So now we know. Months after most The Walking Dead fans would have preferred to know who Negan killed with Lucille, his barb-wire wrapped baseball bat -- and about twenty minutes longer into the show than most of us would have liked -- we found out tonight it was... Abraham and Glenn.
(This time it's clear Glenn won't pull another Houdini dumpster escape.)
(And let's just agree not to talk about what happened when Rick learned that not making a decision is a big decision.)
(But we can agree it was a really good episode.)
While you may be upset that Abe and Glenn didn't make it, that is how the show works. New characters filtered in last season and more are on the way, so from a production point of view that made it necessary to clear budget room for new salaries. (At the most basic level, a television series is a business.)
Plus, the show has always been about change: Alliances are forged and then dissolve, agendas constantly change, (stuff) happens. Characters die, often for the same reason that some products and product lines get eliminated.
That's something Steve Jobs knew a lot about.
When he returned to Apple in 1997, one of the first things he did was revamp Apple's existing product line and product development pipeline, eliminating a number of items and streamlining and refocusing product research.
The result is, and was, clear: How many $600 billion companies have as few products and product lines as Apple? Jobs relentlessly pursued excellence, and he knew the only way to do that was to focus the company on the few rather than the many.
And he shared that approach with anyone who asked. When Mark Parker took over as Nike CEO, he asked Jobs for advice.
"Nike makes some of the best products in the world," Jobs said. "Products that you lust after. But you also make a lot of crap. Just get rid of the crappy stuff and focus on the good stuff."
Parker laughed, but Jobs was serious.
"He was absolutely right," Parker said. "We had to edit."
And that's what The Walking Dead just did. They edited.
I'm not saying Abe and Glenn were terrible characters; Glenn was one of my favorites. But a television show with too many characters is a show that tries to tell too many stories, to weave together too many storylines... basically, a show with too many characters tries to do so many things it can do none of them particularly well.
And that's often true for each of us.
We all try to do too many things. We could all use a little editing in our professional and personal lives: eliminating a few projects or initiatives that will never be worth the effort, or eliminating a few commitments that provide a bigger return on ego than on our actual or emotional bottom lines.
Editing a few of our own "characters" allows us to better focus on a few things that really matter.
And maybe make room for something new that we've always wanted to accomplish.
So take a few moments to mourn Abe and Glenn, and then look to the future. Their demise allows for new stories, shifts in group dynamics, deeper character development, cool new plot twists... and maybe a little more Daryl, surely the most popular character on TV that gets the least amount of screen time.
RIP, Abraham and Glenn. We're glad we knew you.