‘The Walking Dead’ Lost the Story and Decided to Lie

By November 23, 2015

(Warning: This post will contain MAJOR spoilers from last night’s episode of The Walking Dead, titled “Head’s Up”.)

Don’t you remember that awesome scene at the end of Braveheart where Mel Gibson’s William Wallace was tortured and gutted then goes off to lead his armies to victory?

That’s because it didn’t happen, and could never happen because the filmmakers of that movie wanted to make sure you knew he was dead. There wasn’t any tricky camera angles, and why? Because there’s no point in lying to the audiences when it comes to story elements before.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or dumpster apparently) for the past several weeks, you’ve likely heard some of the speculation and frustration running amok throughout the Walking Dead fan community. The origins of which come from a scene earlier this season which featured Nicholas blowing his brains out – causing he and Glenn to fall into a horde of zombie walkers.

The scene ended with Glenn crying and screaming as his bloody guts and intestines were eaten out by the zombies. The message of the scene was clear – Glenn, a character from the beginning of the series, had finally met his unfortunate end.

As we discussed in an earlier editorial that featured Glenn, it’s been clear from episode one of the series that no character is safe, and killing Glenn only drove that point home even further.

The fans were upset, and rightly so. But in the end, (most) were okay with it because it made sense in the context of the world and by the themes created in and by the show…

Until last night when it didn’t make sense anymore.

Now, let’s preface this next bit by saying… all around… we’ve enjoyed what is so far one of the best seasons of The Walking Dead. And we will continue to enjoy the series moving forward – well, most likely.

However, last night’s episode of The Walking Dead pulled some mind-boggling stuff over on its audience and we have to call bullshit. Dare we say… it was enough for us to seriously consider whether or not the show jumped the shark. 


After weeks and weeks of people wondering about Glenn’s fate, it took only a few minutes into last night’s episode to finally pay off that wonder. Indeed – Glenn did survive. It had been theorized by many fans that the guts we saw being eaten and devoured in the “death scene” were actually Nicholas’ and not Glenn’s, seeing as Nicholas’ body conveniently fell on top of him. And yes, the fans were correct… Glenn did pull himself under the dumpster without getting eaten…

Or bitten. Not even once… You can now see where many of the problems lay with this.

From a story perspective alone, having Glenn survive that situation by crawling underneath a dumpster that barely covered the length of his body is some of the most unbelievable nonsense I’ve ever seen happen in the zombie genre. The idea that not even a single walker noticed him makes zero sense. What it also does is downgrade the threat of our Walkers. Whatever threat they posed in the series up until that point went away in one single scene.

Now, there have been a lot of comparisons between the Glenn mystery, and the current ambiguity surrounding Jon Snow’s fate in Game of Thrones, although we don’t really know why. It looks like even The Walking Dead team think this is a fair comparison too, as they tweeted out the latest Game of Thrones season 6 poster earlier today with the following caption:


The mystery surrounding Jon Snow’s fate doesn’t come down to cheap camera tricks or angles like Glenn’s did. We very clearly saw Jon get stabbed over and over again repeatedly in the Season 5 finale, and we’re 99% he was as dead as a White Walker door nail by the time the season had cut to black. The reason that Jon’s fate remains a topic of speculation is because the idea of someone being brought back from the dead is something that is completely possible in the world of Game of Thrones. If Jon ends up being alive next season, it won’t be because he was wearing a knife-proof armor that we didn’t know about for some reason or any kind of cop out like that. It will come courtesy of another character saving him or reviving him, and it won’t be a stretch. Glenn crawling under a dumpster while being surrounded by an entire horde of Walkers without being bitten is a stretch. A clever use of the camera. And an obvious ploy by the producers to create drama amongst its fans when there wasn’t any drama to begin with.

The real problem? There never should have been a mystery in the first place. By having fans speculate about how Glenn could have lived, we were allowed to also pick apart why he shouldn’t be allowed to live in that scenario. I guarantee that if the entire scene had played out a few weeks ago, including the segment of him crawling free underneath the dumpster, it would never have been a big issue. Characters in the series have been able to make it out of much worse situations, and in those cases no one even batted an eye.

But last night, the showrunner and creative team behind the series violated a certain kind of trust with their viewers. We tune in every week in order to see that story; a story that makes sense in a world created by the showrunner and by the creative team. We have been with you for six years now and not once did we doubt the world or a death even. It was all earned. And the audience, whether we agreed or not, followed along.

What we got last night wasn’t a creative storyline but rather a bargain bin mystery that in the end, came down to pure convenience and “clever” camera angles. It was, strangely enough, the least Walking Dead of all the episodes. And the fans deserve better.

Now that I have said my piece, I invite to all out there in the Nation to share your thoughts on the matter. Were you happy about the fate of Glenn or did you also feel cheated?

The Walking Dead airs every Sunday night on AMC.

Make sure to keep checking back for more updates — right here on GeekNation.

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Alex Welch

Alex Welch

Alex dreams of meeting a girl with a yellow umbrella, and spends too much time* staring at a movie screen. His vocabulary consists mostly of movie quotes and 80s song lyrics. *Debatable
  • David Johnson

    For a town that had been FULL of walkers it was mysteriously empty till they need some for a BOO Factor. Also wasn’t it lucky the little girl from alexandria just happened to be Right Above Glenn with a water bottle, Glenn should have taken his shirt off & thrown it Mean Joe Greene Coke Commercial style to Her. Then after Glenn banged around luckily in the part of town where all the deaf walkers lived they walked back home just in time to see a guy fall right into the only open area in a walker mosh pit. The didn’t “Jump The Shark; They Jumped Sharknado”!!!!!!

