The night I hated The Walking Dead

TWD Say The Word rev

They can’t all be gems. And episode 5 was a perfect example of what I never wanted to see ‘The Walking Dead’ become. Who’s with me?

 

Hokay … who neglected to tell me the circus rolled into town? Complete with performing monkeys and dopey theme music?

What we witnessed on The Walking Dead Sunday night was a blip and a blur on the landscape of the show. There have been some pretty wild things on the program, but that hour took the prize for over-the-top shenanigans.

Example: I understand Rick’s lapse of mind in taking a vacation from reality and heading on a mission of mayhem after discovering Lori’s fate. Grief has the tendency to swallow people in different ways and in different forms. But … did you get the feeling as you watched him morph into a killing machine The Powers That Be went off the deep end with him? His performance was grindhouse, filled with gratuitous bloodshed simply for the those who dig that kind of thing. Me? I’m not one of those people.

[Rick’s] performance was grindhouse, filled with gratuitous bloodshed simply for those who dig that kind of thing. Me? I’m not one of those people.

Example: Merle. Come on … talk about your performing monkeys. *yeesh* Everyone’s favorite redneck might as well have been attached by strings while a behind-the-scenes puppeteer yanked and maneuvered him along the way. Michael Rooker‘s Merle was comically cringe-worthy … and not in a good way. Up to this point, the seething debasement we’ve grown to know and love in Merle was pretty much tossed out the window and replaced with a head-shaking, poor imitation of the character.

Example: The Governor. Again, come on. A cheering Governor? A Governor hooting and hollering right alongside his fellow Woodburians, chiding the antics taking place on the “stage” in front of them as Merle and Martinez put on a WWF show? I don’t buy it, not for a second. And here I thought Rooker was out of character. I was dead wrong about that. David Morrissey‘s performance trumped Rooker’s hands down. The Governor was all over the map — dealing with his charges … chiding Michonne about killing his toys … in his attempt to console Andrea and in getting her to talk sense into Michonne. At first, he had me inwardly cringing at his attempted tender loving care of his walker daughter, but it was the only time I found him believable. (Because … “caring for a walker child” is believable, I know. Yes … I hear what I’m saying, but fans of the show know what I’m talking about.) Everything else The Governor did was throwaway.

Michael Rooker’s Merle was comically cringe-worthy … and not in a good way.

Final example: The arena. Talk about your cheesecake antics. The arena show didn’t elicit any sort of response from me other than a comical smirk ala a Z-grade zombie flick. Not only did the contest itself fail to yield any fruit, the pre-show party made it all the more ridiculous. It wasn’t even entertaining on a “these-people-and-what-they’ve-become-are-pathetic” sort of way. I couldn’t sympathize for the community in their degradation (not even when “dad” put his kid atop his shoulders to see the goings on better) nor could I make fun of “the show.” I couldn’t relate to any of it. All I could do was shake my head and sigh at the way it translated out my television screen. The manner in which it all played on the printed page of the comic was infinitely more powerful than what was filmed. Maybe the arena sequence never had a chance and simply couldn’t be filmed effectively.

The Walking Dead is so much more than blatant, splatter-filled visuals and corny, ham-fisted fights surrounded by chained undead. Season 3 launched with fanfare and drama and wonderfulness and kept uping the ante episode after episode right up until this one.

The title of this chapter was “Say The Word.” My word for it was “ugh.”

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Photo Credit: AMC

3 Comments on “The night I hated The Walking Dead

  1. I really enjoyed last night’s episode, I didn’t feel like there were any ‘over the top shenanigans’. Rick’s killer rampage seemed perfectly justified and I thought they did a great job with the audio effects leading up to his storming back into the prison ax in hand. We’ve seen a growing dark side to Rick as the series has gone on and his shock and grief over Lori’s death caused him to completely check out of reality and fully embrace that dark, primal side as he tracked and killed the monsters ‘responsible’ for the situation leading to Lori’s death.

    Merle obviously has more than one screw loose, a situation not helped by his abandonment by Rick’s gang back in season 1. But he’s NOT dumb, so I found it believable that he might play along with the Governor and act like his puppet, but he’d have no hesitation slitting the Governor’s throat if he felt it better served him. I predict that we’ll discover that the puppetry is part thanks for being rescued, part act as he bides his time.

    I’m still trying to catch up in the comics, but if you watch this behind the scenes video on the making of the zombie fight cub scene, they make it sound like these ‘staged fights’ play prominently in the comic book. So it is quite possible that this comes directly from Kirkman’s original work.

    http://www.amctv.com/the-walking-dead/videos/contains-spoilers-the-making-of-episode-305-say-the-word-inside-the-walking-dead

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  2. I’ve never seen the comics. I partially agree with the premise here. But Season 3 has veered more and more into this gratuitous gore category. There has been far less in terms of characterization of anyone. What I liked about Seasons 1 and 2 (yes, especially on the farm!) is that these felt like real people dealing with their personal issues as well as the walker apocalypse. This season, I feel like I’m watching a live-action comic book. Lots of heads getting split open, lots of barely-one-dimensional characters like the snarling, inarticulate Michonne (why couldn’t she simply explain her suspicions to Andrea? because then we wouldn’t have the idiot plot), and tons and tons of intestines and other gore. Outside of a few shades of humanity from Hershel, and maybe a few moments between Glenn and Maggie, there’s been almost none of that this year. It’s just a big horror show. Watch the people slaughter the zombies. Rinse, repeat.

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  3. I agree with the two replies! If you only want walker head shots and spatter, go play a video game. This is SERIES TV. There has to be some time for the characters to deal with what they have been through.

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