The Anatomy Behind Why It Wasn’t Glenn (The Walking Dead)

Just in case you happen to be that one fan of The Walking Dead who hasn’t seen or heard anything about the latest episode, here’s the obligatory warning **SPOILER ALERT**the-walking-dead-glenn-rhee-alive

Gene Page/AMC

…ok, so as most of you know, in the latest episode of The Walking Dead, fan favorite Glenn Rhee appeared to get mauled to death after being surrounded by a shit-storm of walkers. At first viewing, the initial shock of the situation led me to believe (like most others) that it was Glenn being torn to shreds, but after reviewing his ‘death’ scene, it became quite obvious that it absolutely couldn’t have been him. Now what allows me to be so certain?

Human Anatomy 101

Working in physical rehabilitation for the past decade, and having had to dissect human cadavers during my studies has given me a pretty solid understanding of the human anatomy. In graduate school, there were actual exercises where we’d pick up an individual muscle from a table piled with various human muscles, then identify which part of the body it belonged to. After that type of training it’s impossible to leave without at least a basic understanding of the human body.

Now for those who’ve never taken anatomy or who just need a quick refresher, here’s a diagram of the internal organs found in the human body.  What’s important to note is where the organs lie in relation to one another.


Keep this image in mind as I go over the two major observations that led me towards my conclusion:


  • I’m basing this on the proximity of their hands to his face.
  • This is important, as there are very specific structures that lie in the associated area.  If it really was Glenn’s chest that they were tearing into, we’d expect to see them first rip out his:
    • A) Pectoralis Major, then
    • B) Ribs or his sternum, then perhaps his
    • C) Lung or heart

the-walking-dead-glenn-anatomy1…but this is not what we see.  Instead, the first thing we see are:


  • As you can see in the image below, they’re pulling out long, tube like structures (the small or large intestines), neither of which lie within the left side of his chest. Based on this specific camera angle, the hands of the zombies would not even be in frame if they were actually ripping out Glenn’s intestines.


Here’s another clearer view of the the intestines. Although your intestines are long enough to be pulled next to your face like in the picture below (the average adult’s small intestines are approximately 23 ft long), these intestine were being pulled out from the site of the original injury, which again, could not be near Glenn’s chest.


For me, what really sells the deception is Steven Yeun’s solid acting!  The timing of his head movement and his facial reactions really sell the ruse of him being eaten alive. Looking at his expressions, it’s easy to understand why people think that he’s the one being eaten, but take into consideration that this could also be the reaction of a man who’s trying to process the fact that he’s being used as a human picnic bench, and knowing that he is also rooooooooooyally screwed!

For these reason, I’m betting on seeing Glenn somehow getting out of this alive…

…but then again, this is a tv show about zombies that I’m talking about, so there’s just as good a chance that the showrunners don’t give a rat’s ass about everything I just mentioned above.  Even if I’m correct, they could just as easily decide that the zombies are going to get some Korean food right after they’ve finished feasting on Nicholas’ dumb ass.  Either way, what a great episode, and just another fine example of why The Walking Dead continues to be one of the best shows on television.  #glennlives

If you see any holes in my observations or have picked up on any other details that led you to believe that Glenn is alive or dead, please leave them in the comments below.  Would love to hear what y’all think! 🙂

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