(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:
And you guys thought WE were torturing our fans… https://t.co/TJbjPHgVix
— The Walking Dead (@TheWalkingDead) November 23, 2015
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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