Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'Thank You'

Thank you - no thank you.
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In which Kim and Shawn reflect as they deal with the loss of a major character.

Kim: Psychologists will tell you that the first stage of loss and grief is denial.  Let it be known that I am 100% in denial.  I don’t believe that Glenn is gone.  I will not acknowledge the probability that his guts became the end product of a horrific sausage factory. 

I don’t believe that Glenn is dead because Nicholas shot himself in the head.

I don’t believe that Glenn is gone, I won’t admit I might be wrong.

I do not like the way I feel, thinking Glenn’s become a meal.

I do not like green eggs and ham. I do not like them, Sam I Am!

The Walking Dead has often thrown in little gifts for those of us who watch faithfully.  These generally are in the form of a callback to words or phrases uttered by characters, and seem to signal a tragedy in the making.


In Season 1, Merle was handcuffed to the roof and the walkers were coming on up to help themselves to his innards.  He is thinking about getting to the hacksaw and is talking to God and/or Jesus in his delirious state.  He yells out, “I ain't begged you before. I ain't gonna start begging now. I ain't gonna beg you now!”  

SWITCH TO SEPIA TONES (Because this is a time jump, but not enough to bring us back to the present)

It's Season 3.  Merle is sitting with the Governor who has bitten off his fingers.  As the Governor preps to shoot the asshole-turned-savior-redneck, Merle states, “I ain’t gonna beg.  I ain’t beggin’ you.” BANG.  Poor Merle.  Poor Daryl having to kill zombie Merle.


It’s Season 4.  There’s turmoil at the prison with people being sick and whatnot.  Beth says at one point,  “We’ve all got jobs to do.”  


It's Season 5.  Beth gets shot in the head.  Carol is mortified.  Daryl weeps. Daryl's weeping causes more emotional turmoil among the fans than the death of Beth.  


Quick cut, back to Season 4.  Hershel gets his head cut off.  Death.  Later when they need to flee the prison, Maggie says to Beth, "we've all got jobs to do".  If people would stop doing jobs, maybe no one has to die.  Yes, wishful thinking, I know.  


So Glenn is running with the crew toward Alexandria while Rick is circling back to get the RV.  Daryl, Michonne, and Abraham are the Grand Marshals in the Walker Parade.  Glenn says,   “We’ve all got jobs to do.” Oh, Glenn.  Why did you have to say that?


Season 1.  Rick is in a tank, surrounded by walkers.  A stranger’s voice on the radio instructs him how to get out of that predicament.  After some discussion, Rick is ready to move.  We hear the voice on the other side (yes, it’s Glenn) utter, “Good luck, dumb ass.”  A friendship was born.  


As Rick is out having his anger-management issues with walkers in the street, Glenn’s voice on the radio tells him of the plan to light a building on fire to draw the roaming dead to it.  He ends his transmission with, “Good luck, dumb ass.” At the end of the episode, we see Rick is in an RV, alone, surrounded by walkers.  It's a play on how those two first met.  Does this mean death?  

Enter stage 2 of grief: anger.  If Glenn is dead, I’m really angry at Nicholas and I blame him for this.  I’m also angry at Glenn for not killing good ole St. Nick in the woods last season.  Come to think of it, I’m angry at Morgan for letting those Wolves walk away so that they could attack Rick in the RV.  I’m angry at myself for caring so much about these characters, and yes, I did shed a few tears seeing the fallen pizza-delivery man surrounded by walkers. 

Please, writers of The Walking Dead, don’t let this be real.  Don’t let this be the end of Glenn.  I want something more heroic for him.  I want him to go out saving the woman he loves, or in a spectacular shootout, not like this.  Please tell me you’ve written him rolling under the dumpster or being so immersed in the blood and guts of Nicholas (who may have landed on top of him), that the walkers don’t realize he’s live bait.  If you do that, I promise I’ll be good.  I’ll accept any other deaths you throw at me without argument (unless it’s Daryl).  I’ll give you $50!  Look at me, bargaining already.  That’s stage 3. 

Shawn: I don't know if I'm in denial or I just have my fingers in my ears singing "la la la la la" while everyone talks about what they think happened so that it didn't happen.  It's an interesting phenomenon in this show and Game of Thrones in particular that major characters routinely get offed in the middle of seasons.  They both generally follow previously written material and deaths really shouldn't be a shock.  But they are.  This one hits home because Glenn has been my favorite character since we first met the damn pizza-delivery boy.  You really said much of what needed to be said so I'm taking my soapbox time to look back and compare and analyze.

1.)  NOAH - Glenn had a plan.  It wasn't a great plan but it was pretty good considering the situation.  And stupid Nicholas couldn't stick to the plan. That dude has been bad news since we met him.  Why did Glenn always get stuck with the bad apple?  This apocalypse has been one big lesson in stick to the original plan.   I wasn't a huge fan of throwing a big zombie walkathon in the first place but it was going to work for a majority of the dead folks.   Glenn was going to get you out of any sticky situation if you didn't panic.  Then you panic and shoot yourself in the head?  I hope you splattered the man with enough blood to fool the zombies.

2. ) TYREESE - "Ain't nobody got to die today."  Don't get yourself trapped in a spot you can't escape from and don't start having visions.  This was a character that I felt like everybody loved.  He came out that whole time at the prison and was quite a caretaker for the group.  Like Glenn, he was the nice guy that worried about people and their feelings.  You always need that guy on the team and every time one of them dies; it's even harder because who is there to console the survivors.

3.)  ANDREA - There were few characters I was more conflicted about than Andrea.  By the time she was offing herself, I wasn't really affected by the death.  It's probably the same way I'd be about Gabriel now.  She was a jerk to Dale and her buddying up with Shane didn't endear her to me.  I found some solace when she bonded with Michonne but her odd relationship to the Governor sealed the deal for me.  You are judged by the company you keep in this Universe.  Glenn kept his friendships clean and clear.

4. ) HERSHEL - Even though I was upset about Tyreese, it was Hershel that had the death most closely resembling the feelings I have about Glenn.  This group needs Hershel more than ever.  I loved the Hershel Yin to Rick's Yang even more than we are getting/going to get with Morgan. Hershel never wanted to leave that farm.  He didn't want to bring on conflict.  The man wanted to farm and you know, keep his zombie loved ones in the barn out back.  Hershel wouldn't have supported a zombie parade through the Virginia countryside.  He was ever the diplomat and would have found a way to soothe the wilding groups invading the compound.  Of course, that theory didn't hold water with the Governor and he lost his head over it.   That death was so cold and calculated and by another human that I still think it stands out above any zombie-related death.

5.)  DALE - See Rick drive around in an RV and tell me you don't immediately think of Dale.  Dale, my Faulkner-quoting friend, you are needed in this day and age.  Dale had a sense about what was going on - most of it as he sat on top of the RV and observed people.  He knew to trust Glenn and not to trust Shane or Andrea.  His faith in Glenn early on gave Glenn confidence that has only grown since.  Glenn's dealings with Dale foreshadowed how Hershel would later become a true father figure to him.  Dale's death was also brought on by someone not paying attention to the rules.  Carl caused the walker to get loose that eventually mauled Dale.  Dale is eventually shot by Daryl.  And in true Daryl fashion, he needs few words (like this episode) to sum it up perfectly.

"Sorry, brother."

Sorry, Glenn.

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