The Writing Dead

The Walking Dead spoiler alert muthafukkas!

He's alive! Glenn is alive! Who is this Glenn that you are referring to?

In season six of The Walking Dead, one of the mainstay characters, Glenn, had plummeted into a sea of zombies. Nicholas, a minor character, had given up, seeing no way out, and shot himself in the head. The falling dead body pulled Glenn off the top of the dumpster, and all we saw were starving zombies grabbing and ripping. Blood spilled everywhere, guts poured onto Glenn, and the fans were shocked to see the only Asian in the show to die. Or had he?

Then one of the writers/producers of the show released a statement through the follow up show, Talking Dead, "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."

Theories arose of his survival. So of course everyone tuned in the next week, a whole seven days later, to find out Glenn's fate. Not only didn't we find out, but we got a flash back to another character, at this point a minor one, Morgan Jones. A ninety minute episode.

Some fans were pissed. Others loved the episode. I saw a fan comment, "Glad for the break. It's been intense." Uh…it had been a whole seven days. That's 168 hours, 10,080 minutes, 604,800 seconds. If watching a TV show gets you pent up for that long, I might suggest going outside for a walk.

It took three episodes before the fans found out that Glenn is alive. And I sorta get it. If the writers' intention was to put the audience through a period of tension, withholding Glenn's fate, so we would feel what it's like to live in a zombie apocalyptic world, then fine. Badly done. But OK. However, what the producer did by releasing the statement afterward was gawdawful stupid.

Why?

Let's take a simple magic trick: A magician stands in front of a black armoire and opens the double doors. His attractive assistant steps inside and waves to the crowd. The magician closes the doors and turns to the crowd. "Don't worry. We'll see her in some way, shape or form soon." Then waits three weeks before opening the doors to reveal that the assistant is still in the armoire. She's dead, though. Oops. 

But, braddah, she no disappear or nuthin'. Supwitdat? 

I know, cuz.

Here's a small list of things the writers had fucked up:

  1. A basic law of the show is that anyone can be killed, save Rick. Kill Rick, and the show is over. Killing Glenn would have been good for the story, supporting this basic law.
  2. Another basic law is that zombies will eat anything that is alive or freshly killed. Keeping Glenn alive after falling into a sea of zombies destroys that law.
    1. The writers can say that the blood and guts covering Glenn camouflaged him from the zombie horde. But this only works if the blood and guts came from a zombie. Nicholas wasn't "ripe" yet because the zombies were still eating him.
  3. This also destroys the law that anyone can be killed. I'm not saying Glenn can't be eaten in another episode, but saving him here takes a lot of sheen off of Death can come to anyone.
  4. Zombies don't give up. They have no reasoning, so why would they? If they smell fresh meat, they'll go after you. Even if a barrier like a fence stands in their way, as seen in the prison episodes, they'll continue to claw at you.
  5. They messed with our emotions, which is good. But they also revealed their hand when they released their statement. And by doing so, they manipulated our emotions by breaking the fourth wall, the TV screen. That tatters if not severely beats our suspension of disbelief.
  6. As I said earlier, theories of his survival arose. The shitty part is that we were right, and as a result we were not surprised (see the comments in the link).
  7. And much like the assistant who didn't disappear, nothing changed. Glenn didn't become a better person. He didn't become worse.  No one was around to see his miraculous act of survival, so no change there. Since there was no change in this pivotal cliff hanger, then why show it? To piss us off?

I think for most fans of the show, they won't care but are relieved Glenn is back. As a storyteller, I care. But I currently don't have to balance storytelling, ratings, and selling commercials. This is something the writers/producers have to do, especially during sweeps.

Spoiler alert again, muthafukkas.

And strategically, they may be waiting to kill Glenn when a character from the comics named Negan comes to the show. He's a baddie. Actually, he's a bad muthafukka. Cause he does do Glenn. Well…not do Glenn, but does do Glenn in, or do does Glenn in, or doo-dah doo-dah-day.