Let’s face it; it was a rough episode for viewers of “The Walking Dead” this week as a fan-favorite character’s fate was left conspicuously open-ended. There was a great deal of foreshadowing leading up to the most-talked about moment of the episode, and odds are good it’s important to pay attention to every little detail for the future.
[SPOILER ALERT: The remainder of this article will discuss “The Walking Dead” Season 6, episode 3]
Now that most of us are done hugging our knees and repeating “no way” to ourselves, it’s time to talk about it. Glenn (Steven Yeun) appeared to die in the most gruesome way possible during episode 3, titled “Thank You.” But despite the situation looking dire for everyone’s favorite good guy, there’s a great deal of evidence to support the idea that Glenn didn’t actually meet his maker just yet. After all, he’s one of the most resourceful characters and may have something in his bag of tricks to save his life, literally.
After retreating to the pet store, with the rest of the Alexandria survivors, Glenn hatches his brilliant plan to burn down a feed store in order to distract the herd of walkers headed to the haven. Before he and (let’s just say it) the utterly useless Nicholas (Michael Traynor) go off to complete the mission, Glenn takes a moment. Realizing he’ll have to pack light if he’s planning to outmaneuver the largest horde of walkers anyone has ever seen, he removes only two items from his pack.
He starts with a flare gun, which makes a great deal of sense since his initial plan was to light a building aflame in a hurry. The second item is his most prized possession, the pocket watch that Hershel (Scott Wilson) gave him in Season 4 just before he died. The watch represents not only the old man’s legacy and presence, but his unabashed approval of Glenn’s relationship with his daughter Maggie (Lauren Cohan).
Many took the appearance of the keepsake as more foreshadowing that the character would die by the end of the episode, something fans on Twitter were very quick to point out. After all, one of the last things Glenn did was call Rick (Andrew Lincoln) a “dumb---,” a direct reference to their first encounter at the end of the pilot episode. While the foreshadowing theory may very well may be true, the actual state of Glenn’s life is still hanging in the balance, even if “Talking Dead” host Chris Hardwick is giving away prop pocket watches to fans. As much as the watch evoked a feeling in fans, the mere sight of it may very well be the only motivation Glenn needs to claw his way out of the nightmare he was left in.
So, if we consider how Glenn would get himself out of the imminent danger he finds himself in, perhaps fans need to look no further than the second item he pulled from his bag -- the flare gun. As demonstrated in previous episodes, flares are a fantastic way to get walkers to chase something that isn’t the meat on the shooter’s bones. Based on fan theories that speculate that the walkers were feeding on Nicholas, not Glenn, it’s possible Glenn could distract them by shooting his flare in the opposite direction. Unfortunately, it may not be that simple.
The hard truth is, if Glenn could have used a single flare to distract the horde, he wouldn’t have hatched this desperate scheme to burn down an entire building. As a result, it’s possible that Glenn will use the flare to light up the collection of flammable things in the alleyway, sacrificing himself for the people of Alexandria. It would be a fitting death for a hero, and it’s not like we’ve seen the last of Glenn. During the latest episode of “Talking Dead,” Hardwick read a statement from showrunner Scott M. Gimple teasing the return of Glenn in some capacity.
“Dear fans of ‘The Walking Dead,’ this is a hard story to tell and when we were planning to tell we knew our friends at ‘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,” he wrote (via The Hollywood Reporter). “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.”
So, it looks like Glenn will return, but not necessarily in a welcome manner. Let's just hope the scene sees him return the pocket watch to Maggie rather than forcing her to retrieve it in some morbid way. Unfortunately, only time will tell what lies ahead for Glenn when “The Walking Dead” returns next week with a special 90-minute episode that will, we hope, reveal the fate of the beloved character.