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The past two weeks of The Walking Dead have given us Morgan’s transformation and Maggie’s pregnancy, but fans just can’t stop talking about what happened to Glenn a few episodes ago. And while I was initially shocked that the show would inject the fan favorite character into such a pronounced cliffhanger mystery, I’ve since moved past it and have decided that The Walking Dead would be a much better show if it just left Glenn’s fate ambiguous and unexplained.
There has been entirely too much speculation over what happened to him, and I can’t think of anything that the Walking Dead creative team can do at this point that won’t be disappointing, or at the very least non-surprising. If he died, then he’s dead. If he snuck beneath the dumpster somehow, then he’s alive, but probably only temporarily. If he completely escaped the zombie crowd unscathed, then he becomes a major blow to this show’s logic and the trust it has built up with audiences. Putting so much time in between the Glenncident and the fallout was a great idea as far as fan impact goes, but it does not fit smoothly into the time-jumping structure of Season 6.
As well, we’ve seen The Walking Dead handle missing survivor plotlines several times over the years, and they tend to end badly for all involved. Carol’s daughter Sophia was the subject of a (dull as shit) manhunt, and she reemerged as a walker. Beth went missing for a while, and even though she was alive and being held semi-captive in a hospital, she ended up getting killed as soon as the rest of the group found her. Merle went AWOL, and though he would have just been a dickface anyway, he ended up joining The Governor’s ranks and later dying. At this point, Morgan is the exception, as his seasons-long absences led to him becoming a part of Rick’s group, but he’s hardly the safest member of the bunch.
What The Walking Dead has not done, conversely, is allow a major character to exit the show without a lick of exposition to explain it all. The closest example is Season 1’s Morales, who left with his family and was never heard from again, but even though that character (and some of the nursing home survivors) occasionally get rumored for a return, they were only around for a little while and I can’t imagine anyone really gave a shit about exactly what happened to them after they were gone. This is post-apocalyptic America, where people can literally go weeks and months without running into another living and breathing human, so it would realistically be far more likely for news of Glenn’s fate to go undiscovered rather than making its way to everyone else in the coming weeks.
Because we know that the resolution is coming and that actor Steven Yeun will be in more episodes in some form, my yearning for uncertainty is most certainly in vain. But there is one way this can roll out that would potentially please both Glenn fanatics and people like me: show TV audiences what happened to Glenn, but keep all of the show’s characters completely in the dark on the matter. That doesn’t mean I want to hear someone in every episode say, “Man, I still wonder what happened to Glenn,” but it would be interesting to see these characters facing the unknown in such a way. And almost anything else will just feel like cheap emotional bait.
Find out the next step in this narrative when The Walking Dead airs Sunday nights on AMC. Let us know what you guys think below. And yes, I know I'm probably in the minority here.
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