When The Walking Dead series first appeared on AMC, people weren’t sure whether or not audiences would gravitate towards the post-apocalyptic storyline. Yet, the series seemed to have a winning strategy since it was based on a hugely popular comic book series. A mistake many shows have made in the past has been to base a series off of a book or comic but then stray from the storyline. Typically, straying from the original storyline can mean the beginning of the end for a popular television series. This is usually when fans start to lose interest due to dwindling plots or even anger towards the showrunners changing up what happens to their favorite characters. In the case of The Walking Dead, the showrunners have done a pretty good job at sticking to the same plotline from the comic book series, even though there have been some subtle changes to various characters along the way.
Since the series has done a great job at sticking to the storyline of the comic books, fans already knew that Glenn’s time on the series was going to come to an end. Yet, fans held out hope that somehow Glenn would be able to continue on in the series. Just like how he was able to hide underneath the dumpster and somehow work his way to freedom, fans hoped that Glenn would just soldier on and win over showrunners so his character wouldn’t be killed off in the show. Yet, his time on the show finally came to an end during the season premiere of Season 7. Although there are times when a character can be brutally injured and then come back to full strength, Glenn’s situation didn’t exactly fit into that category. In fact, Glenn had arguably the most brutal and heartbreaking death on the series. Check out our list of the 15 reasons why The Walking Dead really messed up by killing off Glenn and see what the series lost when this favorite character left the series.
15. Early Connection With Rick
Morgan has the earliest connection with Rick since their relationship goes back to when he first woke up from a coma. Yet, his second earliest connection was with Glenn. It was actually Glenn that helped Rick from getting out of the tank he was hiding in, after being overrun by walkers in Atlanta. Glenn instantly earned Rick’s respect and was the only reason why he was able to make it back to be with the group that so happened to contain his wife and son. Killing Glenn off of the series is chipping away at the only connection Rick has from his original self, which was formed in the original group of people. When Lori died, Rick practically lost his mind and he had a few delusional moments after having to kill Shane. Andrea bit the bullet in The Governor’s basement and besides Carl and Daryl, there aren’t many of the original people from the group left. It’s hard to count Carol since there’s no telling whether or not she will choose to be in the group voluntarily again. In the meantime, Rick needs the people from his original group to not only keep him grounded but give him sound advice. Glenn was a character Rick could trust and depend on, and his loss will have a huge effect on Rick’s strength moving forward in the series.
14. No Guts No Glory
Rick has been unofficially nominated as the group’s leader and that is because of his strength and intuition but most of all, he has the guts to do things that no one else in the group can do. Rick has proven that he has the guts to go above and beyond in protection of the group. Yet, Glenn shouldn’t be overlooked in this aspect. Ever since Glenn was first introduced in the series, he has proven that he has never hesitated to take the leadership role or put himself in harm’s way for the group. In Season 1, part of the group was trapped in a department store and the idea was put forth that they could use the underground tunnel system to sneak out. It was Glenn that was first to go down there and it was also Glenn that coordinated how the whole endeavor would go down. He even had Rick following along with his plans. This has been a constant theme throughout the series, where Glenn has proven time after time that he is just as courageous and intelligent in regards to survival tactics as Rick. Losing Glenn from the series isn’t just about losing another character on the show, it’s losing a huge advantage their group had because it was like having another Rick Grimes.
13. Directions Savvy
It’s undeniable that certain individuals simply have better skills when it comes to certain things. While one person may be excellent at gauging distance, another may have talents that lie elsewhere. In the case of Glenn, he had a sense of direction and uncanny ability to work around navigational issues with ease. In Season 1, the group depended on Glenn to help navigate the streets of Atlanta in the face of a hoard. This was about more than just knowing how to get from one block to the next. This was about showing how much of an asset someone like Glenn was to the group. He could help coordinate, navigate and orchestrate the movements of the group in order to achieve their goal. This was a constant theme with Glenn and helped the group out of more than just a few jams. Losing Glenn will be a critical blow to the group as a whole due to his navigating ability and strength in figuring out different ways to go about a situation. Perhaps this is just something that Glenn was naturally inclined towards but it could have to do with the fact that he was a pizza delivery person before the zombie outbreak. A pizza driver would definitely have to know how to map out the best routes, after all.
12. Scavenging Pro
Yet another thing that Glenn had amazing intuition about was his uncanny ability to scavenge. While anyone can have a look around, it takes someone truly skillful to know how to “scavenge” in the world of The Walking Dead. Scavenging is not just about finding things you need but it’s about getting in and getting out without making too much noise and bringing a whole herd down on you. Glenn knew how to do this well and even became the resident scavenge expert of the group in many cases. He would often go out by himself to scavenge for the entire group and anytime a scavenging group went out, they always felt better if Glenn was with them. He also had a knack for finding hidden valuables. Whether it was hidden silencers in a mini fridge at the ammunition store or a hidden gun inside a bible at the church, Glenn always knew just where to look and always seemed to come through. The group is definitely going to miss this moving forward without him.
