A Walking Dead Rant

*Spoiler Alert* – Although nothing really happened, this post discusses the plot of the season 6 finale of The Walking Dead.

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The Walking Dead, AMC – “Hmm, there’s something blocking the road. Let’s all go check it out.”

It’s been a week and a half since “Last Day on Earth” aired and I’ve had some time to let myself cool off a bit. In the past 10 days, I’ve been thinking about what this season has done to change my opinion of the show. I also got to watch the new episode of Fear the Walking Dead this week, and my opinion may be weighed against it. That show has way less of a following than The Walking Dead, – having been widely criticized as a lesser companion to the original – but it still managed to get more action out of its cold open than the entirety of “Last Day on Earth”. I have stuck by TWD since the beginning, even through some of its most patience-trying plots, but this might be the last straw for me. First, let’s look at the finale, before getting into my issues with this whole season.

I spent the whole episode glancing at the time. Everyone knew this would finally lead to the group’s first encounter with Neegan, but it still took forever to get there. The build-up was engaging to an extent. I liked how obvious it was that the Saviors were just screwing with them, but then it just got pointlessly repetitive. How many roadblocks do Rick and the gang have to come to before realizing there’s no way out? Having survived this long, you would think they’d have some way of figuring this out. Sure, there’s the emotional impact of Maggie’s pregnancy complication, but Rick’s calculating leadership would have gotten them out of that camper way before they did. Anyway, the episode could have run its normal length and worked just fine.

When Neegan finally appears (with only 10 minutes left in the episode), I was still excited. I felt like sitting through everything that happened before was going to pay off. Then he… talks for about 10 minutes. Sure, this is his big moment. We get to see that he is a much bigger force than anyone could have expected. He’s a psychopath and there’s clearly no way for the group to get out of this in one piece. However, the more he talks, the more annoying it is and far less menacing. It goes on for so long that what comes next is not a surprise, but that doesn’t make it any less frustrating. He finally decides who is going to get bashed to death by his barbed-wire baseball bat and the camera cuts to a P.O.V. of the victim’s last moments. The End. I stormed out of my living room.

There are those who believe that the purpose of this cliff-hanger was to keep the audience guessing as they develop different theories and excitedly wait for next season. I, on the other hand, consider this to be the television equivalent of click-bait. A large portion of my disappointment could stem from the fact this occurred after all the shenanigans pulled this season. Sure, there was some action this season, but not nearly enough consequences were had for the number of dumb decisions made. They lost some people, mostly annoying Alexandrians, and the one new person who was worth anything was killed in the worst way possible. (Apparently, finding a new lease on life is a death sentence in the zombie apocalypse.) RIP, Dr. Denise.

I wasn’t upset about the bait-and-switch with Glen. I was convinced his landing under Nicholas’ body was not a coincidence. The showrunners did a decent job of laying out the truth for the attentive viewer. What I find upsetting is that the dumpster escape started a pattern for the whole season that really messes with my suspended belief. After all, this is a show about zombies, but the characters are still human, right? Here’s the plot of the whole season:

The group gets into an incredibly difficult situation. How will they ever get out of it?! Wait, no, they’re fine.

And so on, until they finally reach the point where there will be something that happens to them. Somehow, everyone of value in their community leaves the safety of Alexandria. All of the viewers who were criticizing how unrealistically stupid that was can relax knowing that there will be consequences for this mistake, but we’ll have to wait 8 months to see it. Well, we know it’s not Rick or Carl, but I don’t care at this point. I’m so done. I could say I won’t watch next season, but I probably will. Part of me wants the reveal to be leaked so I don’t have to go through all of these emotions again in 8 months. (I said I was cooled off, but writing this just brought it all back.)

Anyhow, I’m excited that Game of Thrones starts soon. There’s a series where another character hangs in limbo, but I’m actually interested in how it might play out. (You can read my theories about that here.) Before that though, I have a lot of catching up to do. Expect a marathon of Girls, soon.

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The Downside of Binge-watching

The following is a re-post from my previous blog, dated 2/3/16.

I want to gush a little about so-called “peak television”. First of all, does the coining of the term “peak television” foretell its eventual demise? I’m no expert, but I guess all good things must eventually end. In the meantime, I’m sure enjoying the ride.

My goal for the year is to watch more movies and the biggest challenge to that has been getting sucked in by good shows. It’s not like I can be upset about it. There’s some thoroughly entertaining stuff out there for all tastes. The reason why I was perusing AV Club in the first place was to check out the review on American Crime Story, the premiere of which had me floored last night. Seriously, historical dramas have no reason to be this good, especially on TV. But that’s where we are right now. That’s what keeps me preferring in-depth 10-13 hour stories over the 2 hour movies. We are spoiled and I can only hope that this trend continues.

The other issue I’m having is that I rarely watch shows as they air, putting me in position to binge after the season is released on other formats. This is something I’m working on now with ACS and Colony (even USA has good stuff now!). FX ended 2 of my favorite shows around the same time (SoA and Justified), then pushed my favorite comedies to a second channel that, at the time, my cable company didn’t offer. I kind of forgot about the channel after a while. And then Fargo happened. I had read and heard nothing but good things about it from the start, but it wasn’t until this last season started picking up steam that I decided it was probably something I should watch. Being a completionist, I started with the first season and finished it in about a week. Hopefully, I’ll burn through season 2 soon and free up some time to watch more movies.

The upside of bingeing on Fargo, is that it has motivated me to get back on track for my resolution. It’s a great show and I love that the story stands on its own, but it made me really want to re-watch the movie to compare the over-all tone and revel in the little Easter eggs from the show. I also realized that, while I love every Coen brothers movie I’ve seen, there are a great many I never got around to. So, those will definitely be additions to my list this year. But if I had to answer which of my preferred modes of entertainment was my favorite: movies, TV or music; my answer would probably be “it’s complicated.” It definitely is.