Talking Out The Dead: “Thank You”

Kelen Conley: I’ve been delaying starting this column.

October has been one of the roughest months of my life for reasons I’d rather not say. Those reasons are why we’re currently behind on Talking Out The Dead. But I really needed TotD this week after Season 6’s third episode.

Glenn Rhee is dead. I’m sure even non-fans of the show know this by now, almost a full week after the episode aired. And this is easily the toughest death for me so far on this show. Heather always said it was Hershel for her but I always felt like his arc had reached its natural end. Rick needed Hershel’s death so that he could be the man he turned into when everyone was reunited after Terminus. Farmer Rick wouldn’t have lasted out on the road. Hershel’s death served a purpose.

I feel like Glenn’s did not.

I could feel it coming, like I could Hershel’s death but not like this. The way they were setting up character beats, like the way Nicholas seemed to now respect Glenn or the way Maggie and Tara talked about him when they had their chat in episode 1. I pointed out to Angel that Glenn called Rick “dumbass”, something he used when he saw Rick crawl into that tank in the first episode of the series. It felt heavy handed and I knew why… but again, I never expected Glenn to die like this.

The idea of a herd of walkers ripping him apart isn’t farfetched in this world but similar to “Conquer”, Nicholas led Glenn into a trap. What wasn’t evident in “First Time Again” is Nicholas’ PTSD and repeatedly, he hesitates or completely zones out as things go from bad to worse in this episode. When Glenn told him that he couldn’t handle himself outside of Alexandria, he was telling him the truth. And with a herd of walkers surrounding the dumpster the two men were standing on, Nicholas realized he wasn’t cut out for this world and opted out. All over Glenn’s face. His dead body then made an awkward leap towards our hero, knocking him to the ground. Glenn’s face was a crimson mask of horror as his vital organs were ripped out by the walkers and the camera zoomed out as the herd over took both he and Nicholas’ bodies.

Rick told Michonne and Glenn to make sure that they made it home and Glenn didn’t do that because Glenn has never left anyone behind. He was always the person who could get in and out of places fast, something that led Maggie to lecture him shortly after sleeping with him in Season 2. In later seasons, Glenn took fewer risks as he and Maggie were married and even contemplated having a child, but he was still a good person when push came to shove.

As Daryl and Michonne became Rick’s go-to “soldiers”, Glenn quietly took a leadership role of his own, which became evident when the prison went down and he first encountered Abraham, Eugene, and Rosita. Determined to find his wife, he convinced Abraham how valuable he was and convinced him to temporarily abandon his own mission to get to DC to help him. After Terminus, it was often Glenn who would find a solution when the others couldn’t (like with getting the RV running) and he managed to keep morale up when the group was out on the road.

Should Glenn have killed Nicholas? I still say no. I think it would’ve changed who he was and he wouldn’t have been as valuable. He would’ve been holed up in his house in Alexandria questioning himself for the first time in the entire series. And there’s no way Rick’s plan could have worked without Glenn being involved.

I really think Glenn should have stopped relying on Nicholas for directions after the second time he checked out on him. Glenn has always been good with directions in earlier situations and often he was without a map. If Glenn had taken the lead, I doubt that he ends up under a pile of walkers. And I know that he and Nicholas left the rest of the group to set fire to that building (which was already burnt? More on that in my second section) but both of them would’ve been safer with Glenn up front.

Considering where the series is at now, I’ll go ahead and say that I expected Glenn to die because of how he died in the comic (which was thanks to a baseball bat named Lucille) in correlation with where they were in the series. To have Glenn be dead due to the error of someone else (just like Dale) just feels unfair. As someone who’s been in the series since episode 2, I would want his death to mean more. Sacrificing himself for the group or for Maggie or even for an Alexandrian who couldn’t defend themselves. This is the equivalent of Glenn talking to Maggie safely within Alexandria and Glenn being killed by a random sniper shot.

Glenn is dead because Nicholas couldn’t handle himself. Which he knew but he never thought once that he shouldn’t trust him. No, that’s not true because I could see it on his face that he saw Nicholas was coming unhinged and yet, he still followed him because he knew the area better. Which leads me to another point that I just thought of: Glenn’s death is partially his fault because of his inaction.

Rick told him to make it home. If they had went Ricktator on the rest of the people they had with them, he and Michonne would’ve made it home shortly after the Wolves attack had been quelled. Instead, we have Michonne, Heath, and Scott coming back to a somewhat devastated Alexandria.

I’m still in shock that Glenn Rhee is dead. And yet, this move may once again prove that Season 6 is going to be the best season of The Walking Dead ever. The fact that he went out how he did, even though I don’t agree with it, is a ballsy move and it still proves the fact that no one on TWD is safe (although I think Rick and Daryl are still death proof).

I refuse to entertain the idea that Glenn made it under the dumpster, or that some unknown cavalry shows up in time to take out the herd and that Glenn was under Nicholas unharmed. If Glenn lives through this, it’ll cheapen his actual death later in the season or the series. He would have to live to the series finale for me to be okay with TWD saying, “just kidding!”

