Glenn dying in The Walking Dead and the lasting implications thereof

The Walking Dead’s Glenn was killed in order for Negan to reinforce the hierarchy, however, his death had far extending consequences on the manner in which the story moved forward.

The Walking Dead is arguably one of the most popular television series to have come out of the 2010s, as the first season debuted in 2010. The show has had a 12-year run, as the upcoming season that is set to air in 2022 will mark the series finale. According to IMDb, the premise of the show is detailed as, “Sheriff Deputy Rick Grimes wakes up from a coma to learn the world is in ruins and must lead a group of survivors to stay alive.”

Fronted by the lead actor, Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes, the story has many memorable cast members of the past and present. However, one of the most memorable characters was Glenn Rhee, who was portrayed by Steven Yeun. He was part of the first seven seasons of the show. His death in the seventh season arguably changed the trajectory of the storyline, and it is believed to have possibly affected the shows viewership.

Who is Glenn Rhee?

In the series, Glenn Rhee was one of the main characters of the story. Fashioned as an American-Asian, Rhee was the main supply runner for the Atlanta survivor camp. One of the reasons that the character was beloved was due to his heart, with revelations like he brought back Rick Grimes after saving him from the walker-infested Atlanta. Moreover, viewers watched the love story the character went through.

Rhee’s love interest in the story was Maggie, a woman he met during the group’s stay at the Greene family farm. The two not only formed a long-lasting relationship and got married, but they also managed to have a child together before his exit from the show. They were eventually split by circumstances, and in the seasons before his death, Rhee was in constant pursuit of his wife.

How did Glenn die?

Glenn’s death took place during the seventh season. For fans of the comic book and not just the television series, Glenn’s death was foreshadowed by the comic book series that it is based on, as later seasons took liberties with the narrative. His death was foreshadowed in The Walking Dead comic book no.100.

In the second episode of season seven, in an attempt to showcase his disapproval of Rick’s group Negan, played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan went on a killing spree. First starting with Abraham and almost killing Daryl. For some reason, he spared Daryl and used Glenn’s graphic and surprising death as an example of the consequences of his disapproval for insubordination. Glenn’s death scene is still considered as one of the most graphic scenes in the history of the show.

This is as Negan used his bat, Lucille, to beat Glenn until he was unrecognisable. The first two blows to the head he survived. However, the third one crushed his skull, forcing one eye to pop out. During his last moments before death, Glenn was heard saying, “Maggie, I’ll- I’ll find you.” A touching and haunting moment to this day.

Why Glenn was killed?

His death as explained in the comic book version is affirmed as a consequence for crossing the Saviours and restoring order by spreading fear in the people of Alexandria. However, in the series, his death is explained differently during season 10. This happens when Negan was about to kill Baxter. Negan gives a lengthy monologue which aims to highlight how his decision was in an attempt to reinforce the hierarchy and to ensure his own longevity.

While that explained Negan’s reasoning, the fact that the matter needed to be explained three seasons later speaks to the cultural impact of a character like Glenn. Fans of the television series are still baffled to this day why they killed off the character.

Besides his origins as an American-Asian actor who held a lead role in a television series,Glenn was also beloved for his storyline, which fans believed could have been explored further, if it was not for his untimely death. This is as it is suggested that the show took a noticeable dent in viewership following Glenn’s death, which could explain why it felt the need to explain their decision later on in season 10.