I don’t like to be disloyal. On the whole, when I pledge my loyalty it remains. I find it difficult to deny that which I once admired.
So, The Walking Dead, why have you denied me?
No longer was there that racing pulse of anticipation after the fallow months between the end of the previous series and the beginning of the new one. I don’t even recollect where we are now, in terms of series or plot. It seems that the writers have the same problem, as when they go to the big writers’ pantry they always pull out the same ingredients and always make the same meal.
Well, I have got bored of extra-spicy chilli con carne! It’s a taste that has become dulled by its overly frequent servings in recent years. Good group meet bad group, fight and eventually win. Zombies mooch around and eventually get fed. One or two central characters end up on a platter. Rick’s beard gets longer and greyer whilst his son’s hair just gets longer. Maggie gets no bigger regardless of the fact that she is into her, “third trimester”. Could it be that the unborn child has read the coming scripts for the undead and decided that a good career-choice would be to remain unborn. Let’s be honest, there is not much to recommend the world of the walkers.
My wife, my middle daughter and myself sat there awaiting the new series arrival. We were hoping that it would deliver something different. In a now well-worn way, it opened up with a collection of seemingly disparate shots that have, in previous series, provided a sense of puzzlement and foregrounding. Last night, the shot of a walking-stick leant up against a doorframe, what looked like a bunch of flowers, Rick’s eyes red and moist, then Rick’s hair and beard, long and grey, was a little too prosaic. What had been fresh in previous series was now just another formula. Chilli con carne by any other name.
Guess what’s coming?
Is that a question or an imperative?
You will guess what’s coming!
But what is the point of guessing what’s likely to happen when I know the ending?
For the last one hundred and fifty years, English teachers have been getting their students to read Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck. It had become the default GCSE text that was small enough on pages whilst being relatively big on themes. It’s a good novella that didn’t deserve this disservice.
“Sir,” a voice always blows the whistle. “It says here that George kills Lennie.”
The semi-smart-ass would be holding the book open to the foreword where some other semi-smart-ass had blown the ending wide open.
“We know that now, sir. what’s the point in reading it?”
I had become somewhat immune to these hilarious interjections down the years and would spend a little time explaining that the ending was not the point of it all. What mattered was the winding path that led us to the denouement. With each new class, my explanation became shorter and shorter until it turned into a terse agreement.
“You’re right. Why bother?”
That’s obviously what our esteemed head of education thought (Michael Gove) when he effectively chased the text out of town in favour of weightier English classics. For my part, we had been reading and studying, watching and writing, revising and regurgitating the same things for so long that it had lost its meaning. As Lennie constantly reminded George,
“I like beans.”
Well we all like beans, but not all of the time. Even with extra spice, they are still beans.
They also make you repeat or fart, depending on your predisposition.
100 Episodes and counting…
I loved the opening series of this programme and became a devout follower. Not even its growing popularity dissuaded me from watching and rewatching episodes.
Now, Rick, I quite frankly don’t give a shit.
Are you certain that you are having a baby?
Has the Zompocalypse affected the human-species in more than the obvious way?
A very pretty woman, but I can see the dogfish resemblance. It’s in the slightly upturned nose.
When is it going to emerge? Will we have to wait until Rick is confusingly a grandfather? Does Rick actually age at the same speed as others and does this strain of the virus confuse the gestation period of others around him? Even his own child (if she is) seems to have ‘shot-up’ but not in a narcotic manner.
Why, oh why did Rick not shoot Negan when he had the chance? And what’s with all of the Henry V speechmaking?
Walk the Walk! Forget the Talk!
I want to be a fan again. I can forgive your little dalliances with poor plotting. I understand your need to appeal to the ‘gaming fraternity’, but enough is enough. You used to be a character driven show. Now the only characters you drive are the hordes of Walkers.
Stop it. Stop it before its too late.
Last night, my wife, who does not swear, looked at me with one of those WTF faces when character after character stood on the back of a trailer and reinforced, upon every previous reinforcement, why they were doing what they were going to do. If I was a betting-man, which I am not, I would say that they were running chicken a little. It was either that or them thinking that if the others had something to say, I’ll have something to add to that as well. Before them were not the outnumbered troops of the English forces, but the meagre numbers of confused looking actors who wanted to make it onto the next episode. It’s not the Walkers that they ought to be worried about, nor Negan and his sadists. What they should be looking out for is the indifferent movement of the puerile plotting pen.
I neither know where the series is going nor why it is bothering to get there. We need some direction and some characters that are able to rise above the comic-pantomime efforts of late.
The Walking Dead, I am your old friend, please don’t make me leave you.