Can we talk about The Walking Dead for a minute? Good.
SPOILER WARNING!! REPEAT: THIS IS NOT A SPOILER-FREE CONVERSATION!!
Alrighty then. I’m going to assume that if you are still reading at this point then you are current on TWD. Don’t blame me if you find out some shit you didn’t know yet. I’m making it pretty clear. Anyways, let’s go….
So, it seems everyone is pissed as hell about the bait and switch with the billing of last Sunday’s episode (Season 9, Episode 5 entitled “What Comes After”) as “Rick Grimes’ Final Episode”. I get it. I was surprised at the way the episode ended, with Rick being taken off ALIVE on a helicopter to one mean motherfucker of a cliffhanger. Then it’s followed up by a bombshell from Executive Producer Scott M. Gimple that Andrew Lincoln will be in not one, not two, but three The Walking Dead movies from AMC studios!
That’s right…a Walking Dead extended universe. People are laughing, people are shocked.
Me? I’m neither shocked nor offended. Was it a bait and switch? Sure it was. Can we just quit getting fucking outraged over it? I’m not trying to shit on your outrage if you’re one of those people (okay, maybe a little), but that is some next-level William Castle shit from a show whose ratings have seen better days…even though the phrase “better days” is a relative term; TWD is still one of the biggest shows on TV year in and year out. Has anyone ever stopped for a second to marvel at the fact that a show set in the zombie apocalypse has been the top show on TV for damn near a decade? Really ponder that. It’s fucking glorious.
I’ll grant you that the freshness of the show had gone more than a little stale during the last 2 years of Negan vs. Rick. A lot of the same setups and structure were reused, and the whole affair started to really feel like a case of been there, done that. No argument here. At the same time, everyone has different taste. I wasn’t a big fan of the Governor and all that. I felt about that one the same way most folks seemed to feel about Negan.
How can you hate on Jeffrey Dean Morgan, for fuck’s sake? The man is a powerhouse. He revels in that character, and we are just now starting to see the layers underneath. Watching him beg Maggie to kill him was a payoff years in the making.
And, for what it’s worth, Scott M. Gimple didn’t lie. It IS the end of Rick on the TWD series. I know that’s a technicality, but it’s not a lie. I want more out of that whole world, and this is a fine way to keep it going. People will say that only the hardcore fans will stay with it. I say “what the hell is wrong with that?!” When your hardcore fanbase is enough to keep you at (or close) the top I’d say you’re doing just fine.
Look, every show that’s dedicated to being unconventional and pushing boundaries (like LOST or Dexter) will eventually leave the faithless behind. That’s the crux: a show that believes in strong characterization is a commitment and asks you to stick with it through the good and the bad. Stick to sitcoms if you like shit easy and spoon-fed. I hear Modern Family is still going strong…if you can stand the sound of Sofia Vergara’s voice, that is.
Can we also stop for a minute and just give it up for a cast that fucking murdered it in a sendoff for one of TV’s great characters? I seriously cannot watch Daryl Dixon cry. It’s not fair. I was holding my shit together reasonably well until then. It’s true- when Daryl cries, we all cry. Michonne broke my heart, too. That’s a great love story. Negan and Maggie were on an entirely different level. And Shane…..
The five minutes of he and Rick in that cop car is my favorite scene of the entire series. It’s everything you’d want- funny, intense, heartbreaking, nostalgic, and beautifully shot. You know those quizzes you see on Facebook and Twitter that say “Which TWD character are you?”. I’m always Shane. Every single time. And Hershel……..
Fucking ugly cry. Scott Wilson was a Hollywood legend and an exemplary human being. You could see how much older and weaker he was in that scene, and it tore my heart out. He and Rick standing at the open door of the barn loft and looking at the rising sun? Beautiful. The fact that it was his very last scene in an unbelievable career is picture perfect. Rest in peace, sir. Thank you for everything.
Then there’s Judith. Are you going to tell me that you aren’t excited about where TWD is headed??!! Really??!! Little Ass Kicker is living up to her name, and TWD is going to be fresher than five-star prime rib again!! If you aren’t excited about this then I honestly have no fucking idea what to say to you. Check your pulse to make sure you’re alive.
Either that or stop being so fucking jaded. Great stories always lie in the characterization. The Walking Dead is still firmly on top of the game in that department. Sit back and enjoy the ride.