  • G-Block

    Ah, ambivalence. Sure, Glenn is a likeable character – even an audience favorite. But I would have liked to have seen him stay dead for the reasons you stated. However, I think this a tease, a foreshadowing, for a different reason: the comic hints that the television’s ‘verse may have a worse end in mind.

    • Totally agree with you G-Block. Especially about the comic-verse. Should be interesting….

  • Carol Greene

    First of all this generation has no idea what the word spoiler means.
    It means something that has NOT aired.
    Personal spoilers are your own problem if you have not yet watched a show that has aired and then you are online reading about that show. Not everyone else’s therefore this article does not contain any spoilers.

    “Convenience and clever camera angles”? No the actor really did spend several hours under a real dumpster with several cameras placed around him to capture his acting. He really did climb under and out
    Do your homework if you are going to pick apart someone else’s writing.
    For the record we don’t know if he was scratched or bit. Do we now?

    That could still be coming. If Glenn was to die he would go out a hero’s death or at the very least in Maggie’s arms.
    Anyone who actually thought he would die that way has not watched the show very closely.

    No one lives and screams through their guts being pulled out. You would die instantly. It was very obvious that it was Nicholas.

    When the episode ended I immediately though “Oh Nicholas is dead” Glenn being dead didn’t even cross my mind until everyone online started freaking out.

    The fans created all the speculation after that episode . Not the writers.

    I am betting they have a death planned we never see coming.

    Bait us with Glenn and Maggie is the one that dies perhaps.

    Or Glenn dies later this season.

    Remember the days when we just stopped watching a show we disliked instead of ranting everywhere about it?

    Neither do I. haha!

    • Exactly. No one wants to waste time on a show they hate.

      But don’t confuse us with someone who hates it; We love the show, which is probably why we want to hold the writers to a higher standard. Our only point it, they wanted you to believe Glenn was dead, but they did it in such a cheap way… They kept him alive in a way that would never have worked with any cast member prior… Not even close.

      The point of the article isn’t whether or not he should have does, or whether Glenn should have dies in that manner… The point is the fact that the show used horrible filmmaking tactics to tell/show that past of the story. We hated it immediately after watching it.

      As for spoilers:
      1) There are countries where this has yet to air – Trust me, we’ve learned the hard way.
      2) With the popularity of DVR, you need to have some level moratorium so you don’t ruin it for them.
      3) I’m pretty sure that the use of “Spoiler” has only been used by one generation (of several ages).


    • Jamie Westmore

      Wow. Carol certainly has an opinion on everything. With this post she can tell us for certain that someone getting their guts ripped out would die instantly. Really Carol? Ever been there as it happened? No…I thought not. I have. Also in the film industry a long time? No. Not unless you worked at a photo booth. Then of course there is your chronic disease. That your husband had to work three jobs, because you had no help. The film community is pretty tight knit and makes really good money…so again…b.s. All you do is comment about things you know nothing about. Please go and find another way to get attention.

    • Amy

      I have definitely seen people live through their guts being pulled out on this show. For example in the episode where Noah dies, right before that there is guy who Glenn and Nick try to save that was stuck somewhere stabbed through his shoulder and when they had abandon him walkers started pulling all his guts out and they show him watching and screaming as it happens.

  • GJA

    Initially I would have agreed with your statement about jumping the shark. My words and fears exactly a couple of weeks ago. However like others have stated, we don’t know if the gashes around his neck are laced with zombie spit and bile and we may lose him as quickly as we got him back, which would be a double gotcha. I would agree again, if the original shot did not show “”what’s his name” falling directly on Glenn. They gave themselves a plausible if not highly unlikely out by doing that and it wasn’t like he went unnoticed by some dead crawling under the dumpster. I personally wont hold this episode against the creators of the dead. They did it as well as they could and got people talking for weeks.

  • Amy

    Personally I enjoyed the anticipation, but I agree that it was an unlikely situation, but that’s show bizz for ya. I was one who thought he was dead and the writers were taking away that spoiler with Neegan that all the comic fans are anticipating. I feel like what they did was more of a nod to Game of Thrones then anything. It’s like the show runners saw what a phenomenon the mystery behind John Snow’s death had impacted the fan base and they wanted to create that kind of interest and discussion with their show.

  • Carol Dryden

    I have to say that I completely agree with everything you said in your column and that is totally unlike me I have to say that I completely agree with everything you said in your call him and that is totally a lot me. Although I did not want Glenn to die in the series it did not make sense hIm getting out unscathed.
    So I have to completely agree. It is the world they live in.

  • CoriE

    He slid under immediately. He stabbed the ones reaching under in the head. Their bodies actually protected him. Not far fetched at all.

  • Andrew Carbone

    Alive or dead, I agree a bit cheated by the camera tricks. As you mentioned, so far everyone who has died was killed in plain sight. And why would glenn be screaming in pain. How couldn’t the walkers hear him and see his face that was not covered up at all. Not saying that I am not glad he is dead, he is one of my favorite characters, but how does that make it fair to any of the other characters that lost their lives. Like Shane, Dale, etc.

    • Yep. That is exactly what we were saying.

      • Andrew Carbone

        It’s almost unfair, but I think that it could be a good thing or a bad thing that Glenn is alive. They could go many ways with it. I think the only way to redeem themselves for they have done is to give us the heartbreak of losing 2 characters, only because we got teased with heartache. And I don’t care what anyone else says, no matter who dies everyone will continue to watch because there will always be a new character who will take that persons place. Like look at carol from season 1 and 2 compared to now. Definitely went from a least favorite character to one of the favs. Who knew that a defenseless abused middle-aged woman would turn out to be a look at the flowers killing machine. Regardless there will always be someone there to replace a beloved character. HAPPY DEADSGIVING!!