11. The Voice Of Reason
Although Rick has been the all-commanding leader of the group throughout the series, there are a handful of characters that are able to sway his opinion on certain occasions. One of them has been Glenn on a consistent basis. There have been numerous times when Rick has let his delusions or paranoia get the best of him and that is when Glenn’s level headedness and voice of reason have been paramount in helping the group move forward. One great example is when the group found Aaron and Eric and were contemplating going to check out his community. Rick’s paranoia wound up putting the group in harm’s way by taking a route that wasn’t cleared. The group became separated again and if it wasn’t for Eric’s flare, who knows if they would have all made it back to find one another again. Yet, it was Glenn that had the heart-to-heart with Rick in order to get him to let down his guard and make their way to Aaron’s community. Without Glenn around in the future, there is a chance that Rick could start to falter again and Glenn won’t be there to talk him down anymore.
10. Negative Effect On Maggie
As Hershel’s last remaining daughter, it shouldn’t surprise fans that she would be the voice of reason when it came to dealing with people outside of their immediate group. In Alexandria, Maggie was being groomed to take a leadership role in the community and she was the person the group chose to create diplomatic relations with the Hilltop Colony. Although there has been a considerable change to Maggie over the years, she definitely hasn’t become as jaded or hardened like some of the other members of their group. Yet, losing Glenn will undoubtedly cause a major change in the way she perceives life moving forward. In fact, audiences already witnessed how her reaction was immediately following Glenn’s death. She immediately wanted to seek out vengeance. Even after witnessing Glenn and Abraham’s death, Daryl being kidnapped and the rest of the group terrorized, Maggie wanted to immediately get what little force they had left and fight the Saviors. This isn’t exactly the diplomatic approach but no one can blame Maggie for wanting vengeance for Glenn’s death.
9. Group Loses Picture Of A Brighter Future
One of the biggest factors of mental stability for the cast of The Walking Dead is the ability to look beyond their current situation. Hoping for a brighter tomorrow has been a recurring theme throughout the series, whether it was when they were en route to the CDC or on the way to Washington to find the “cure.” The group was able to get past their daily tasks of horror in order to get to their next destination, no matter how many times the group was disappointed. Glenn wasn’t just another character on the series. Instead, he became a symbolic hope for a brighter tomorrow. The fact that he actually wanted to start a family with Maggie, even during their times of peril, was a huge morale booster for the group. It meant that Glenn thought that there was a way to raise a family in this new world. His death wasn’t just the end of his own storyline but it became the death of the promised future for Maggie’s unborn child and for the group as a whole.
8. Reliable To Have Your Back
One of the major flaws of the people in the Alexandria community was the fact that they didn’t have people that they could truly rely on to have each other’s backs. When Rick’s group finally started to see what these people were truly like around walkers, they quickly realized that their mentality about survival was to just leave the wounded behind and run. In fact, this wasn’t even limited to the wounded since they seemed to tuck their tail between their legs and bolt anytime the going got rough. Yet, Glenn was one of the few characters on the series that could be consistently relied on. This wasn’t just for the immediate group of people that followed under Rick’s guidance. The truth was, Glenn had the back of anyone he was with at any given time. This is a feature that will be sorely missed and is hard to come by during the zombie apocalypse. The group has lost a major important feature when they lost Glenn and the effects will definitely show themselves in future episodes when it’s crucial to have a reliable person to watch their backs.
7. No One Left Behind
Throughout the series, there have been people that have opted to leave the group for various reasons. During Season 1, an entire family left the group and Rick even gave them a share of the group’s guns and ammunition. There wasn’t even a discussion about having them stay. When Daryl left the group in order to be with his brother, Merle, Rick and Glenn got into a huge argument about Rick’s decision to let Daryl leave. Glenn didn’t have the same mentality behind the group splitting up or various members walking away. When Glenn was out on his own after hiding under the dumpster outside of Alexandria, he met up with Enid and talked her out of leaving the group. Without Enid’s help, he probably wouldn’t have been able to make it back to Maggie and it looks like Enid will probably become a valuable source in upcoming episodes in the series. Glenn had this same mentality when it came to hostile situations as well. Even when all hope seemed lost, he always fought to ensure that each person in the group would make it out alive. This didn’t work out in the case of Noah but that was because the other members of their group didn’t follow by the same rules that Glenn operated in. His loss is a huge detriment to the series and will definitely have a negative effect on keeping the group together, as a whole.
