Big spoilers ahead! If you haven’t yet seen the season premiere of The Walking Dead, then go no further. Actually, given the title of this article, that statement in itself is a pretty dead giveaway, isn’t it?
Ah, Glenn, we knew you well. Ever since the very first episode, Steven Yeun’s pizza delivery boy turned zombie slayer has been with us, almost always at the forefront of every story. While characters like Rick Grimes and Carol Peletier have seen their entire belief systems, personalities, and leadership styles change dramatically over time, and most of the characters on The Walking Dead have sometimes toed the line of morality a bit too closely for comfort, Glenn has always been the exception. No matter what faced him, from betrayal to near-death, Glenn never lost his basic humanity. For years, Glenn has been the moral center of the series.
Until now. Thanks to Negan’s bat Lucille, Glenn’s brutal murder from Walking Dead #100 has been brought to the screen, cementing Negan’s place as the show’s new big bad, but ending the legacy of this fan-favorite hero. Glenn may be gone, but he’ll never be forgotten. As a tribute to his memory, here are 15 of Glenn’s Most Memorable Moments.
15. Hey you, dumbass
Rick’s entry into his new, zombie-infested life started with a bang. After lying unconscious in a hospital during the events in which the world ended, he then wakes up, has to come to terms with what happened, finds out that his family has run away, and goes out in search of them. This leads to him riding a horse into downtown Atlanta, only to find the entire city swarming with walkers, who promptly tear the horse apart. Oops.
Eventually, Rick is able to make his way into a tank, but the array of undead fists battering the sides makes it clear that if he tries to get out again, he’ll almost certainly be torn limb from limb. Strung out, defeated, and hopeless, Rick is on the verge of giving up — until a radio inside the tank begins emitting a voice. “Hey, you. Dumbass. Yeah, you in the tank. Cozy in there?” Like a beacon of light, this tiny sound bite was our introduction to Glenn Rhee, right in the first episode, and he’s been a big part of the series ever since.
14. Scampering Through Atlanta
Of course, it’s in the second episode, “Guts,” that we get a real introduction to who Glenn is. After rescuing Rick from the tank, advising him to make a run for it while the walkers are busy eating his horse, the two meet in person. Rick survives thanks to Glenn’s intervention, and when asked why he stuck his neck out for a stranger, he replies “The foolish naive hope that if I’m ever up shit creek, someone might do the same for me.”
Glenn soon starts leaping up ladders, racing across rooftops, crawling into tight spaces, and generally revealing himself to be more athletic than the others (or most people we know). In these first few episodes, he also shows an innate ability to plan an escape from the city, understanding the layout and how they can most effectively work together to find their way out. But before viewers can wonder if Glenn might be a former assassin, soldier, or gymnast, Daryl asks him directly — and Glenn casually responds that he was just a pizza delivery boy.
13. Escaping Atlanta in the Dodge Challenger
Glenn quickly proves himself to be an invaluable member of the group of multiple occasions, right from the beginning. When looking back on these early episodes, it’s really no surprise that his death has hit the fan base so heavily. Watching the first few seasons of the show is going to require a tissue box from now on.
When breaking into a red Dodge Challenger sets off a blaring car alarm, Glenn uses it to his advantage. Glenn drives out with the alarm blasting, creating a noisy distraction that gets the attention of the walkers and lets the rest of the group escape Atlanta (well, except Merle). Aside from just being a clever move, what makes this moment so memorable is Glenn’s boyish excitement at getting to be the one driving the car out of Atlanta, flooring the pedal. In the midst of all the doom and gloom surrounding him, Glenn still maintains his optimism, his glee, his enthusiasm. Right from the beginning, it’s hard not to love the character.
12. Going Down the Well
Being the guy who is able to crawl in and out of tight spaces and survive risky situations has its downsides. Especially when a bloated zombie gets stuck in an underground well, and everyone looks at you as the one who will have to climb in and get the zombie out.
Why? Well, because it’s from the same well that everyone’s drinking water comes out of, and you really don’t want zombie gunk mixed in with your water. Especially when that zombie has been down there for months, getting swollen and rancid, ballooning into probably the most disgusting walker to ever appear in the show. At this point, they’re on the Greene harm, and Hershel isn’t okay with the notion of killing walkers, which creates a dilemma… further complicated by the fact that this guy is in the drinking water, and shooting it in the head would only further contaminate their supply.
Glenn barely escapes from the well with his life, but he does manage to lasso the bloated zombie. The group works together to lift the walker out of the well. Unfortunately, its body splits into two, thus rendering all of Glenn’s desperate efforts worthless. Not Glenn’s best day, but certainly a moment that nobody forgets.
11. Pretty confident guy
Actually, take that back. Despite the bloated zombie shenanigans, this actually turned out to be a rather amazing day for Glenn. Not too long afterward, Glenn and Maggie — the daughter of Hershel, who owns the farm that the group camps out in for most of the second season — take a horseback ride into town to get supplies, making a pit stop in an abandoned drug store.
