Did ‘Family Guy’ really just kill off Brian?

“Family Guy” made headlines for the first time in years last night by killing off a major character, the family dog Brian.

Analysis of the move essentially fell into two camps: Those who didn’t really care because they’re pretty sure Brian will be back next week, and those who didn’t really care because after twelve seasons things are getting a little stale and it’s time to shake things up.

Though it is interesting to note that the family’s daughter Meg just died a few episodes back and no one even seemed to notice. But when the family dog dies it makes international headlines. I guess that either has to do with how little respect Meg (voiced by Mila Kunis) has ever been given on “Family Guy,” but probably more to do with the fact that having a talking dog was a cornerstone of the show’s unapologetic surrealism.

That surrealism is what would allow the creators to bring Brian back just as quickly, despite the gambit that Stewie’s time machine is now broken. We are talking about a show in which a foul-mouthed baby genius has a time machine, after all—pulling a “Frankenweenie” stunt with the dog is not out of the realm of possibility.

Then again, Seth MacFarlane has been saying for years he wished the show was over, telling Hollywood Reporter in 2011, “Part of me thinks that Family Guy should have already ended.” “There are plenty of people who say the show is kind of over the hill,” he admitted, “but still the vast majority go pale in the face when I mention the possibility.”

So who knows, maybe this is MacFarlane’s attempt to throw the whole show into a death spiral. Or maybe it’s just a desperate play for attention in a show past its prime. Either way, if you missed it last night (which I’m almost certain you did) watch Brian’s death scene below.