The Walking Dead: 10 ways that [REDACTED] might survive

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Jan 25, 2016, 4:21 PM EST (Updated)

WARNING: Those who have not seen Season 6, Episode 3, “Thank You,” should be aware that this article is one big SPOILER.

As most fans right now are still trying to process, The Walking Dead has left our old friend Glenn in quite the pickle ... or possibly eaten as quickly as an actual pickle. Trapped in a small, fenced-off alleyway, Glenn and his latest reform project, Alexandria native Nicholas, found themselves fending off a good chunk of the walker mega-herd from the precariously minuscule high ground safety of a dumpster.


While Nicholas seemed genuinely intent on turning over a new leaf after the seemingly unforgivable acts of douchebaggery that got Noah killed, as well as his attempt to murder Glenn, the moment in which he was quite literally starring at a sea of death made him realize that he was unable to reconcile his own cowardice, inciting him to take his own life. Unfortunately, in true Nicholas fashion, he remains an indescribably annoying hindrance, even in death, as his self-inflicted headshot discombobulates Glenn, causing him to fall into the herd, presumably to his own death. (Right?)

In retrospect, Glenn trusting his life with Nicholas seemed to entail the same wisdom as a hemophiliac working in a razor blade factory. Nevertheless, his innate goodness has put him in this impossibly tenuous spot that has left TWD fans divided over his fate. While some have cynically written Glenn off, I decided to give my own two cents on the possibility of his survival.


However, before we get started, we need to focus on an idea that’s also being argued, namely that what we saw getting ripped apart was, in fact, Nicholas’ dead body and NOT Glenn's. As the above screengrab reveals in a split-second frame, we can clearly see Nicholas’ head lying over where Glenn’s stomach would presumably be located, possibly debunking the idea that those were his guts getting ripped out. In this shot, Nicholas can be seen lying on top of Glenn at a 45-degree angle, and none of the walkers seem to have access to Glenn, blocked either by Nicholas’ body or the edge of the dumpster.

With that premise established, let’s get started!

10. A new character shows up and saves the day

Perhaps Glenn’s deliverance could come by way of a completely new character. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time that a key cast member made such a debut. Some may recall the moment in the Season 2 finale, "Beside the Dying Fire," when Andrea got separated from the group and was pursued by walkers through a forest to her breaking point. Just as we were about to see her go out on her own terms, a mysterious cloaked stranger appeared, perplexingly chained to two de-jawed and de-armed walkers and provided sweet salvation with a few swings of a samurai sword.

Indeed, Michonne’s debut not only made an impressive impact for the future A-lister, but it also spared Andrea (a character more un-killable than Glenn at the time) from becoming the main course of a woodland picnic party.

Taking into consideration the critical casting news we learned last month, perhaps Glenn’s horrifying predicament could fortuitously serve as the introduction to an impactful newcomer in Paul Monroe, aka Jesus.

9. Too many walkers pile into the alley and collapse on the fences

One good look at a long shot of the herd as they all shuffle sloppily into the small fenced-off alleyway where Glenn and Nicholas were trapped, and it does seem clear that something will have to give. At some point the fences could collapse, which would cause quite a stumble of shamblings.

In this scenario, we are assuming that both the delectable freshness of Nicholas’ spilled viscera and the Black Friday-like chaos from the walker herd is keeping Glenn alive. (Albeit even more scarred for life than from the Noah incident.) Thus, it’s possible that the walkers could pile into the small space too rapidly, causing a large-scale collapse of proverbial dominoes.

It’s (somewhat) conceivable that such a scenario could provide Glenn his window of escape, either across the newly collapsed fences or possibly running across the fallen walkers onto the blocked stairs adjacent to the dumpster.

8. Morgan to the rescue

The preview for next week’s 90-minute episode, entitled “He’s Not Here,” seems intent on showcasing Morgan’s backstory, potentially detailing his bizarre evolution from ambivalent widower to a demented, introverted post-apocalyptic booby-trap-obsessed Kevin McCallister, finally blossoming into a Zen-emanating, staff-wielding kung-fu master.

Of course, we don’t know for sure exactly how the episode will break down, but given the proclivity in Season 6 for nonlinear narrative, we could be seeing Morgan’s mysterious origin story alongside a present-day quest to track down the remaining group of Wolves he spared after the invasion of Alexandria. (Unbeknownst to him that Rick already took care of that lingering issue in the RV.) Perhaps Morgan’s journey leads him toward Glenn’s nightmarish mosh pit of suckiness, causing him to lead the herd away.

7. Strategic zombie guts bath

Ever since Season 1, Episode 2, appropriately titled “Guts,” an often-revisited trope in The Walking Dead mythology espouses the nifty, albeit messy, post-apocalyptic lifehack of covering oneself in walker guts to mask a certain smell given off by the living, something that allows survivors to move about mostly unmolested by the dead.

Trapped underneath the Nicholas buffet tray along with its nightmarish queue, pulling off such a feat would be quite difficult for Glenn. However, it may still be possible when one considers that Glenn is on the ground and the walkers are standing, a fact that yields the aid of gravity. In fact, some may recall that back in Season 3, Episode 6, “Hounded,” Michonne also accidentally discovered the “guts” trick on her own when she gut-sliced a walker standing over her and received a rancid shower. Yet the spill from just one walker was enough to make the other walkers lose interest in her. Here, Glenn has his proverbial pick of the litter.

