“Always Accountable,” the sixth episode of The Walking Dead’s sixth season, ended with the utterance of a single syllable over a walkie-talkie: “Help.” The message was brief, unexpected, and cluttered with static—but it contained a world of meaning for the Internet’s coven of Glenn Rhee truthers who refuse to believe the ex-delivery boy is dead.The message, spoken by a male voice, came as Daryl, Sasha, and Abraham reunited in a fuel truck and set their sights on Alexandria. Daryl called out to Rick over the same channel he used during the group’s attempt to divert 10,000 zombies away from their new home—a plan that went horribly awry and, The Walking Dead would have us believe, got both Nicholas and Glenn killed after the former blew his brains out atop a dumpster and sent the pair toppling into a scrum of walkers.But thanks to camera angle trickery, it was never clear whether the blood and guts the walkers feasted on came from Glenn’s body or Nicholas’s. The last we saw of Glenn, he was alive; faced with no way out of a horde of hundreds of flesh-eaters, but alive—for now.[Beware, possible spoilers ahead for Glenn’s fate, including comic book storylines.]Under any other circumstances, we would have to believe this was a death sentence. There’s just one problem: Steven Yeun—whose name, in an audacious feat of audience trolling, was removed from the credits after the cliffhanger of “Thank You”—has been seen on the show’s Atlanta set as recently as a few weeks ago, with another character (comic book favorite Paul “Jesus” Monroe, played by Tom Payne) who has yet to be introduced.
And in the hour after “Thank You” aired, show runner Scott Gimple promised that, “in some way, we will see Glenn, some version of Glenn or parts of Glenn again, either in flashback or in the current story to help complete the story.” Does Glenn’s voice calling for help, possibly from under a dumpster, count as “part of Glenn?” Is Sasha, Abraham, and Daryl’s new truck, more than capable of mowing down a horde of walkers, Glenn's ticket out that alley?
Daryl Dixon himself, Norman Reedus, says “no.” In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, the crossbow-wielding hero confirmed that the voice we heard was not Glenn’s—but that does not mean all is lost. Fan site The Spoiling Dead, which regularly reports Atlanta sightings of Walking Dead cast members and keeps track of shooting schedules, maintains that Glenn will appear in episode seven, which airs next week (the group hasn’t made a false call all this season and last). Whether it will be in a flashback, a memory, or some other deviation from the current storyline is up in the air.But the evidence for Glenn’s return keeps piling up. Last week’s episode, “Now,” revealed that Maggie is pregnant with Glenn’s child, a development hinted at when Rick called for volunteers for Operation 10,000 Zombies. Noble-hearted Glenn volunteered immediately but asked his wife Maggie to stay behind, supposedly to lend moral support to Deanna, who just lost her husband, Reg. “That’s not the only reason,” Maggie replied, with a knowing look on her face.This is significant because in the comics that The Walking Dead is based on, Maggie’s pregnancy sets in motion a chain of events that ultimately ends with Glenn’s gory demise in one of the most brutal events in Walking Dead history: Negan bashing poor Glenn’s head in with his barbed baseball bat, Lucille, right in front of Glenn’s family. Negan, it’s worth noting, was also just cast: Jeffrey Dean Morgan will make his debut as the supervillain sociopath either in the back-end of Season 6 or Season 7.If the hints all add up, Glenn may survive his dumpster dive, but only to die later at the hands of Negan. It’s a bleak prognosis, but if Glenn really is fated to die, he always deserved a better death than what he apparently got in “Thank You.” Hope has always been hard to come by in the zombie apocalypse, but we’ll take what we can get.