Is Glenn”s fate on ‘The Walking Dead” the football to the audience”s Charlie Brown?
After three weeks of dangling his fate like a carrot on a string, “The Walking Dead” finally revealed what happened to Glenn after Nicholas knocked them both into a herd of walkers as his final – inept – act. If you”ve yet to see the episode, flee now.
If you don”t want to know about possible spoilers from “The Walking Dead” comic and what that could mean for the back half of the season in 2016, flee now.
If you want to live in a hopeful world where everything is gonna be okay at the end of the day, flee now.
For the rest of you? Are you as worried about Negan as I am?
WARNING: “THE WALKING DEAD” SPOILERS AND SPECULATION BEYOND THIS POINT.
This season of “The Walking Dead” has been uniquely structured. Other than Morgan”s origin story and the flashbacks in the first episode, everything has happened in a 48 hour period of time. It”s basically the Worst Day Ever™ for the inhabitants of Alexandria. The Group is hustling to keep everyone alive whether by leading the walkers on a merry chase or teaching these adult toddlers how to defend themselves (to varying degrees of success).
But the theme of the season is how does humanity push forward in this brave new world? Not physically – Deanna”s got that on lock with her SimCity planning skills – but emotionally. Rick and Carol represent one extreme, which is kill everyone that isn”t us. Morgan and Glenn represent the other…everyone is worth saving. In the middle stands Daryl, trying to regain his faith in humanity and having it bite him in the ass.
“The Walking Dead” writers have made it ABUNDANTLY clear where they stand on this issue. For all their paranoid, vaguely psychopathic ways, Rick and Carol have been right. Not everyone deserves a second chance. Each time a character has tried to extend an olive branch, it has blown up in their face.
#1: In “Always Accountable,” Daryl tries to help out Dwight, Shelly, and Tina and gets robbed for his effort. To add insult to injury, he came back because Tina”s was diabetic and the girl didn”t even live another hour.
#2: In “JSS,” Morgan can”t bring himself to kill the people who are literally marauding their way through Alexandria, murdering people indiscriminately. Instead, he let”s a bunch of armed invaders escape…the same invaders Rick has to kill in the next episode. At the end of “Here”s Not Here,” you realize Morgan has captured a Wolf and is keeping him locked in the basement. One can only assume this will end in tears.
#3: In “Thank You,” Glenn”s pity/mercy of Nicholas almost gets him killed. It”s not the first time Glenn”s faith in humanity was rewarded thusly. Nicholas was responsible for Noah”s death as well.
#4: In “Head”s Up,” even Rick falls victim when he tries to teach Ron how to use a gun. This is a kid who hates Rick for murdering his father and hooking up with his mother. Ron also has a chip on his shoulder about Carl ‘stealing” Enid. By the end of the episode, fans of the comic should be in fear for Carl”s eye.
All of this is too say, maybe we shouldn”t get too attached to Glenn surviving the herd of walkers. The push/pull of this season between those clinging to their humanity and those who shed it like a old skin is coming to a head with the introduction of Negan.
“The Walking Dead” has not shied away from killing ‘core” characters in the past. We lost Beth and Tyreese in back-to-back episodes. We haven”t lost a major cast member since Noah. I have a theory. If Glenn”s life is the football and the audience is Charlie Brown, Negan is Lucy. We just survived a harrowing ordeal that put Glenn”s survival into question. This is not the first time the show has done this. Glenn has been surrounded by walkers on multiple occasions. At this point, it”s become the ‘boy who cried zombie.” We”ve mourned his loss and fretted over his fate. No matter how many times “The Walking Dead” puts him in danger going forward, the threat won”t feel real. Fans have been lulled into a sense of security that Glenn will always survive.
Enter Negan. A man with no care about the innate humanity of others. A man willing display his power by unceremoniously braining a member of The Group. In the comics, he chose Glenn. If AMC decides to mirror this storyline, the gut punch would be brutal and immediate. No waffling over if Glenn could escape another scrape. Just visceral on-screen death. After surviving so much, after always thinking the best of people, after being the shining beacon of pragmatic optimism, Glenn going out like that would be the final nail in the coffin for Morgan”s outlook on life.
Walkers aren”t the danger. Other people are.
What do you guys think? Has “The Walking Dead” saved Glenn only to break our hearts again?