I’ve very nearly had it with The Walking Dead

Avast! Thar be spoilers here! So, Negan finally showed up and did what we all knew he’d do, exactly how we knew he’d do it. We’re just n...

Avast! Thar be spoilers here!

So, Negan finally showed up and did what we all knew he’d do, exactly how we knew he’d do it. We’re just not sure who he did it to, and we’ll have to wait six months or so to find out.

I’ve watched TWD since the beginning, and I’ve always enjoyed it… up until Alexandria, that is. And ever since the whole Negan thing started, I’ve just been getting more and more turned off by it all.

For instance:

Could Negan be a little more long-winded?  I mean, what is this, a modern version of John Galt’s 40-page soliloquy-by-which-to-suicide(1)? Or is this him finally getting a chance to use his Big Boy words cuz he’s used to having to talk baby-talk to the morons in his group? Or is that why the Saviours(2) all look like they’ve suffered lobotomies - having to listen to Negan’s incessant megalomaniacal yammering?

And what’s with Negan’s hair? Looks like he just stepped out of the salon. Everyone else looks like a cross-eyed inbred hillbilly, but the good ol’ Neegster looks like he just stepped out of the GQ biker issue.

And why does he seem to have virtually no female warriors?  It should be quite evident that women make just as powerful warriors as men - look at Carol, Michone, Sasha, and Maggie. These be women you just do not want to fuck with. If Negan really is the astute strategist he’s supposed to be, he’d not be discounting half the living population from his crew. But at the big campfire scene… where were all the women?

More importantly, though, how the fuck is one guy with a bat supposed to rule - in a clearly dictatorial way - over a bunch of burly trunks of men armed with all manner of weaponry and seemingly lacking entirely in morality and empathy? Dictatorships only work thanks to overwhelming force that can be and is exerted over a powerless underclass. Every dictatorship ever has been that way. Sure, the Saviours are the oppressors and its places like Hilltop that are the powerless underclass. But dictatorship doesn’t work without oversight either. And there’s no oversight at Hilltop….

Also, since there’s no underclass among the Saviours, then there’s no direct way for Negan to focus his warriors energy away from him….

And this gets us to two even deeper problems: there’s no real setup and no real balance among the Saviours. Think of every other major “locale” in TWD - Herschel’s Farm, the prison, Woodbury, Terminus, Alexandria, Hilltop,…. - there was substantive background somehow available either before or immediately after the locale’s introduction (albeit less and less so as time went on). Woodbury, I think, may have been the best of all the locations, and the most balanced. Not as ruined as Atlanta, not as creepy (albeit for entirely different reasons) as Terminus or the more recent stations of the cross of Rick Grimes (that’s how I think of ‘em). There was both good and bad in Woodbury. The Governor, though ultimately an utter nut job, was not without his good points. That he kept his zombie daughter as a pet and zombie heads in fishtanks was weird - but he kept that stuff private, which means he recognized how aberrant it all was. And if he recognized it as aberrant, then there was hope.

No such recognition by Negan - and, presumably, most of his groupies. He just lets the crazy hang out all over. That’s not even a caricature of society; it’s the complete opposite, it’s animalistic, short-sighted, and ultimately doomed. Like so many fictional villains these days, they seem to be utterly unaware of history, no matter how well-read they seem to be. The lesson they miss is nonetheless straightforward: the greater the deviation from the norm, the more powerful and definite the restoring feedback will be. Negan is doomed for no other reason than his own excesses. Yet for all his skill at manipulating others and his apparent not unreasonable education, he doesn’t know this simple fact.

The prison may not have been perfect - especially compared to Woodbury - but even that was a surprisingly well-balanced situation. Defendable, but with sufficient open space to not really be a “prison.” They could have done soooooo much more with it. In hindsight, it seems that Rick’s group keeps learning lessons just a wee bit too late. By the time they got to Alexandria, the group seemed to know a lot more about fighting, surviving, growing food, and so on, than they did when they left the prison. But what exactly happened in that time to give them the chance to learn? If they’d acted at the prison as they acted in Alexandria, things would have likely turned out quite differently.

Ever since Woodbury, it seems the series has progressively gotten more and more lost both in its own illogic, and also by the unwarranted skipping of the quiet and peaceful times. There’s all kinds of time-jumps in the series, and they all seem to be jumps over the times when friendships and romances could be born, when new skills could be learned, when background could be explored. You know: the things that make a real drama out of what is otherwise just boob-tube-ery.

Let’s face it, the group is not even surviving; they’re losing. We’re watching these characters either get wiped out in the most atrocious ways or just gradually losing all sense of reality. Is 21st Century schadenfreude so systemic and widespread that we can watch a whole 6 seasons of it on TV?

If I want to see what’s wrong with the world, I just turn to the news. When I watch fiction, I want something more, something with some hope. But that ain’t happening any more with The Walking Dead. Hope sprang at first, because there’s strength in numbers, and as Rick’s group grew during the first few seasons, we could imagine things getting better. They lost Shane and Dale but got Herschel and Maggie. Definite net gain there.  It peaked at the prison. Between Woodbury and the prison, there were all kinds of possibilities(3).

And the recent piece-moving episodes (Carol leaving; Maggie getting sick) were entirely unmotivated. Carol seems to have stroked out - her personality is so radically different now than it was back at, say, Terminus, as to seem like someone else entirely. Maggie’s sickness is just too well-timed to be anything but an excuse to put Rick and the others on the road to Hilltop.

Notice I haven’t written much about the first few seasons? Know why? Cuz they made sense.

With the end of Season 6, we’ve reached the equivalent of issue 100 of the comic book. There’s currently just over 150 issues, and new issues are coming out once per month. So, including future publications, Robert Kirkman and Co. could generate the equivalent of another six seasons of material.

I doubt I’ll last that long. Besides a very significant fatigue I feel and the constant hammering that characters I like have to endure, I’ve always told people that I’m done with the show if they kill any one of a few characters: Rick, Carl, Daryl, Carol, or Glenn. Why just those? Because they really form the heart of the group, each bringing a certain skill and personality that gives an integrity to the gestalt of the group. If they bump off any one of them now - and it seems pretty obvious that they will do - they haven’t got anyone to fill the gap, nor have they groomed an existing character to grow into it. And without them, there’ll be no point in watching any more.

  1. That’s an Atlas Shrugged reference.
  2. Yes, I’m spelling that Canuckistanian-style. Tough shit.
  3. Example: why the fuck didn’t they infiltrate Woodbury and take it over from within? Andrea nearly did it single-handed, fer chrissakes!



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The Trouble with Normal...: I’ve very nearly had it with The Walking Dead
I’ve very nearly had it with The Walking Dead
The Trouble with Normal...
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