The Walking Dead’s greatest character death scene that ended up not being one, the day Nicholas said ‘Thank You’ to Glenn Rhee.
Breathing slows to a crawl, the mind wants to act but the body won’t obey as death is fingertips away. Picture The Walking Dead’s Nicholas on top of a garbage dumpster, frozen in place. One wrong step and agony is promised from every corner. Walker arms outstretched, reaching for their dinner like a juicy steak being teased in front of a lion. Nicholas realizes his present company has no answer for his fate, no exit door, no rabbit to pull out of a hat. Glenn attempts to reason with him amidst the chaos but it might is well be white noise. The nihilistic, rapid decay of Nicholas’ mind is in full swing.
An ‘impulsive’ decision has already been pre-made, Glenn just doesn’t know it yet. Still hopeful, Glenn pleads with Nicholas to “Look at me!” but the days of bravado are over. All that stares back are lifeless eyes that have seen their destiny. The journey has come to its final stop as Nicholas is in acceptance of his imminent departure. No end to stay the whole movie, he’s leaving this theater on his own.
He politely whispers “Thank You” to the last person he’ll ever see, then shoots himself point blank. All the while, Glenn is powerless to save Nicholas from himself despite being inches away. A crimson mask of misery paints Glenn’s face, stunning him. Before Glenn can fully process and react to what has happened, a forsaken Nicholas falls directly into him. The two take a spill off the dumpster into the abyss. In that moment, it appears Glenn is about to meet his maker as a ravenous horde tears every limb and organ.
“Thank You” in RetrospectiveWalking Dead episode, as you watch the dead feast from Glenn’s own viewpoint. Michael Slovis [Breaking Bad] directed the chapter with now-showrunner Angela Kang [Terriers] penning the script. It wasn’t the first time the series has dealt with a character feeling the way Nicholas did, as Andrea experienced similar emotions in season 1 episode 6 [“TS-19”].
It is one of the rare times however, that a character went through with the it despite not having a walker bite. If you recall back in season 4’s premiere, Clara, a destitute woman Rick Grimes meets in the woods, stabs herself to be with her undead husband.
Despite viewers being familiar with the possibility of the dire concept on The Walking Dead… “Thank You” was jaw dropping all the same. The scene was exceptionally powerful, definitely above the call of duty of a regular television episode. From Nicholas’ ominous ‘Thank You,’ to pulling the trigger without warning, to the sudden realization for the viewer that a series original had ‘met their end.’ Although Tyreese’ final episode was brilliant with The Governor’s iconic return, this scene would top it in terms of shock value.
Glenn fans were traumatized from the event to such an extent, they seemingly appeared to will him back on the show through massive social media backlash. Of course, it’s probable Glenn surviving the dumpster horde was always planned. Or at least some kind of audience testing ground. As he was not featured during the ‘In Memoriam’ spot on Talking Dead falling the episode. This all lead to obvious, immediate speculation and theories that Glenn had survived under the dumpster.
The ‘Glenn pulls himself under the dumpster’ theory becomes reality
It was amusing to see photoshops of the theory circulate online, until the show actually went with this exact idea verbatim! Which inevitably damaged the scene’s overall credibility a fair bit. A good portion of fans now remember the scene more for Glenn’s escape rather than the spectacle and picturesque horror.
Nowadays, anytime a major character death is teased on The Walking Dead, you’ll find no end of YouTube one-liners and memes that start off, ‘He slipped under the dumpster!’
No cheating fate for Glenn Rhee
If it was indeed a testing ground for future character deaths, bringing Glenn back did not work out the way fans hoped. As Glenn would again be at the receiving end of a shocking moment in season 7’s premiere. Negan unexpectedly took him out as a second victim post-Abraham, seemingly out of nowhere! The show had been promoting just one person would be chosen by Negan for months after season 6’s cliffhanger.
