Massive spoilers for ‘The Walking Dead’ season 7 premiere follow! You have been warned.
Well, it’s finally happened. On Sunday (October 23), “The Walking Dead” finally made good on its horrifying promise from the end of last season and killed not one but two fan favorite characters in its season 7 premiere. And while it’s sad to see Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) go, it’s Glenn Rhee (Steven Yeun) who truly has fans in mourning.
But really, once you’ve gotten over the shock of such a brutal murder, this is a gift. Sure, Glenn’s never going to get to meet his baby or have a happily-ever-after-the-apocalypse with Maggie, but think of all the good that’s come out of this outcome!
It follows the original comic, thus ensuring that there is some order to the universe.
The worst thing about all the deaths in “The Walking Dead” is that you don’t ever see them coming — no one is truly safe (except for Rick, Michonne, and Daryl, because let’s be real, the TV show’s never going to give up its major stars). But despite all the months and months of agonizing over who was going to get a bat to the face last night, most fans of “The Walking Dead” comic were pretty sure it was going to be Glenn, because death by Negan is exactly how he bit it in the comic. So when it was Glenn (with an Abraham twist to start out), it was almost a relief. The thing we thought was going to happen, happened! How often do you get that feeling these days, especially in 2016 where nothing makes sense anymore?
It’s still immensely frustrating that they made us wait all this time — of course, the fact that they followed a book death so closely probably influenced their decision to drag out the outcome in the first place (“That’ll show these comic reading nerds who think they know what's coming!” I imagine them saying). But hey, it's better than not seeing it coming.
It’s a character we actually care about, so they didn’t throw away their shot.
Man, imagine if they’d spent that whole year teasing who Negan’s victim was going to be only to end up killing someone like Aaron. You tortured us all this time for Aaron? Yeah it would mean that all our faves were safe, but it would feel like such a betrayal after a whole year of the show basically trying to copy the buzziness of Jon Snow's maybe-death in "Game of Thrones." (Well, okay, also it would mean that they killed another gay character on the show, but that's a whole other can of worms)
They managed to make his visceral, horrible death kind of… romantic?
I, for one, can’t wait to see “I will find you” laid over sad black-and-white Tumblr gifs of Glenn and Maggie holding hands for the rest of my life. With no gifs from this episode, please.
Steven Yeun is free to be the charming, hilarious leading man he truly is.
Guys, did you know that Steven Yeun is funny? He was a part of The Second City in Chicago, an improv comedy troupe that regularly churns out “Saturday Night Live” stars. You would never know that from how serious his role on “The Walking Dead” was, even when he got to be the comic relief character — and now that we know him for drama, his comedy is going to be even funnier. He’ll be the new Jon Hamm who we can’t believe is as funny as he actually is because he’s been so handsome and serious on screen for seven-ish years.
Maybe Steven Yeun could even follow in fellow “The Walking Dead” star Jon Bernthal’s footsteps and become a superhero!
Already there are excited fan rumors that Yeun will become Nightwing, Batman’s very first Robin who broke off and created his own hero identity, in the DC Cinematic Universe alongside Ben Affleck. These rumors are surely unfounded wish fulfillment (although, we thought the Joe Manganiello Deathstroke ones were too at first and look how that turned out), but they’re exciting all the same because they represent an opportunity Steven Yeun can take now that isn’t going to conflict with his grueling Atlanta filming schedule — because he doesn’t have one anymore. And really, wouldn’t we all rather see him in spandex than in zombie intestines?
And he doesn’t have to lie to anyone anymore.
Acting in a big franchise must be the worst experience in the world. I can’t even handle my friends and family asking me spoilery theory questions about the TV shows and movies we watch together, and I am just a normal human person who happens to catch Marvel Easter Eggs more often than other people. Actually being an actor in a series and having to face “Hey are you dead? Are you alive? What’s the deal?” every single time you go outside must be excruciating. Now Steven Yeun is finally free from this torment.
“The Walking Dead” is now over (if you want it).
Every time something exceptionally horrible happens on a cable show, fans threaten to quit — “Game of Thrones” has faced it more times than any of us can count. But “Game of Thrones,” as dark and depressing as it can be, has occasional moments of hope and victory, especially during this past season. You hate it when your favorite characters die (or, more often, get raped), but at the end of the day you can truly delude yourself into thinking that someone who deserves the throne will get it at the end of the series.
“The Walking Dead” has no such glimmer of hope; characters die senselessly and the ones who remain undergo more and more suffering as they fight to stay alive in an unwinnable situation. That’s certainly appealing for a short time on a cathartic level, but it’s understandable that some people are more than ready to tap out after last night’s brutality.
And that’s okay! Sometimes you just have to learn to stop worrying and give up on a TV show. It’s like a long overdue break-up: it might suck in the short term, but ultimately you’ll find something new to occupy your time and someday wonder why you stayed as long as you did. And all some of us needed was that last murder-push to get us there.