Negan’s Plan To Turn People On ‘The Walking Dead’ Is Incredibly Gross — But It Might Actually Work
There have been plenty of times that the heroes of The Walking Dead have covered themselves in the blood and guts of walkers in order to hide amongst the undead hordes. During the episode "Dead or Alive Or," Negan came up with the idea that you can kill people with walker blood. The Walking Dead hasn't shown any characters successfully doing that, so his theory sounds a little suspect.
Although Negan touted the importance of keeping humans alive to Simon in the previous episode, "The Lost and the Plunderers," he has grown increasingly impatient with Rick and crew. And if he can't threaten the Hilltop with ammunition, he's now going to try to turn some of them into zombies. But will his plan work?
Negan is frustrated (to say the least) with Eugene since he isn't making bullets fast enough, but the traitor scientist did inspire Negan. After Eugene discussed using scare tactics against the Hilltop, Negan got the idea that hitting people with walker blood and guts could turn them. He said to his Saviors, "Y'all know how it works. You get a bite. Some kind of wound from one of these things. Something from them gets in you and you die. You join the club. It sucks. But what if we could use that to our advantage?" He then dug Lucille into a walker and gleefully implied that the Saviors are going to launch that disgusting goo on the people of the Hilltop and watch them become zombies.
The preview for "The Key," proves that the Saviors will be moving forward with this plan in the next episode. Simon announces, "Today is about scaring these people. Hit a few, let 'em turn. But don't kill 'em." But will it really work? Usually, if you get a bite from a walker — or maybe a cut — you'll turn. But can people really turn just by making contact with the insides of a walker?
Because there have been eight seasons of disgusting walker guts, fans have some case studies to look at — going all the way back to the appropriately-titled Season 1 episode, "Guts." Rick came up with the idea to coat Glenn (aw, poor baby-faced Glenn!) and himself in the blood and guts of a dead person to cloak their human smell. In this case, there were a couple factors that ensured that they didn't become zombies: they chose a dead person who had not turned yet and they outfitted themselves in coats, gloves, and helmets before covering themselves with his insides. Plus, Rick had the foresight to tell the group, "Don't get any on your skin or in your eyes."
To be fair, pathology indicates that anyone would probably get an infection if a dead person's guts (zombie or otherwise) made contact with an entrance into the body — like an open cut or eyes. But it's particularly smart that Rick used such protective measures since he didn't know back then that every dead person becomes a zombie, so everyone is a carrier of the illness.
Other notable times that people cloaked themselves in walker guts were when Carol invaded Terminus like an ultimate badass in the Season 5 premiere and when a bunch of people, including Rick, Michonne, and Carl, used this technique in Alexandria in Season 6. In the latter case, Jessie and her two sons died, but it had nothing to do with the walker guts. So in all of these cases, no one became infected despite their risky behavior.
Yet, Father Gabriel's recent illness is a pretty strong indication that Negan's disgusting idea will work. What's interesting is that Gabriel donned walker guts back in Season 6 in Alexandria and it had no ill effects. But co-executive producer Denise Huth noted on Talking Dead after "Dead or Alive Or" that Gabriel has been sick ever since "he and Negan gutted up" in Episode 5 of Season 8.
When Talking Dead host Chris Hardwick asked if Father Gabriel was experiencing septic shock, Huth gave some more insight into the impending biological warfare. Huth said, "The science we never really know, we're not really understanding how the zombies occurred in the first place in this world, but it makes sense. It's interesting, I always loved in that episode back in [Season 8, Episode 5] where Negan says to [Gabriel] when they're starting to do it, 'Haven't any of your people ever gotten sick doing this?' So that was certainly an indication that Negan has seen that happen."
She added, "It's a rule if you get bit and it doesn't get chopped off like Hershel you're gonna get sick, you're gonna die, you're gonna turn. What happens when that guts get in your eyes or in your mouth or in an open wound? You don't know, you don't know," Huth said.
So when Negan and his Saviors start hitting Hilltop people with walker guts in "The Key," there's a chance they could do some damage. For instance, if a person has a cut or doesn't expect the guts and gets hit in the face, they might become susceptible to infection. And then, if they don't get antibiotics like Gabriel did, they could die and then turn. This plan might not kill that many people, but Negan's biological warfare will definitely hurt the already struggling community — especially considering pretty much all the doctors are dead now. (RIP Dr. Carson.)
While it's fairly surprising that no other demented survivor of the zombie apocalypse has thought to do this before, leave it to Negan to find a new way to destroy the hope of humanity. So prepare for Negan's plan to at least have a modicum of success. And in the meantime, someone should warn Nick from Fear The Walking Dead — because that guy is always gearing up in guts.