If there’s one thing we can all take away from The Walking Dead, it’s that the showrunners really love to screw over the audience. Really, really screw us over.
If the title “Thank You” wasn’t some indication that the episode would be emotionally traumatizing, then the follow events definitely helped with that.
Episode 3 covers the events following the gaggle of people trying to horde up the 700 billion walkers, right when the tremendous horn blares from the Wolves-takeover of Alexandria. Struggling to understand their next point of action, Rick decides to part ways with the group and get to the RV they used to drive to the forest, directing the walkers away from Alexandrian.
He takes Glenn and Michonne aside for a bit of advice whilst they go one their merry ways. Yes, they should definitely help make sure the other Alexandrians in the group get back home, but if the wounded are not at the capacity to help/they drag the team town, leave them. Heath overhears this conversation and takes major offense.
After Rick leaves the group, one by one casualty strikes the group. Around this time, the blaring noise finally stops. Over at Daryl/Sasha/Abraham land, Daryl decides to split from the group and see if he can find some way of redirecting the walkers. Long-term-wise this action honestly had no significance to the plot of the show whatsoever.
The group sans Rick (which at this point is Michonne, Glenn, Heath, Nicholas, and Alexandrians #1-3) arrive at an abandoned little town that Nicholas was once in. They soon find out that they are surrounded on all four corners and so they run into a pet shop.
A little nuance of the episode: at this point Glenn radios in Rick and updates him on their current situation and what their future plans are. And then, he does the worst. He says “good luck, dumbass”, taking us back to season 1 episode 1 and thus rendering me extremely emotional. Little sirens also came up because this was extremely random. But perhaps little nostalgic moments are what drives scenes forward! Right? Right?
Inside the pet store, Glenn thinks of a plan to distract the herd so that they can leave the pet shop: burn a freight store on fire. Nicholas is to accompany him. Right before he sets out, Glenn kneels on the ground and lays out some trinkets from the past years. One such trinket is the pocket watch that Hershel gifted Glenn at the prison. Uh-oh.
Two of the Alexandrians are injured at this point, and badly. While they try to convince the others to leave them, Heath refuses to do so. Being mildly passive aggressive towards Michonne (he did eavesdrop on her conversation with Rick), Michonne confronts him and explains to him that difficult decisions have to be made, especially considering the type of events Rick had to go through. Heath’s got nothing on him.
Rick gets to the RV and drives onwards. There is a minor setback, however. When he was on the road he had an encounter with walkers and ended up cutting his finger. While I wouldn’t usually put much thought on this situation, it’s focused on a lot throughout the episode so I wouldn’t count on the finger issue to be ignored in the future.
Back in the pet store, a mysterious banging noise erupts. Michonne quickly quells the situation (turns out to be walkers trapped in the store), but sure enough, the huge horde of walkers outside have supersonic hearing abilities and come over to surround them in the pet store.
They realize that there’s no way of avoiding the horde, so they run out and start the inevitable Armageddon. They ultimately escape by jumping over a fence, but it’s at the cost of two Alexandrians. Finally, they make it to safety.
Glenn and Nicholas also find themselves quickly surrounded. Nicholas, who seems to be subject to periods of mental instability, offers no help in guiding them throughout the area. Soon they reach a dead end, and it’s them vs at least 500 other walkers. They quickly climb onto a nearby dumpster and are barely out of grasp from the walkers.
Nicholas once again has a dazed look as he surveys the area. It seems as if there’s no use for him left. He turns to Glenn and murmurs “Thank you”, before he shoots himself in the head.
This is not the biggest loss. What happens next is, however. Glenn feels the impact of his shot and Nicholas falls into him. They both lose their balance and fall off the dumpster, into the pack of walkers.
The last shot we see of them is pretty tough to explain, so I’ll do my best. The camera angle is such that we see Glenn face curl and shriek in sheer terror and anguish. And we see guts being ripped out of a body. And that’s when I lost my shit.
Back over in another part of the forest, Rick is chilling in his RV and trying to establish contact with the others (only successfully with Daryl/Sasha/Abraham), when he is suddenly ambushed in the RV by wolves. He ends up annihilating all of them with his rifle, but in doing so he makes a very loud scene. Moments later, a huge horde of walkers climb out of the forest and start to surround his RV.
So let’s talk about this. First of all, how dare you Scott Gimple. How dare you toil with our emotions.
Needless to say Glenn is the most well-loved character on the show. While I miss his carefree attitude from Season 1, he has been the most consistent in his sense of devotion, fearlessness, and in his contribution to the diversity factor (it’s pretty ridiculous to think he’s the ONLY Asian facing the apocalypse in the south).
HOWEVER, while I really did think Glenn died when I first watched the scene, the sheer craziness of it all merited a second watch through. Here’s what I think of this whole situation:
- Nicholas fell down on Glenn. So those guts could very well be from Nicholas
- Guts don’t come out of the chest, which from the camera angle perspective it looked like it did for Glenn. So anatomically this makes little sense
- There have been photos *SPOILERS* of Glenn on set for future episodes, with a character from the comics called “Jesus”. So this point is perhaps the strongest because this means that indubitably, Glenn is still alive. We can all do our sighs of relief!!
- There is no way, NO WAY, that Glenn would have been given that send-off. It was too vague and ambiguous for a character AS important as Glenn to go through. Makes no sense!!
- If he did in fact die, this would be the worst death to ever go through. There were no witnesses to this scene, it happened not at the end of the episode to give a more climatic feel, and it was just wrong all over the place
- He wasn’t featured on The Talking Dead, which is usually characteristic for any actor who’s character has perished
The big question now is how TF does Glenn get out of that situation? One hypothetical involves him sliding under the dumpster and waiting for some unknown savior to somehow know he’s there and save him. I’m also going to wager a guess here and say that Glenn will do a throwback to Season 1 and drape walker guts all over his shoulders and body, and thus blend in with the walkers.
I know Glenn dying did not happen. I refuse to believe it, as do countless others (see Laurie Holden’s latest tweet). But the alternative is so painful to accept.
As for the other major cliffhanger, I’m sure Rick will be okay. Sure he’s surrounded by walkers, and sure he’s got some type of finger issue. Daryl had been on the radio and heard when Rick got attacked, so I’m sure he’ll come to the rescue.
Well, this certainly was a lot to digest. Seeing as next week’s episode is a backstory on Morgan before arriving to Alexandria, it looks like we have two weeks of torment before finding out what happens to Glenn and Rick.