It stayed true to the comic, as Negan’s Lucille picked Glenn there too. Although season 7’s character death for Glenn Rhee after Abraham was an instant jaw-dropping scene on its own… It’s still second to the perceived dumpster end for him. As TWD creator Robert Kirkman once mentioned, the bigger the character, the more grand and impactful the end scene.
Ironically, in terms of television twists and cinematography… The character end scene that never was, still reigns as what would have been the show’s greatest.
“Thank You” took place in The Walking Dead season 6, episode 3. Purchase “Thank You” digitally on Amazon to relive the whole sequence that led up to Nicholas and Glenn Rhee getting trapped in the first place.
Negan fans, be sure to check out the pros and cons of letting Sanctuary’s former head honcho out of his cell in Alexandria!
Walking Dead fans, do you have what it takes to be a Carollionaire? Test your Carol Peletier knowledge & see if you deserve any cookies!
Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC (#1,2,4,5) and Scott Garfield/AMC (#3 Monochrome).
In what season does Carol have long hair for the first time?
Carol's hair grows long after the flash forward occurs (post-Rick Grimes disappearance) in Season 9, Episode 6 ("Who Are You Now?").
What song plays when Carol leaves Tobin?
Johnny Cash's "It's All Over" plays as Carol packs her stuff and leaves a note behind to break up with Tobin.
In which episode is Carol's husband Ed attacked by walkers?
Ed meets his end in the fourth episode of The Walking Dead. Hearing noise outside of his tent, Ed opens it angrily, demanding to be left alone... Only to meet a painful demise by Walkers.
Who does Carol refer to as the group's "unofficial first lady"?
Carol comments that Lori Grimes is the group's unofficial first lady in "Chupacabra" (Season 2, Episode 5). "You're Rick's wife. It sort of makes you our unofficial first lady."
When Carol says Sophia is "in a better place", who disagrees?
Surprisingly, Carl Grimes is the one to disregard Carol's feelings & even calls her an "idiot" for believing Sophia is in a better place. Carol would ask Rick and Lori to discipline Carl for being disrespectful.
Get it together.
Time for a binge watch.
Solid but average never won trophies.
True Carol Fan
Congrats, you've just become a Carollionaire!
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Check out more of The Natural Aristocrat’s TWD coverage over at the Walking Dead articles category section! There are new quizzes already under development, stay tuned!
Buy The Walking Dead: The Complete Seasons (#1-9) Blu-ray on Amazon and relive the experience!
Cassady McClincy gave her best acting performance to date on “The Tower” as she and Jeffrey Dean Morgan made a strong play for the roles of Ellie & Joel on HBO’s upcoming adaption of The Last of Us.
This article contains spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 10 Episode 15 (“The Tower”) and The Last of Us.
Is it time for Negan to trade in his vintage leather jacket for an olive-green plaid shirt in-between seasons of The Walking Dead? Lydia’s chaotic outburst at the father figure who ironically made her an orphan tonight was magic. A frenzied tearjerker with the same intentionally unrefined edges that once made Rick Grimes’ breakdown ‘snot’ memorable. Vicious, raw screaming at the man who took away both Lydia’s mother and right to self-sacrifice at her hand. Cradled, sheltered, and snatched from fate. Just as Joel did to Ellie at the conclusion of The Last of Us.
The type of father/daughter on-screen chemistry Cassady McClincy and Jeffrey Dean Morgan share is a rare sight. Negan pleading with Lydia to hit him, desiring nothing more than to lean down to present an unguarded mug was one of the show’s more powerful visuals. What do you say to an abused teenager whose mother you just pushed past death row? Lydia, rejected the guilt-filled plea initially. Opting to pierce Negan where it hurts the most… With words of truth. ‘You just wanted to be a hero to them but you’ll never be one!’
Though TWD’s audience has seen a youngster losing a parent before with Carl Grimes, it was to an extent, mostly bottled up by Carl postmortem. Here we see the full spectrum of emotions from detachment, disgust and unbridled rage to complete shock, vulnerability and sadness by Lydia. Rockbottom.
