The Walking Dead: Head’s Up

Posted on November 23, 2015

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Oh, hey, you guys. Glen’s alive. Let’s all take a moment for the OMGs and the composing of hashtags to elucidate what we’re all supposed to be feeling right now.

Wait. What are we supposed to be feeling right now? Elation? Relief? Even outrage, maybe? Because we’re thinking if there was some attempt to wring emotion out of this reveal it failed spectacularly. And judging by the collective shrug on social media last night, most other viewers felt the same way. In fact, it almost feels like this little stunt has caused quite a bit of bad feelings to revolve around Glen, who has been one of the most beloved characters in the show’s entire run. So in order to generate a few weeks of frenzied hashtagging and blog posts about his possible return, the writers all but ruined one of their most popular characters. “Crawling under the dumpster” will henceforth replace all potential usages of “jumping the shark” and boy, did this show ever crawl under the dumpster with this move.

Not to get all Annie Wilkes on your asses (“HE DIDN’T GET OUT OF THE COCK-A-DOODIE CAR!”), but the kind of lame and obvious trickery used to shock people into thinking a character is dead only to string out the audience for weeks and then reveal a wholly improbable if not downright impossible escape that flies against everything we’ve been told about the rules of this universe (walkers don’t bother with corpses – which Nick was, by the time he hit the ground – and they don’t just walk away if you lie still long enough) is BULLSHIT. There’s a fine line separating “playing with the audience’s expectations” and taking them for granted.

We said this in last week’s non-review (so called because we were so the hell OVER everything that happened in that episode that we couldn’t muster up the verbiage to review it), but there’s a distinct sense this season that showrunner Scott Gimple and his merry team of writers are getting a little cocky after years of the show being a ratings hit and a perpetual renewal. So unshocked were we to see Glen alive (after all the theorizing that sprung up in the weeks separating the episode we last saw him) that it took us some time to remember how upset we were the night his “death” aired and how cheaply that emotion was induced in us. Fine, fake an audience out. It’s a great trick if you can pull it off. But if you don’t – and in our opinion, they really didn’t – you only wind up with a pissed-off audience, a tainted character, and the loss of goodwill between the audience and the creative team.

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And for what? So Glen can go right back to being the Good Guy who wants to save everyone? If he’d died when we thought he did, it would have been a dumb death for Glen because he died trying to save someone who clearly didn’t want or have the capability to stay alive any longer. He would have died trying to save someone who probably shouldn’t have been saved. So what does he do practically from the moment he stands back up again? The same exact thing. For a character no more interesting to the audience than the last character he tried to save. We get that “hope vs. despair” and “living vs. choosing to die” are the big themes of the show, but honestly, they’ve wrung every bit of low-key, low-stakes, emotion-light drama out of these themes that they possibly could have by now. All the writing is doing anymore is repeating itself, over and over again.

In other news, Alexandria remains a pot-boiler of hidden passions and agendas, populated by zzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Oh, sorry. We don’t know why we’re not scintillated by questions of who’s going to watch Judith or which teenager is the most annoying, nor are we much interested in people standing on smoldering ruins and piles of dead bodies and intoning “We thought you were crazy, but it turns out you’re RIGHT ABOUT EVERYTHING, RICK.”

It wasn’t the worst episode we’ve ever seen. In fact, taken on its own, it wasn’t even a particularly bad episode of The Walking Dead. But we’re starting to wonder if it’s really worth it to continue watching a show that clearly has nothing new to say and seems to think its audience will sit through anything they throw at them.

 

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[Photo Credit: AMC]

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