the walking dead, glenn, steven yeun, the walking dead season 6 It's abundantly clear that the residents of Alexandria on "The Walking Dead" are made of softer stuff than Rick and the rest of our original survivors, as time and again their ignorance about the outside world has been exposed and exploited. Like we saw with Carter in the season premiere, the majority of Alexandrians have no idea how to go about killing walkers on their own; hell, they didn't even have someone regularly patrolling their walls until Constable Rick made it a priority when he rolled into town. So as this season unfolds, it should come as no surprise that many Alexandrians will probably bite the dust, as they did in the Wolf bloodbath last week. What I didn't expect, however, was one of the most seasoned members of Rick's crew to fall victim to that same foolishness and naivete.

In a shocking twist that I honestly thought would never come, we said goodbye to our beloved Glenn tonight, as the smart-mouthed pizza delivery guy turned formidable badass was offed in part by his own good nature -- and, if we're being honest, his head-scratching stupidity in his decision to forgive and trust Nicholas. Yes, the same man who admitted he left a group of his friends to die, the same man who let Noah get eaten right in front of him, the same man that TRIED TO SHOOT AND KILL GLENN -- this is the guy that Glenn decides deserves a break. As Julia Roberts would say: Big mistake. Big. Huge.

For some boneheaded reason, not only does Glenn let bygones be bygones, but he takes Nicholas under his wing, despite the fact that the latter man has shown zero aptitude for survival in the outside world (and, if I recall, very little remorse for attempting to murder Glenn). Glenn keeps pushing him to rise above, like with their quest to find a building to burn as a diversion for the encroaching walker horde -- a seemingly simple task at which Nicholas immediately fails. That said, Glenn doesn't deserve a free pass here, either. How hard is it to find one other building to set aflame? Or, hell, how about just lighting up the remnants of that demolished feed store? Or making a zombie bonfire? Literally anything could have been a better choice than running into a dead-end alley and getting themselves even more trapped.

"The Walking Dead" has often made a big show of characters getting redeeming arcs right before they bite the dust, like Bob and Beth back in season five. But Glenn's death, the first major loss of season six, doesn't seem to have a point, other than to reaffirm the show's inherent miserable nature: these people are the walking dead, and whether or not they become/succumb to zombies is not the point -- they're doomed regardless of what happens to them. Sadly, Glenn didn't really get any redemption before a suicidal Nicholas (who officially earns himself the undisputed title of The Worst) literally dragged him down to his death. I suppose Glenn's willingness to trust to the end -- even in the face of overwhelming evidence to do the opposite -- was meant to illustrate his inherent goodness. And Nicholas does offer Glenn his gratitude before blowing his brains out (the episode's title, "Thank You," echoes his last words). All that meant to me, though, was another disappointment for the series to rub my nose in.

Going by the show's own history, if anyone was set up to die tonight, it was Michonne, who did lots of speechifying as the hour played out. She and Heath butted heads several times over Rick's willingness to leave behind the weaker members of their group (basically all the Alexandrians), and whether or not that willingness constituted pragmatism or prickishness. While Michonne declined to immediately drop Zombie Bite Guy, Bullet Leg Guy, and Busted Ankle Girl, she did her best to explain to Heath why sometimes, that decision is the only option.

"Sometimes you don't have a choice," Michonne says. "That is not how we do it," Heath counters, and Michonne tears into his -- and the rest of his community's -- lack of true experience with the zombie apocalypse. "Rick was out there, I was out there. We know, you don't. But if you don't learn, you will die. We will," Michonne growls, displaying a spark we haven't seen in ages. She continues, "Have you ever had to kill people because they would have killed your friends and they were coming for you next? Have you ever done things that made you feel afraid of yourself afterward? Have you ever been covered in so much blood that you didn't know if it was yours, or a walker's, or your friend's? Huh? Then you don't know."

By the end of the episode, Heath learns this sad lesson, when he catches a glimpse of his blood-soaked self in a stream. Down several members of their crew, Heath sees for the first time the grim reality of the world -- the real world, the one outside Alexandria's walls. It's a rude wake-up call, and one I expect many more members of the community will receive as season six stretches on – that is, if many more Alexandrians survive to see such a transformation.

They first have to fend off the encroaching zombie horde, which is quickly making its way toward Alexandria, despite Rick, Daryl, Sasha, and Abraham's best efforts to stave them off after the horn distraction. But that's not the only worry -- the Wolves are still on the run, too, and now they're armed with more than just knives, as Rick soon discovers. He's attacked by some of the pack in his camper just as he's about to start leading a new herd of walkers back toward the original path, and while he easily puts the Wolves down, he also soon learns that his vehicle is no longer viable. (How exactly this happened, I'm still not sure; it could be that when the Wolves first shot at him, they took out the steering/main controls. Rick also may have inadvertently busted his gas tank or some other valuable part(s) as he opened fire himself on the trio waiting to attack outside.)

