Not since Laurie’s death in season three has there been a more emotional episode of TWD. Glenn’s death (in comparison to another geeky show) was a Red Wedding in terms of the emotional toll it took on me definitely, and, from what I’ve read, thousands of other TWD fans.
“Thank You” is the third part in Rick’s “walker operation” episode where he and the rest of the group are trying to herd thousands of walkers away from Alexandria’s direction. After last week’s episode, “JSS,” I was disappointed by this. I’m extremely bored of simple zombie killing, which this episode was mostly composed of, and want desperately to see more Wolf action. We did get that in the last five minutes of “Thank You,” but it wasn’t enough to satiate my thirst. Undoubtedly we’ll get more human on human action (that sounds weird), but for now, zombie drama is the soup de jour.
In episode 603, the group of Rick, Glenn, Michonne, Heath, Nicholas, and various other Alexandrians whom we’ve only just been introduced to are still maintaining “walker operation.” As the horn from what we now know is The Wolve’s truck keeps blaring, half of the giant herd is redirected toward Alexandria. Rick takes it upon himself to run back to their RV to try and correct the zombies’ course. He instructs Glenn and Michonne to escort everyone else back to Alexandria, as he fears there might be trouble. If you’re keeping track, this splits our heroes up into four groups: those at Alexandria, those guiding the large zombie herd, those escorting people back to the community, and Rick all by himself. As we have come to expect from episodes in which random characters become relevant (see the entire Prison community saga), some or most will inevitably become walker food, something Rick warns Michonne and Glenn about. He tells them most of the group they’re trying to save will not make it, but for them to not stop for anything.
And so they did. Some of the more bumbling Alexandrians fulfilled their destiny as Rick predicted, becoming nothing but a credit on TWD’s IMDB page. Heath and Michonne had a heated exchange – Heath thought what he’s been through compared to what Michonne and the others have been through, a sentiment Michonne quickly discouraged with a few dramatic sentences. Glenn and Nicholas split off from Michonne’s group to delay the walkers further by finding a building to burn down. Glenn’s idea is to draw the walkers with fire, thus killing many of them and distracting the rest, giving Rick more time to grab the RV. And then it happens…
Glenn instructs Nicholas, who has been zoning out all episode, to lead them both to one specific building. Turns out when they get there, the building is already burnt to the ground and the zombie herd is right on their heels. Nicholas needs to act fast to save him and Glenn both, a skill he has not shown strength in. He leads Glenn down a dead-end ally where their only option is to hop on top of a dumpster. The sight and sounds of the zombie herd overwhelms Nicholas, as once again he can’t cope with what’s going on around him. His looks Glenn in the face, says his last words: “Thank You,” then blows his brains out. Nicholas’ body falls into Glenn, knocking him off the dumpster and into the zombie horde. Glenn is dead.
Or is he? Rule of thumb for TWD is that is we don’t see a character explicitly get his or her face chewed off, he or she is still considered “around.” Glenn did fall into hundreds of zombies, we did see blood and guts all over the place, and it is very unlikely that anyone could survive that, but still I have my doubts. It’s been overdue for a major character to die and I’ve said for a while Glenn is the perfect emotional punch the series needs, but the way he died is so anticlimactic. He (supposedly) died because he was too caring of a guy, because he thought he could combat Rick’s harsh “no training wheels” personality which compassion and patience. Glenn let this moronic douchebag live, when he lured him into the woods to kill Glenn. It is indeed a grim message TWD conveys if keeping hold of basic humanity gets a character killed off. But again, I DO NOT BELIEVE HE’S DEAD. Glenn can’t go out like that.
In the last minutes of “Thank You,” The Wolves who ransacked Alexandria, the ones who Morgan let go, confront Rick. They try to attack by sneaking up on him in the RV, but of course, this isn’t Rick’s first rodeo. With a few punches and bullets, Rick dispatches the uncoordinated Wolf pack quickly and tries to start-up the RV again. It won’t start. The herd bares down on Rick, surrounding him and the RV. For the first time in the series, we see the hard, calculating Rick Grimes show fear. He sits in the drivers seat of the RV, walkers all around, and cries because for once he’s not sure if he’ll make it out alive.