6. Never Giving Up Hope
When Rick set off on his journey to find his wife and son, it seemed like an impossible task in light of the zombie apocalypse. Even Rick looked utterly amazed when he finally met up with his family. His optimism wasn’t a trait that all of the characters on the series shared. In fact, Shane was always quick to think towards the negative and never wanted to waste resources on errands that he felt wouldn’t turn out well. Glenn was one of the characters that always maintained hope and it only helped the other members of the group. When everyone was being held in Terminus, even Maggie proclaimed that everyone was coming back and they had to be ready to fight. Having Glenn continue to have that type of rock steady faith had to have rubbed off on Maggie. This became blatantly clear after the group was separated at the prison as well. When Glenn and Tara were picked up by Abraham’s group, Glenn was adamant that he had to go looking for Maggie. He stayed true to this task, even when Abraham told him that his wife, was in all likeliness, already dead. Losing the unfaltering beacon of hope in the group is going to put a major negative spin on how the characters act in the face of loss and the unknown for the rest of the series.
5. Offering Second Chances
If there are any situations that call for instant transparency, the zombie apocalypse definitely falls into that category. People are instantly sized up due to their first impressions and characters on the series must rely on their gut instincts in order to survive. Oftentimes, it’s the living that are more dangerous than the walking dead. So, if a character starts off by being introduced as deceptive or cowardice, there aren’t many people in the core group that would be willing to forgive as easily as Glenn. Time and time again, Glenn has given second chances to people that have crossed him or the group. From saving Tara after she was part of The Governor’s group to giving Nicholas a second chance after he lied about him and tried to kill him in the woods, Glenn was a way the series offered redemption to those who have made mistakes. Losing Glenn’s character means that someone else will have to step up to fulfill that role. Yet, that will probably be a fool’s dream since the group has already gone through so much trauma due to the Saviors.
4. Catering To The Geeks In The Audience
Everyone on The Walking Dead series has had their fair share of transformative moments but Glenn seemed to evolve in a way that was a bit different than any of the other characters. When he first started off, he was pretty low on the pecking order in regards to being the muscle of the group. In fact, he was more like a taller version of Carl since he was used to get in and out of tight places. Yet, over the years, his character has evolved to be considered a major badass in the series. Glenn’s character catered towards viewers that may not have the muscle strength of Daryl or the bravery and leadership skills as Rick. Yet, Glenn evolved and even killed a walker while being tethered to a chair and being without any weapons. He became a protector and an inspiration to members of the Alexandria community. He also became an inspiration to viewers that pictured them in the same category as Glenn’s character. Killing off this character was like offering a deathblow to all the audience members that related to him.
3. Toying With The Audience
Cliffhangers are often a TV ploy to get fans to continue to tune in to the next episode. In fact, sometimes an entire series can rest on a cliffhanger, whether it’s to find out who shot J.R. or who shot Mr. Burns. While mysteries like these can make for a great storyline, it doesn’t always bode well with fans. During Season 6, Glenn and Nicholas became overrun by walkers and were surrounded on top of a dumpster in an alley. There seemed to be no way out of this horrible situation and things became even worse when Nicholas decided to shoot himself in the head and the two of them toppled into the crowd of walkers. The way the episode ended, it seemed that Glenn was being ripped apart by walkers and the audience was witnessing his body being ripped apart. There was an entire week of speculation over whether or not it was his guts or Nicholas that was being eaten by walkers, with numerous memes and viral videos showing both scenarios. Yet, the following episode didn’t even delve into what happened. By the time fans finally found out whether or not Glenn was alive, the flood of relief was palpable. Basically, the series has already toyed around with fans on the possibility of Glenn’s death and toying around with their emotions wasn’t exactly a smart move by showrunners.
2. Act Of Randomness
When it comes to deaths on The Walking Dead, random deaths aren’t necessarily good enough to appease viewers when it comes to favorite cast members. When the group goes out on a run, there are always inherent dangers and more times than not, someone usually dies. Whether it’s a virtually unknown character from the prison or an inexperienced member of the Alexandria group, fans don’t seem to mind when one of the supporting characters are killed off in a random death. In fact, it makes the series that much more exciting when there is an occasional death beyond the same old walker shot to the brain. However, Glenn being one of the favorites of the show should require a death that was far more elaborate than just a random act by Negan. Abraham’s death was already a huge blow to fans and the loss of Glenn in such a random way was not a smart move for maintaining the show’s fanbase.
1. Major Loss In Viewers
Typically, ratings for a popular show can fall after the season premiere. This has actually been true for The Walking Dead as well. Yet, the amount the ratings have plummeted since the Season 7 opener have people astounded. The ratings are the lowest they’ve been since 2012 when the show was in Season 3. While killing Abraham off in the premiere episode of Season 7 was a major hit to the fanbase, it was Glenn’s death that was the true heartbreaker. As one of the original cast members from Season 1, he was a fan favorite in more ways than one. He had won over fans and skeptics of the show and his death was just something that many viewers simply couldn’t stomach. Killing off his character made the series take a major blow to the ratings and the show still hasn’t been able to recover. Only time will tell whether or not they will be able to gain back some of their fanbase when the series comes back to finish up the season but the fact of the matter is that they have already lost millions of viewers after Glenn’s death.