Though Maggie doesn’t initially seem too impressed by Glenn’s attempts to brag about how he usually does supply runs “solo,” the trajectory changes when she notices him trying to nab a box of condoms, and confronts him about it. As Glenn nervously fumbles for a response, Maggie initiates sex with him, telling him that he’s not the only one who is lonely.
This unexpected sexual encounter would eventually blossom into the longest running Walking Dead romance yet. Though the couple would face many struggles, heartbreaks and near-deaths as they traversed the post-apocalyptic world together, their love never diminished.
10. Getting Hershel’s Pocket Watch
Probably Glenn’s most prized possession is the pocket watch that he receives from Hershel Greene in season four. The Greene family is one which honors old traditions and always tries to leave something for the next generation. The Green Family Farm, for example, was with the family for over 160 years until the group is forced to desert it. The pocket watch is similarly historic, having been passed down to Hershel by his father, who passed it down to him after bringing it to the United States from Ireland.
During Hershel’s alcoholic days, he pawned the watch to pay for his drinking habit. His wife, Maggie’s mother, bought it back and returned it to Hershel years later, after he sobered up.
Needless to say, it’s an important heirloom with a lot of history behind it, so it means quite a lot when Hershel hands it down to Glenn, telling him that, “No man’s good enough for your little girl… until one is.” Glenn holds onto this pocket watch from that point on, and it’s shown in the series’ opening credits with Steven Yeun’s name.
9. When He Proposed to Maggie
So with that said, Glenn and Maggie’s eventual marriage is no surprise, with both of them holding one another’s hand tightly as the group goes from place to place, never sure if they’ll make it to the next day. There isn’t any official ceremony — at least none that we get to see, though the comics showed them getting married in the prison’s cafeteria — but in a world so bleak, where the people one loves might die at any moment, Glenn and Maggie’s marriage is a rare spot of sunshine.
Since it wouldn’t make a lot of sense to spend days on the road shopping for an engagement ring, assuming that all of the jewelry shops haven’t already been ransacked, Glenn instead opts to do what he does best: improvise. He goes to the wire fence surrounding the prison to check out all of the walkers lining the gates, many of which are reaching their hands in and trying to break through. He eventually finds one sporting a ring, lops off that zombie’s finger, removes the ring, and gives it to Maggie.
8. That Time He Killed a Zombie with just a Chair
One of Glenn’s most badass moments ever occurs when he and Maggie are captured by the Governor. While the Governor begins torturing Maggie in another room, Glenn is thrown into solitary confinement, duct-taped to a chair, and then brutally interrogated as to the whereabouts of the group. Glenn doesn’t break, taking all of the blows delivered to him like a champ, so the ante is upped: Merle unleashes a zombie into the room, steps out, and locks the door.
Glenn would seem to be a goner at this point, but his skill for improvisation in emergencies once again kicks into high gear. After successfully using the chair as a battering ram to knock the zombie away from him, Glenn then backs up against the wall, breaks the chair against it, and uses the remaining leg of the chair to stab the zombie through the eyeball. This is all impressive enough, but the fact that Glenn goes from duct-taped prisoner to killing a zombie with a chair in less than two minutes makes it unforgettable.
7. Breaking out of the Prison in Riot Gear (and Saving Tara)
If it wasn’t for the Governor, it’s entirely possible that the group might still be safe and secure within the prison’s walls today. However, the Governor ends up totally destroying the prison, killing many, wounding others, and causing the remaining fragments of the group to have to flee. Glenn is unlucky (or lucky, in a sense) to be on one of the prison walkways when it explodes; this means that while he doesn’t make it onto the escape bus, he is high enough that when the explosion knocks him unconscious, he isn’t eaten by walkers.
Glenn wakes up on the walkway sometime later, screaming for Maggie, as the buildings burn around him and walkers overrun the entire prison. In order to fight his way out, Glenn suits up in riot gear and fights his way through the undead horde. He also stops to save Tara, despite the fact that she was on the Governor’s side in the battle. Glenn uses one of Bob’s bottles to create a Molotov cocktail, and throws it at a car. As the walkers are distracted by the flames, Glenn and Tara make their escape.
6. Sucker-Punching Abraham
Though Glenn and Abraham will now forever be linked for darker and more depressing reasons thanks to Negan, their most memorable scene in the past was this David and Goliath moment. After breaking out of the prison in riot gear, joining up with Abraham, Eugene, and Rosita, and hopelessly trying to find Maggie, Glenn is understandably pretty strung out at this point. His sole focus is to find Maggie. He’s driven. He doesn’t know what to do. He can’t face the possibility that he might very well never see Maggie’s face again.
So when Abraham tells him bluntly that, for all he knows, Maggie may have already died or been eaten by walkers, Glenn responds by punching Abraham right in the face, which is something that a lot of people have wanted to do at some point. Despite the fact that Abraham is a muscled up giant, Glenn nails him so hard that he’s knocked back. This wouldn’t be the last argument between these two very different characters, but it was certainly the most memorable.
