At the end of Sunday night’s new episode of “The Walking Dead,” we found ourselves feeling especially bullish on a simple interpretation of the ending. However, have the past 14 hours or so changed things? (Warning: Obvious spoilers ahead!)
When we first saw what happened with Nicholas and Glenn, it was easy to have one read on it: Glenn was gone. This was a way to emphasize that really anyone is in danger on this show. Producers had grown somewhat comfortable with getting rid of occasionally significant characters like a Tyreese or a Beth, but leaving around the same core of regulars who had been with the show since the very beginning. If you want to prove that you have the guts to kill off someone like a Rick or a Daryl, you have to start with getting rid of a Glenn.
Over the aforementioned period of time, there is mounting evidence that somehow, Glenn will make his way out of this. Steven Yeun seems to have a deal to stick around on the show for some time (not that this matters much — Andrew J. West was promoted to series regular and then killed after three episodes), “Talking Dead” did not feature in during the In Memoriam, and executive producer Scott M. Gimple promised in a statement that we would see the character again in one form or another. Also, there’s still Negan, and longtime fans of the comic are very much familiar with Glenn’s history with him.
However, isn’t there a certain wait to getting rid of Glenn now, and then leaving Negan completely open to recreate his “history” with someone else? We love then Glenn character and his perpetual sense of optimism, but it feels like there is no logical, satisfying way to wrap up this story other than having the guy bite the dust.
If you bring him back, the precedent is set that somehow, main characters have some sort of special powers that no one else has. They can survive being surrounded with walkers and seemingly facing death at every turn, and the writers will protect them until either the end of the series, or an extremely special circumstance where one will go. If that suspense is gone, so is a big part of the show.
At the end of the “Arrow” season 3 midseason finale, we said that it could be the show’s undoing if they don’t explain how Oliver Queen comes back from seemingly falling off the side of the mountain. We knew that they weren’t killing off the main character, but they had to make it believable and they didn’t. That remains a black mark on an otherwise good show; it has been able to survive it, but the damage could be worse for “The Walking Dead” if Glenn lives. We’re not saying that it will be in any danger of going off the air (it’s the #1 show on TV, people), but a huge piece of its reputation will be bitten off in the way that Glenn at this point should be.
Will you feel cheated if Glenn survives? Let us know in the comments, and head over here for more reaction to Sunday’s big episode? Also, sign up here to get some other TV news on everything we cover via our CarterMatt Newsletter. (Photo: AMC.)