*EDIT* After reviewing an excellent take on the possibility that Nicholas landed on Glenn and that’s who the zombies were’ eating and not Glenn, I’m holding out hope that this is all a big ruse and somehow he’ll…I’m not sure, crawl through the barrage of zombies. I don’t know. We’ll see next week. Here’s the link to that theory if you’re interested.
With that said, my review stands on the premise that Glenn didn’t survive because I usually review in the moment without too much post-reflecting and I didn’t feel very cynical nor did I pay attention to the simple detail that humans rarely keep their intestines in their ribcage. Let’s get underway.
The post-traumatic stress from one of Alexandria’s survivors costs the life of an original cast member as Rick attempts to salvage any hope for redirecting the remaining horde away from the neighborhood. Daryl derails from the plan and Michonne struggles to keep an injured group going through a massive zombie group in the middle of an abandoned town. Like last week, many of Alexandria’s residents do not make it through the day.
There’s an ill moment that washes over you, a sort of cathartic sickness when irony mixes with one’s own blood, and they realize the mistake they made in trying to rehabilitate someone who’s too far gone. After six seasons, you get used to the carnage and expect it for those incapable of surviving by any means possible. Tonight, no one will know how horrible things ended for Glenn. There was no self-sacrifice, no final cry of rage in defiance of the undead, simply the disastrous result of trying to help and survive. Again, it’s ill and it coats like a fog of truth that no one is ever safe on this show. I read the comics and know what ultimately lied with Glenn in that paradigm, but seeing it end like this is less than worthy. The trials just get harder for those who remain.
In an effort to follow through with their original plan, Rick divides the remaining crew so that he can get the RV and continue driving out the zombie horde. Michonne and Glenn take several Alexandria survivors but one is bitten, another is shot, and a third has an injured ankle. A fourth was bitten and killed earlier and a fifth runs away only to be mauled by the undead far from the crew. Meanwhile, Daryl has second thoughts about staying the course and departs to return to Alexandria. Michonne and other survivors hold up in a store while Glenn and Nicholas attempt to find a building to set fire to and divert the zombie horde. Rick chases down the RV and drives is to a location he thinks will be the best bet to continue the mission. He’s attacked by a few rogues but he manages to kill them all before trying to start the RV again. It doesn’t start and he’s soon overrun by zombies at the road. In the abandoned town, Michonne gets Heath and another injured survivor to safety while Nicholas and Glenn are eventually cornered by a mob of Zombies. Standing on a small dumpster, Nicholas succumbs to his stress and shoots himself causing Glenn to lose his balance and fall in the mob. Glenn is forced to suffer while the zombies devour him.
This might be the wrong section to write this, but watching Glenn’s final moments was absolutely heart-wrenching in a horribly good way. This show always loosely followed the script of the comic and watching how he ends up on issue #100 gave me the exact same chills and sickness that I got tonight, which I didn’t think was possible, but there it was. You hold out hope that he’ll be resourceful enough to survive and this is the one time when he just couldn’t. Everything caught up and his ally gave in to the trauma. What makes this good simply is the reaction. When you can get a reaction like that you’re doing the scene right. There may have been more blood-soaked mayhem last week, but tonight is when all the real feels come out, and losing Glenn was a blow that’s going to hit hard for weeks to come.
It’s hard to pick out other singular moments that make this episode really disgusting in its plight to weed out the weak and susceptible members of the town, but from an episode as a whole, it was just wicked to watch the anxiety build up as well as some of the camaraderie including Michonne’s hope that she’d get a survivor back to his wife even if it was short-lived. I’m guessing Betsy didn’t make it either, I haven’t been keeping track of all the names. It’s writing like this where you just hit the ground and keep running with it over and over, making the next week all the more crazy to watch. This is easily the bloodiest start to a season of all time.
Even though it’s listed as good writing and great cinematography, taking out Glenn is both equally good and bad in a case like this. Not unlike other shows that take great pride in expelling cast members at the whim of fate, it gets somewhat difficult to redirect feelings toward other characters when the ones you have the most investment into are plucked away at a moment’s notice. Glenn will always be a fan favorite because he owned his transformation into a badass and became one of the most beloved characters on TWD. And flat out, when you kill a character that high on a list, there’s bound to be some negative impacts. While I don’t agree that taking Glenn out was the right time, that is unfortunately the point. We couldn’t wait for Negan to do it, because then we’d expect it, especially if we’d read up to that point.
I hate to even write it again, but Glenn’s death was so pivotal and unnerving to watch, it’s the only scene that really resonated compared to all the others. There might be a part where he and even he hoped it was all a dream and he’ll snap out of it safe and sound on some rooftop waiting for the chance to be with Maggie again, but here we are, dealing with the fact that he’s gone. So be it.
Glenn takes it, not just because of his death, but because he tried up until the end to help Nicholas become a survivor. He just wouldn’t give up, No amount of stress was going to take him out and in the end, it took two dozen zombies to get the job done. It was his idea to try and lure the zombies away with the fire and I’m sure it would have worked if someone hadn’t already burned the place down. Such a shame in the end.
I imagine Rick will be the one to convince the remaining survivors and Maggie that Glenn died. Michonne and maybe a few others will hold out hope, but until someone sees his body or the zombified version of it, I can’t see anyone buying that he’s dead especially considering we’ve gone through a similar situation where Glenn wouldn’t never believe Maggie was gone and they found each other again. Sadly, that won’t happen this time.
At first I wasn’t sure if the men who attacked Rick were Wolves or if they were just another random rogue group, but they had guns and baby food so I suspect Rick knows they came from town. Or it could mean they’re stealing to save their own family, stranger things have happened on that show.
As much as I wanted to comment on Daryl’s departure and return to Abraham and Sasha, there really wasn’t much there to analyze. We understand he’s starting to have doubts or at the very least a difference of opinion with Rick and perhaps the overall plan at heart. He’ll do what he has to and in this case he went back showing he either understands what Rick’s really asking of him or he’s taking a chance at trusting that the town can take care of itself. Maybe both. Either way, his scenes were limited but at least affirming that this may not be the last time he goes against the plan or Rick’s very firm suggestions.
8 out of 10. Where does everyone go from here? Will it take another 5 episodes to wrap up this very costly plot where so many members have died? This was the emotional outbreak to last week’s crazy carnage ride of death. Only this death was more layered in the kind of drama that we’re used to seeing in the past. Characters like Michonne trying to stay positive only to rub the hopeful ink out of her wrist because it simply didn’t work out. Glenn’s death hit at an unsuspecting time because we’re so used to seeing the core crew wing it and live through it. Great episode in many aspects, but also a painful one because of what we’re made to endure. It’s what we signed up for and seeing these characters live could be one way to go, but rarely do any zombie tales end with humanity surviving. This is just a tale of how this particular Earth met it’s human end. Guess we’ll have to keep watching to see. Thanks for reading and great performance from Mr. Steven Yeun. He was one of the most believable and endearing characters on the show. Thanks for keeping us hopeful that you and Maggie would be the one couple that survived.
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