The Walking Dead: Nobody’s Safe? Really?

First off, let me just say that I’m sorry for the radio silence around here. I was super sick for the past several days, but it’s all good now!

alive

Back to the matter at hand! Fandom! Geekery! Zombies!

You may have noticed that I didn’t post a Walking Dead recap this week. Unfortunately, because of huge amounts of scheduling conflicts, I’m not going to be able to recap The Walking Dead at The Mary Sue anymore. It’s a bummer, and I’m so sad to have to miss out. However, I am going to be so incredibly busy in the next few months and I just won’t be able to do a good job for TMS recapping. I don’t know who is going to be taking up the helm, but I’m sure they’ll be great so check ’em out. And don’t worry, I’ll still be live-tweeting the show when I can and writing about the show here when I can.

I was able to watch the mid-season premiere of The Walking Dead, and I had All the Thoughts. So before I jump in, all those not caught up on The Walking Dead be warned:

Spoilers

My thoughts on the premiere? Overall it was a fun episode. It had lots of zombie gore and Daryl saved the day with a rocket launcher twice. Even so, I didn’t fully agree when I tuned in to Talking Dead and Chris Hardwick called it one of the best episodes ever. Why? There was drama. We watched Rick lose Jessie, a woman he was starting to allow himself to fall in love with. We saw Carl get shot, and then Rick got a great monologue where he told Carl he wanted to show Carl the “new world”. Dr. Denise and her Wolf captor had a lot of great character development, but I didn’t think it was the best because it didn’t exactly live up to the expectations I had.

After all, they were calling this premiere one of the bloodiest in a while, and touting how “everyone will NOT survive”. That’s the thing with The Walking Dead. The show always preaches about how “no one is safe” and that every single character could die at any moment. For a while, we all believed them. The early seasons brought us Carol’s husband’s death, Andrea’s sister’s death, T-Dog, Sophia, Dale, Andrea, Herschel, Lori, Tyrese, Beth, Noah, and Shane. All major characters whose deaths were shocking, but since Noah died last season, we haven’t had any big character deaths. You could maybe count Deanna in that, but since we were only just getting to know her, I’d say she wasn’t quite yet to the level of Glenn, Maggie, Michonne, Carol, Rick, or Carl.  Instead of a major character death, we get situations like this:

glenn dumpster.gif

In case you can’t tell, in the center of that horde (in front of the magic dumpster) is Glenn Rhee. He survived this by simply scooting and camping out underneath that dumpster. Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled that Glenn is alive, but as more episodes go by without major character deaths and the show runners keep saying, “No one is safe!” it makes me wonder. Is that even really true anymore? Do I even want it to be true?

 

Over the past several seasons, they’ve seriously culled the herd of major characters. Now we’re down to a pretty small member of “main characters”–I’d say that’s Rick, Carl, Carol, Daryl, Glenn, Maggie, and Michonne. They all feel almost vital to the show. I can’t imagine The Walking Dead any one of those characters, but still, watching the show knowing that anyone who isn’t in the main bunch (or even the secondary main bunch like Sasha, Abraham, and Eugene) is essentially a Red Shirt really lowers the stakes for me. The Walking Dead is often likened to Game of Thrones, another show notorious for killing off its main characters. That show has killed off loads of highly popular, main characters, and it keeps on killing it in the ratings. It’s kind of awesome to watch a show not knowing exactly who will live and who will die. For a while, that was The Walking Dead, but I fear that they’re moving away from those crazy high stakes that we’ve come to love. Sure, it’s rad to know that our main characters will be safe more often than they’re endangered, but after a while doesn’t that start to remove the urgency of a zombie-ridden, post-apocalyptic world? In the mid-season premiere, there were loads of times where the survivors wiggled away from a near death experience, and by the end of the episode, I almost felt like rolling my eyes.

No, I don’t want any of my walker-fighting babies to die, but part of what I love about TWD is how brutal the world is. If it’s only brutal to Red Shirts, that urgency and moral questioning is gone. Of course, this all could be lulling us into a false sense of security. If you know the story of Negan from the comics–don’t worry, not spoilers here–you know that he will be bringing some serious craziness into the safe lives of our survivors. So it could be that the stakes are just about to get higher.

