Steven Yeun could be the mystery guest. My bet is that Dawn, played by Christine Woods, will be Talking Dead 's mystery guest. Another possibility is Erik Jensen, who plays Doctor Steven Edwards. However, unless he does something big, the character we need to hear most from is Officer Lerner herself.

Neither of these Grady Memorial employees have had the chance to make a case or explain their situation on the after-show. If this is indeed the end of the hospital arc on the series, we're gonna need some closure from the actors as well as the character. The mystery location is defined by its equally mysterious leader. In last week's episode of The Walking Dead, I was surprised by the time jump. We met up with the group after Noah had already explained to them what Grady Memorial Hospital had become, who Officer Dawn Lerner was and what she was about. They repeated that information, that we already knew, back to us as they went about their rescue mission. It was a lot of telling instead of showing, which was odd. We need more.

We haven't really seen Dawn tested yet. She has a handle on her officers and she has the appearance of a handle on Beth. Helping Beth save Carol may have just been another tactic to keep everyone under her reign. This all points to something big happening in the final episode of 2014, and I think it would be remiss not to have Christine Woods on Talking Dead to help us make sense of her complex character.

However, I am not without doubts. (Knowing Dawn Lerner's twisted logic, this is not surprising.) Whether she dies or not, we know that Dawn will play a big role in the episode. So if Christine Woods is the guest, why keep her appearance a secret? Is it just to bring the speculation to a boil? The fact that Robert Kirkman is joining for this episode makes me think that the plot is getting back on track with its source material, and Dawn is (so far) not part of the comics. Maybe Morgan is going to return in a particularly shocking way that Kirkman could provide insight about. Or worse, maybe the dead character is someone who has already died in the comics. That could mean Glenn, Carol, or Tyrese at this point. Or Beth — though Beth Greene specifically is not a character in the comic series.

Bottom line: This secret guest business has me guessing and none of this sounds good to me!

Image: Jordin Althaus/AMC; walkingdeaths/Tumblr