What he discovers next, though, could mean even more trouble. Rifling through the pockets of one of the slain Wolves inside the camper, Rick finds a jar of baby food. This could just be a coincidence (hey, maybe someone in the pack really loves pureed vegetables); it could also mean that they've somehow kidnapped Judith. If you're a regular reader of these recaps, you know I'm a little cannibal-happy, quick to assume that any and all of the antagonists our survivors face are in fact trying to eat our survivors' faces. And while I've been proven wrong in every instance I've cried cannibal since our stop in Terminus, this time, dear readers, I think I may be on to something: the Wolves are totally going to eat Judith, aren't they?

Okay, maybe not, but they may hold her for ransom, using the youngest Grimes as a bargaining chip against the Alexandrians. For now, they're most likely licking their wounds and plotting out their next attack. And unfortunately, with Alexandria's resources and population depleted so drastically (not to mention all those walkers milling about), it doesn't look like it will be much of a fair fight the next time they decide to pounce.

Other thoughts:

- As for how Judith was taken in the first place, there's a pretty sound theory going around that Enid is a member of the Wolves, and acted as their spy inside Alexandria. As we saw late last season, she loves to wander outside the walls, and was really good at sneaking up on Carl. During the Wolves' attack, she was the only other person in the house with Carl while Judith was napping upstairs, giving her ample access to the child. Enid slid a note to Carl before she fled, revealing the meaning behind her "JSS" mantra to be "Just Survive Somehow." But now that I think of it, that could easily mean "Just Steal Something" – "something" meaning a delicious-looking baby.

- I should have known Glenn was a goner thanks to his delivery of one of the better callbacks in "Walking Dead" history. After the group hears the horn from Alexandria and splits up, Glenn chats with Rick via walkie-talkie, telling the constable about their building-burning plan as Rick runs ahead to try to head off the horde with the camper. "Good luck, dumbass," Glenn tells Rick, a nod to their first meeting back at the beginning of season one. The full-circle nature of that communication is a fitting conclusion to their friendship, though obviously, one I wish wasn't necessary. (And if anyone is the dumbass in this scenario, it's clearly gullible Glenn.)

- When are people going to learn that if they loudly criticize Rick, they're going to die? No sooner does Blue Shirt Guy sass the sheriff's deputy than he gets bitten by a walker, perfectly illustrating why Rick wanted to bail on the weaklings. Same goes for Hat Guy. He's told not to shoot his gun, and then immediately does the opposite, shooting and hitting his friend instead. Way to prove you belong here, dude.

- Speaking of Bullet Leg Guy (whose name is Scott, by the way, though I'm pretty sure no one ever says it during the episode), he, Busted Ankle Girl (her name was Annie), and Zombie Bite Guy (no idea what his name is, sorry -- not that it ended up mattering) totally got the shaft. Amazingly, all of them were completely understanding and receptive of Rick's viewpoint, and said several times that they should just be left behind so they wouldn't slow down the group. Zombie Bite Guy and Busted Ankle Girl didn't make it, and Bullet Leg Guy is currently bleeding out. The actor who plays BLG (Kenric Green) happens to be married to the actress who plays Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green), so I have a feeling he'll probably get to stick around a bit longer than your average background player. But still -- it just doesn't seem fair that the only sensible Alexandrians have to suffer because of the mistakes of their foolish friends. (Sounds suspiciously like the real world, too.)

- ZBG gives a touching speech about his wife, making his demise even more depressing. "She made me more, even better than how I used to be," he tells Michonne of his beloved. He writes a farewell note to send back to her, but Michonne refuses to take it, instead following the lead of a seventh grade girl and scrawling a message on her arm. "You're getting home," she writes. Later, as they approach Alexandria, she sadly wipes it off.

- "That's making sure they're off munching on infirm raccoons the rest of their undead lives, instead of any of us." -- Abe, explaining why they should just keep going with the zombie herding, rather than double back to help the Alexandrians. Sounds perfectly logical to me.

- It was jarring to hear Daryl speak above a mumble in this episode, as he shouts to Abe and Sasha in their car and to Rick over the walkie-talkie. I'd sort of forgotten what words that aren't raspy grumbles sound like coming from his mouth.

- Daryl spies an Alexandria billboard, touting the community as "The start of sustainability." At the rate things are going, that seems like wishful thinking.

Photo credit: Gene Page/AMC

The Walking Dead
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Based on the comic book series written by Robert Kirkman, this gritty drama portrays life in the weeks and months following a zombie apocalypse. Led by police officer Ric... Read More