Ultimately, it’s a fine line to balance, making sure there are enough characters for us to get involved in the show without losing the show’s edge. I don’t want to lose any of my faves, but I also am really concerned that The Walking Dead could potentially be losing its edge by giving in to fan pressure. Of course, only time will tell.

What do you guys think? Is The Walking Dead losing its edge by keeping so many of the core group alive for so long–even in crazy circumstances like Glenn and the dumpster–or is it simply taking time to develop characters before they launch into the next, gut-wrenching story line? Let me know what you think in the comments!  

9 thoughts on “The Walking Dead: Nobody’s Safe? Really?

  1. Danielle @ From Girlie to Nerdy says:

    I am a bit conflicted on all of these characters not being dead yet since “anyone can die” however I love this core group and want them all alive. I did really enjoy this episode though 🙂

    • Kendall Ashley says:

      Yep, I know what you mean. I don’t want to lose any of them, but I definitely feel conflicted since part of what makes the show so good is how high the stakes are for every character. And the episode was definitely fun. Lots of zombie action, which is always great. lol

  2. Sara - Raising Little Dragonslayers says:

    As much as I don’t want “my people” to die, I definitely lost some serious respect for the writers with the whole “Glenn and the Magic Dumpster” thing. I’ve thought for a while that they’ve been digging themselves into this hole by killing off too many new characters, instead of developing them, which would give us new people to love (Noah had potential) and give them some leeway to keep killing off major characters. It seems like every time we encounter a new group, we might gain one person who may last a season, but everyone else gets eaten before we get more than a name. There are exceptions, like Abraham and Eugene and Rosita, but on the whole, everyone else really does just feel like Red Shirts at this point.

    What I liked most (and disliked!) about this episode is that Carol really became the bad guy. I have LOVED her transition into total BAMF, and I almost wholly agree with her do-what-needs-to-be-done philosophy, but in this episode we really saw the cost. Morgan was wrong to let the Wolf live–his reasoning might be noble enough, but in practice, it values the lives of the evil over the lives of their victims, in a world where they can no longer afford to treat all life as equal–but then we did see a flicker of hope for the Wolf, just before Carol was finally able to kill him…which made the right thing now feel wrong. And Sam…though none of the characters will probably ever know the role Carol played, we the audience saw that it was the fear of “monsters” that Carol planted that paralyzed Sam and got him, and then Jessie, and then Ron, killed. Carol caused that, and it was the worst collateral damage we’ve ever seen from her. It was interesting, though disheartening, to see the cost.

    • Kendall Ashley says:

      It’s true. I always extend LOADS of grace towards Carol because I love her SOOO much, but you’re right. Her killing the Wolf didn’t feel as right as it would have a few eps ago, and she definitely didn’t help the Sam thing. As for Glenn and the dumpster, I’m so glad he lived–I really am–but the more episodes pass the more it seems like they’re moving heaven and earth to keep everyone’s faves alive. It’s kind of a bummer, because it makes the show feel gimmicky.

  3. Paul Bowler says:

    I’m a big fan of the Walking Dead. A lot of people are surprised when I say that, as they know me more for being a Sci-Fi / Comic book fan really, but I do love the horror / Zombie genre as well. I think Series 6 has been one of the best they’ve done so far actually. Yes, they do seem to stretch credibility sometimes, especially when so many characters keep escaping certain death, but I think that just adds to the tension and the drama. Here in the UK, we get the new episode 24 hours later the next evening, so have to avoid spoilers, and we now get Talking Dead as well, which Is great. I have a feeling that when Negan turns up there could be a few major characters that get killed off perhaps? As we know in the past, no one is every really that safe in TWD! 🙂

    • Kendall Ashley says:

      The entire Glenn dumpster thing was super tense, for sure. I just know it’s a very tight rope to walk between keeping the stakes high and being okay with killing characters if need be, and keeping the fans invested. I was really happy with how they did it for the first seasons, but this season has got me a bit concerned. I still love the show though. I just want to see it stay as awesome as I know it can be.

      • Paul Bowler says:

        I’m with you there on that Glen dumpster scene, it was edge of the seat stuff, yet somehow we all knew that Glen would survive somehow. It does dilute the horror and suspense a little when characters survive such extreme situations. I have a feeling though, especially given the evens of the mid season premier, that we might see some major characters fall by the wayside. TWD is always keeping things fresh and views on their toes, fingers crossed it remains awesome forever.

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