WARNING: This article may contain spoilers.
After holding us in suspense for weeks, The Walking Dead confirmed that Glenn Rhee isn’t actually dead. I’m going to be honest with you. I cried a bit when I saw him slide under that trashcan. All across the TWD fandom, I could hear cries of relief. Social media went crazy!
While there’s been a long-running joke about Daryl’s survival (If Daryl dies, we riot!), I don’t think most of us imagined that Glenn would be the one to go. While his job as a supply scavenger is dangerous, he’s far less of a risk taker than Daryl. I also think his status as a fan favorite crept up on us. I didn’t realize just how much I loved Glenn until he was laying on the ground, surrounded by a horde of walkers, apparently being chomped to a very painful death.
Why do we so desperately need him to survive? Well, his character arc has been among the best in the five-year run of The Walking Dead. When we first met Glen, he was running supplies for the camp outside Atlanta, but he was young and had a very innocent air about him. He seemed naïve like he hadn’t seen much of the world before the outbreak turned everyone into zombies.
When he’s excited to drive a Dodge Challenger out of Atlanta to distract the walkers, his childlike innocence makes him unique. He can still see happiness and find the joy in simple things despite the living hell he inhabits every day. While he seems like a bumbling kid, the truth is, he’d been doing supply runs for the Atlanta camp for awhile. He knew the roads of Atlanta like the back of his hand and used the skills he previously mastered as a pizza delivery driver to find shortcuts and locations that mattered to the camp’s survival.
As the show progressed, Glenn hardened but was still able to see the good in someone (remember, he saved Tara despite her association with The Governor) and had become ferociously loyal to his group—both qualities we hope to have during a zombie apocalypse. He even managed to find love, and he and Maggie were, despite their grim situation, one of the best scripted couples on television today. Their fears about the future developed during those episodes when the group lived in a prison, and again when Glenn and Maggie reunited later on in the series.
We became attached to Glenn because he’s us. We all have unique skill sets; hopefully, those skills can be adapted to help us survive an apocalypse. We want to be strong, not jaded, and able to find moments of happiness in between grueling fights for survival.