Spoiler Warning for this week’s episode of “The Walking Dead”

Nicholas and Glenn (Photo courtesy of AMC)
Nicholas and Glenn (Photo courtesy of AMC)

Walkers, intensity and heartbreak are three words that can be used to describe the newest episode of “The Walking Dead.” The fight to protect Alexandria from the massive herd of walkers is shown in full force. The importance of sticking together and not leaving people behind is the central theme of “Thank You.” This episode shows the sheer brutality of the world that our characters inhabit and emphasizes the fact that no one is safe.

We begin the episode with Rick leading a group through the woods near the herd as the horn blares in the background. Rick, Glenn and Michonne discuss what should be done next to get the walkers back on the path. An unruly Alexandrian begins to blame Rick for everything that has gone wrong, but Michonne quickly shuts him up. Rick communicates with Daryl, Sasha and Abraham over walkie-talkie and tells them to keep leading the front half of the walkers. Daryl, worried about the rest of his group, decides to head out on his own to help leaving Sasha and Abraham alone. Rick tells Glenn and Michonne to get the rest of the group back to Alexandria and warns that not everyone will make it back, referring to the untrained Alexandrians who have little experience being outside of the walls. Rick heads out to retrieve the RV, hoping that it may help in corralling and controlling the walkers.

The major focus of this episode lies in the group lead by Glenn and Michonne. Heath, Nicholas, Scott (Kenric Green), Annie (Beth Keener) and David (Jay Huguely) are included in this group, although Scott and Annie are both injured and need help walking. With a slight lead on the herd, the group finds a town and realizes that both Scott and Annie need to be taken care of if they are going to make it back. A pet store becomes a temporary refuge and allows everyone to catch their breath, but only for a moment. As more walkers begin filling in to the town, Glenn formulates a plan of setting a building on fire as a distraction which would allow the survivors to escape. Nicholas decides that he must help Glenn, showing a vast improvement in his character from last season.

Nicholas and Glenn take off to find a building, while Michonne holds everything down in the pet store. She and Heath begin bandaging Scott and Annie’s wounds, but the two request to be left behind as they believe they are only slowing everyone down. Heath immediately declares that they will not leave anyone behind to which Michonne agrees. One touching scene shows David, who has been bitten, writing a letter to his wife in Alexandria and asking Michonne to deliver it to her if he doesn’t make it back. Michonne responds by writing, “You’re getting home” on her arm. This truly shows the positivity that a few characters are able to hold on to, even in the most dire of situations. Some conflict arises between, Michonne and Heath regarding what Rick said about not everyone surviving. From this, a passionate Michonne imparts some very strong words to him about just how savage the world is and how Heath has only seen a small portion of what her and Rick have seen. Danai Gurira’s acting this episode in particular is absolutely astonishing and solidifies Michonne’s position as one of my favorite characters.

After killing a few walkers inside the pet store, the group notices part of the major herd making their way into the town. They determine that they must leave the store and make their way back to Alexandria without Glenn and Nicholas. After bursting out of the store, Annie trips and is devoured by walkers, but not before telling the group to “just run.” They make their way into an alley, but a fence blocks their way through. As walkers begin closing in, they begin climbing over, first Heath and Scott. Michonne and David are left clinging to the fence as the undead grab and try to pull them down. In an incredibly tense sequence, Michonne is able to climb over, but David is pulled down and ripped apart by the walkers as the camera zooms in on the note that he wrote. While not major characters, the deaths of Annie and David signify the utter peril that our characters find themselves in.

Michonne (Photo courtesy of AMC)
Michonne (Photo courtesy of AMC)

Over on the other side of town, Glenn and Nicholas discover that the building they were planning on setting ablaze has already burned down. They realize their plan will not work and run down an alleyway to escape the walkers, but become trapped and surrounded on a dumpster. With walkers on all sides and very limited ammunition left, Nicholas turns to Glenn and utters a simple, “Thank you.” A dramatic and gut-wrenching sequence follows as Nicholas turns his gun on himself and commits suicide, spewing blood all over Glenn’s face. Glenn and Nicholas’ body collapse into the pack of hungry walkers in slow motion. The camera focuses in on Glenn’s face as the walkers feast. This scene in particular is by far one of the most horrific and disturbing images shown on “The Walking Dead.” Glenn, a beloved character who has been on the show since the very first episode, being ripped apart right in front of us.

However, after re-watching this particular scene, I am not entirely set on the fact that Glenn is actually dead. As the two plummet into the mob, Nicholas’ body falls right on top of Glenn. Therefore, many fans (myself included) speculate that the walkers were actually feasting on the corpse of Nicholas rather than Glenn. Is it possible that Glenn survived this seemingly deadly bloodbath? The answer to this question remains a mystery. Without any doubts though, Nicholas is definitely dead; his character was just beginning down the path of redemption, so his loss is yet another emotional jab.

The episode continues with Michonne, Heath and Scott finally making it back to Alexandria. Rick, inside the RV, radios Glenn, but receives no response. Rick then gives a very impactful speech to Daryl, Abraham and Sasha over the walkie-talkie declaring that they must keep fighting for everyone back home, as hard as it may be. Out of nowhere, two of the Wolves shoot at and attack Rick. He manages to kill them quickly, but discovers a jar of baby food in one of their bags. The look on Rick’s face as he realizes that the Wolves attacked Alexandria highlights the acting talent of Andrew Lincoln. The episode ends with several aerial shots of the herd and Daryl joining back up with Sasha and Abraham, as well as another cluster of the herd surrounding the RV. Somber music plays over the entire final set of scenes; adding to the sadness felt by viewers.

“Thank You” is another one of the series’ best episodes to date, highlighting nearly every character and truly showing just how dangerous and unpredictable this world is. Obviously, the major moment of the episode was the “loss” of Glenn. Hopefully my prediction for his character comes true and we will see him again. If Glenn is really dead, his absence would be a considerable change for the show. The danger of the herd is seen very clearly in this episode; how will Alexandria and its inhabitants fair when the walkers finally arrive? Next week’s 90-minute episode is set to focus on Morgan’s backstory, so it’s likely that the main story will be put on hold temporarily. Be sure to tune in to “The Walking Dead” next Sunday at 9 p.m. on AMC.

Jeffrey Kopp is the Community Editor of the Niner Times. He is a senior double majoring in Communication and Political Science. His interests include writing and keeping up with an excessive amount of television shows. He is also the go-to expert on all things “The Walking Dead."