SPOILERS FROM THIS WEEK'S "WALKING DEAD" ARE AHEAD!
We should have seen it coming.
Not that anyone entered the third episode of the sixth season of "Walking Dead" expecting to see one of the show's very first characters ripped apart by walkers in one of the single most gruesome scenes in the entire series — but looking back on the episode, it all adds up.
The hour, called "Thank You," was a camouflaged send-up for Glenn Rhee, a pizza delivery boy once upon a time before becoming a zombie-battling badass in the apocalyptic new world order. A second pass through the episode reveals several hints at Glenn's impending demise (assuming that WAS his demise; more on that in an article coming soon to a browsing device near you), including the following signposts:
Pay close attention to pretty much every word Steven Yeun utters throughout "Thank You." Glenn's final words, if they are final, are chosen very carefully by the writers, with lines like: "Don't worry about what's gone wrong, focus on what's going right," and "I need to get home, but I'm not leaving them behind."
But there's one line in particular that should have raised the alarms immediately…
The Final CallAMC
Glenn and Rick's final scene together takes place over the radio, just like their first introduction all the way back in the pilot. Back then, Rick was trapped inside a tank, surrounded by a herd of walkers, with no one to save him except for Glenn on a walkie talkie. He kept calling Rick a "dumb-ass" as he tried to save him from the situation. Glenn's final words to Rick in this most recent episode? "I gotta go. Good luck, dumb-ass." The circle is complete.
The Final SceneAMC
This is more of an anecdotal clue than anything, considering it happens after the Glenn scene, but "Thank You" ends similarly to how the pilot ended — with Rick trapped inside a vehicle, walkers surrounding him from every angle… only this time, he doesn't have Glenn's voice guiding him through the nightmare.
Love in the ApocalypseAMC
One of the most upsetting aspects of the episode's gut-wrenching twist comes down to the lack of a final Glenn and Maggie moment. Glenn talks about her in passing, with lines like, "I need to go home," but doesn't have one last, lingering tribute to his wife. But there's a tribute hidden in plain sight: Michonne's conversation with the bitten Alexandrian, talking about how he was all alone without family in the early days of the outbreak, and how he met the woman he ultimately married shortly thereafter, changing his life for the better. That's Glenn and Maggie in a nutshell — just not from Glenn's lips to your ears.
Even if Glenn doesn't talk about Maggie in overwhelming detail, he does have a moment of acknowledging the Greene family. As he's going through his bag of supplies, he comes across the watch he received from Hershel back in season two. "No man is good enough for your little girl, until one is," Hershel said at the time. And what happens to your little girl when that one man dies? It's too early in the week to think that depressing thought all the way through.
Outside of episode-specific stuff, here are two other signposts that were worth watching…
We should have known that the curse of Noah wasn't over. First, his presence at the Grady Hospital hostage negotiation facilitated Beth's death. Next, he went AWOL during the visit to his hometown, leading to Tyreese's demise. Finally, Noah died, ripped apart right in front of a horrified Glenn, thanks to Nicholas — and now, the horror repeats itself, once again thanks to Nicholas, and once again resulting in a disgusting limb-from-limb walker feast. Sure, that's technically on Nicholas, but give some credit to Noah's bad luck where it's due.
Fans who have read the comics, or are even aware of the dreaded "Walking Dead" #100, know that Glenn's death was supposed to go down much differently than what we saw on the show. In the comics — and here's one final SPOILER WARNING for you — Glenn gets his brains beaten in by a baseball bat called Lucille, wielded by a psychopath named Negan. It's the worst.
The show has been flirting with this inevitability since at least the season five premiere, when one of the Terminus flunkies was seconds away from bashing Glenn's head with a bat. In the midseason five premiere, Glenn encountered yet another baseball bat in Noah's home. Even Robert Kirkman, creator of the comics and one of the main voices behind the show, has been vocal about Glenn's comic book death, spoiling it on late night talk shows.
Kirkman's cavalier attitude, combined with the references on the show, suggested that maybe it was all a misdirect, and Glenn would meet a different fate on "The Walking Dead" — and judging by the events of "Thank You," right now it seems like Glenn's fate was indeed different, but no less gruesome.
Norman Reedus Told Us It Was Going To Happen
Back at San Diego Comic-Con, a sleepy Reedus actually straight up told us it was going to happen when he said the one character he'd like to bring back to the show was Glenn, followed by the rest of the cast getting very uncomfortable. Seemed like maybe he was joking at the time. Now? Not so much.