It is only the third episode of season six but viewers have already been forced to say goodbye to a much-loved character in The Walking Dead. Many were hoping for some relief after the Wolves struck Alexandria in episode two but in true TWD fashion, there was no such luck with long-time survivor Glenn meeting a gruesome end at the hand of the walkers.
Viewers last saw Rick, Daryl, Michonne, Glenn, Sasha and Abraham in the second episode in the midst of their mission to lead a herd of walkers away from the safe zone of Alexandria. However, their plan was thwarted when a car horn was sounded from their community diverting the zombies off-track. It was pretty much downhill from there in the third episode, Thank You, with Rick forced to split up his small group to fix the dangerous problem.
The group leader warned Glenn and Michonne that some of the Alexandrian residents with them would not make it against the huge number of walkers and suggested the pair leave behind anyone slowing them down, orders that are overheard by Heath. Rick's orders are just another sign of his increasingly ruthless outlook on survival but after everything the group have been through, it is understandable.
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Plus, his point is proven just a few seconds later when Barnes is taken down by a lone walker and meets his zombie fate. Soon after Rick runs off on his own mission, the remainder of the group, led by Michonne and Glenn, run into some trouble with another herd of walkers causing injury to some of the Alexandrians. As Rick rightfully predicted, they are holding his people back but Michonne refuses to leave anyone behind.
With walkers coming at them from all angles in the abandoned town, Glenn hatches a plan to distract the dead by lighting a building on fire. He intends to do this alone but Nicholas insists on helping resulting in Glenn reluctantly agreeing, unknowingly sealing his own fate. It is surprising these two would be left alone together again following the events of season five – Nicholas's cowardly actions caused the death of Noah and he then tried to kill Glenn, who stupidly spared Nicholas's life when given the chance to take revenge.
Throughout the episode, Nicholas is consumed with a whirlwind of emotions, from guilt that his actions have caused the death of others to hope that he can become a better man. However, when he and Glenn get trapped in a dead end with hundreds of walkers blocking their escape, Nicholas chooses the easy way out. Clearly dazed and confused, Nicholas thanks Glenn – most likely for giving him a second chance – before pulling the trigger and shooting himself in the head.
What ensues is the most heartbreaking yet beautiful sequence with Glenn tumbling from the bin on to the floor with the weight of Nicholas in his arms. Nicholas's suicide can be interpreted in two different ways – either he intended to literally bring Glenn down with him or he had hoped sacrificing himself as zombie food would create somewhat of a diversion for Glenn to escape. While the scene in itself was beautifully shot, it still feels as though it was not a fitting end for such a prominent character.
Glenn was always such a unique character from the start – nerdy and witty yet incredibly smart with an admirable will to survive. No matter what the situation, he was always a pinnacle of strength for the group and, of course, his wife Maggie who will have to grieve the death of her husband just weeks after losing her sister Beth and father Hershel.
Even after realising Glenn may have died, there is no time for the others to grieve, with Rick forced to kill some assailants with a machine gun when they attempt to infiltrate his RV, which then conveniently refuses to start as a swarm of walkers surround the vehicle. Never a dull moment with TWD survivors.
The Walking Dead continues with episode four on 2 November in the UK on Fox.