Ok, everyone take a deep breath and stop reading this if you don’t want me to spoil The Walking Dead all over the place. Buy something on your way out please? We got Rick, Daryl, and some fun Mystery Minis.
It’s Tuesday. Like my Force Awakens post, I feel everyone needs time to process a major geek moment. Also, I didn’t watch episode three live (we’re experimenting with cord cutting…), so I couldn’t respond to the minute if I wanted to!
I’m going to write in two takes again and save the controversy for last.
Take the first, despite the three side stories; this was Rick’s episode (a Rickasode?). Everything that happened had Rick’s either obvious or thematic influence. After the grand set-up of the first episode, the storytellers have laid down another dichotomy of Rick. He’s so right and yet so wrong.
What is Rick right about? This is a world that cannot allow sympathy for the weak. No matter whom they are, no matter how they got weak. Weakness requires caretaking, which takes away from survival, which leads to kicking the bucket. Rick accepts this premise with no doubts and no hesitation. Fall behind, get left behind. Get bit, get dead. Michonne and Glen, for different reasons, accept the premise, but want to make exceptions. Heath, Alexandria’s own Jiminy Cricket, rejects it entirely and a little bit passive aggressively. Anybody else find him just sort of annoying?
Look, Rick’s current world view is harsh, cruel, and absolutely vindicated by the end of the episode. Heath and Michonne try their best to save even the doomed and fail. And Glenn…
So, what is Rick wrong about? This is a world ready for grand plans to reestablish humanity. This dichotomy is what makes Rick a leader. He sees a world that cannot absorb sympathy now, because that weakness will keep the world from rebuilding itself later. He, however, wants to work on later, right now. Rick doesn’t have sympathy, but he has hope. It made him a little single minded. He had established order inside the walls. He thought he could establish order outside the walls by leading a large amount of zombies 20 miles away. He’s failing miserably. Andrew Lincoln masterfully acted the moment when Rick’s hope turns to despair.
Take the second, ok, seriously, how of many of you haven’t honestly been waiting for Glen for to die for like, two years? Yes, I’m harsh too. Oh the shock, oh the anger, oh the fan rage! Oh, the get over it.
Glenn was genuinely likeable as a 100% “good person” for his entire run of the show. He will be missed. He had to go. It makes the show compelling to lose characters like Lori, Dale, Hershel, and now Glenn. The story at least gave him the honor of being the climax of a three episode theme (sympathy kills). I will say that I feel like the show has had better moments to off Glenn as a tribute to the character. Glenn has held onto his humanity primarily by keeping his hope in people. I say the show might have picked a better time to off Glenn, because (sure, harshly) I feel like the Nicholas thing got drawn a little long. He gave Nicholas more chances than really made sense (even for Glenn) and paid for it with his life. Did it hurt to see Glenn go? Yes. Was I surprised in the least bit? No.
P.S.: I write this assuming that Glenn actually passed away and that wasn’t the worst fake out ever in the history of TV.