‘The Walking Dead’ recap: Who gets to survive?

26 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

The Walking Dead.

The Walking Dead is squeezing every ounce of direct cause-and-effect storytelling out of the quarry plan this season, a sensible approach given the sheer scale of that undertaking.

AMC’s “The Walking Dead” shocked fans on Sunday night with the unexpected (and, if you’re a fan of Robert Kirkman’s comic books, premature) death of Steven Yeun’s Glenn Rhee, and the internet is already rife with speculation that the grisly demise was somehow a fake-out, dream sequence or hallucination. (Mostly because we’re all in denial.) Showrunner Scott M.UPDATE: As expected (and desperately hoped), Glenn was absent from this week’s Talking Dead “In Memoriam” segment, fueling speculation that we’ll see the fan favorite again. Gimple, no doubt predicting the online meltdown that was sure to ensue, sent a statement for Chris Hardwick to read on “The Talking Dead” following the controversial episode, which may or may not reassure fans about Glenn’s fate. “Dear fans of ‘The Walking Dead,’ this is a hard story to tell and when we were planning to tell it, we knew our friends at the ‘Talking Dead would be talking to you about it. And knowing you’d all be talking and feeling and commiserating, I knew we should say something about it, lest our silence say something we didn’t mean to say or not say. Glenn—the Master of Runs, half of TWD’s best love story, and a general badass—went out trying to protect a group of hapless people who maybe didn’t even deserve to be saved.

So I’ll say this: In some way, we will see Glenn, some version of Glenn, or parts of Glenn again, either in flashback or in the current story, to help complete the story.” Glenn is beaten to death in front of his wife and friends by a psychopath named Negan and his razor-studded baseball bat in Issue 100—making the TV version of Glenn’s new weapon feel like a dark little joke.

In the moments before his grisly, apparent demise in Sunday night’s episode “Thank You,” Glenn was overpowered by a force more unstoppable than savagery: plain ol’ bad luck. But, yes, it is tough to believe a stray set of walker chompers wouldn’t have at least grazed him in the moment.) But I will say that the focus on Glenn is indicative of how “Thank You” approached following this group as they flee home in the wake of the horn. Rick takes a back seat to their plan, going off on his own to pick up the RV, but not before he sets into motion much of the strife that will beset Michonne, Heath, and the others as their trip home takes more than a few dangerous turns. The fragility of the group out on the zombie-herding plan, including a mix of familiar faces and lesser-known Alexandrians, is on full display as soon as they make a break for home. It may be a farfetched theory—with a horde this large, it’s very unlikely the walkers wouldn’t be able to smell Glenn (who wasn’t exactly being silent) or, at the very least, take a chunk out of his leg.

Nicholas is having some sort of panic attack, Annie hurts her ankle while following, and there’s some general dissent about whether this is all Rick’s fault. Glenn, a rabidly adored fan favorite (Daryl who?) ends up cornered and trapped atop a dumpster with Nicholas, who takes one dizzying look at the pair’s dismal odds, gets woozy, then shoots himself in the head. He offers a bit of warning to Glenn and Michonne — “They aren’t all going to make it.” He wants the two of them to do what they can, but some of them will fall. Kirkman told fans to expect “a lot of cool stuff” with Glenn and Yeun said, “The way that we make the show — the writers and everybody really want to focus on making things poignant and purposeful and meaningful.

I’ve tried comparing the colors of Glenn’s and Nicholas’s shirts to see whose chest was being ripped open, but the sadists who make this show had Glenn and Nicholas wear near-identical clothing for this episode. I’ve tried assessing the plausibility of Glenn using Nicholas’s body as a shield while he crawls under the dumpster (or something), but even that scenario only delays the inevitable. And, for what it’s worth, in the shot immediately before the camera turns to his face, we see the collarbone-adjacent area of Glenn’s chest free of Nicholas’s corpse—the same(ish) area we see walkers digging into a moment later. Considering less important characters like Tyrese and Merl had more heroic and honorable deaths, it seems unlikely that the show runners would kill Glenn in such an offhanded way.

Add to that the requisite nostalgia blitz for soon-to-die characters—the dumpster, calling Rick a “dumbass” over the walkie-talkie—and, well, things are not looking good for Glenn. There’s confusion and concern among them, but Michonne does her best to calm them. “We’re going to catch up with a lot of things, and we’re gonna end them. And I’m writing this article well before Talking Dead airs its weekly death montage so for all I know, Glenn’s mug could show up for one final bow, making his death official, and this Jon Snow 2.0 conspiracy will die right then and there. (Yeun, it’s worth noting, was not a pre-announced guest for the weekly post-mortem show.) The thing is—again, potential spoiler alert—Yeun has been seen on set, in costume, multiple times since “Thank You” wrapped, according to eagle-eyed fans in Atlanta who regularly report cast sightings to fan group The Spoiling Dead.

We’ve got to keep moving forward,” she tells the Alexandrians worried about moving in the same direction as the walkers shuffling toward Alexandria. Sure, he could be filming potential flashbacks—though a character who has yet to be introduced was reportedly seen with Glenn, complicating that theory. We’re not likely to know for sure until later this season. (Or until Chris Hardwick tells us so.) Rick didn’t fare much better in this episode after he went solo to try and hitch a ride in the RV back to Alexandria. Usually exiting actors show up to give the show an emotional goodbye. (We’re still processing Emily Kinney’s goodbye appearance.) In fact, during The Talking Dead’s post-mortem segment, where they usually list all the characters that died in a given episode, Glenn’s name was also absent.

The episode does its darned best to remind us that any wound touched by walkers spells certain death (unless the limb is cut off quickly like Hershel’s leg), by having two Alexandrians wax poetic about their own fates after getting bit. There is precedent for a hand-less Rick in the comics, but Andrew Lincoln has already gone around telling cute stories about how the show’s VFX supervisor shut down the idea because it would be too “expensive.” So either Rick chops his hand off, Rick dies, or everything is fine and this show is driving everyone into conspiracy theory-fueled insanity, which is probably how the zombie apocalypse actually starts.

And it’s important because there is a “himself” to describe — he had once given up on being anyone or anything, but meeting Betsy allowed him to find who he was. Nicholas takes them down an alleyway instead, only to find Sturgess being eaten by a pack of walkers, inciting more panic within the group’s current leader. Heath doesn’t quite trust Michonne’s words about patching up and protecting the group, as true as they might be. “I’m trying here,” she tells Heath, but he’s not so sure she’s trying for anyone but herself and Glenn. He’ll find a way to show them he’s alive, and, somewhat begrudgingly, he allows Nicholas to come with him after he suggests a certain feed store to ignite. Rick takes them out as Glenn warns him of the plan and what signs to look out for should he know he’s safe. (ASIDE: The scene also offers one of the best foreshadowings indicating Glenn’s death is genuine. “Good luck, dumbass,” Glenn says over the radio as a farewell to Rick, a callback all the way to their first interaction with each other in season 1.

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