The Walking Dead: 5 Reasons Glenn Should Have Lived (& 5 Why He’s Better Gone)
Glenn Rhee’s death was one of the biggest twists in The Walking Dead, but should he have died, or would the show be better had he lived?
Despite so many characters being killed off in The Walking Dead, Glenn Rhee’s demise will always remain a touchy subject. The character was much beloved by the fan base who appreciated the way he retained his compassion and integrity at a time when the world was in the zombie apocalypse.
There have been fans who have wondered if killing Glenn off was even the right choice, as viewers were by no means tired of his character and would have preferred him to be spared. While that’s a valid argument, there are also several reasons why Glenn’s demise was the right way to go, and it’s worth diving further into the benefits and disadvantages of his fate.
10 Lived: The Group Would Have Had Their Moral Compass
There’s always the need for at least one character that can set the group straight and ensure they remain the good guys. Unfortunately, nobody has been able to fill that spot since Glenn’s demise, following which the protagonists haven’t seemed that much better than the villains.
Glenn was easily the moral compass who never wavered, as evidenced best when he was the only one who stood up for the prisoners at Terminus, as he argued that being good is what their group was supposed to be — Rick then agreed and did what Glenn asked. Had Glenn remained alive, the more dubious decisions made by the group wouldn’t have happened.
9 Stay Gone: Negan Needed A Debut With Impact
Negan has made a huge impact on the series overall. However, this wouldn’t have been possible had he not had a debut of impact, for which there needed to be a big sacrifice to ensure viewers saw him as a legitimate threat.
By taking out the character whom everyone loved and agreed was the nicest guy in the group, Negan’s villainy was established instantly. He wouldn’t have had even half of the impact had he killed someone like Eugene or Aaron, whom fans didn’t have the same connection to.
8 Lived: He Could Have Filled In The Gap After Maggie’s Departure
For the most part, Glenn has been one of the best romantic partners on The Walking Dead, but after he hooked up with Maggie, that was the main thrust of his character arc. Since Maggie departed the series for about two seasons, the gap of such an important character was felt and could have been occupied by Glenn instead.
The series attempted to use the likes of Tara, Enid, and Jesus to replace Maggie’s role and failed, but Glenn wouldn’t have had any problems since he was a likable character who hadn’t undergone a solo arc, meaning his role would have felt fresh and mitigated the absence of Maggie.
7 Stay Gone: His Demise Allowed Maggie’s Turn Into A Leader
It was after Maggie accepted being a widow who had to watch her husband get killed in front of her eyes that she transitioned into a leadership role. It was the springboard her character needed, as the will to beat Negan and to shape a future for her child was what drove her forward.
Before that, Maggie was almost fully dependent on Glenn for her characterization, which faded away once she became independent and made her own choices to become a genuine leader. Glenn’s demise allowed for this to happen, meaning his death wasn’t for nothing.
6 Lived: Glenn’s Death Lessened The Impact Of Abraham’s Demise
The finale of the sixth season remains one of the biggest TV cliffhangers ever, with the next season’s premiere revealing that Negan chose to kill Abraham. After months of waiting, fans finally got the answer to that massive question and endured the death of Abraham.
However, with Glenn following suit mere moments later, the impact of Abraham’s demise was sullied, since Glenn had been on the show longer and had more emotional connections. Abraham’s death was cheapened since it became unnecessary, while also causing the cliffhanger to lose value since there was one more demise than promised.
5 Stay Gone: Most Of His Close Connections Have Left The Show As Well
When a character doesn’t have firm relationships in The Walking Dead, it’s more than likely that they’re going to bite it. If not, they simply lose relevance, as was seen with characters like Tara and Sasha, whose roles floundered before they were killed off.
Glenn would have found himself in a similar position by now had he lived, seeing as every character other than Daryl didn’t have much to do with him. With Daryl also having his own storylines, Glenn just wouldn’t have had enough characters to have connections with, and chances are he could have been relegated to a side character.
4 Lived: The Show Lost Fan Interest After Glenn’s Departure
The Season 7 premiere saw as many as 17 million viewers, representing a peak for the series in ratings. However, many felt The Walking Dead had gone too far in terms of violence and killing off beloved characters, and Glenn’s demise certainly showed its impact, as the series took a gradual decline in ratings in the seventh season itself.
By contrast, the Season 10 midseason finale was the lowest-rated episode in the show’s history, highlighting the steep decline. In some ways, Glenn’s departure represented many fans losing interest as well, and had he lived, there’s a big chance the ratings would have maintained better.
3 Stay Gone: Partaking In The Saviors And Whisperers War Doesn’t Fit His Character
After Glenn’s demise, the show shifted to focusing on the number of communities in the zombie apocalypse, with every season from the seventh season on bringing villainous groups. Glenn just wasn’t the type of character who would have engaged in such battles.
He was shown out of his element against the Governor and even then appealed for peace. He also didn’t kill any living person until late in the sixth season, and broke into tears when he had to. Glenn’s character was inherently a pacifist, so having him partake in community wars would’ve been an uncharacteristic move on his part.
2 Lived: He Was One Of The Few Links Remaining To The Show’s Origin
The only characters left from the first season are Daryl and Carol, and even they were in a recurring capacity at the time, with Glenn initially being a regular. Anyone who watches the first season and jumps to the tenth will find it unrecognizable, since just about everyone has died.
Glenn remaining alive would have made for a connection between the beginning of the series and the end, as his character development showed how a meek and immature person turned into a badass survivor.
1 Stay Gone: The Timing Of His Death Was The Same As In The Comics
The sad fact is that Glenn never got to be a parent in the zombie world, as he died before his son was ever born. Still, that’s the way it went in the source material as well, with Glenn meeting his demise at the hands of Negan under the exact same circumstances.
Letting him live would have been too big a shift in terms of storytelling, as there was nothing to derive from the comics for his storylines, meaning other characters’ plots would have to be given to him. To this end, it’s better for him to have met his fate since it closed his character arc completely.