Even after finally meeting his maker on “The Walking Dead,” Steven Yeun’s legacy as Glenn Rhee continues throughout Season 7. It’s an accomplishment that needs to be celebrated — while many TV characters perished in 2016, his was one of the most heart-wrenching and powerful of the bunch.
Glenn’s role on AMC’s series was important from the get-go: While he started out as Rick’s unlikely savior in Season 1, he gradually progressed from an awkward, yet resourceful teenager into a worthy hero of his own right.
To honor Glenn is to equally honor Steven Yeun, the actor who brought the fan favorite to life for six solid seasons. Wednesday (Dec. 21) is Yeun’s 33rd birthday. To celebrate, we’ve put together a collection of Glenn’s best “Walking Dead” moments. Get ready to grab your tissues folks, things are about to get emotional up in here.
His quirky introduction
After waking from his coma only to find his family missing and the streets of his neighborhood overrun with zombies, Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) did his best to formulate a plan. Unfortunately, riding into downtown Atlanta wasn’t really the best decision.
It wasn’t long before the walkers took his horse and, seeking shelter from this new undead threat, Rick found a tank and crawled up inside of it. It’s a quick realization that would hit any logical person in this situation that time is probably up. If it weren’t for Glenn’s voice popping up on the tank’s radio, Rick could’ve ended it all right there.
“Hey, you. Dumb*ss. Yeah, you in the tank… Cozy in there?” In “The Walking Dead,” you can’t really get more hopeful than that!
Facing off against the well zombie
It’s the end of the world and the importance of basic resources have now skyrocketed ten-fold. So, when a zombie found its way into an underground well on Hershel’s farm, it was up to Glenn to get down in there and free the bloated dude from blocking the gang’s water supply. Seriously, what could go wrong?
Glenn’s & Maggie hook up for the first time
Sometimes, the worst moments can lead into some of the best. And for Glenn, his life-threatening trip down the well was followed up with an unexpected encounter with Hershel’s (Scott Wilson) daughter, Maggie (Lauren Cohan).
Sharing a run into town, Glenn is caught in the act of grabbing condoms. Sure, he’s completely taken off-guard but this awkward scene works in the most heartwarming way. Not to mention, it’s the first time Glenn and Meggie connected in a sexual way and leads into one of the strongest romantic relationships ever to be featured in the series.
Glenn & Maggie make it official
Throughout the bleak world of “The Walking Dead,” Glenn and Maggie’s bond supplied the show with enough hope to get us through to the next week… And the next. When he eventually proposed, it wasn’t surprising, really — but it was necessary. The comics may have found the characters officially tying the knot in a ceremony within the prison, but not here.
Still, showing just how dire the need for love is in a world filled with chaos and death, this moment finds Glenn snatching a wedding ring from one of the many walkers lining the prison gates. It’s not a perfect option, but in the apocalypse, our hero makes due.
Glenn takes out a walker… with a chair!
The Governor (David Morrissey) was the first big villain to hit “The Walking Dead” and when he clashed with Rick and company, things didn’t go very well for all involved. But when Maggie and Glenn were captured and held prisoner, things didn’t quite go according to plan.
Fueled by the notion that Maggie was being tortured in the other cell, Glenn turned the tables on Merle’s (Michael Rooker) gruesome plans. This fight or flight moment right here is the first time we saw Glenn step up and showcase his fighting skills. Extra points go to our boy for going from bound prisoner to zombie killer in two minutes, flat.
Riot gear Glenn
After many clashes, Season 3’s big bad ended up blowing up the prison and killing many in the process. This here is one of many near-death circumstances Glenn seemed to find himself in.
Miraculously surviving the attack, Glenn found himself outnumbered by walkers as a fire raged around him. Resourceful as ever, he fought his way out of the mess dressed in a dead officer’s riot gear. Oh, and he helped to save Tara (Alanna Masterson) along the way. Awkward boy, no longer — Glenn Rhee further stepped into hero territory after this moment.
That tear-jerking tunnel reunion
We mentioned previously how important love is in the apocalyptic wasteland that is “The Walking Dead,” but another key component to Glenn’s character — and what made him an enduring favorite — is the hope he consistently held onto throughout the show.
One of the instances that displayed this concept so well was the moment Glenn and Maggie reunited in that tunnel. We waited. Through a number of episodes, we waited. And finally, after both of them persevered, fans were treated with one of the most emotional scenes “The Walking Dead” has ever provided — yeah, we know, there have been a lot.
The first time Glenn died
We previously mentioned Glenn’s proclivity for finding himself in one near-death experience after another. It was in Season 6, though, where fan were left guessing as to whether he finally was dispatched by a horde of brain-hungry walkers.
Leave it up to Nicholas, who Glenn decided to previously spare, to call all attention to them by giving up and shooting himself in the head. That’s all fine and good, but the immediate result of the suicide found Nicholas’ lifeless body pushing Glenn off the dumpster they temporarily found refuge on top of.
Some camera trickery led many to fear the worst for Glenn, but as it panned out, we learned that he had another trick up his sleeve. It was Nicholas’ body that was being ripped apart, not Glenn’s.
Glenn finally meets Lucille
It’s the moment “Walking Dead” fans have been talking about for months now. After six seasons of overcoming the odds, and finding himself in the process, Glenn met his mortal match when Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) introduced him and Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) to Lucille. It was brutal and violent, for sure, but also necessary in pushing the series into new territory.
As we wait to see how Negan’s storyline will shape the group and await Season 7’s return, let’s once again take a look at the heartwarming dream sequence that ended that gut punch of a premiere.
Any sense of family that our group had going for them is now gone, but as we head into the holiday season, it’s somewhat calming to see Glenn, Maggie and Abraham sitting around a dinner table with the rest of the group. We will never truly see Glenn be a father, but this brief glimpse into a future that could’ve been gives us hope for the future of “The Walking Dead.” And without Glenn Rhee’s dynamic influence, that may have never been possible.