The Walking Dead's Steven Yeun defends that infamous dumpster mystery

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Feb 13, 2016, 6:52 PM EST (Updated)

For the most part, the sixth season of The Walking Dead has done a solid job of setting up fresh stakes for the hit zombie series, but it also featured one of the most bone-headed narrative decisions in the show’s history.

Spoilers ahead for the first part of The Walking Dead Season 6!

In case you’re unfamiliar with DumpsterGate, we’ll hit the high points: The show made it seem like fan favorite Glenn, played by Steven Yeun, had died after falling off a dumpster into a horde of zombies. The writers kept up that subterfuge for several weeks, and even removed Yeun’s name from the intro credits to sell the fake-out. Of course, Glenn wasn’t dead, and had apparently crawled and hid underneath a dumpster while being shielded by another person’s body.

It was a silly move, and stringing it out over several weeks infuriated approximately 95 percent of the fan base. It felt gimmicky, and though the writers argued it was a way to give fans the same uncertainty the characters must feel, it just didn’t pan out that way. In a new interview with Entertainment Weekly, Yeun dove headfirst into the story behind the story and tried to explain why it was a good move.

Check out an excerpt below:

“We tried for something that could have been dangerous, and to some, it was. And to some, they didn’t like it, and things became polarizing to an extent for that move. But I never felt like our heart was at a place where we were trying to deceive the audience. Never were we like, “People are going to go crazy for this!” It was more just like, let’s tell this story and make it compelling and make it purposeful. Scott always brought up the point that he was trying to make the audience feel the same way as how people back in Alexandria must have felt not knowing where Glenn was. And whether the audience believes that we executed that well or not, we went for it, and even in the face of victory or failure, when you go for something, that’s all you can really hang your hat on…

That’s what the discussions were always about. It was, “How do we effectively tell this story, that it has the maximum weight of what we’re intending?” It was never “Let’s make them think that he’s gone for a second, just to screw with the audience.” It was always “What is the best method by which we can achieve this story to be at its purest way of digesting it for the audience?” because they have so many other resources to, in a weird way, taint it. So I understand where you’re coming from, but I think the intentions were always to just create the maximum digestion of the story, if that makes sense.”

What do you think? Does Yeun’s explanation make you feel better about the story? Is it still terrible?

(Via Entertainment Weekly)