Before I begin with this break down of what is plaguing the Walking Dead, I just want to say I’m writing this because I love the show. It’s one of my favorites on TV and one of the few that I actively watch when it airs instead of watching it later on my DVR.
When the Walking Dead premiered six years ago it had a fantastic plot and story devices. We were dropped in with Rick Grimes who woke up in the hospital in the middle of the zombie apocalypse (or walker apocalypse) and there was mystery in there air.
What was going on? Where was Rick’s family? How will Rick survive?
These kept us glued to the television week after week. Though, we the viewer, knew what was going on, zombie apocalypse, but we didn’t know who it started, or how bad it had gotten. Was it just in Atlanta, the US, or the whole world?
For the first few episodes Rick would come across other survivors like Morgan and his son, and later companions like Glenn, T-Dawg, Andrea, and Merle. All different kinds of folks but willing to help Rick because deep down they are all people and that is our natural inclination to do so (in spite of what movies and the media want you to believe).
Finally this second group led Rick back to his wife and son, and best friend(?) Shane and after a devastating attack by walkers the group sets out for the CDC in Atlanta to, hopefully, get answers on the outbreak and for a hope for a cure.
Again, even though we lost one plot point of Rick’s search for his family, we still have the mystery of the outbreak and whether or not there is a cure for it, and a new plot point of looking for a safe home. So again, this show is moving forward with it’s stories and it keeps going.
At the close of season one we get some answers, the CDC has no cure for the outbreak, and everyone has the virus already in them. Then the guy at the CDC blows it up for some reason because… reasons? So we got some answers and the group is homeless again.
The homeless, or nomadic nature of the show is becoming a problem, though not its biggest problem, but in the first two seasons zombies chase them away, then they get to the prison and the Governor and his assault chase them away from the prison, then they get to Terminus thinking it can be a home but they’re cannibals and the group blows them away, and they get to the church, then the survivors of Terminus kind of chase them away (though they murder the shit out of those guys as well), and the group goes to Alexandria.
So now at Alexandria, they have a home, and a new big bad (or we thought) in the Wolves, who are easily dispatched, then we meet Jesus and the Hill Top, and they introduce us to Negan’s group the survivors, whom, Negan, has been teased at great length, and by the way his group has gotten their ass whooped at every turn that kind of lessens their threat, and it literally took the group’s collective stupidity for the survivors to get the upper hand.
Over the six seasons there have been two tropes throughout the show, the group finds a home and is chased away, and a big bad every season for them to overcome. It’s been very formulaic and starting to get stale.
However, these two problems aren’t the worst, oh no, the worst is that the show has become a, “who’s going to die next?”
Granted, I still enjoy the show, but it seems now all they’re trying to do is get us to try and guess who is going to die next and that’s how it’s creating tension. It seems to be we’re now tuning in in hopes we don’t see our favorite characters die. It almost feels like a “death of the week” show and this season has been the worst with the false death of Glenn, one where no one thought he was dead, and now this one with Daryl. We know he’s not dead, in spite of the obviously CG blood on the camera (that was fucking terrible, and you’re better than this TWD).
What happened to our good plot points here? What happened to searching for the source, searching for a cure, trying to find answers? These have all been abandoned and they’re so close to Washington DC by being in Alexandria, and a side note, Alexandria does not look like some Georgia suburb (like where they’re filming), it looks like a mini-city, and its a hop skip and a jump away from DC, like a 10 minute drive (with no traffic) and maybe an hour walk, so finding the CDC in DC shouldn’t be that hard for them, but no, we’ve eliminated all the subtle plots and mysteries to just a show about characters dying.
There is no doubt in my mind that season one (the one ran by Frank Darabont) is the best one. It was more than just death. The zombie apocalypse is just the background and the character development was so much better.
Obviously we’re only going to get one episode of Negan (which will probably be saved for the last 30 minutes) so his devastation probably won’t really happen until season 7, but hopefully when they’re done with him (and hopefully it’s more like the Governor and not Terminus), we’ll get back to some more character driven stories, and maybe since we’re so close to DC a search for answers again. Only time will tell, but the way the shows going I feel that it really should only last another 2 seasons. I think 8 or 9 would be a good place to call it quits.