Warning: Storyline and character spoilers ahead for the “Thank You” episode of The Walking Dead.
Are you okay? Have you gotten a hug, commiserated with your fellow TWD fans online, patted the head of your Glenn Rhee Funko Pop! Vinyl figure? Because, look, we get it… it’s looking like Glenn might have just taken a ride on that big RV in the sky, the one where former apocalyptic survivors go when their time living under the Ricktatorship is done.
But — and we fully admit to proffering these theories because we, too, don’t want to believe that Glenn is really gone, that those could have been his guts being gnawed on like a pack of Twizzlers by those zombies, that it was his blood spurting into the air in front of that trash bin — maybe hope is not lost.
We know Nicholas is a goner. And yes, it looks like the weasel-turned-decent guy re-coward-ed himself sufficiently enough to take Glenn out with him. Also, in nods to the past, Glenn looked at his beloved pocket watch, the one from his late father-in-law Hershel, and called Rick a “dumb-ass,” the very name he called Rick the first time they met in Season 1’s “Guts.” As soon as the “dumb-ass” left his mouth, we thought, “Oh, no! Glenn’s gonna die!” And the biggest reason it looks like Glenn might be dead: He fell into a giant pit of walkers.
But — here’s where we finally offer that hope — there are ways to explain why Maggie’s hubs should not be counted out just yet:
1. In The Walking Dead comics, Glenn does not die in this fashion. True, the TV series has diverged from the comics in ways big and small, on many occasions. We won’t spoil specifics for those still working their way through the comic series, or those who plan to, but suffice it to say this would be a very big departure — one that would impact other major storylines and the introduction of other characters, including one fans are excitedly awaiting.
2. Glenn and Nicholas were standing on a giant trash bin. They fell off it. It appears that Nicholas landed on top of Glenn, so perhaps it was Nicholas’s blood and innards that spilled forth as walker nummies, not Glenn’s.
3. That trash bin? Maybe Glenn rolls under it before the walkers get at him.
4. Or, covered with the blood and guts of Nicholas, maybe Glenn escapes walker detection long enough to climb into the trash bin.
5. Why would TWD writers throw out flashbacks to Hershel’s watch and Glenn’s initial meeting with Rick unless they were foreshadowing his death? Uh, to set up one of the best cliffhangers ever? Besides, if Glenn really was gonna die, wouldn’t there have been more of a nod to Maggie?
6. More evidence in support of that cliffhanger set-up: The storytelling structure so far this season has switched the focus between groups. The Season 6 premiere established Rick’s plan to deal with the herd. Episode 2 focused on what was going on in Alexandria during that time. “Thank You” switched focus to what was going on outside the safe zone, i.e. to Glenn, Rick, Michonne, etc. If that continues, the focus on the Glenn portion of the story might not return until Episode 5, keeping viewers waiting for two weeks for confirmation on Glenn’s status. Cliffhanger, friendos, as a certain TWD showrunner might say.
7. Actually, if Glenn really was going to die, wouldn’t he have gotten a bigger send-off? Wouldn’t it play out across a whole episode, at least, Tyreese-style? Or be more dramatic, like when Hershel got de-noggin-ized by The Governor? If Glenn is dead, his body would be so decimated by that throng of walkers that no remnant of him will ever be found (especially since everyone else in his group who’s still alive has fled back to Alexandria). Is that the way a beloved character like Glenn Rhee would be taken out?
8. Enid took off from Alexandria at the end of “JSS,” meaning she’s probably still in the general area… maybe she’ll stumble upon, and help, Glenn.
Far-fetched? Maybe. Desperate attempts to explain how Glenn could live on? Yup. Think you can do better? We’re waiting to hear your thoughts.
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on AMC.