Or, at least, that’s what the show wants us to think after the coward Nicholas committed suicide, dragging Glenn down into a horde of zombies where he appeared to be eaten. Appeared being the operative word.
See, I’m not so convinced that the show’s last remaining beacon of morality (oh wait, Morgan just showed up . . . ) would be cast aside a) in such a forgettable way or b) in such a divergence from the source material.
SPOILERS FOR THOSE WHO HAVE NOT READ ROBERT KIRKMAN’S COMICS
Glenn is indeed on the chopping block soon. This season, in fact. In one of the ongoing series’ most iconic and brutal moments, Rick’s Alexandrians are introduced to the series’ biggest villain yet – Negan – who proceeds to beat Glenn to death with his barbed-wire baseball bat “Lucille.” It’s one of the best entrances for a Big Bad you could ask for but off the table if this is truly Glenn’s end. I have a hard time believing they would jettison that moment so Glenn could die as part of another character’s arc, let alone one as disliked as Nicholas (Michael Traynor).
Adding credence to the theory is confirmation that they are currently casting Negan to appear in the season six finale (please, please, please let it be Jon Hamm) and proof that Glenn’s portrayer Steven Yeun has been filming long afterward. Anticipating people like me speculating endlessly about this (anybody remember similar mental masturbation when Colin Farrell took it in the chest from the Bird?), showrunner Scott M. Gimple sent this statement via recap show Talking Dead:
“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 atTalking 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,” Gimple wrote. “In some way, we will see Glenn, some version of Glenn or parts Glenn again, either in flashback, or current story, to help complete the story.”
We won’t be completing the story next week though, as Episode 4 “Here’s Not Here” is set to be Morgan’s big flashback episode where we see how he went from the psycho loner of Season 3’s “Clear” to this season’s zen warrior. Prolonging the question is a familiar narrative trick of Gimple’s, who let the mystery of what happened to Beth linger for months in between Seasons 4 and 5.
Shockingly, Glenn’s supposed death wasn’t even the conclusion of the episode (another clue). That belonged to Rick, who came up with a new plan with his surviving compatriots once the Wolves’ horn derailed his previous one. With half the horde headed for Alexandria, Rick would run, get the RV, and circle back to draw them away again. Meanwhile, Glenn and Michonne would leave seven Alexandrian redshirts – Heath, Scott, Annie, Nicholas, David, Sturgess and Barnes – back to town and Daryl, Abraham and Sasha would continue leading their part of the herd away.
Heath overhears Rick telling Michonne and Glenn that the redshirts will most likely die and to not let that prevent them from reaching Alexandria. Trust is a big theme in this episode, whether is Glenn and Nicholas’ bond or Heath’s distrust of Rick and his friends for their harsh worldviews. While neither Glenn nor Michonne intend to leave anyone behind, she defends Rick’s perspective with a great “Reason You Suck” speech to Heath.
“Because you haven’t had to do it any other way. You haven’t been through it… Have you ever done things that made you feel afraid of yourself afterward? Have you ever been covered in so much blood that you didn’t know if it was yours, or walkers’, or your friends’?”
Of course, Rick is proven right in the end. Clumsiness and cowardice end up killing Barnes and Sturgess and wounding Scott while Annie and David fared braver but not better. Of course we all know what happened to Nicholas but we can take solace in the fact that it is MOST LIKELY his body being torn to shreds on top of Glenn while he crawled beneath the dumpster in time to survive.
The show wouldn’t kill Glenn now . . . would it?