Is Glenn Really Dead? Debating ‘The Walking Dead’s Latest ‘Kill’
SPOILER ALERT: Stop reading now if you haven’t watched Sunday’s episode of The Walking Dead!
Over the last six seasons, AMC’s The Walking Dead has become famous for killing off beloved main characters in shocking ways (RIP Shane, Lori, Andrea, Beth, Tyreese, among others). But Sunday’s episode might have contained the biggest shocker in show history as fan-favorite Glenn Rhee (Steven Yeun) met his fate at the hands of the zombie herd on his way back to Alexandria.
Or did he?
Let’s look at the facts. As the group tasked with corralling the herd raced back to the Safe-Zone, Glenn and Alexandrian Nicholas (Michael Traynor) broke off from the rest of the pack in an attempt to lure the undead to an abandoned feed mill where they would burn the massive hoard of walkers. But when they discovered the building was already destroyed, the herd closed in on them from all directions, forcing them to find refuge on top of a dumpster surrounded by dozens of hungry flesh-eaters. Suddenly, a dazed Nicholas turned to Glenn, said “thank you,” took out his gun and shot himself in the head. A stunned Glenn reached out to catch his limp body, and the two fell into the middle of the walkers. What followed was a gruesome display of blood and guts being ripped out in front of Glenn’s screaming face, leading viewers to believe that the former pizza delivery boy is now zombie chow.
But why would the series kill off one of its most heroic characters in such a way? Fans of the comics know that Glenn famously perished at the hands of villain Negan and his spiked bat named Lucille, both of which the AMC drama has yet to introduce. Glenn’s death would also be a crushing blow to his wife, Maggie (Lauren Cohan), who already lost her father Hershel (Scott Wilson) in Season 4 and half-sister Beth (Emily Kinney) last season.
Throughout the first three episodes of Season 6, The Walking Dead has already proven it can play with story structure and time, most notably in the unconventional flashback-driven season premiere. Could Glenn’s “death” been just another example of the show playing with time, or maybe even a hallucination in Glenn’s mind after witnessing Nicholas’s horrific act of suicide? Or could Nicholas’s body have just fallen on top of Glenn when they hit the ground? Maybe the blood and guts that viewers see in the foreground belong to Nicholas, with Glenn’s intact body safely underneath the carnage.
Hopefully we will get a definitive answer on Glenn’s fate during next week’s supersized 90-minute episode. Until then, let the speculation begin! Is Glenn definitely a goner, or is this some clever misdirection to stir up the fans?
UPDATE: During this week’s episode of The Talking Dead, host Chris Hardwick read this statement from executive producer Scott M. Gimple: “This is a hard story to tell … I knew we should say something about it, lest our silence say something we didn’t mean to say, or not say. So I’ll say this: In some way, we will see Glenn, some version of Glenn, or parts of Glenn again, either in flashback or in the current story, to help complete the story.”