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Did ‘The Walking Dead’ mislead fans about Glenn’s fate?

MAJOR SPOILERS: Readers who don’t want to know the details of the latest “Walking Dead” episode should abandon this post now.

Fans of “The Walking Dead” finally got the answer to the question that has anguished them for the past three weeks: Is Glenn dead or alive? The beloved survivor appeared to meet a bloody and painful end when he was accidentally pushed off a dumpster into a swarm of flesh-hungry zombies.

The resolution brought both good news, and a troubling question.

The good news: Glenn is indeed alive, after scampering underneath the dumpster out of reach of the horde.

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The troubling question: Did producers -- in that episode and in the two subsequent installments -- intentionally mislead viewers, making them agonize over the apparent loss of one of the most popular characters on the hit AMC series?

And in the process, did the producers violate their own strict code that anything can happen in a zombie apocalypse, and that no one is safe?

There is certain evidence suggesting that the creative forces behind “The Walking Dead” manipulated the story scenario and other aspects -- including removing the name of actor Steven Yeun, who plays Glenn, from the opening credits -- to make the convincing case that Glenn was indeed dead.

The last shot of him seemed to indicate the worst. Glenn had fallen into the swarm after Nicholas, who had been standing on top of the dumpster with Glenn, shot himself. In falling to his death, Nicholas knocked Glenn off balance and into the herd. Even though Nicholas landed on top of Glenn, the image of Glenn screaming, looking as if he’s been bitten while dark blood oozes over him, was not a good sign.

On the installment of “The Talking Dead,” the post-game talk show examining that week’s episode, host Chris Hardwick and his panelists were shaken.

“I don’t think anyone feels good at all,” said Hardwick. “Nicholas, you shot yourself in the head but in the process, you may have broken the world’s heart.” He added, “This is a bucket of suck,” noting that he understood the attachment that fans might have to fictional characters.”

However, Glenn’s name did not appear in the show’s “In Memoriam” segment that shows the victims of that week’s episode. Then there was the cryptic statement from “The Walking Dead” executive producer Scott Gimple that Hardwick read on the air:

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“Dear fans of ‘The Walking Dead,’ this is a hard story to tell, and when we were planning to tell it, we knew our friends over at ‘Talking Dead’ would be talking to you about it, and knowing you’d talking and feeling and commiserating, I knew we should say something about it, lest our silence say something we didn’t mean to say or not say so I will say this. In some way, we will see Glenn, some version of Glenn or parts of Glenn again, either in flashback, or current story, to help complete the story.”

One of the guests, Damon Lindelof (“Lost” creator), said that it appeared that Glenn had been killed. Actress Yvette Nicole Brown (“Community”), who also appeared, said she was devastated after seeing the episode, believing that Glenn was dead.

However, Carson did float her hope that Glenn had crawled underneath the dumpster, and would eventually make his way back to his wife Maggie.

What do you think? Did producers mess with viewers’ emotions about Glenn’s “death”?

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[Correction at 12:20 p.m. Yvette Nicole Brown was incorrectly identified previously as Yvette Nicole Carson.


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