The New #TeamDelusional: Is Glenn Dead Or Not?

Walking Dead Glenn Rhee

WARNING: Full spoilers and graphic pictures from The Walking Dead S06E03 (“Thank You”) follow.

Now that I’ve slept on it and then re-watched last night’s episode of The Walking Dead, I decided to gather my thoughts and take a second look at what happened (or didn’t) to Glenn.

A quick survey of my friends who watch the show gave one resounding answer: Glenn isn’t dead. And the theories behind what may have happened – or what may happen in the future – are certainly worth discussing. Most people seem to believe that the guts the zombies were eating were in fact Nicholas’s, and considering that he fell on top of Glenn, this does make sense. Plus, watching the scene again, it looks a bit off that they’re pulling intestines from the area where Glenn’s chest would be.

Walking Dead Glenn RheeBut still, how could our beloved character have survived and be [physically] unscathed? This is a bit harder to understand. The main answers are “he rolled under the dumpster” and/or that he could also use Nicholas’s blood and guts to camouflage himself from the horde, but I seriously question the latter theory. For me the idea of him hiding in/with Nicholas’s blood/body makes no sense. That’s FRESH blood. Hearkening back to Season 1, Rick and Glenn had to cover themselves with zombie guts so that they didn’t smell (for lack of a better term) like fresh food. Considering that the zombies in Walking Dead seem to eat people/animals regardless of whether they’re still alive or fairly newly dead, you would think that Glenn being covered in fresh blood and guts would be a problem rather than a solution.

This has been addressed by Robert Kirkman in a long past episode of Talking Dead, when he said, “The smell thing that we saw in the first season is really just a rudimentary sense [the zombies have] that we don’t smell like a dead person in some way, so they have some sense of smell that enables them to differentiate people from zombies. But they’re not bloodhounds, you don’t see them walking around and sniffing, following their nose or something. So hiding under a car is going to work.” But as pointed out, “That seems to contradict Zombie Rule #6…that AMC Tweeted out…: ‘Zombies have poor eyesight but they do have a strong sense of smell.'”

Let’s say that this theory does work, though. In that case, plenty of viewers are concerned that Glenn has still been scratched/bitten and will make it back to Alexandria, but that he may end up being mistaken for a walker and killed anyway, or that he may turn once inside the walls and take people out (highly unlikely, in my opinion). Either one of these ideas would offer that “closure” we were promised in last night’s Talking Dead, but then so would us seeing Glenn as a zombie, and yet all three of these possibilities sound even worse to me than him simply being dead.

All that said, the fact that there’s a set photo showing Glenn with Jesus, a character who has yet to be introduced, can certainly be construed as proof that he’s still alive. But again, this could easily be explained away by the fact that they were filming scenes from completely different episodes and just hanging out in their down time.

Walking Dead Glenn RheeThere are of course some theories that are more “out there” – that the whole scene was a sort of hallucination sequence where Nicholas was imagining the whole thing, but I agree with my friend Shanon who said, “That’s just not TWD’s style”. And come on…we got to hear that whole story from the Alexandria guy about his post-apocalypse wife Betsy, which Damon Lindelof called a “Trojan horse” because it obviously symbolized Glenn’s relationship with Maggie as well.

Whether or not you believe that Glenn is dead, everyone seems to be agreed on one thing: if that’s the way he goes out – if he’s really gone – then the show writers did him wrong. In the comics Glenn has one of the most meaningful and epic deaths of any character; doesn’t he deserve that in the show as well? But then, I think most people who have read the comics – and even plenty who haven’t – have expected to see Glenn die this season, and what’s the point of him still being alive if they’re just going to off him for real 5 or 6 or 13 episodes from now? And really, what’s worse – taking him out in such a terrible way, or as my friend Tim pointed out, “Pulling a Deus Ex Zombica with some incredibly unlikely plot device (i.e. Nicholas’s body fell just right, and the blood covered Glenn just enough….)” which “would feel, well, very UN-Walking Dead like.”

And yet Glenn wasn’t featured in Talking Dead‘s “In Memoriam” sequence last night, either. Obvious clue, or conspiracy?

I’ll admit that I personally am still on the fence, which is kind of how I was for the longest time when #TeamDelusional was a Beth thing. I said it in my review of “Thank You”, and I’ll say it again – nothing that I think of can really describe how betrayed I feel right now. Not because of Glenn’s death; not even because of its timing (though his death is far more worthy of a season finale – mid-season at the very least). The manner is what really bothers me. Again, if he’s not dead, then this is just a bad attempt at shock value.

Author: Tara Lynne

Tara Lynne is an author, fandom and geek culture expert, and public speaker. She founded Ice & Fire Con, the first ever Game of Thrones convention in the US, and now runs its parent company Saga Event Planning.

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