Last Night's Episode of The Walking Dead Was Some Serious F**king Bulls**t

Warning: Bloody spoilers (as usual).
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Warning: Bloody spoilers (as usual).
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If you look up "tease" in the dictionary, you'll find a photo of Scott Gimple.

The Walking Dead showrunner punched every devotee to the zombie apocalypse series in the gut in last week's "Thank You," which found the beloved and brilliant Glenn seemingly torn apart amid by a horde of zombies, a casualty of shit-faced Nicholas' botched suicide. It was a cop out, especially for one of the most resilient of Rick's core group of survivors. It was also not fully set in stone: Glenn didn't get a traditional "In Memoriam" during recap show The Talking Dead, and fan theories suggested that the former pizza delivery may have actually escape a gruesome death. 

Naturally, series fanatics (and even those who abandoned it during its slower periods) waited with bated breath for some answers during this week's episode "Here's Not Here." 

Instead, we got an hour and a half of Morgan.

Fucking Morgan.

Why.

To be clear, "Here's Not Here" is a great piece of storytelling. A spotlight episode, it fills in the gaps in Morgan's character development during his interregnum period between season 3's "Clear," which finds him holed up with an arsenal and seemingly psychotic over the death of his son, and his return as a series regular in season 5 finale "Conquer." The episode establishes Morgan's moral philosophy in the anarchic world, a philosophy that explains why he prefers his non-lethal bow staff and finds himself at odds with Carol over using lethal force during the Wolves attack on Alexandria. Both Lennie James and guest star John Carroll Lynch as Morgan's erstwhile Thoreau-ish "mentor" deliver fantastic performances. 

It's a great episode of television that suffers from one big flaw: Literally nobody gives a shit about Morgan right now. We want Glenn, and we want him now

Over at HitFix, critic Alan Sepinwall offers a more gentle explanation for last night's fury against show-runner Gimple and the rest of the Walking Dead writers with another genre-defining sci-fi drama: 

I think back to "Across the Sea," perhaps the most hated Lost episode of them all. That was another one where the creators at the time were giddy to be doing an off-format episode, then surprised when the fans didn't like it. "Across the Sea" had a lot of problems, which even Lindelof and Cuse eventually acknowledged, but one of the biggest at the time was that it was airing a week after "The Candidate," which ended with the deaths of several major characters (along with the fakeout death of Frank Lapidus, who mattered much less to the grand scheme of Lost then Glenn does to this show). Even if "Across the Sea" had done a much better job of explaining the show's mythology, I think a lot of fans would have hated it because they wanted to see the immediate aftermaths of those deaths.

There's a time and a place to step away from ongoing story arcs. This does not seem like one of those times, and that becomes doubly so if the show intends to have Glenn survive his predicament in ludicrous fashion.

Sure, this could've been a strategic blunder for the Walking Dead production team, but if it is, it's a damn frustrating one. As I wrote last week, the ambiguity of Glenn's death has the trappings of modern clickbait ("You won't believe what happens next!"), although these sorts of structured cliffhangers have been a fixture of mass media since the dawn of radio. But the main feature of modern digital clickbait is a story that doesn't deliver on a headline; a little curiosity is fine, but not when you feel emotionally manipulated and jerked around. That's exactly what happened Sunday night in "Here's Not Here."

There are signs that Glenn is dead, I guess. Steve Yeun, the actor who portrays him, wasn't featured in the opening credits for this episode. And showrunner Gimple has said before that nobody is safe this season. “It’s a very big season...We’re dropping everyone in the deep end of the pool,” Gimple told the Hollywood Reporter before noting that “this is a universe in which even a character like Rick Grimes can be killed off.”

This is fine, if done well. Teasing us with some answers to our beloved character and then feeding us an unrelated stand-alone episode is, well, fucking bullshit. I trust the show-runners of The Walking Dead to actually treat us to dynamic, engaging stories as they've done since the end of the the series' never-ending stay at Hershel's farm in the tedious second season. But this is a cop-out of epic proportions, and until the series' devoted audience gets some resolution to Glenn's ambiguous situation, we're not going to put up with more bullshit like this.