The Walking Dead has always been my kind of TV. Apocalyptic, zombies, survival, end of days kind of stuff. Having watched from the very beginning, laboured through those farm episodes and put up with Negan as long as I could, I am done. Season 7 was poor. Season 8 is abysmal. What’s gone so wrong?
Primarily, The Walking Dead has now become the comic book fare it is based on. All reality has been thrown out of the window. Yes, I know it’s a show about zombies, but the suspension of disbelief for that is tiny compared to what we are having to put up with now. The problem for me is that I don’t like Comic books. Never have, never will. I like very few of the films made based on comic books and the further they are away from that style of storytelling the better they are.
My issues with Season 8 of The Walking Dead are legion, but here’s a few just to get them out of my system:
1. Always Kill The Bad Guy
My number one rule. When you get a chance to kill the bad guy, YOU KILL HIM! Season 7 had loads of chances to kill Negan that weren’t taken but season 8 took that to a whole new level. Rick gives a speech about how “Only one man has to die”. Ricks crew rock up at the Sanctuary with hastily armoured cars and about 30 heavily armed personnel, having head-shotted their way through any guards. Negan proceeds to wander outside and give another one of his annoying comic baddie speeches with all those guns pointed at him. Not one person kills the only man who has to die. NOT. ONE. Then, when Rick finally wakes up he tries to shoot Negan but misses, again, oh and again. Negan and Gabriel then find themselves in a trailer together. Gabriel has a gun, Negan doesn’t. You know what I would do if I was Gabriel? Shoot Negan that’s what!
If you can’t have the character killed off because of the plot and story arc, don’t continuously put that character in positions where he would so obviously be killed. It’s just stupid.
2. Where did all the bullets come from?
Remember last season when Rick’s crew were desperate for every gun and bullet they could find because they had none? Suddenly we can have 20-minute firefights including launching a few thousand rounds through the windows of the sanctuary. Because, you know, nothing will inflict more pain on Negan than having to get the glaziers in. Every episode this season has been a bullet-fest. They’ve gone from a dire shortage of ammunition to having every bullet that’s ever been made. Let’s not even go into the fact that the reason Negan wanted Eugene was because he had figured out how to make bullets because they were in short supply.
In The Walking Dead, you can change important details to suit the scene in hand. You can always change it back later.
3. No-one reloads and no-one dies – It’s the A-Team
Sticking with those firefights, we’ve gone back to the A-Team times when hardly anyone dies and no-on ever reloads their gun unless the script needs them to be suddenly out of ammo. No spent cartridges are ejected and they make no impact unless a hole is needed in a car door. The jeep chase with Rick and the Saviours was the epitome of this. Those .50cal rounds would have shredded rick and his jeep to bits, yet despite being fired from point-blank range they didn’t even crack the windscreen. No tension, no realism.
4. Ezekial & The Tiger
How many speeches can one man make? How more obvious do you need to signpost that everyone is going to die than by proclaiming over and over that “we will lose not one man!”. No Ezekial, you jumped-up thespian wannabe, you’re going to lose them all. Especially if you don’t bother to do any recon of where you are going and just wander out into the open like you already own the place. Then after being such an annoying cartoonish character we are supposed to empathise with his stark snap back to reality. I forecast lots of agonizing moping around looking depressed and worthless for Ezekial in future episodes.
Then there’s the tiger. If you can’t CGI it well, don’t include it. I know the tiger is in the comics but it’s stupid and could have been left out. Also, the outpouring of grief for the death of the badly rendered animal who could have swiped away the attacking walkers with one paw? Please.
5. Where did all the guns go?
Following on from my moans about Ezekial, that episode’s opening scene where he has survived the slaughter of his men and finds himself being surrounded by walkers and out of ammo. Where did all the guns go? All those dead people on the ground around him had rifles, pistols and spare ammo. Where did it all go? There is not one gun lying on the ground. They were magicked away just to try and make that scene work.
Who in their right mind would do anything to help that sniveling back-stabbing cretin? The Walking Dead Cast would of course, because they’re idiots.
7. Scrapyard people
In a couple of years, language has clearly devolved by an amount that would take generations. The result is a Star-Trek reject race of people who jar with everything else that is going on around them
8. The music
Music builds tension. Unless you choose a low budget score from eighties or nineties TV and fail to apply it in any way that would assist the scene being played out on screen.
9. Timeline & Geography
After all these seasons, I still get no feel for how much time is passing, nor for the geography of the various camps. Maggie is supposed to be pregnant but there’s no sign of a bump, while Judith looks like she has grown up years. How far from Hilltop is Alexandria and how far from them is the Sanctuary? How far from Atlanta is everything?
10. The Padding
This Wlaking Dead season has extended the amount of filler and padding to extreme levels. Flash-backs, flash-forwards and monotonous action and dialogue are stretching the wafer-thin amount of story from what would easily fill two episodes into five so far and still counting. At this rate, there are seasons full of episodes required to move the story anywhere significant.
So that’s it for me and I am strangely angry about it. Having invested all that time in following the characters, the show has gone in a direction I can’t follow any more. I used to be gripped every week and couldn’t wait to see what Rick and the crew would deal with in each episode but the poor pacing, comic book style and farcical events have turned me completely off. After four episodes of season 8, I decided not to watch the fifth. I gave in this week and started to watch it but turned off half-way through.
Goodbye The Walking Dead, I’ll miss you. Maybe we’ll meet up again in a future season, but it won’t be the same.