After a bloody assault on Alexandria last week, this Sunday’s episode of The Walking Dead takes us back out to Rick and quarry/zombie herd team.
Is it good?
Set phasers to stun
We check in with Rick’s group while that dang car horn is still going off. He decides to run back to the RV and help lead the zombie her away from town. Michonne and Glenn are tasked with leading the Alexandrians back home. Rick then takes them aside (within earshot of Heath) and says that some of the extras won’t make it.
Seriously, Rick? Why don’t you just give them red uniforms, too?
One of the Alexandrians is killed before the trek even starts. Later, another Alexandrian freaks out, shoots one of his fellow townspeople, and runs off. Luckily, Michonne is able to take care of the walkers attacking them… except for the one that is somehow able to sneak up on everybody without making a sound.
Seriously, how does that keep happening? I know that it makes for a good jump scare and all, but wouldn’t you at least hear the leaves crunching beneath their feet? And what about all the ‘RAAAWWRR’ and ‘YAAAARRHH’ noises they’re always making?
Anyway, the zombie bites another one of the Alexandrians, but doesn’t kill him.
The guy who got bit knows what’s going to happen, but he’s allowed to live (?) so he can say goodbye to his wife. Unfortunately, two of his fellow extras are severely injured and not moving very well.
They eventually come across the same place where Nicholas almost did Glenn in and take shelter in a pet shop that must have smelled horrible. Then Glenn comes up with a plan: Light a building on fire to distract the zombie horde. Since lighting things on fire has never caused any problems in the show ever, this should work out just fine.
Michonne tries to talk him out of doing it so he can make it home to Maggie. Glenn reminds her that he’s a contracted main character and can’t die or something. Then he and Nicholas (who is still on the path to redemption) head off to go light up a feed store.
Meanwhile, Heath becomes self-aware, distinguishing himself from the extras. He calls out Michonne for being allied with Rick ‘Some of These People Won’t Make It’ Grimes. Michonne explains that it was simply a hard truth, not a license to sacrifice them. Heath isn’t convinced.
I think this part was supposed to show how different the people from Alexandria were from Rick’s group, but it didn’t really work. They both end up arguing/agreeing that no one should be left behind. Michonne says sometimes people still die and that’s just how it is. You have to move on and stay alive.
Heath’s not dense. He understands this. But he’s still (justifiably) pissed about what he overheard Rick saying to his own people. Wouldn’t you be if you were in Heath’s position? No amount of speechifying about ‘how bad things really are’ is going to change that. It’s not a matter of reality. It’s a matter of Heath and his people being marginalized by someone they barely know. Right or wrong, the group who gets dubbed as the ‘Might Not Make Its’ aren’t going to appreciate the label, especially if one of them overhears it being given.
Later, the Alexandrian who was bit gives Michonne a note to give to his wife if she doesn’t make it. Michonne assures him they will. Unfortunately, the gunshots from Alexandria are drawing all the walkers towards the pet store. It looks like they might just shamble on past it, but once again, our heroes are foiled by ninja zombies, this time in the form of the undead shop owners. I’m not sure why they decided to stay quiet in the back office until the exact worst possible moment to start banging on the door, but the resulting commotion causes the herd to come straight at them.
Should have taken the note
The group flees the pet store. One extra goes down, yells at the others to ‘JUST GO’ (ugh), and gets eaten. Then the dude who Michonne promised they’d get home to say goodbye to his wife gets eaten, too.
Glenn and Nicholas discover that the feed store has already burned down. As walkers begin to surround them, the pair eventually finds themselves trapped on top of a dumpster by a massive swarm. With no way out, Nicholas (who has been on the verge of freaking out the whole episode) points a gun to his own head, thanks Glenn, and pulls the trigger.
The resulting blast knocks them both down into the sea of zombies, who begin tearing Glenn apart.
Nice work, dumbass
Before Glenn died (?), he radioed Rick, ending his transmission by jokingly referring to him as ‘dumbass’, which was what he called Rick the first time they ever communicated.
Rick continues running for the RV. He hurts his hand taking out some walkers, gets jumped in the RV a group of Wolves (who had some of Judith’s baby food), and can’t get the RV started. The episode ends with the RV and Rick being surrounded.
Is it Good?
Before we talk about Glenn, I’d like to commend this episode on something. The Walking Dead has been going down the ‘HUMANS ARE THE REAL MONSTERS’ path for a while, so it felt really good to be reminded that the undead are actually a major/scary threat.
That is a big part of why I think Glenn died… and should stay dead. Rampant speculation that he’s still alive has already begun, but that would be a huge cheat that negates much of this episode’s dramatic impact.
For starters, every major character death doesn’t have to be an end of episode and/or season finale event. Part of what made this episode good was how it reinforced the zombie threat. What better way to do that than to kill off one of our most beloved characters?
Also, the death in with Glenn’s character arc. Glenn spent so much time trying to help everyone else—even his enemies—that the person he did the most to save still ended up killing him in the end.
And from a practical standpoint, Glenn’s survival would be absurd. I made lots of redshirt jokes, but this would go way beyond that. Are you telling me that while extras were dropping like flies, a horde of zombies can’t kill Glenn when he falls down into the middle of them? And don’t give me that ‘Nicholas was on top of him’ crap. Even if the zombies didn’t tear into Glenn’s flesh immediately (and that wasn’t a scream of pain), there’s no way a few random teeth or nails don’t end up scratching him.
Death isn’t always supposed to be a dramatic apex. It is often random, sudden, and violent. A death like this keeps the audience on its toes. It makes us constantly wonder who is safe. Losing a great character like Glenn may hurt now, but it helps things in the long run.
Look, I’ve got a lot to lose personally by Glenn dying. Do you have any idea how much fun it is to taunt my non-comic book reading friends about what might happen to Glenn soon? Do you realize how much some of us enjoyed making cryptic jokes about barb wire and baseball bats to each other? Well, I think Kirkman and the show runners knew it, too. Now that Glenn is (most likely) gone, who knows what’s going to happen once Negan finally shows up?
So Glenn, I hope you rest in peace. Your death served to make an exciting episode even better… and added quite a bit of mystery for people like me who thought we had everything figured out for the rest of the season.