Since the airing of season 6’s “Thank You,” the talk around AMC’s The Walking Dead has been how Glenn is going to get out of his latest jam. When last we saw the man who was once a pizza delivery driver and is now one of the most trusted members of Rick’s Group, he was in quite the pickle. While we didn’t actually see Glenn die, we did see him fall into the middle of dozens of walkers after Nicholas decided to take his own life.
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There have been a number of people who have tried to claim that because Nicholas landed on top of Glenn and the zombies are first making that corpse a meal, Glenn is going to find a way to escape and get back to Maggie and Alexandria, likely at the end of the first half of this season. This will allow the group to assume he’s dead and start to cope with his death only to have him pop up miraculously, bringing just a little bit of joy into a world colored by despair. There’s just one problem. Glenn is dead and everyone hoping for this storybook ending needs to move on.
How do I know he’s dead despite the fact The Walking Dead showrunners have clearly attempted to make his demise just ambiguous enough to give fans of the series hope? Because his survival at this point wouldn’t make sense, from a writing perspective on a number of levels. First of all, we’ve already had far too many “Glenn is dead” fake-outs in this series. We even had one near the end of season 5 involving Nicholas when we thought the Alexandrian had shot and killed Maggie’s beau. There’s a reason the old saying goes, “fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.” There is such a thing as going to the well too often and yet another situation where Nicholas led Glenn to apparent death only to squeak out of it by the skin of his teeth would simply be too much.
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An even better reason to believe Glenn’s really gone this time is because surviving situations like this are just now how this world works. The Walking Dead has gone to great lengths to show us none of the survivors, not even Rick or Carl, are superhuman. Think back to the people who were originally part of the group in season one. Only Glenn, Rick, and Carl are still around and that’s mostly in part thanks to the fact that they’ve never really found themselves in an impossible situation. They’ve been smart enough to stay out of those.
Glenn giving Nicholas one chance after another to try and redeem himself is meant to show us this approach will eventually kill people in this world. We’ve seen it time and again. We saw it with Morgan when he allowed the Wolves he ran across to live, only to come back and wreak havoc on the city of Alexandria. Suddenly showing Glenn making the same kinds of mistakes and yet somehow surviving, just because he’s a fan favorite would be the ultimate betrayal to the people who have hung with the show this long.
So what? You say. The showrunners have changed hands and the vision for The Walking Dead has changed so much, this wouldn’t be a betrayal of Gimple’s vision would it? Perhaps it’s even tempting for Scott Gimple (the current showrunner) to embrace this excuse. I don’t think even he would be dumb enough to do something like that. I’m holding out hope at the very least.
The Walking Dead season 6 airs Sundays at 9pm on AMC.
(Image courtesy of AMC)