Review: Is it time to kill off 'The Walking Dead' for good?
Posted Tuesday, August 22, 2017 at 3:48 PM Central
by John Couture
Well, I'm sure this review will cause a bit of a divisive reaction around these parts. I have been watching The Walking Dead since it premiered, but I have found that as the seasons go on, I am finding it more difficult to motivate myself to watch the show.
Seasons five and six were brutal for the most part, but I had hoped that the introduction of Jeffrey Dean Morgan as the brutal Negan would give the show a much-needed bolt of energy to elevate the show back to "watch the night it comes on" status. Sadly, this season continued to meander along punctuated by a few high notes and I'm left wondering if I should just abandon the show altogether or if AMC should (heaven forbid) put it down like a nasty walker.
The main problem that haunts The Walking Dead is when the show slows down like it did in season two. That season was the one the prompted my wife to pull the cord on the series, but I held out hope. I was rewarded for my diligence with the excellent detours to the prison and a wonderful antagonist known as the Governor.
A good big-bad antagonist to offset Rick's morally ambiguous protagonist is a key component to the better Walking Dead episodes, but I felt that we were given a gift in Negan for Season Seven and the creators wasted a great opportunity to reboot the series.
After coming under fire for the brutal violence in the first episode that culminated in the death of one of the fans' most favored characters, the creative team decided to scale back the violence for the rest of the season. This new direction is very much in play on the back half of the season and really takes away from the season's crowning moment in the final episode.
On the opposite spectrum of the sit around and wait seasons of The Walking Dead like season two are the ones where the main group is dispersed too much and while it makes for good world-building, it gets a bit frustrating and ultimately many of these arcs aren't poorly developed or abandoned altogether. I will say that one lesser story arc that did pay off in season seven was the fate of Olivia.
Sometimes complacency can sit in and you feel that certain characters are immune to death, but every so often they throw you a curve ball and remind you that the world of The Walking Dead is a violent and unpredictable one. The Olivia episode "Hearts Still Beating" provides a good mid-season finale and helps to give you hope that the second half of the season will get things back on track.
Unfortunately, the back half takes its time to build to a crescendo that is ultimately less than satisfying. They spend time on middling arcs like Oceanside that seemingly go nowhere and serve to simply move the plot forward at times. I get it, we all want to see Rick and Negan square off and we know that they are going to hold that until the season finale, but I think they spent too much time keeping these adversaries apart this season.
I am hopeful that all of this world building in season seven will translate to a massive payoff in season eight, but will it be a case of too little, too late? I haven't read the comic books and I know that the TV series has veered pretty far off the path anyways, but I have to wonder what the ultimate endgame is.
As the old rock n roll adage implies, sometimes it's better to burn out rather than fade away. It might be time to extinguish The Walking Dead for good once and for all, but I have no idea how you would do that. I imagine that the creative team has an exit plan for the series, but it might be time to start heading in that direction.
I mean all good things must come to an end eventually. Heck, even Game of Thrones has realized that it's time to wrap things up and will bow out after season eight. I really want to see these characters through to the end, but I just don't know how much steam I have left. It's time to either juice it up and make it exciting again or to cut bait and run.
And if they decide to cut bait and run, might I suggest that they turn Rick into a walker and fade to black on him biting Carl? I think that would be a wonderful way to tie things up, what do you think?
The Walking Dead: The Complete Seventh Season is now available on DVD and Blu-ray.