The chorus of "Oh my God! They killed Brian!" from Family Guy fans after the Griffin pooch was run over by a car and killed in the November 24 episode was immediately followed with the collective question, "But he's not going to stay dead, right?" This is a question that shouldn't be asked in real life (R.I.P. Muffy I still think about you every day!!!) but is easily asked in the world of television, especially animated television, especially especially animated television that takes place in a universe full of ridiculous physics with time machines and combative oversized chickens.
And the cat is out of the bag that the dog won't stay in the body bag. Spoiler alert for anyone who is totally gullible: Brian Griffin will return to Family Guy. And it probably won't just be in a scene where his lifeless corpse is poked with a stick by Chris. Entertainment Weekly broke the news that he would pop up again in the December 15 episode, but a late-October news story about Maya Rudolph guest-voicing a character who Brian has a fling with in a 2014 episode was all we really needed as proof that Brian wasn't going to stay dead (unless Rudolph plays some sick necrophiliac with a bestiality fetish). Well, that and common sense.
As a stunt, Brian's death was met with anger and shock. Fans protested! Fans signed petitions! Fans "liked" things on Facebook! But I'm here to tell you that killing off Brian was totally radical and I applaud the Family Guy crew for pulling it off. Family Guy isn't just a cartoon, it's Family Guy. Rules don't really apply. The guy who created the series sang about tits at the Oscars. Momentarily killing a beloved character was a professionally played prank, it fits perfectly within Family Guy's essence, and most importantly, it worked. We're so connected to these characters after years and years of reruns that it had an emotional impact that catapulted the show to the top of everyone's news feeds that day. And because it's Family Guy, Brian doesn't have to stay dead. It's the perfect crime, really. I, for one, loved it.
But how will Brian come back? With Stewie's time machine dismantled and unfixable, how can he prevent what has already happened? The description for the December 15 episode includes this foreshadowy tidbit: "Meanwhile, Stewie comes up with a plan to get the one thing he wants for Christmas." Short of world domination, that one thing is likely getting Brian back. Here are a couple of ideas:
How do you think Brian will make his big return?
AIRED ON 5/22/2016
Season 14 : Episode 20