Is Glenn Rhee dead?
Featured on: "The Walking Dead"

Read an amicus curiae script that posits how Glenn could be brought back.

Steven Yeun
Gene Page / AMC
Steven Yeun as Glenn Rhee in Episode 3 of Season 6 of "The Walking Dead."
Why Glenn better not be a goner
on 'The Walking Dead'
There are certain characters that must survive for the show to stay strong. Glenn is one of them
November 1, 2015

It's certainly possible that Glenn Rhee is dead on "The Walking Dead," whether walking or not.

But, I think not, for a few reasons I may explain as I go along, and I certainly hope he isn't dead, because if he is, that might mean I could not watch the show again.

Last week, there was Steven Yeun as Glenn, buried under an avalanche of walkers while blood flowed like a river and intestines were thrown all about.

Social media immediately exploded in reaction, and theories about how he might still be alive, or if not alive, might have some other role on the show going forward. Ghost? Walker?

I was offended that the writer, Angela Kang, would kill off a key character that way, with no poetry. If he is dead. When Tyreese Williams (played handsomely and gently by Chad L. Coleman) was killed last season, that episode, written by Scott M. Gimple, was poetry.

I was so disturbed by that episode — Glenn and Nicholas on a Dumpster, surrounded by walkers — that I couldn't be bothered to watch all of "The Talking Dead" afterward, and certainly didn't watch the reprise of that episode.

And I got to thinking about why the show needs certain characters if it is to survive. Even in the face of the show being picked up for a seventh season.

The show needs to keep feeding us a certain amount of hope.

If there is no hope that the zombie apocalypse can be survived, then why do we watch?

They may as well just kill everybody off and be done with it, and we can have our Sunday nights free again for other pursuits.

Melissa McBride
Gene Page / AMC
Melissa McBride is magnificent as Carol Peletier in Episode 2 of Season 6 of "The Walking Dead."

We need ...

Rick, played by Andrew Lincoln, partly because he has always been the center of the show, but also because he has almost always managed to overcome whatever has been thrown at him and his group. His Farmer Rick episode was a little weird, but, still.

Carol, a fabulous performance by Melissa McBride, in one of the best story lines in the history of the show. Starting as a mouse, she has become a lion, and she takes care of her pride.

Judith, played by Anniston and Tinsley Price, because what gives more hope to the world than a baby?

Michonne, played with strength and beauty by Danai Gurira, Another well-performed emotional arc. A clever, hard-body warrior who loves their group.

Daryl Dixon, played with sweaty, dirty backwoods grit by Norman Reedus, who is excellent in the role.(One of my favorite of his performances was in Season 2, when the idiotic and irritatingly arrogant Andrea (played skillfully by Laurie Holden) thinks he is a walker, and shoots him. Daryl has done so much for the group, and he is beloved by millions of fans; kill him, the show dies. Besides, I want to see him and Aaron (Ross Marquand) share a kiss (one of my theories).

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Glenn is the ultimate survivor. The ultimate hero. From the first time we hear his voice, in Season 1, Episode 1 — "Hey you! Dumb ass! Hey you in the tank! Cozy in there?" — Glenn is the hustler who gets it done, who saves everybody.

If he can survive, the others have a chance.

That's part of why I think he may still be alive.

There are some sort of evidentiary reasons, too, as far at forensic logic can be applied to a wild show based on a comic book. Such as:

— Too much blood for him to be screaming that loud. If his aorta or other major artery had been severed, it seems unlikely he could be screaming that loud.

— Intestines being pulled, apparently, from the area of his chest. Nah. From Nicholas's abdomen? Maybe.

So, perhaps all that blood and guts was really from the cowardly Nicholas (well played by Michael Traynor). And maybe Glenn will be able to use wile and cunning — maybe the good old smear zombie guts on your face trick — to get away.

But if Glenn really is gone, I may have to stop watching the show. For one thing, I don't want to have to watch how poor Maggie (played with considerable skill and charm by Lauren Cohan) would react to her husband's death. She's already lost everyone else in her family.

Glenn's loss would be a bridge too far.

"The Walking Dead" is a great show, driven by amazing writing, direction and acting, and because its bosses have paid attention to pleasing the audience.

Lose Glenn, the show will lose a big chunk of audience.

Email John Orr at

Traynor, Yeun
Gene Page / AMC
Michael Traynor as Nicholas, left, and Steven Yeun as Glenn Rhee in Episode 3 of Season 6 of "The Walking Dead."
Danai Gurira
Gene Page / AMC
Danai Gurira as Michonne in Episode 3 of Season 6 of "The Walking Dead."
Norman Reedus
Gene Page / AMC
Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon in Episode 1 of Season 6 of "The Walking Dead."