A Garbage Winter Finale Ends A Garbage Half-Season Of ‘The Walking Dead’, America’s Most Popular Garbage Show (TV REVIEW)

[rating=1.00] “Hearts Still Beating”

As the winter finale (I refuse to use the term ‘mid-season-finale’) opens on a shot of Maggie sitting beside Glenn’s grave at the Hilltop, it’s an almost-too-late reminder of the circumstances that brought us the (so far) completely dreadful seventh season of The Walking Dead. After season six ended with a now notorious and widely-derided cliffhanger on who Negan killed when he confronts the Ricktatorship, the season opened with a long, painful, snot-covered close-up of Rick’s psychological breakdown. Those impacted by the deaths were pushed far to the margins, and only Maggie got a few brief seconds at the end to call for retaliation.

Any payoff for that reckoning was put on hold for weeks on end while we sat through an introduction of a public school-turned-fantasy castle, led by a purposefully delusional former community theater actor and his pet fucking tiger, watching Darryl being held prisoner at the Saviors’ compound, and Tara run around on an island for 75 minutes. Then, like someone who’s supposed to get ready for work in the morning but spends all their time mindlessly surfing the internet, it suddenly occurred to producers of the show that advancing the storyline — even incrementally — should be something they get around to eventually.

The only real character in a position to do this right now is Carl, who snuck into the back of a truck and takes out two Saviors before Negan decides to take him under his wing, clearly planning to turn him into one of his soldiers, the same fate he intends for Darryl after a planned psychological breakdown.

Negan then decides to return to Alexandria with Carl in tow so as to continuing his pillage of their community, while Rick and Aaron are off desperately looking for supplies. Which they have to cross a lake to get to, in an elaborate sequence that was described on Talking Dead as “harrowing” but only seemed to succeed in being comically ludicrous.

With Negan back behind Alexandria’s walls, he begins to assert himself as a mock man-of-the-house, teaching Carl to shave (side note: shaving is not an interesting plot point, no matter how many fucking times this garbage show attempts to prove otherwise), and making a spaghetti dinner for him, Carl, Judith, and Olivia, whose job of cowering and sobbing in fear was brought to an abrupt end later in the episode.

Speaking of, Negan lording his presence over Rick’s home was (I assume) meant to invoke some kind of uncertain tension, mostly out of fear for Judith’s life, but to a lesser degree some nagging sense that someone would be killed before he left that day. The problem is that it no longer produces that sensation, which has instead been replaced with a kind of bored clock-watching while we wait out the inevitable.

So, Negan kills Spencer after he asks Negan to kill Rick in another scene that’s taken almost word-for-word from the comics, further undermining any uncertainty as to what’s going to happen next. Rosita tries to kill him with the single bullet Eugene made for her last week (an extremely short-sighted plan, even for a character on this show), which ends up costing Olivia her life.

In the meantime, Darryl breaks out of the Saviors compound with almost no difficulty whatsoever, recalling the Saviors of season six who were so regularly overpowered it became a question of how they’d be able to be perceived as a threat at all. He also kills the fat guy guarding the motorcycles after begging him for mercy, which (again, I assume) was supposed to be some kind of morbid fan service that Darryl was back in action, but really came off as just cruel and unnecessary. Oh, and Jesus showed up, and the two seemed to have no issue getting out of this elaborate, well-guarded compound filled with hundreds of militants, because ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

Speaking of unnecessary, Carol’s still determined to be a quaint hermit of the apocalypse, having settled into a bungalow out somewhere close enough that members of the Kingdom, including Morgan, drop by with fresh produce despite her petulant “leave me alone” protests.

Also worth noting: the side plot with Michonne in a car with a member of the Saviors ends up being notable, not because it revealed anything new or interesting, but it ranks as the longest car ride in Walking Dead history.

Finally, the remnants of the Ricktatorship eventually meet back up at the Hilltop in what (once again, I assume) is supposed to be an emotional reunion of characters whose storylines weren’t deemed important enough to follow for more than one episode at a time. Darryl seems to have gotten over his guilt over being the one who got Glenn killed, Rosita seems not concerned at all with being the responsible for Olivia’s death (a pristine example of the show’s newfound infatuation with cruelty for cruelty’s sake), and everyone seems primed for an takedown of Negan, despite the fact that now they’re completely out of ammo, only have one gun which Darryl gives to Rick, and the one character who knows how to make bullets, Eugene, is the newest prisoner of the Saviors.

Oh, but hey, Maggie wore Glenn’s cap in one scene, possibly the most facile and lazy attempt at fan placation from a show that’s defined by its facile, lazy attempts at fan placation.

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2 Responses

  1. Ever since they killed Glenn, the show sucked. Oh but they say they want to follow the comics? ok fine, why is Carol still alive? Oh she died early in the comics and Darryle never even existed. Well tell you what, they want to follow the comics, so be it, if I wanted to buy the comics then I will, but the actual live show was suppose to be an alternate to the comics. Now I wont even buy the comics or watch the show anymore. Theres no point, just go with the comics now. and even that is not satisfying. TWD is a fail now. Enjoy.

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