Rest in peace Glenn. You’ve definitely earned your rest my friend.

Thomas Crawford: I have to agree with you on so many levels. It is basically to wrap my head around much of what happened in this episode besides the death of Glenn. First, for all the naysayers.

There has been nothing but thoughts and conspiracies that Glenn somehow manages to come out a live. I have to admit. Part of me would find it cool if by some slim chance he did. However, at the same time I don’t think it will happen. He was surrounded, there was literally no where for him to go. I know people are saying things like they didn’t actually show him being ripped apart, or that Nicholas fell on top, or whatever. The fact is, I have to say he is gone just so I don’t get my own hopes up.

Yes, I also agree that if somehow he makes it out, it will feel like a cop out. I would go as far as to say that I would lose some respect for the show’s writers if they managed to wiggle Glenn out of this one. Yes I’d be happy, but it would feel a little tarnished. The one thing about this show that has always been a draw is the fact that there is not really a safe person. I should correct that, because we all know that some characters will probably survive until the show’s ending. However, except for these couple or few, anyone is on the chopping block. We have spent many articles debating who is going to get it, and what the big kill will be during the season.

I also have to say, that the manner of death for this character did sort seem strange. That is probably why so many people are having a tough time with Glenn be killed off. There seems to be no point. He didn’t sacrifice himself, he didn’t die to achieve an objective, actually the group didn’t need the fire to escape. He just trusted Nicholas, got cornered, and ended up walker chow.

I think that is the hardest for most to swallow, that this seems a pointless death for a character that has been through so much. It is also where you and I disagree. I think that it is huge to take out a character in this manner. It just adds a sense of realism to the show that can’t be matched by other supernatural shows or any show where there are protagonists that get out of jams every week endlessly. This show is great at building up characters, and then just taking them out suddenly. If you think back, Tyreese’s death seemed pointless. However, he lost his focus for a split second and then he was done.

On could even argue back to Beth. How pointless was it to take her out, not by a walker, but by the person letting her go free. This to me was one of the most pointless deaths and a huge shock. Mostly because Beth had been around, but also because they had rounded out her character and built it into something more. I can feel you disagreeing with my thoughts here, but just got to say it is what I think.

Trusting Nicholas was definitely the problem. I think that you are right Glenn should have stopped listening to Nicholas as soon as he started fading out. If not Glenn, Michonne should have taken notice. I think this is going to be hard to swallow, but Glenn is partly responsible for letting Nicholas go with him to light the building on fire.

That is one thing that does piss me off. Glenn has always been the go to guy about getting around and finding the routes. I am sort of still scratching my head about why he didn’t leave Nicholas in the building, and just ask for directions. That is probably the toughest thing I’m trying to figure out. He could have easily gone over a street or two out an alley, and set a random building on fire. Instead, he let Nicholas lead him in a long jaunt around town to get to a specific building? Anyways, that was definitely a failure on Glenn’s part.

I still think Glenn should have ended Nicholas after the second, the SECOND time he left him to walkers. You are right though that is not who Glenn is. It would seriously screw up my view of the character if it had gone down that way. I will say that Glenn should not have taken Nicholas with him. All of that is on Glenn.

In the end Glenn does deserve to be put to rest properly. I think that is the hardest. The man has been there from the beginning. He has actually appeared to grow up on the show. If you don’t believe me, just watch some of the earlier episodes. Watching him being torn apart by walkers and for nothing was rough to say the least. I also agree though, he should rest in peace. The guy definitely deserves it.

KC: Moving on, can we talk for a moment how they did a bit of fan service this episode? You know, the part where the three black characters were the ones who made it back to Alexandria? While I have problems with how quickly they dispatch black characters in both TWD and FTWD, it’s never been a big enough issue for me to stop watching.

Around the time this episode aired, I saw a lengthy post on Facebook about how the show makes its black characters look weak and one Google search produced it for those that are interested. I tend to disagree, even as a black male. Do I feel misrepresented by the actions of the black characters on the show? No I don’t. I wouldn’t have the guts to do anything any of those characters had to do; I would spend my time hiding I feel like, mostly because I wouldn’t want to play a hero and get myself killed. And I’m afraid of all kinds of things

I would like to think I would protect my family and friends but the truth is that I don’t really know. And the black characters look weak for the same reasons black characters have always looked weak in any medium: we’re the minority. Maybe I don’t care enough but if TWD offends you because of the treatment of its black characters, take the advice of the writer above and stop watching. I have the same issue with people who can’t sit down to enjoy a stupid romantic comedy because they say, “that kind of love doesn’t exist.” But in the same breath, they mention that they love Guardians Of The Galaxy. Are you telling me that you can allow yourself to buy into the fantasy of GotG but not something like, How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days? In that case, I have to call a little bullshit.

If TWD makes him (or anyone) feel that way, that’s his choice and I’m not trying to pick a further argument. But I feel like his true issue is with the portrayal of black people in media across the board, especially by creators that are mostly white. It’s a shame that he used one of the most popular shows on television to springboard that idea.

