As The Walking Dead prepares for its 100th episode and Season 8 premiere, we take a look back on what made us love the show in the first place, and what keeps us coming back for more.
It goes without saying that I’m a huge fan. I’ve been to two Walker Stalker Cons. I own all the seasons on blu-ray. I have playlists dedicated to characters and pairings, and I dabbled in fanfiction.
My husband and I binged the show in March of 2014 and in June 2014, we took a week long vacation to Georgia and visited Senoia, where they film the show, and went to several other towns that the show had filmed in.
We even found the iconic train tracks that Daryl collapses beside in Season 4. In true me fashion, I waited until the coast was clear and had my husband take this dramatic snapshot. Yes, it should have been taken from the other direction. I know this.
I will sing this shows praises, but I admit that it’s lost me several times since season 5. I have very strong (negative) feelings about the Grady arc and overall treatment of Beth Greene’s character. Anyone in my life will tell you that I’m going to be eighty and still pissed about how they killed her off and that she didn’t even get a grave (can we at least get a POP! figure?), but the man who murdered Eastman’s family got one…
Still, there are reasons that I keep watching the show despite thinking some of the character arcs have been screwed up by the writers or dealing out manpain as a way to watch the characters grow.
The early seasons of The Walking Dead are a thing of beauty. The story line is tight (for the most part) and the stories are compelling. We see our group survive, we see them form relationships, and start families. We are shown that life can come from heartbreak.
There are weird dips…looking at you Ghost Lori…
The first four seasons are solid television, in my opinion. From six onward (yeah, I skipped S5), the writers seemed to have fallen into a pattern:
First eight episodes, the group is separated or the plot is drug out. Last eight episodes, reunited and life comes at you fast.
Season Six: All the walkers coming toward Alexandria. Seriously, the plot of the first eight episodes spans three days. The back half of the season jumps weeks and Negan makes his appearance and we’re left with a cliffy for months…
Season Seven: Episode one doesn’t give us resolution until the middle of the episode, and then it’s almost like the writers saved their gore usage just for Negan to bludgeon Abraham and Glenn to death.
Let’s stop here briefly…
Abraham is a good choice to take out. He’s defiant and strong. He looks like a leader to Negan, and let’s be real, Negan needs to get his point across. So, I figured it’d be Abraham first. Then we have Daryl make a play to stop Negan from tormenting Rosita…
This isn’t solely because Daryl wants to protect Rosita. Daryl isn’t stupid. He knows that one kill isn’t going to be enough for someone like Negan, especially after they’ve killed at least 30 of Negan’s men.
Daryl Dixon is offering himself as a sacrifice (AGAIN) to save the people he calls his family.
It backfires and Glenn gets the bat that was always meant for him…because graphic novels, y’all.
The rest of season seven is Daryl being treated horribly and turning into himself, secondary characters getting killed off in shock kills with little resonance, or the introduction of characters we don’t care about that can be deaths later, so they don’t have to kill off any main characters for several episodes.
It’s been a tool of TWD for awhile.
We all thought Olivia was okay, but we didn’t do more than gasp when she was shot. Nobody cared about Spencer. He’s always been a bit of an asshole.
Benjamin’s death? You got me there. That was sad.
Richard’s death? Just to prove that Morgan could still take someone’s life.
Random people from Oceanside? Don’t care.
Jadis and her trash people? Nope.
The Walking Dead finally pulled itself back together for a season finale that showed that the writers still know what they’re doing…for the most part. I’ll get to Rick in a minute.
There was suspense. It was only an hour long episode; they didn’t drag it out. The reveal of Maggie being alive and Shiva was perfectly executed.
Then there was Sasha.
She’s been in a bit of a slump since Bob and Ty’s deaths, but she was making her way back. Her death is a culmination of many things. She knew she wasn’t going to work for Negan, but she also knew that he wouldn’t let her go.
In her final act, she gave her own life so that her family would have the upper hand over Negan, no matter how short of a time that was. It’s selfless and sad, and I love that she was listening to music and died peacefully. (Her brother’s death featured music, too, courtesy of Beth Greene.)
Now, let’s talk about Rick Grimes.
I surely can’t be the only person annoyed with him currently. Thank God he has Michonne because she’s the only person who can talk sense into him. Of course, her “death” was used to cause him some manpain while Negan pranced around with Lucille once they got everyone subdued again after Sasha’s reveal.
Then Rick, knowing FULL WELL that Negan will kill anyone, threatens him again. Rick tells Negan he’s going to kill him while Negan casually swings a bat beside Carl.
I need Rick to grab a hold of his sanity and be Season 4B Rick again. The one that was calculating and bided his time. The Season 5A Rick that hacked up Gareth.
Take Season 5B Rick through now and slap some sense back into him.
All of this goes back to Grady, though, doesn’t it? That was the first of many promises Rick would come to break when it came to dealing with “bad guys”. He told Daryl they’d kill everyone there if the plan went south, BUT they left Grady standing.
So, The Walking Dead, I ask for you to give me feral Rick Grimes back, I ask for more Michonne because she’s amazing, someone kill Gregory, please give Maggie some bedrest because placental abruption is no joke, and can you please expand on Daryl Dixon’s character development that y’all started in S4?
Daryl Dixon ain’t nobody’s bitch, so please stop making him a kicked puppy, okay?
Oh, and for the love of God, bring Carol back or let her arc fall naturally because you’re wearing me out with this back-and-forth nonsense.
Happy 100th episode and good luck with Season 8. I’ll be there every Sunday because I can’t quit you, and I still love you, I just don’t agree with your decisions all the time.