Improbable? Index: The Walking Dead’s “Heads Up”

Steven Yeun as Glenn Rhee - The Walking Dead _ Season 6, Episode 7 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC
The Walking Dead (Photo: Glen Page / AMC Networks)

The Walking Dead needs a stern talking-to, and by Glenn, I’m gonna give it.

Normally, I write out a list of improbable moments from The Walking Dead, and rank them on a scale of least to most unlikely to happen in real life. But this week, I am angry, my friends. I am angry, and I want to explain why.

As you may know, Glenn is alive. This in itself does not anger me, as Glenn is a very enjoyable character – easy on the eyes, not a moron…need I go on? Those two things are by far the most important characteristics on this show. Glenn is amazing and I never wanted him to die. Plus he is about to become a father, which is super cute, and it will be nice to possibly see a new baby with two surviving parents around here.

No, friends, I am not angry about Glenn living. I am angry about HOW Glenn survived. I am angry that the producers, writers, and directors of this fine television program put Glenn in an impossible situation, made the viewers think he was dead, and then pulled a deus ex machina several episodes later that is the most improbable scenario of all. Oh, it turns out that Nicholas was the one being torn apart? And the walkers were ignoring Glenn? And there was suddenly a few feet of space around them for Glenn to crawl under the dumpster? And the famously indefatigable walkers tried to grab him for a few minutes, then gave up? And then the walkers forgot Glenn was under there and totally vacated the area without any outside force luring them out (that we see)?

God DAMN IT, Show. We are not stupid.

Let me repeat myself: we are not stupid.

The walkers have never behaved that way before, but as soon as it’s convenient for your fan-fuckery, you decide to make them violate their own laws of governance. You have decided, perhaps with good reason (the way the internet is eating up the “Glenn is alive, yay!” story that you so wanted them to eat up), that we the viewers will simply accept anything you throw at us, as long as you don’t kill off a major character. Because God forbid you have the balls to do that. You have let the fans decide which characters are immortal, and while you have no problem toying with them and forcing them to accept inconsistencies in your own creation, you would never actually do the unthinkable and (gasp!) kill someone important.

No, The Walking Dead has never killed anyone important. Let’s keep it real, folks. Herschel is the closest they’ve come to killing someone important, and we all knew he wasn’t going to live forever, anyway (one leg, old, pacifist…the odds were stacked against that guy from the jump). By “killing” Glenn and then saying “oh, just kidding, y’all! Commence worshipping us again,” they are giving a giant “fuck you” to the audience. And even if I’m the only one who is bothered by that, I will say it loudly and proudly: I am bothered by that.

On Talking Dead (which, disappointingly, barely addressed the audience members who would be rightfully pissed about this storyline), they said they were trying to make the audience feel the ambiguity that Maggie felt about whether Glenn was still alive. They could have accomplished this without making the audience their puppets. They could have shown Glenn and Nicholas on top of the dumpster, then Nicholas shooting himself in the head, then…end scene. Having Nicholas fall on top of Glenn, then they are surrounded by walkers and being devoured, only to basically remove a bunch of the danger in the replay, is awful and condescending to the people who have been watching this show since day one. If they had done something similar to my suggestion, the ambiguity would have been there. There would have been a sense of “holy shit, how is Glenn gonna get out of this one?” There would have been a lot of tension over the past few episodes when we didn’t know what had happened to Glenn, and we couldn’t wait to find out.

Now we know: Glenn is alive. And this viewer is both very happy and very annoyed by it.

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About Clare Snyder 144 Articles
After writing for a few publications in college, Clare took an extended break to become a certified personal trainer, get huge blisters during marathons, and find a suitable triathlete/engineer to marry. In her spare time she partakes in many nerd hobbies including replaying Final Fantasy hundreds of times, cheering for the Green Bay Packers, and live-tweeting "Whodunnit?" One time Clare was given 43 hot sauce packets in a Taco Bell driveway. There is a strategy to it. E-mail: clare@whatelseison.tv
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