The last remnants of Lydia’s innocence, of her childhood, forever gone. No chance of making her mother or father’s heart be filled with pride ever again. Not even the faintest, unrealistic daydreams of her mother’s starry-eyed happy tears at a college graduation or wedding. Every day forward will be spent alone, even when others are there. Instead of being gently guided, Lydia is shoved into the mud of adulthood.
Tonight’s TWD just needed Gustavo Santaolalla’s “All Gone” (No Escape) to complete the moment…
Be sure to read Lydia’s mistreatment proves Second Chances are Fashion Statements and more TWD Season 10 coverage in The Natural Aristocrat’s Walking Dead category section.
Negan and Daryl’s standoff felt like a lost treasure from Season 7’s glory days washing up onshore. Delightfully unpredictable.
This article contains spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 10 Episode 14 (“Look at the Flowers”).
Picture Negan caught in a tug of war between the sweet nectarine taste of freedom and signature bureaucracy of morality. Going from accused captive on his final march to the gallows to bestowed the title of Alpha. Rope removed from neck, a sudden insurrection switching his presumptive executioner on trial instead. Whisperers kneeling like The Saviors of yore before the might of Lucille’s bearer. An opportunity to rebuild TWD’s great antiquity from the ground up. Breathing new life into Sanctuary by pumping its heart full of fresh residents.
Negan confesses to relishing his lengthy, unauthorized parole granted by one Carol Peletier. A tongue defending against a sword will always be a flimsy substitute for another sword. Now, that Negan owns the calvary, denial is no longer necessary. Denial is for the weak. Should Negan surrender his leverage, all that awaits him are voting tribunals and paperwork. His chief recommendation: Gone a-wall. Evidence of his valor: Missing-in-action. There will be eyes judging his every movement as intrinsically vile even with proof of improved character.
Negan can reach for the key dangling in front of his ‘barred’ memories right at that second and reclaim his crown. Freedom swings back and forth in front of his eyes, a clock’s pendulum. Fully bejeweled, Easy Street. Daryl kneels in silence as the moonlight dances over his tattered vest’s wings. Live or die. Full circle, transported right back to the scene of the ‘crime’ where he took a swing at the leather jacketed one. Danger permeates the air, the will of Lucille. For the first time in a long while on The Walking Dead, true unpredictability reigns again.
Negan asks one of his newly recruited Whisperer henchman why he’s holding the ‘badass shotgun’ instead of the Alpha… Once the handoff is complete, it’s clear Season 7 Negan’s spirit reemerged only temporarily. Negan and Daryl team up to vanquish the Alpha followers with relative ease. What could have been one of the show’s greatest comebacks has the brakes put to it, instead of thriving ala The Governor’s return to the prison. Negan preemptively abandons a newly formed reclamation army in favor of civilized red tape back at Alexandria.
A narrative fit for an entire future season: Negan rebuilding the Saviors through his Whisperer influence is put to rest before it started. No internal war between Negan and Beta establishing a Negan/Simon redux-like reverie. The bigger picture. Thus, a lead episode highlight is only held back by not keeping Negan’s original spirit alive for at least a couple more chapters.Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon, Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan – The Walking Dead _ Season 10, Episode 14 – Photo Credit: Jackson Lee Davis/AMC
“Look at the Flowers” firmly establishes that although Negan is capable of heroic deeds, he’s absolute dynamite as a ‘bad guy’. Being a ‘good guy’ comes with rules and regulations… Negan shines consistently in the absence of both. Leave the iron anchor behind and let the man be as bad as he wants to be. ‘That is the
look Negan I wanted to see!’
All that being said, the scene is one of the high points of Season 10. Capturing the magic elixir formula that made Negan such a force to be reckoned with in the first place. Uncertainty.
Be sure to read The Walking Dead #TBT: Negan asks Daryl ‘Who are you?’
Missed an episode or looking to reflect on a scene past? No problem! Purchase episodes on Amazon today.
More TWD Season 10 coverage is available on The Natural Aristocrat’s The Walking Dead category section.