I tried to think of a way to phrase this title to avoid spoilers, but really, if you are that big of a Family Guy fan you would have watched the episode by now.
They certainly did a pretty good job of convincing viewers that it was "for real," with twitter hashtag campaigns, a change.org petition, and fake websites kicked off in the hours after the show. Perhaps it was the fact that they replaced Brian before the end of the episode with a new dog, Vinny, voiced by the Soprano's Tony Sirico. Even more worrisome for fans is that he's signed on to voice Vinny for at least six episodes so far.
Now, anyone that watched the episode, which began with more of Brian and Stewie's adventures with his time machine, should realize that it will play a role in his recovery, even though Stewie destroyed it. If he doesn't rebuild it, he will eventually run into his future self, who traveled forward to Christmas to get hold of toys early, who he could warn. This will obviously be a storyline that will play out over the coming episodes as Vinny, who revealed that he had recently lost his owner, is likely the driver of the mysterious car that mowed Brian down.
The most damning evidence however, is that future episodes are already listed with Brian's name in the title and show descriptions. This is aside from the obvious question, "Why would you actually kill off one of your better characters?" We all know if there is one family character that permanently died, it would be Meg.
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