The Walking Dead said goodbye to…

October 26, 2015 16:29:06 Posted at October 26, 2015 16:29:06
Sarah Posted by Sarah


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Last night’s Walking Dead featured the first shocking death of the sixth season—although probably not the last—as the show says goodbye to Glenn. I’ll be doing a full four-episode recap after next week’s supersized episode, so for now let’s just talk about Glenn. I actually had Glenn marked to die this season in my preview,  because by the end of last season he had become superfluous to main events. At first, Glenn was essential to Rick’s development as the CEO of Rick & Co. He was the one who not only saved Rick from the zombie horde in downtown Atlanta in the pilot, but he also introduced Rick to the group.

His initial function was to teach Rick to survive, and as Rick grew more adept on his own, Glenn became his moral compass. No matter what happened to him, he remained kind, which made him an important element in Rick & Co.’s early dynamic—evidence to Rick that a person can survive in the zombie apocalypse and still be decent. He also had his sweet romance with Maggie, which gave him an independent storyline to nurture away from Rick. But after the prison fell, Glenn started to feel like a third wheel.

The problem was character development. Unless the writers threw out his #1 defining trait—his kindness—Glenn had no more character to develop. And as Daryl evolved and began acting as Rick’s beta, it pushed Glenn further outside the group dynamic. They tried to save it by inflicting him with doubts and insecurities, but that just turned him into a whiny asshole no one liked. They almost completely ran Glenn into the ground last season, but then he got a revival in the back half of episodes. That’s never a good sign on The Walking Dead, where the writers routinely invest in a character right before s/he dies (see also: Beth, Tyreese, Noah).

Are we being Jon Snow’d?

But of course, because we don’t actually see Glenn clock out and/or his reanimated corpse, people are making the leap that he’s still alive. I’ll repeat something I said about Jon Snow’s death in the season finale of Game of Thrones—the way the scene is shot, Glenn is dead. It is made to look like his guts are being pulled out and feasted upon by zombies as he watches in terror. Could Nicholas have landed on top of him? Sure. But Glenn was also surrounded by a cohort of zombies. As it is presented in this episode, with the context we’re given, we’re to assume Glenn is dead. I don’t buy Jon Snow’s death is permanent simply because his storyline is clearly still in progress, but like I said, Glenn’s time has come to a close. Showrunner Scott Gimple says we may see more of Glenn: “In some way we will see Glenn—some version of Glenn or parts of Glenn—again. Either in flashback or the current story to help complete the story.”

Could he come back with Saviors, as he does in the comics? Maybe. The show is headed toward Negan and the Saviors, so that’s on the table. But it’s more likely that Glenn is dead, that his kindness finally got him killed (which proves Crazy Rick 3.0 right, by the way, that being “soft” is dangerous). Any ambiguity being nurtured about Glenn’s fate is likely down to two things: 1) The characters don’t know he’s dead, and the show is echoing that in the real world, and 2) we’re probably going to get a dream/ghost Glenn like we did Lori once upon a time, and only after that will Glenn officially clock out. We’ll find out one way or another in the coming weeks.

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