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!
Losing Juan Javier Cardenas (Dante) from The Walking Dead’s cast did not enhance the series or provide any kind of spirited epiphany, not even a good Deus Ex Machina. It was just a waste of potential of one of Season’s 10’s most charismatic bright spots.
This article contains spoilers for The Walking Dead’s mid-Season 10 finale.
For as much as The Walking Dead bathes in the term ‘delayed gratification’ and takes almost a schadenfreude-like approach to stretching plot lines to the brink… They simultaneously eliminate their most intriguing characters like Dante on a whim or lock them away from screen time in narrative jail ala Negan. What purpose did Dante’s death serve during TWD Season 10 midseason finale? For Gabriel to revive a relationship side plot with Rosita that most fans realistically forgot about by now?
All it did was snuff out the candle of this season’s most charismatic new on-screen addition for two seconds of shock value. What could have been the closest thing to a Merle-like character is in the ground, six feet under, to progress yet another convoluted romance storyline. Let’s face it, Ole’ Gabey isn’t Rosita’s first boyfriend and he certainly won’t be the last. She’s been ‘getting over’ Abraham for quite a while now. Every other episode, Rosita looks like she’s in love with a different member of her reverse harem. Might as well spin a wheel to figure out who’s the next sucker.
Lost FutureJuan Javier Cardenas as Dante – The Walking Dead _ Season 10, Episode 7 – Photo Credit: Jace Downs/AMC
Meanwhile, Dante had an endless well of potential as his disposal. From if he really had a son or not, military background, to his Whisperer attraction. Most importantly, actor Juan Javier Cardenas knew how to sell a scene. How to make Dante standout and steal the moment. Him being a doctor added to the question of possible no-choice necessity similar to Pete Anderson. There were so many different directions to take his character to, he could have been more than the traitor who took out Siddiq. One of the few times The Walking Dead should have held back, they go full force. Reminiscent of the loss of Jessie Anderson [Alexandra Breckenridge] in Season 6 of the show.
This goes back to the decision to take out The Governor. It’s okay not to fully eliminate a character through death and just have them escape for a while, instead of losing another quality actor. Maggie Greene received such a temporary exit when Lauren Cohan moved to another project. Recognize your roster, so you’re not left with storylines your audience isn’t that immersed in at the expense of ones they are into.
Read more of The Natural Aristocrat’s Walking Dead coverage in The Walking Dead category section!
Alpha told her daughter the truth after all… The raven-haired Lydia was never going to be accepted in Alexandria on more than a superficial level, the game was rigged before it started.
It’s easy to speak of second chances when times are booming and the flowers are blossoming. What about when they wilt? The rough and tumble when Murphy’s Law hits and everything that could go wrong, does. Is it still soothing to be floating atop the moral high ground then? Alexandria’s promised tolerance of their resident refugee Whisperer led to a secret campaign of undercover bullying. Friendly smiles on the front, knives ready in the back.
Lydia was never going to be treated like ‘one of them’ no matter how hard she desperately tried to fit in… Just ask Negan. There was only so much a Daryl could do, he can’t escort Lydia as a personal bodyguard everywhere for the rest of her life. Eventually, she would always have to face the dark underbelly of Alexandria. One that blames her unfairly for her own existence. True feelings always have a way of surfacing in the end. Tongues sharpen when civilization erodes. All it took was a tree fall and some walkers. In reality, the broken routine of daily comfort.
Even Carol Peletier is guilty of just paying lip service, using Lydia as a pawn in her quest for vengeance. An ace in the deck. Fully aware of Lydia’s fragile state but openly disregarding it anyway. It was just half a season ago on The Walking Dead that Lydia was ready to take her own life before Carol stepped in. Owning this knowledge did not impact Carol’s decision to utilize Lydia even marginally. Not the least bit, ‘She’ll get over it, it’s her decision to help,’ Carol thought. No, she won’t, not this time.
The ruse is over, the blindfold is off… Lydia can spot the details she missed on first impression. Back when her head was spinning with possibilities and magic. To Lydia, leaving The Whisperers was a new lease on life, to her new neighbors, she was just fashionable to have around. A walking billboard of the community’s so-called selflessness and imprint as the good guys. Tolerated but never to be loved. A Christmas present waiting to be returned after New Years Day. Lydia took matters into her own hands last TWD episode and grabbed the receipt herself…
Check out more TWD coverage in The Walking Dead category section!
Negan was finally allowed to be Negan after being submerged and suffocating in the depths of Davy Jones’ Locker, also known as Alexandria. The Kraken was released upon The Whisperers tonight and Beta can’t seem to steer the Captain’s Wheel back on course.
This scene recap contains spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 10 Episode 6.
No more Home Improvement style neighbor Negan dishing advice like TWD’s Wilson for the last season and a half. No tending the garden reminiscent of farmer Rick. The real Negan was unchained on tonight’s episode from the burden of apologizing for his own existence. Like a true Alpha, he accepted the futileness of trying to appease a crew that was never going to accept him as one of their own anyway. As Tyler Durden once said on Fight Club, “It’s only when you’ve lost everything, that you’re free to do anything.”
Negan wandered onto hostile waters with just a leather jacket on his back and managed to put The Whisperers’ entire hierarchy into question. Beta was truly the perfect serious character for Negan to play off of… Particularly, because Beta poses a physical threat to Negan that Father Gabriel never did.Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan, Ryan Hurst as Beta – The Walking Dead _ Season 10, Episode 6 – Photo Credit: Jace Downs/AMC
It brought back the visual of him as fearless in the heart of danger, rather than the downtrodden one, shedding tears in his cell. Negan was authentically getting under Beta’s skin by literally being himself: Loud, boisterous, and unapologetic. The way Negan should be. “Do you have a Beta with Benefits thing going on?”
The revival demanded attention both from The Walking Dead’s audience itself and Alpha… Who watched Beta’s bickering with The Whisperer’s newest application in noticeable gratification. Schadenfreude at Beta’s unexpected challenger if you will. Negan has lifted himself up against the tide, ready to pull the steady ship Beta’s running directly back into the ocean.
One Time ‘Cameo’?
The question is, will the series allow Sanctuary’s former defacto ruler to continue in this manner? Or send him back to the plank to play ‘pretend’ good guy? Last episode’s Brandon appeared to be some kind of subtle shot at Negan fans who want him to be the way he used to be. As if a fan wanting “Classic Negan” was annoying. Brandon’s interpretation more than subtly hinted that with the immediate disappointed stare back in response. It seemed like a breaking the fourth wall move… If you also consider Brandon having no morals as a ‘fanboy’ it felt like a type of statement on Negan’s original fanbase.
Leave predictable hero/advice giver Negan at the door, the Kraken must stay above water. Fighting Giants, Steering Alpha’s Ship, and Beyond!
Be sure to check out The Walking Dead #TBT Negan asks Daryl “Who are you?” and relive a classic Savior moment!