Okay. Let’s all just take a deep breath and step back from our figurative ledges. Feeling better? Maybe we should take some time just to enjoy the splendors of a late-October day, the crispness in the air, leaves changing color in large swaths of the country. Hey, it’s almost Halloween, so let’s just spend some time thinking about costumes we’ll be wearing, and parties we’ll be heading out for. There. Isn’t that nice.
Now that we’ve all taken a moment to calm back down, I’m going to address the big climactic moment that drove the internet crazy last night. Yes, Glenn. Poor, dumb, overly hopeful Glenn. Stupid Glenn, who hasn’t yet figured out that people are pretty terrible in general, and so much worse in the apocalypse. The man who should have been delivering pizzas, and instead delivered our hopes and dreams with his patchwork facial hair. Maggie’s husband, who is clearly shuffling off of this mortal coil in one of the worst ways possible.
See, I honestly don’t think that Glenn is gone. Not just because of the details from Talking Dead, or the official statement regarding him. While the odds are pretty heavily stacked against Glenn, there are a few things that leap out to my eyes as proof that our favorite dumbass is traumatized, but fine. Imagined in a vacuum, of just a simple piece of storytelling meant to show the continued brutality of the post-zombie world, Glenn’s death wouldn’t even be questioned. Clearly, the walkers would have just gnawed through Nicholas to get to the rest of the food underneath. However, we CAN’T just look at the scene in a vacuum. First off, Glenn is one of the few characters remaining from the first season. Does that mean that he’s got a magic zombie immunity, and that he’ll survive every encounter he runs up against? No. Not by a long shot. But it does mean that the odds of him being offed through such random means are pretty low. Also, as one of those remaining characters, it simply doesn’t make sense to have Glenn turned into zombie chow in the third episode of the season, with almost 15 minutes of running time remaining. Other major characters have had their deaths at least end episodes, if not half-seasons, and it’s hard to argue that most characters are more major than Glenn is right now. Finally, from a story-telling aspect, what is the benefit of Glenn being killed off in a way where there are no survivors left to see his remains? Sure, it would be assumed that he probably didn’t make it after a couple of days, but where is the narrative upside to having some characters continue to hold out hope? Especially given that we already went through a story arc where the main characters thought Glenn was gone in a previous season, why would running this story be beneficial now? Glenn’s death, which I do think is coming, is, simply put, going to be bigger than what they showed. Realistically, Glenn would be a goner, but, realistically, there is no such thing as masses of zombies turning the planet into a delicatessen.
Now that all of those thoughts are out of the way, let’s take some time to wade through the rest of the episode. After all, if we don’t look at it all, we won’t know when it’s time to say Thank You.
Forget everything I said up above. Glenn is clearly a goner. After all, this episode, while not giving Glenn a beautiful swan song of an exit, did touch on a number of nostalgia points. We were reminded of Hershel’s watch. Glenn got into a discussion with David about their wives (full disclosure, for a long time I simply thought of David as “Other Husband”). Glenn referenced his first conversation with Rick by calling the latter a dumbass. It was a big nostalgia parade for Glenn, that all came to a head because he decided that he needed to keep giving Nicholas another chance, despite the panic attacks. Too honorable and too hopeful for humanity to survive. This is what happens when you become the moral compass of the group, people.
Speaking of moral compass, if Glenn really is gone, it looks like Daryl’s willing to take up the torch. Upon hearing about the turmoil going on with the walkers that broke away from the herd, Daryl decides that he needs to catch up to the rest of the survivors that are on foot, and help them get through to Alexandria. Rick kept asserting the importance of following through with the plan, all so the giant herd would be far enough from home to allow them to rest easier. So what do we see our crossbow-toting friend do? Rev up the engine on his motorcycle and take off. Leaving behind Sasha and Abraham, along with their much quieter car. True, the walkers following had already been set on their path, and Daryl accelerated instead of just pulling off the road, but it isn’t like his bike is the quietest out there. Given that we know how walkers pursue sound, Daryl was really running a risk of getting even more of the herd away from the intended drop zone.
