If you thought things were going to slow down a bit as ‘The Walking Dead’ settled into its third episode of the season, you couldn’t have been more wrong. This week’s episode was either one of the biggest shockers or the biggest misdirects in series history and will have fans talking about little else over the next week.
As always, spoilers are ahead. This week’s entry has such major spoilers that if you haven’t seen the episode yet, seriously stop reading right now. I won’t be offended.
Just as last week’s episode jumped over to Alexandria to show viewers what was happening as Rick and the others tried to herd the large swarm of Walkers, this week’s episode shows us what was going on as that big battle raged at Alexandria. It all begins with the sound of the loud horn, which after three episodes I hope we never have to hear again. Rick, Michonne, Glenn, Nicholas and Heath lead a bunch of Alexandrians (whom viewers aren’t really familiar with) back towards the community. Rick takes Michonne and Glenn aside and says that some of the others aren’t going to make it back, but they need to make sure that the three of them do. Heath overhears the conversation.
The group is attacked by Walkers. One of the men who’d complained about how Rick is going to get them all killed, gets killed, naturally. Another member of the group, Scott, gets a leg injury, while yet another, David, gets bitten in the back. Rick has a plan to go get the RV and cut the herd of Walkers off, while Glenn, Michonne, Nicholas, David, Scott, and a girl named Annie head back towards Alexandria.
While all of the above is going on, Daryl gets pretty annoyed that all he’s been asked to do is drive his motorcycle about 10 mph so he can lead the Walkers away from Alexandria. He expresses as much to Abe and Sasha and suggests that they’ve led the herd as far as they need to. Abe and Sasha both disagree and remind Daryl that they’ve all agreed to go 20 miles out. Daryl breaks away and heads back toward Alexandria anyway.
Michonne’s group make their way into a small town, where they discover that a member of the group who had run off on his own – Sturgess – made it this far… and no further. They find his body being devoured by Walkers. The group find refuge in a pet store, but soon realize that the only way they can get out of town is to create a distraction for the Walkers. Glenn thinks that if they can set one or more of the buildings on fire, not only will the Walkers be attracted to it, but they’re likely to stay in the town as long as the fire is burning. Nicholas, who has been in the town before during one of Alexandria’s supply runs, knows of a feed supply building that should burn easily.
On his way to the RV, Rick has to fight and kill a number of Walkers. While doing so, he injures his left hand on a blade that’s sticking out of one of them. Rick also appears to have gotten some Walker blood mixed in with his own. Does that mean that Rick is on his way to becoming a Walker? Fans of the comic book already know that Rick has been minus an appendage (his right hand) since the very early days. Will the series have Rick cut off his hand? It seems unlikely just from a logistical point of view, but then again this show had no problem making Hershel lose a leg and was more than happy to CGI the actor’s body part out for a long time. Given that Rick is the lead character, however, you’d think the show-runners wouldn’t want to deal with that week-in and week-out, but we’ll see what happens in the coming episodes.
With Glenn and Nicholas on their way to burn down the feed building, Michonne hears a noise in one of the back rooms of the pet shop and has to kill a pair of Walkers who have been trapped back there. The noise is enough to attract all the Walkers outside, and Michonne realizes that they need to make a run for it. The group barely gets outside the building when Annie is mobbed by a bunch of the Walkers. Annie, are you okay? Umm… no. David doesn’t make it either; he gets dragged down by a group of Walkers as he and Michonne try to make it over a fence together.
In even bigger trouble are Glenn and Nicholas. The feed store they had planned to set on fire has already burned to the ground and Walkers converge on their location. They wind up on top of a dumpster against a fence, with dozens… if not a hundred… Walkers on both sides of them. Nicholas realizes that this is the end for him, pulls out his gun, and points it at his own head. He tells Glenn “Thank you” and pulls the trigger, killing himself. Nicholas’s dead body falls right towards Glenn, and the two drop down into the horde of Walkers. Here’s where things get either really tragic or really interesting. We see what looks to be the Walkers tearing Glenn’s body apart as he screams… or is that just Nicholas’s body on top of him with a very-much-alive Glenn trapped underneath? This is what everyone will be talking about this week, rest assured.
But wait, the episode isn’t finished yet. Rick gets to the RV but stops to try to communicate with the others via his walkie-talkie. He can’t reach Glenn. He does reach Daryl, though Rick has no idea yet that Daryl has abandoned Abe and Sasha. Suddenly, Rick gets attacked by a pair of Wolves (the gang members, not actual animals!). After a struggle, he manages to kill them both. In one of the RV’s side mirrors, he can see an additional trio sneaking up, so he uses a machine gun to shoot through the side of the RV and eliminate them as well.
Hearing over the walkie-talkie that Rick may be in trouble, Daryl reassesses the situation, and decides to return to Abe and Sasha to continue guiding the herd away from Alexandria.
Michonne, Heath and Scott eventually make it back to the community, only to see the results of the battle that occurred there. Meanwhile, Rick can’t get the RV started up again and hears more Walkers approaching. As the episode closes, a swarm of them begin to surround the vehicle.
Let’s put everything else that happened this week aside and focus on the big question: Is Glenn still alive? I have to confess the first (and only so far) time I watched the scene, I thought he was a goner. Then, on Chris Hardwick’s ‘Talking Dead’ show that followed the episode, actor Steven Yeun was not a guest – something that almost always happens when a character gets killed. To add more speculation to the events, Glenn was not listed as part of the weekly “In Memoriam” segment that pays homage to those lost in each episode. Finally, fans were read a cryptic message from show-runner Scott Gimple which implied that we’ll see Glenn again… although it may be in flashbacks or otherwise. (Walker Glenn, perhaps?)
Once again, those who follow the comic books know that Glenn faced a different fate there – but this series hasn’t always followed the comic books. One thing I know is absolutely for sure: If Glenn somehow survives that mass of Walkers, his survival should be assured for the remainder of the series. I can’t think of a bigger jump-the-shark moment for this show than to pretend you’ve killed a major character, only to bring him back and kill him again later on down the road. Fans are already pretty upset. If the show does that to us, it would be an unforgivable moment.
Let’s hear your theory. Is Glenn dead or alive? If he’s alive, give us your prediction on how he gets out of his current situation in a believable way.