The Walking Dead: ‘Heads Up’ Glenn’s dumpster trick / Tara vs. Randall

Steven Yeun as Glenn Rhee and Lauren Cohan as Maggie Greene - The Walking Dead _ Season 6, Episode 13 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC
Steven Yeun as Glenn Rhee and Lauren Cohan as Maggie Greene - The Walking Dead _ Season 6, Episode 13 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC /

In Alexandria, The Walking Dead threatened to establish a permanent home, but episode 607 would attempt to keep viewers guessing. As a result, “Heads Up” is probably not a fan favorite “Walking Dead” episode, as the episode appears to trick us regarding Glenn’s fate. Yes, most of us wanted to see Glenn reunited with Maggie, but was the whole dumpster scene too much? Also, what was the importance of Glenn searching for Enid (I’ll address that later and bring up what I consider an interesting double standard of Rick’s group)?

You see, part of The Walking Dead concept — what draws some people in, or maybe what repels others — is that people can continually overcome great challenges, repeatedly, be they walker-oriented, natural disasters, or other humans being jerks. While this can sometimes seem far-fetched, let’s not forget that real-life actually has countless examples of people defying death, sometimes repeatedly.

Of course, storywise, The Walking Dead needs lost or disappeared characters to create more complex and survival-themed storylines. In this case, Glenn’s disappearance inspired Maggie and Aaron to explore the sewers, leading to her apparent (though not blatantly stated) discovery that she must be mentally prepared to live without Glenn.

The Walking Dead, Glenn, and the whole dumpster experience

Throughout our time knowing him, Nicholas has not been a good guy. In fact, he regularly jeopardized Glenn’s life, and, at various points, Nicholas had to be held at gunpoint. So “Heads Up” is perhaps poetic justice, as Nicholas can only help Glenn in the vaguest possible way and after killing himself. After demonstrating a willingness to kill Glenn and others to save his own skin, Nicholas finally decides to sacrifice himself during a walker-infested confusion near a dumpster. At first, it appears that Nicholas might have to take Glenn with him, intentionally or otherwise. Still, we see that his fallen corpse essentially pushed Glenn away, with walkers being too busy gorging themselves on Nick’s innards to take full notice of Glenn.

This scene has been considered a cheap fake-out scene by some, and it’s easy to see why they’d say it. In fact, it reminds me of the scene in “Misery” where Annie Wilkes laments “Rocketman” cheaply escaping the “cockadoodie car.” However, if you actually look into it, various people on Youtube have broken down Glenn’s dumpster survival moment, doing a frame-by-frame analysis of how, yes, he could have plausibly survived the walker onslaught. I won’t bother naming these Youtube videos, but there are a few you can find in a quick search.

What-if scenario

Obviously, many other ways that scene (and other Walking Dead moments) could have been written. In fact, it might have been interesting had Nicholas died accidentally by Glenn, only to be accused of murdering him in revenge. While there probably wouldn’t have been a full-blown trial in that scenario, it would have been interesting to see certain characters react to Glenn’s perceived execution of Glenn (frankly, The Walking Dead has somewhat under-explored the issue of one being wrongfully accused of things by season 6, though there have been moments of meted out justice before).

The Enid factor

After Glenn waits quietly for walkers to disperse from the alley, he finally exits the dumpster. He moves past the whole Nicholas issue and soon finds his new purpose of “saving” Enid, so they can both return to Alexandria. However, this is yet another one of those unique dilemmas for certain viewers: Should anyone really be upset or annoyed by Enid’s leaving Alexandria, based on the obvious fact that it’s as vulnerable a place as any? Also, unlike Glenn, who has Maggie, it’s not like Enid has clear expectations of taking root somewhere (she is essentially a loner character, based on her experiences).

Enid, Tara, and Randall: A story of double standards

From a certain perspective, it’s debatable that Glenn needs to talk her into returning, and one wonders if he would have tried if she wasn’t a young woman. There, I said it. In contrast to Enid, the young character of Randall Culver from The Walking Dead season 2 was hated and feared right from the start, and most people at Hershel’s farm demanded he actually be executed over their paranoia. Why the distinction?

Certainly, he did initially shoot at the group, but let’s not forget that Tara Chambler was originally seen with The Governor’s group as they invaded the prison, essentially waging war — a little more blatant than a confused shootout in an abandoned town. Well, Tara was greeted with open arms by the group, with practically no deliberation about her being a threat, despite being with the group that launched an actual army tank assault on the prison! There was no torture sesh for her, like what Daryl implemented on Randall, whose main crime was being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Maybe there are a few other differences between Tara and Randall, such as no one other than Glenn being around to initially place Tara into any sort of custody. Still, as controversial as it might be, I can’t help but perceive a slight double standard between how Rick’s group treated Randall, Enid, and Tara. Was it merely Shane’s influence in season 2 that led to all the paranoia against Randall?

Forgiveness wasn’t an option for Randall?

Some might say, “Ah, yes, but Randall admitted that some members of his group actually committed violent crimes!” That’s true, but were there no signs that Tara’s former leader committed crimes, either at Woodbury or while en route to other locations? On that note: Tara similarly confessed bad things about the group she was with, and people who were part of Rick’s group also misbehaved in some rather startling ways (remember Merle Dixon, Dary’s own brother?).

In short, it seems like they simply wanted to kill Randall rather than abandon him. Actually, I think that is clearly what they should have done, maybe with a few bottles of water and at least a pocketknife, if they were concerned about giving him a fair shot on his own. Of course, Rick and Shane dropped that plan when Randall blurted out that he knew Maggie (and therefore the farm’s location). They apparently decided that knowledge was akin to a crime, based on the vague premise that he might tell others about the farm’s location (which, of course, we learn he was never immune to threats anyway, either from humans or the undead).

Final thoughts

I wasn’t too keen on writing this last part, but I find it some interesting food for thought. Some might construe it as a “battle of the sexes” argument on my part, but here’s the thing about that: I’m not the one writing these characters and these scenes, and I don’t think any of my interpretations stray absurdly far from the basic information contained in the scenes themselves. In fact, I invite any Walking Dead fans to correct me if I’m wrong in perceiving some double standards here (or, of course, if they want to discuss Glenn’s dumpster scene, which provides its own unique talking points, too).

Next. Ranking all the names for zombies in The Walking Dead universe. dark

So what are your thoughts on this episode of The Walking Dead, Glenn’s dumpster trick, and the differences between Enid, Tara, and Randall? Let us know in the comments!