Wednesday, October 28, 2015

4 reasons a major death on 'The Walking Dead' might not have actually happened

Before we get started talking about you-know-who getting you-know-what, please, please back away from the computer screen if you haven’t seen Sunday’s The Walking Dead because dear Lord, there are huge, huge, major spoilers ahead. Seriously, major SPOILER ALERT.

Ok, with that out of the way, let’s talk about what may or may not have happened to Glenn during Sunday’s shocking episode.

From the outside, it looks like dear, beloved Glenn, everyone’s favorite post-apocalyptic boyfriend, met a grisly end when he and Nicholas, the bumbling Alexandrian who clearly doesn’t have what it takes to survive in this zombie infested world, were cornered by a horde of walkers and seemingly torn to shreds.

But, is that what really happened? Or are we being led down a very devious path to find out that Glenn may have actually survived?

Let’s take a look at the key reasons Glenn could possibly have made it out alive.
1. Glenn wasn’t featured in the “In Memoriam” segment of The Talking Dead.

I’m relatively new to Walking Dead fandom but the Internet assures me that after every episode, Chris Hardwick takes viewers through all the deaths on the show and features them in a montage segment. This week, fans waited to see Glenn’s name pop up and surprise! He wasn’t listed.
2. This cryptic statement from showrunner Scott Gimple:

Dear fans of “The Walking Dead,” this is a hard story to tell, and when we were planning to tell it, we knew our friends over at Talking Dead would be talking to you about it. And knowing you’d talking and feeling and commiserating, I knew we should say something about it, lest our silence say something we didn’t mean to say or not say. So I will say this: In some way we will see Glenn, some version of Glenn, or parts of Glenn again…either in flashback or current story, to help complete the story.

What does that mean? Having not read any of the comic books, I’m not sure how Glenn’s story arc on the show relates to the written material, but by the sounds of it, there’s still a lot of story left to be told. We could potentially see Glenn as a zombie, but that would be unbearably sad.
3. It’s not Glenn’s body that we see being torn apart by zombies

When Nicholas shoots himself in the head on top of the dumpster he literally takes Glenn down with him. Now, we see both bodies fall to the ground but it looks like Nicholas ends up on top of Glenn.

There’s a chance that the zombies are tearing into Nicholas’ body, leaving Glenn lying beneath him and allowing him some chance to escape. Glenn is a survivor, and he could feasibly back away and crawl under the dumpster until help arrives. This feels like a stretch, but it’s the only explanation for how Glenn possibly makes it out of this alive.
4. Glenn’s “death” was telegraphed a little too well

There have been a lot of grisly deaths on The Walking Dead, but most come either when you least expect them, like Tyreese, or at the end of formidable character arcs, like Hershel. Glenn’s death is the most shocking because, while it didn’t adhere to these narrative tropes, it felt like the writers were trying a little too hard to give Glenn a proper send-off.

First, he makes a speech about how much he loves Maggie and would die to protect her and the community. Next, he takes a look at the watch Hershel gave him back at the farm. Finally, and I think the writers really tipped their hands with this one, he signs off on his last conversation with Rick by saying, “Good luck, dumb ass.”

Which, as true Walking Dead junkies know, is a call back to Rick and Glenn’s first meeting, when Glenn reaches out to him the tank and says, ‘Hey, dumb ass.” It sets up a nice symmetry that this show just doesn’t do.

That’s all pretty healthy evidence that we haven’t seen the last of Glenn, but viewers shouldn’t rejoice just yet.

The Walking Dead is brutal and takes pleasure in our pain. No character, no matter how beloved, is ever safe. And every death that’s happened, has happened for maximum soul-crushing potential. Poor Noah died just as he was starting to have hope again. Lori tragically bled out from a very ill-advised C-section just as it looked like she and Rick were going to reconcile. Good things don’t happen without consequence. And that consequence is usually some form of zombie maiming.

So, even if we do see Glenn again, it’s a good bet that we won’t see him for long. In any case, now is a good time to appreciate one of the best and most underrated characters on any current TV show. Here’s to you, Glenn Rhee.

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