WARNING: This article contains massive spoilers for the most recent episode of The Walking Dead. If you are not caught up on the show then do not, and I mean DO NOT read the following article.
You have been warned.
Last chance...turn back now if you do not want to risk knowing what incredibly dramatic event occurred during Sunday night's episode of AMC's The Walking Dead.
Sunday night's episode of AMC's ground breaking and incredibly suspenseful series, The Walking Dead (based on the Image comic book series from Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard), was nothing short breath-taking. The episode was filled with death and is the third consecutive episode to be non-stop action and suspense for a new season that has hit the ground running and refuses to stop.
Just when you thought it was only going to be various walkers and the likes of Alexandrian #4, Alexandrian #7 and Alexandrian #16 that were going to get the axe (yeah, they all had names but for the immediate purposes we're not going to list them), we were subjected to one of the most heart-breaking and horrifying events to have ever rocked the series since its start in 2010.
Surrounded by a surreal and devastatingly large sized herd of walkers, fan-favorite character Glenn (Steven Yeun) and his on-the-rebound frenemy, Nicholas (Michael Traynor), were forced to climb on top of a dumpster with seemingly no escape route in sight. With the gravity of the situation weighing hard on a very disillusioned and frightened Nicholas, the cowardly character took the only route he deemed accessible...he opted out.
With a heartfelt "thank you" (also the title of the episode) to Glenn for being supportive of his redemption following the series of events last season, Nicholas put his gun to the side of his head and pulled the trigger. However, as a result, his lifeless body fell against Glenn and knocked him to the ground amidst the massive herd of flesh hungry monsters. Soon after, horrified audiences were given the following glimpse:
No doubt the Twitterverse exploded with shock, devastation and outrage over what had just transpired. However, fans were given a little bit of hope when it was never completely confirmed as to whether or not Glenn was really killed. After all, Nicholas' body had fallen on top of Glenn and could very well be the source of the guts being ripped apart.
It should also be noted that there was no "In Memoriam" to Glenn on the subsequent episode of AMC's Talking Dead. Nor was actor Steven Yeun present, as would be expected should his character's demise have occurred.
So, Is Glenn really dead?
As much as I would love to say no, it's this writer's presumption that yes...unfortunately, Glenn Rhee is dead...or at least will be quite soon. I say that because, in retrospect, the last three episodes have actually been catered to the imminent demise of the much beloved character.
Fans of the show can always think that they know when a character is about to die once certain things start to occur. It's commonly said that if a character starts to take any sort of moral stand (i.e.: Dale and T-Dogg) then they are going to get it. Hell, there was even a time early in the series where if they introduced a new African-American character then you needed to become very concerned for the existing one. But that's not an argument for this article and the show has moved on from those scenarios by incorporating a more diverse cast.
However, as predictable as one may think a character's death can be, nine times out of ten that is never the case and it's usually only in retrospect that you catch those subtle hints. The case of Glenn and the hints at his pending death were no different. You may have caught some of them and didn't realize it until after he was "gone." But they were there.
Here are the five reasons why I think Glenn really was just killed off.
1. He called Rick "Dumbass"
You may never think to catch it, but throwbacks to earlier seasons are a dead giveaway for a character's death. It's the writers' clever way of bringing a character arc full circle. When Andrea (Laurie Holden) got killed off at the end of season three, one of the last things she said to Rick was "I know how the safety works" (a reference to season one when Rick taught her how to use her gun). So when Glenn called Rick a dumbass – an obvious reference to episode one of the series when he said "Hey you. Dumbass. Yeah, you in the tank." – most audience members, myself included, mistook it as a simple endearing moment. But really it was that full circle reference for the Glenn/Rick relationship.
2. The Mirror Story
The episode introduced us to an Alexandrian named David (Jay Hugely) who got bit during an attack but stayed with the group as long as he could to see that they made it home. While on the way back, he tells Michonne (Danai Gurira) about his wife, how he met her after everything went down and how she brought him back from the brink and showed him happiness again. The guests on Talking Dead actually brought up the good point that his story mirrored the Glenn/Maggie relationship and it's purpose was to actually help sum up said relationship without you realizing it. The drama of Glenn's life and what he's leaving behind was summed up with words from another character and we didn't know it till it was over.
3. Rick Put Too Much Emphasis On Glenn Getting Home
Again, it's one of those things you don't think to catch because you have come to deem that certain characters (Rick, Glenn, Daryl, Michonne) are safe from getting killed off. So when Rick looked at Glenn and emphasized "YOU have to get home" it should have been a red flag that he wouldn't. And you know what...I don't think he will be.
4. The Ritual in the Convenient Store
Much like the throwback dialogue, dramatic scenes of reminiscence can also be a sign of pending doom. Right before Glenn and Nicholas left for the feed store, Glenn took a moment to himself and looked at the pocket watch that Herschel (Scott Wilson) had given him back in season two. In his mind he knew that he might not be making it out alive and showing him with that watch (knowing what it means to him) is a pretty good indicator that things are not okay.
5. The Deanna Story Has Been Prepping Us For The Maggie Story
Lastly, ever since Deanna's husband, Reg (Steve Coulter) was killed in the season five finale, Deanna (Tovah Feldshuh) has been a cold-hearted, emotionless shell. Maggie (Lauren Cohan) has been working with her and trying to rebuild her strength. She's been trying to make her realize that she needs to stay strong, in spite of losing Reg, for the sake of Alexandria. Could this be a precursor to Maggie needing to maintain her strength when Glenn dies? After all, it's only been a few weeks since the prison in TWD time. In the span of those weeks, Maggie has lost her father and her sister. Losing Glenn is going to wreck her. Possibly beyond repair.
Now, this is all speculation. I don't really know any better than anyone else what is actually going to happen. All we really know is that Glenn was in an incredibly dire situation and that [show runner] Scott Gimple promised the fans some closure and stated that Glenn, in some form – or parts of Glenn – will be seen again in an upcoming episode.
However, even if those were Nicholas' guts being pulled out, Glenn's head and shoulders are still exposed. He was pinned to the ground with hundreds of walkers descending upon him and he was doing a hell of a lot of screaming. It's going to be a huge suspension of disbelief if he makes it out of there without so much as a nibble from a walker.
I see it playing out one of three ways:
1. In an upcoming episode, Walker Glenn will come strolling into Alexandria
2. In an upcoming episode, Glenn will come strolling into Alexandria but he will have been bitten.
3. In an upcoming episode, people will go looking for Glenn and will only find his hand clutching the pocket watch.
Regardless, I just want to give massive praise to Steven Yeun. Not only has he masterfully crafted one of the best characters on the show over the past few years but the performance he gave this past Sunday was beyond phenomenal. If Glenn really is done then there really was no better way for him to go. It was an incredibly memorable scene and any actor on the show should only hope for something as unbelievable as that.
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