When the reveal of Negan’s victim wasn’t made in the teaser of The Walking Dead‘s season premiere, I was already annoyed. Most of the episode felt manipulative in the way it was structured, a trend that reached new heights last season with Glenn’s fake death. I almost said to hell with it and switched to Westworld, which I’ve been enjoying tremendously.
But after Rick’s “visions” of everyone and Glenn’s death, I thought maybe all of them except Rick (and Carl) were about to die and was surprised to be excited by the prospect–that would be a real reset of the show. Obviously, that’s not the way things went; they’d never kill Daryl, for one.
Abraham’s death didn’t matter much to me, but Glenn’s was an upsetting surprise (I’d heard he died in the comic, but the show doesn’t always follow it strictly; plus, I stopped reading the comic for some of the same issues I now have with the show). His fake death last season angered me even more as a result. Why almost kill a character you’re just going to off for real the following season? More manipulation or poor narrative distraction.
The brutality and gore of the deaths was too much–this on a show that routinely grosses us out. I understand the motive here–to thoroughly break Rick (and the audience) down so that it’s clear Negan’s way is the only way. But less can be so much more, and, as has been pointed out in at least one critic’s review, the nature of the cliffhanger reduced Abraham and Glenn to animals to be slaughtered. The choice of where to leave off last season ultimately feels even poor and gimmicky.
Watching the premiere–its bleakness and brutality–reminded me too strongly of Game of Thrones, a show I stopped watching for those very same qualities. I don’t do misery porn, or stunt TV, which I thought had vanished in the ’90s. Perhaps TV writers (or networks) are returning to the tactic (Who shot J.R.?!) in a desperate effort to retain live viewers, but TWD is one of few shows with more than healthy Nielsen ratings.
I’ll continue to watch for now, but not live. Westworld is my new must-see live show.
- I kept hoping Carol would swoop in and save the day, Terminus-style.
- Morgan’s Negan is basically the Comedian from Watchmen.
- At this point, I’m watching the show for Michonne (but as an anti-shipper of Rick/Michonne).
- The disturbing sexual undertones and phallic imagery (Rosita and “Lucille,” what Negan says about Daryl)…DNW.
- A part of me almost enjoyed Rick being put in his place, but Negan’s still a dick.
- I second a fan’s comment on Talking Dead: I’d love for Maggie to be the one to take Negan down–while very pregnant.