By Ed Diokno
SPOILER ALERT. DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER IF YOU’RE A “WALKING DEAD” FAN AND DON’T WANT TO KNOW WHAT’S COMING. YOU’VE BEEN WARNED!
Last chance STOP reading … OK, here we go …
Here we go again. What the Walking Dead does better than any other show is to have fans invest themselves in the show’s characters and their fate on one of television’s best loved, best acted, best written dramas.
Besides Game of Thrones, no other television show has shown its willingness to kill off their main characters than The Walking Dead.
For those of you who sighed a breath of relief when Glenn survived falling into a herd of zombies last season, get ready to get back on that emotional rollercoaster. We’re almost ready to experience the death of one of the show’s main characters.
In past deaths of fictional characters, we are stunned, surprised and go through all the stages of real-life grieving whenever one of the core group of survivors meets his or her demise, as if they were real people.
In fact, studies show that fictional characters that are loved actually become our friends and our feelings towards them are real, as if they are actual people. When they hurt, we hurt; when they’re happy, we’re happy; when they die, we grieve. The characters may be fictional, but the emotions are real.
We’re in Season 6 of the show that takes place in the near future and everyone – except for small bands of survivors – have turned into the undead zombies.
If you follow the comic book, the source material for the Walking Dead, you know that the villain of villains, Negan, is about to be introduced and with him, his barb-wire wrapped baseball bat that he calls Lucille. You’ll also know that Negan uses Lucille to bash in Glenn’s head.
Oh, no! Not Glenn again! Why are the show runners always putting the Asian guy in peril?
If the show runners stick to the comics, Glenn – the only Asian survivor in the zombie apocalypse that we know of; Glenn, the nice guy who gets the girl; Glenn, the pizza delivery guy who has turned into a hardened badass; Glenn, who always sees the good in people, even if they are losers; Glenn, who had never killed a human being (until last week’s show.) Our Glenn. Our hero. His time has come.
Reports that Steven Yeun, who plays Glenn has cancelled an appearance at a fans’ event after this season’s finale only lends credence to Glenn’s fate. The only other time Yeun missed a fan event was when everybody was asking if his character had died.
Hey, hasn’t anyone over at Walking Dead read the USC report about the lack of significant Asian characters on television? Don’t kill off the one character with whom we in this under-represented demographic identify!
The show runners haven’t always been faithful to the comics for their plotlines. If they had, Carol and Daryl, both of whom have large fanbases, would have been killed off in the first season.
Will they veer from the comics again? Let’s hope so.
Daryl, Carol, Abraham, Gabriel, even Glenn’s wife Maggie, who’s pregnant, has been mentioned as possible substitutes for Glenn.
In the past, the writers have always tried to fill in a character’s personality before doing away them. Just as we’re starting to know them, we lose them. So if a character is getting more airtime than usual, you can be sure their time on the show is coming to an end. That makes their deaths so much more heartbreaking. This season the writers have filled in the backstories with Fr. Gabriel, Abraham and Morgan. I would be worried if I was an actor playing one of those roles.
That would be just like the show’s writers to torture the fans and also to hype fan involvement; build up hope and then pull the rug out from under the fans’ feet..
All we’re sure of is that someone in the main crew will fall victim to Negan’s wrath. Both Andrew Lincoln (Rick) and Lauren Cohan (Maggie) said the remainder of the season is going to be brutal. “Sickening” is the term they used.
So, Walking Dead fans, get ready to get your hearts ripped out and stomped on.
(Ed Diokno writes a blog :Views From The Edge: news and analysis from an Asian American perspective.)
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