It might seem like a small thing,but Heath was part of what slowed down everything for the group on their way back. Eavesdropping on Rick, Michonne, and Glenn, Heath hears that Rick doesn’t think that all of the Alexandrians will make it. Needless to say, Heath gets a little pissed about that, and is one of the driving forces behind keeping Annie and Scott with the group, despite their injuries slowing everyone down. Never mind that, for Annie, David, Sturgess, Barnes and Nicholas, Rick was 100% correct, Heath was upset that there was a perceived lack of ability. It all eventually came to a head when Heath decided to broach the subject with Michonne, at one of the worst times possible. In fact, Heath seemed to believe that making runs for supplies was such a perfect analog to having lived out in the wilderness, traveling cross-country through the zombiefied wastelands, that he told Michonne he was just as capable as she was. Luckily for him, she decided to take out her aggression on getting as many as she could back to Alexandria, but I’m willing to bet that Heath gets a pretty frosty reception at the next town hall dance party.
Don’t split the party. It’s an adage for tabletop role-players for a reason. It’s also an adage that Rick seems intent on ignoring, and his initiative leads to further fracturing of the group as they hit town on the way back home. Honestly, though, Rick’s idea of running off by himself to get to the RV was a pretty solid one. After all, it only really endangers one person, and, while he wouldn’t have eyes on everything, it would probably be easier for one man to slip through spaces where a group would draw attention. Sure, his actions caused him to hurt his hand, but that’s something that probably wouldn’t have been avoided even if he’d brought along back-up. So why does Rick land here? Oh, how about his actions to take out the Wolves creeping along the side of the RV after Rick took out the first two. Motor homes are not meant to be shot through with automatic fire, so Rick may have killed more than just some human raiders with his actions. Bigger problem? The walkers are attracted to noise. Noise, Coral. By unloading the rifle in the confines of the RV, Rick basically may as well have plastered up a neon sign with rock music blaring, alerting all of the walkers about his location. While he can’t have known how close to his location any of them were, he had to have known that he was going to be drawing them to where he was. Or did Rick just believe that there was no way the RV would have the audacity to not start for him?
Seriously. Just seriously. First, the panic attacks/fugue states/hallucinations. Did these just randomly start coming on, with the first one happening after Rick’s plan needed to be pushed into motion? While possible, it’s a bit unlikely, and certainly something that Nicholas should have mentioned. When confronted with the reanimated corpse of one of his (and Aiden’s former running crew, he freezes again, forcing Glenn (who is strangely giving a lot of leash to a man who tried to kill him a few times) to tell him that he “isn’t that guy anymore”. Now, in the hunt for the feed store, it makes sense that Nicholas may not know that it had already burnt down, but shouldn’t he have had a better idea of the layout of the town itself in general? He’d performed supply runs there, and was confident enough to offer drawing Glenn a map, and yet, when trying to escape the walkers, he leads them straight into a dead-end? Yes, it’s possible that his fear prevented him from remembering where things were, so maybe that part is forgivable, but any leniency goes away with his final moments. Standing atop the dumpster, with Glenn, he has another moment of complete and total panic, just barely being pulled out by Glenn one more time. He then draws his gun (not like it was going to attract any more walkers than the hundreds already there), says a simple “thank you”, and ends his own life. His body falls, taking Glenn with it, and we’re left with the scene that took some of the heat off of Jon Snow’s death. If he was in any way trying to redeem himself in Glenn’s eyes, and was still fully intending on ending it all, why didn’t he just launch himself into the crowd of zombies, hoping to maybe create a distraction? Why did he insist on going on an even more dangerous part of the mission when he couldn’t control himself in the first place? Nicholas, you’re gone, but your name won’t soon be forgotten. You took away the pizza man.
Honorable Mention. Best Buy
I don’t know if everyone had the same commercial on their viewing of TWD, but seeing a Christmas commercial, in the middle of a show about the undead, a week before Halloween, just bugged me. At least wait until the 1st of November. It’s not like you guys sell food, although advertising refrigerators in the run-up to Thanksgiving would probably be a good plan, too.
That does it for this week. Next week, we’re back after a 90-minute episode. We’re going to learn more about Morgan’s journey. And maybe we’ll find out how he developed his Nightcrawler powers in order to get back to Alexandria so damned fast last week. See you on the flip side of Halloween. In the meantime, if you’re confident in your knowledge of The Walking Dead, why not head over to Geeks Who Drink and see if there’s a TWD quiz happening in your neck of the woods. If you’re local to the Twin Cities, I can assure you that there is one, because I get the honor of hosting it all.