Needless to say, what I'm about to describe is a major spoiler for last week's episode of The Walking Dead , but I can't hold back; I'm too heartbroken. Turns out, that mystery illness that's been going around and killing everyone like flies has now spread to the core characters, and Glenn Rhee is infected. Glenn! Adorable little Glenn, pizza delivery boy-turned-zombie hunter extraordinaire! His life is now hanging by a single, rotting thread, and not even a few weeks after he unofficially "married" his ladylove, Maggie.
I understand this plot development is meant to make us feel like our hearts have been ripped right out of our chests and tossed into a blender then poured down a garbage disposal, but seriously — isn't there already enough of that on the show without taking away the one little shining light that is the Glenn/Maggie relationship? Don't we need a palette cleanser as everyone else is dying around them?
I'm not saying that the show needs to tone down the drama, far from it. Season 2 experimented with focusing on character development too much, and all we got out of that was a bunch of boring episodes set at a farm in the deep south with seemingly no plot development. The show needs to continue throwing plot twist after plot twist at us, but I can't help but feel doing it at the expense of a character who was finally happy was a cheap move.
On television, seldom can characters ever have their happy ending until the show is over, but it just seems a little obvious to target Glenn or Maggie after they agreed to get married — we all knew the second they did, that they were doomed in some way. And that's the problem, we all knew.
What if the show had gone against the grain and actually kept Glenn and Maggie intact and healthy? They would still be suffering, as that is the world they live in, but they'd be doing it together — and any heartfelt moments shared between the two characters might have been a refreshing and interesting calm change from all the mayhem and death going on around them.
A show like this needs balance between the lighter moments and the darkness. The Walking Dead has always claimed to be a show about character development rather than a zombie apocalypse, so give us character development, show us their stories.
It's possible that Glenn won't even die and all this worry will have been for nothing — but if his fate is to perish tonight, maybe even at the hands of Carol, it will be a disservice not only to the fans, but to the character himself.