Moving on again, I didn’t like that Daryl left Abraham and Sasha only to drive towards a destination that was… Abraham and Sasha again? It seemed a bit pointless and a waste of gas. And I know the last thing he heard from Rick was that things were under control but he still went back despite the gunfire… I wasn’t a fan.

Michonne had her first meaningful moments of Season 6 and she made them count when she got to ream out Heath for thinking that everyone from the group was thinking like Rick. And her words really rang true when Heath saw his bloody reflection on the way back to Alexandria. I’m interested to see what role his character will have as the season progresses.

And we get a second cliffhanger in the form of Rick cutting his hand (which I think will be fine), Rick running into those same Wolves Morgan let go (thanks for nothing Morgan!), and then the RV being surrounded by walkers as the engine fails to start (tune in same TWD time, same TWD channel!). While not as ambiguous as the fate of Glenn, I’m anxious to see how Rick gets out of this one. Maybe he does lose the hand but at this point, I think that would be too hard for the show to do. Kirkman even eventually gave Rick a prosthetic hand in the comics so it got to be burden for him as well it seems.

The next episode is promising that Morgan back story I’ve been wanting, so we’ll learn how we got from “Clear” to the “All life is precious” guy he’s become since Season 3. It’ll be a nice change of pace to have a slow episode after 3 straight action-oriented ones and it’ll take my mind off of poor, poor Glenn.

What a world man. What a world.

TC: First off, what a load of hot horse shit on a frost bite morning to the link you put up. Black characters are weak? Black men are the “walking dead”? Really now?

Sorry man, you put this up and I have to respond, I read the entire post and I was beyond thrown back by the bullshit mixed with lickspittle tossed in with pig vomit and shaken with chicken shit that link contained. By the way, if you don’t know, I am a white southern type of guy.

I don’t want to shoot down other people’s opinions. I’m not the type to do the “online” back and forth, ask Kelen. However this guy is full of shit and most likely a troll who talks too much.

Tyreese, weak? The man saved lives. He survived swarms. Not singular folks. He survived swarms, once with a hammer and once with his bare hands. He did it the second time to protect a child. He lost focus once and got it. So, because of one act of humanity, he is WEAK? Sorry, according to the author of that garbage humanity means weak. I forgot.

Bob, a weak and pathetic alcoholic. Well, of course no one in the everyday world has their demons, so when the world is ending, no one should have any demons, right? He only became a helpful member of the group, helped Maggie find Glenn when it hit the fan, and found love in hell with Sasha.

Oh by the way, in case you forgot. The man talked shit while cannibals were eating him, while he was still alive. You are right, that is total weakness right there. I mean, if I woke up and some guys were eating me, I would be in a shit talking mood right? Wouldn’t anybody? “TAINTED MEAT!” in case you forgot.

You are right, that sounds like a total weak ass bitch. I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t have hopped up on one leg and slain all the Terminites with the leftover bone from his leg. Bob is such a bitch and weak person. Obviously, he is black so it has to be that way.

And to want to throw T-Dog into the mix? The man gave up his life for another. What a weak ass character that has zero qualities that a modern day black man would want to emulate. Actually, I wish I could emulate him. The will to save someone from death. The courage to die so someone else could live. Sorry, again that is weak and no use to humanity. I shouldn’t feel that way. Not sure I would do it, maybe even thinking it will make me weak and pathetic.

This douchebag is so caught up because a black guy isn’t the leading man; he is taking everything black people do on TWD as weak and inferior due to writing. Fuck him.

This show has a white cast for the most part. However, to use this show as a way to say blacks are shown as weak or inferior? Dude, I need you to stop me; I’m off on a MAJOR tangent.

You are smart by the way. Getting me off the Glenn thing. You are a jerk.

The fact is it makes me focus. People can be shit. We really can be, you can’t lie. I am getting fired up over what some ass on the internet is saying. The fact is it sort of ties in. We get tied in. Glenn got tied in. He listened to Nicholas didn’t he?

Maybe that is a lesson. I’m never going to meet the weak, “WEAK”, piece of trash that wrote the link you put in. However, I might meet people like him. Do I hulk up and go crazy? I hope I don’t because I don’t own enough shirts (poor guy here).

The fact is can we move on? Can we continue doing what we are trying to do, even though the stakes get higher, and the things we risk even crazier? I’m going on a philosophical rant, sorry.

I mean come on, Michonne is putting Heath in his place, Glenn, by the way the ONLY Asian, is putting his ass on the line, and Rick is hung up in an RV with a swarm… and here we are bringing up this bullshit. If this guy is a troll, he is good at it… not sure I can think of anything else.

I hate saying this. However, in some way the world of TWD is a lot better… never heard Michonne bitch that she wasn’t being heard because she was black. You never hear Glenn complain that he hasn’t seen another Asian since the beginning. People just… I don’t know, work together to survive and live. Maybe that should be a lesson.

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