‘The Walking Dead’ Season Finale: Glenn Died For Real This Time
It’s impossible to say with certainty, but here’s why I know that it was Glenn who died.
By Amy Garcia, Johns Hopkins University
Negan arriving on AMC’s “The Walking Dead” was one of the most anticipated events since the show first aired in 2010.
As the show began to converge with the comic book timeline, fans began to eagerly theorize when exactly Negan would step into Rick’s world and blow everything Rick had built to hell.
Negan’s first appearance in the comic book is one of the most well known issues in the graphic novel world, as it displays an incredibly gruesome death for the series’ beloved Glenn Rhee. He is chosen at random through Negan’s “Eenie Meanie Miney Moe” game and then beaten to death by Negan, while Rick, Carl, Sophia, Heath, Michonne and the poor pregnant Maggie look on in horror.
The savage murder that Issue 100 of the comic book displays was just as anticipated on the show as Negan’s arrival. As the season finale came closer and closer with tension rising in every episode, the anxiety was almost too much to bear. Every fan knew a main character would die, even fans who had never read the comic book and somehow avoided all of its spoilers. The question was simple: who would it be?
And, to most fans’ anger, this question was not answered.
Someone died, that much is certain. Someone died a terrible death by Negan’s bat Lucille, but the writers would like the fanbase to guess and wonder and wait in excitement for the premiere in October. But they did not seem to understand how fanatical ‘Walking Dead’ fans are. The secret will not hold out until October. Spoilers are always leaked, and this is the biggest spoiler that the show is attempting to keep under wraps. This controversial cliffhanger had many fans feeling cheated, so any chance at spoiling the answer before October would be welcome.
But the spoilers aren’t necessary. When you watch and rewatch the season, the answer is fairly obvious who Negan put to the bat.
Since Glenn already “fake died” this year and disappeared from three full episodes, it probably seems silly that the show would kill him off for real. Daryl is another big contender, as he is a huge fan favorite and Robert Kirkman would love to put an end to the “If Daryl dies we riot” mantra. Many fans also put their money on Abraham due to his arc this season (why should Sasha be happy?) and others believe it could be Michonne, since everyone that Rick shacks up with dies.
These people are wrong.
The victim of Negan’s Lucille was the beloved pizza delivery boy, the scared kid in a baseball hat who saved Rick from certain death in Atlanta without even knowing who he was. Glenn has been the morality holding the series together for all six seasons, and so of course, he must die.
The first piece of evidence is the point of view shots beginning at the first scene of the finale and littered throughout the episode, ending with the point of view shots of whoever died at the end. These shots at the start of the episode are from whoever was captured and locked in a crate by Dwight: Michonne, Daryl, Rosita, and Glenn. The viewers were shown the victim’s point of view from start to finish, so it would seem the victim would have to be one of the characters locked in that crate.
Why not Daryl then? Well it still could be Daryl, although the likelihood declines when you realize how much Daryl merchandise is in stores. It also wouldn’t make sense for Daryl to be the one beaten to death at the end, as he is already losing an intense amount of blood from his gunshot wound in the previous episode. Whoever Negan killed at the end was “taking it like a champ,” and Daryl in the state he was in would not be able to stay sitting up as he was beaten. He would have gone down in the first blow.
“That doesn’t mean it’s Glenn,” most fans would cry, since no one wants to lose him. “Why would they show he’s alive just to kill him later?”
It does seem a strange choice since they did try to convince fans Glenn was dead earlier in the season. But Glenn almost dies more often than any other character in the show. In Season 2, he was almost devoured by the bloated walker stuck in the well before his friends were able to pull him out.
In Season 3, Merle savagely beats Glenn while the latter is tied to a chair, and then releases a walker into the room. Glenn is able to free himself and kill the walker, only to be almost killed again when Merle and the rest of the Governor’s henchmen take him and Maggie to be executed. Luckily, Rick and the others had arrived on a rescue mission just in time. Season 4 shows him nearly dying from the mysterious illness that raged through the prison, saved by Hershel this time.
The show also tried to trick the fans into thinking Maggie found walker-Glenn in the bus full of the dead prison escapees after the prison fell, but he turned out fine. She saved him again later, when he and Tara are trapped in a tunnel surrounded by walkers. He nearly dies at Terminus at the butcher bath at the end of that season, and then again at the hands of Nicolas outside of Alexandria at the end of Season 5.
Then it is believed that he was torn apart by walkers in the third episode of Season 6, only to find out three episodes later it was Nicolas, and Glenn was fine.
“So he escaped before! Why would they kill him now?”
Negan is why. The reason Glenn’s death in the comics was so mortifying was that it resonated with every single person in the story. A young character that was so good-hearted who died in such a terrible way ignited a desire to fight from almost everyone in Alexandria.
It was a brutal beginning to the Negan story that would only become more intense, terrible and vicious with each passing issue, and this is what Season 7 has in store for its fans. Viewers around the globe would deny to their dying breath that it was Glenn who saw his end at Negan’s bat, but this denial itself proves it. Negan wants that pain from his audience, and he sure as hell got it.