Everyone’s “Favorite Asian” (according to Twitter) and one of the few remaining survivors of The Walking Dead’s Season 1 met his grisly fate this week in “Thank You.” After committing suicide, Nicholas’s body weighed Glenn down into a walker hoard. Nicholas died with significantly less grace than Glenn, but fate’s scythe comes for us all. And, no, this isn’t Game of Thrones so Rhee lovers can speculate about resurrection all they want, but it isn’t going to happen.
Glenn Rhee is dead.
Glenn’s untimely end was unambiguous. It was foreshadowed with his goodbye to Rick, Nicholas’ stunted focus in the woods, and his moment of reflection with his father-in-law’s pocket watch. There wasn’t a cut to black after walkers chomped at Glenn’s insides, and the unnerving calm that followed was only interrupted by Rick AK-47ing some Wolves — as one does.
Fans started working through the cycle of acceptance pretty quickly. Reddit and the newly-founded r/FuckNicholas didn’t take the news well and fans raised flags because Glenn wasn’t included in the infamous “In Memoriam” segments on Talking Dead. Instead, Chris Hardwick read a statement from show runner Scott Gimple:
“Dear fans of The Walking Dead, this is a hard story to tell and when we were planning to tell it, we knew our friends at the Talking Dead would be talking to you about it and knowing you’d all be talking, and feeling and commiserating, I knew we should say something about it lest our silence say something we didn’t mean to say or not say. So I’ll say this: In some way, we will see Glenn, some version of Glenn or parts of Glenn again, either in flashback or in the current story to help complete the story.”
It was a nice move by the producers to keep fans from rioting, but what could it mean to say that “we will see Glenn” again? “Parts of Glenn” and “some version” sound horrendously ominous in a zombie series. Maggie may be carrying Glenn’s unborn child, or there might be flashbacks, or Glenn might be a zombie now — though he’d be in tatters anyway.
Actor Steven Yeun alluded to his own death over a year ago in an interview with Vanity Fair, warning viewers not to get attached to characters.
“And for me, if [killing off] serves the story, I’m game for anything. I hope people can watch the show in that same regard. Stop watching it to see if your favorite character is still alive. That’s kind of been on my mind lately because you notice a lot of fans saying ‘we want you to live, or we want this person to die’ and it’s like, that’s not what the show’s about.”
And it did. “Thank You” continued The Walking Dead’s stellar quality this season, on its way to becomimg the strongest since that wonderful first season. The Walking Dead isn’t just gruesome, it’s also suspenseful, overwhelming, and dreadful in the exact ways you want a zombie series. Glenn Rhee didn’t die in vane. Glenn Rhee died for good television.
What could be more noble than that?