6. Another horn-related distraction

If a truck horn was enough divert the entire walker herd that Rick and company were attempting to corral, it’s logical that the group could use the power of horns to set the wayward walkers back on track. Thus, with some slight fudging of the timeline, it’s possible that Glenn’s piling predicament could be occurring at a time when the Alexandria denizens are still attempting to get the herd to detour away from their embattled hamlet.

Walkers are vicious and tenacious. Fortunately, they are also stupid. Perhaps the tail end of that alley herd that never even got so much of a morsel of the Nicholas meal may turn around at the slightest sound, causing the lemming-like collective to move away and look for more egalitarian dining opportunities. If Glenn could maintain his cool and stay below Nicholas’ stripped corpse, pretending to be the unappetizing ground-dropped leftovers, perhaps the proverbial five-second rule might come into play.

5. The Wolves show up

They’re numerous, bats**t insane and seem fully intent throwing some wrenches in the cogs of Rick’s carnivorous cattle drive. Thus, it is conceivable that another patrol of the Wolves are wandering about and could encounter the commotion in the tight alleyway where Nicholas chose his latest (and final) immensely inconsiderate exit strategy.

Based on what we know, the Wolves aren’t armed with weapons outside of the bladed variety, so it’s doubtful that they would be able to turn our shocking scene into an undead Hogan’s Alley. However, their mere presence and aforementioned bats**t insanity just might catch the herd’s attention, leading them away from our entrapped, perpetually punished nice guy Glenn, unwittingly giving him the escape window he requires.

4. Heath finds his mojo and goes back

Despite the Alexandria natives proving themselves to be unequipped to handle walkers competently on any level, Heath seemed to think that his experience as a runner placed him on equal ground with Rick’s group. It took a sobering speech from Michonne to put our spectacle-sporting schlepper of supplies in his place to understand that surviving in the new world means making existentially impossible choices that would be considered amoral in the old world.

Looking down in a stream, seeing a crimson-covered countenance reflecting back at him, Heath seemed to finally understand the point Michonne was trying to convey. With the trio of Michonne, Heath and a leg-shot Scott clearly disturbed when they didn’t see the smoke signals that were supposed to be sent by Glenn and Nicholas’ feed store fire, it’s possible that Heath’s newfound edification could result in him taking the drastic action of leaving Michonne to take Scott back to Alexandria and check on the duo himself. Once there, Heath could have his own badass coming out party by leading the massive herd away from Glenn and firmly establish himself as the A-lister that he becomes in the TWD comic book series.

3. He works his way through safely, since the walkers are too clustered

OK...if possible, give me a little bit of slack on this one. While this might be in the same long-shot neighborhood as the aforementioned “walker dominoes” theory, it may be possible that, by the time they finish snacking on Nicholas, the walkers will accumulate too rapidly and won’t have room to move in on Glenn. In fact, looking at the later longshots of the scene in question, it does appear that with the herd crammed in the alleyway, it would be impossible for all but the earliest of comers to bend down and bite someone crawling on the ground.

Thus, it is entirely conceivable that, should he be able to strategically slip away from the lucky few who managed to get down on the ground and munch on Nicholas, the bonanza of biters may have actually created a serendipitous logjam. Even if the herd did notice Glenn on the ground, they could be physically constrained from any of the horizontal bending required to bite or grab.

2. He crawls under the dumpster

While we didn’t exactly get too many tangible shots of the space underneath the dumpster, the few glimpses we did see revealed a tight, but possibly negotiable crawl space. This becomes especially evident in the strategically ambiguous shot when Glenn finishes his horrific screams as the walkers rip out viscera and he lays his head down, seemingly in resignation. In this shot, the space under the dumpster looks like it just MIGHT be big enough for Glenn to strategically pull himself underneath while the walkers continue to feast on Nicholas and remain distracted by the commotion of their own noises.

Understandably, someone incredulous of this theory might find it infeasible that Glenn could even maneuver at all while pinned down under Nicholas and the herd. However, keep this in mind: Both Glenn and Nicholas’ dead body took headers off the edge of the dumpster. So, how did Glenn made a total 180 degree turn to where his head is almost up against the dumpster in the final shot? Because he was maneuvering! (See the top screenshot for reference.)

1. He works his way up and into the dumpster

Further exploring the idea that Glenn was able to maneuver more than show’s editing made it seem, we might be able to push the boundaries of plausibility to theorize that Glenn might be able to work his way back to his feet, using Nicholas’ remains as a life-saving meat-shield. With his back right up against the dumpster as leverage and protection, Glenn might just be able to slip inside it with split-second timing.

While this particular theory isn’t any more well-thought/wonky than the others I have proposed, there is an aspect from “Thank You” that gives it a poetic edge. As some of the more astute viewers might remember, Glenn gave a last message to Rick over the walkie-talkies, referring to him affectionately as “dumbass.” This was a reference to their first meeting back in Atlanta in Season 1, episode 2, “Guts” when Rick, still ignorant of basic Walker 101 tactics, managed to get himself trapped inside a tank while surrounded by a herd of walkers. Of course, he was eventually rescued by Glenn, who first addressed him on the radio as “dumbass.”

What if that bit of nostalgia was also meant to serve as foreshadowing? Perhaps, we could see Glenn get trapped in his own “tank” with the dumpster, only to be rescued by Rick, who goes searching for him at some point. The potential cliffhanger-resolving rescue could be a moment that re-solidifies their six-season-long friendship.


Will Glenn miraculously make it out of this obscene pile-up of the putrid? Or, will TWD throw television (and comic book) fans a major curveball and confirm his death? Head down to the dumpster of our comments section and let us know!