5. Reuniting with Maggie in the Tunnel
But despite the very real possibility of Abraham’s statement, Glenn and Maggie defeat the odds and are eventually reunited. There was no guarantee that this was going to happen — though Glenn and Maggie had more story ahead of them from the comics, the series has often diverged from canon in major ways — and after several episodes of both characters desperately hoping that they would find each other again, the payoff was more than worth it.
In a pitch-black tunnel flooded with a spotlight, Glenn and Maggie finally see each other again, and instantly collapse into each other’s arms. Many tears are shed, both from them and from the audience. Though Rick and Michonne are becoming an increasingly popular pairing, and hopefully they have a long future ahead of them, there’s no couple on The Walking Dead so beloved as these two. Unfortunately, this reunion is shortly followed by their merged groups making their way to Terminus, and we all remember how that goes.
4. The Time He Didn’t Kill Nicholas
In the years to come, Nicholas will probably go down as one of the most disliked characters in The Walking Dead‘s history. A liar and a coward, Glenn first comes into conflict with Nicholas when the latter chooses to sacrifice Aiden to save himself from zombies. This is bad enough, but a few minutes later, Nicholas once again saves himself by pushing Glenn and Noah into walkers via a revolving glass door, resulting in Noah being eaten alive. After this, Glenn makes a point to tell him that he’s no longer allowed to leave Alexandria, or to go on supply runs.
In retribution, Nicholas later lures Glenn out to the woods and shoots him. Luckily, Nicholas’s attempt to kill Glenn is foiled by both Glenn’s fast reflexes and the intervention of walkers. Nicholas makes a run for it, but Glenn tracks him down and beats him within an inch of his life. As Nicholas pleads with Glenn to spare him while Glenn has a gun to his head, Glenn decides not to kill him, believing that people can still change. This moment, which could have led to Glenn turning to the dark side, instead ends with a reassertion of Glenn as the group’s moral center.
3. His Fake Death
Our hero’s noble sparing of Nicholas’ life leads directly into one of the biggest moments from last season, wherein Glenn seemingly died, only to narrowly escape in the next episode. We now know that this was only a temporary reprieve, but at least we got a couple more episodes of Glenn goodness before his heartbreaking encounter with Lucille.
While hunting for cars, with the entire town of Alexandria depending on them, Glenn and Nicholas get trapped atop a dumpster in an alleyway. As Glenn desperately tries to figure a way out, Nicholas gives up and shoot himself, telling Glenn “thank you” before blowing his brains out (like that makes it better). The show’s most satisfying death in recent memory comes with a major downside, however, as Nicholas’ corpse knocks Glenn right into the zombie horde, at which point we see their rotting hands ripping someone apart. We later learn, of course, that it’s actually Nicholas being ripped apart, and that Glenn survives by scampering under the dumpster. Close call, but Glenn’s uncanny ability to escape death wouldn’t last much longer.
2. His Real Death
And that, finally, bring us to this. Looking back on all of Glenn Rhee’s most courageous, defiant, and loving moments only makes it all the more heartbreaking to see him go out in such a horrific fashion. It’s a fate that’s been waiting for him since the series began; Glenn’s death, originally depicted in The Walking Dead #100, was an iconic moment in the series. It’s a game changer, in a big way. Negan has gone on to become the biggest villain of the entire series, and this moment is where it all starts.
After fooling the viewers by showing Abraham getting killed first, giving many hope that Glenn may be spared from the comic book version’s fate, the impact of the baseball bat against Glenn’s skull is just as brutal as it is in the comics. His eyeball is knocked from his skull, and his entire head is mutilated beyond recognition. Before he dies, Glenn tells Maggie that he’ll find her. Later, the group takes his corpse away for burial. What happens next remains to be seen, but unfortunately, it seems that this fan-favorite Walking Dead character has finally met his end…
1. Holding his Imaginary Child
…except for that one imaginary scene, shown right at the end of the episode, which seemingly exists purely to rub salt in the wound. Because Maggie is pregnant, and until Negan came along, the group was starting to find stability in Alexandria, so it didn’t seem so far fetched to imagine all of them sitting around for dinner, years from now, just as Negan said. In a final, cruel twist, this scene shows just what could have been, in a better world.
The imaginary dream sequence shows the entire group “sitting around for Sunday dinner” in Alexandria, passing bread and salad around. Sitting right at the head of the table is Glenn, with Maggie and Abraham on both sides of him… and in his lap, the young child that Maggie currently carries in her belly. Though what happens with Maggie’s pregnancy remains to be seen, what we do know is that the child will never have the opportunity to know their loyal, courageous father that he or she will hear many stories about in the years to come.
What’s your favorite Glenn moment from The Walking Dead? Has his death left you swearing the show off entirely? Sound off in the comments.