Looking at a ‘Larger World’ on The Walking Dead from a New Perspective
Hey fam. Sorry it’s been a while, but you know… life.
So, I thought we could chat about what has been going down on our little zombie program over the last few weeks, since we haven’t really had time lately to discuss the happenings of the post apocalyptic world we live in every Sunday. The bigger news outlets claim ratings are down, fans are leaving in numbers bigger than last season’s herd. So, what’s the deal with The Walking Dead?
Pointing Out the Painfully Obvious
Let’s start with what has been making the headlines across the interwebs, and that’s how much people are hating this season so far. Seems as though every week since the premiere, people have been tuning out and more riled up than usual over how the story has played out. More than that, fans are feeling a bit burned by the writers and how things have gone since the cliffhanger fiasco of last spring.
In fact, one of the most recent ‘Why the Walking Dead is Losing Viewers‘ type articles pinpointed that some of the reasons as to why people are turning out: cheap tricks with camera angles, Glenn’s faux death, and fading to black upon the reveal of Negan‘s victim. To make matters even worse, people are beyond upset about losing not one, but two fan-favorite characters in the premiere.
Add to all this the fact that the episodes since the premiere have been boring and disjointed; introducing a large number of new characters and communities, and not giving us any real substance with our group together. With everyone now either scattered or dead, and under the rule of a psychopathic, leather-clad, baseball bat-wielding, meany-pants, fans are not enjoying how things are shaking out. Not to mention the fact that fans seem to be quickly growing weary of Negan‘s particular brand of mannerisms and faux jovial demeanor, as well as Rick‘s new non-combative approach.
The final nail in the coffin seems to be Sunday’s episode, ‘Swear’. An episode centered around two tertiary characters, Tara and Heath, that finally gave frustrated fans a firm target in which to rage at.
A Different Perspective
Instead of breaking down each episode this season, and picking at all the details and nuisances wrong with them, I would like to look at the season in a broader perspective.
At the start of season 6B, the key art banner and slogan was, ‘A Larger World’. Remember that one? It promised us that we would see more of what was out beyond the walls of Alexandria, besides a bunch of crazies with ‘W’s’ carved into their heads. Since then, we have begun to see the different ways in which these groups of survived; some by force, some by fantasty, some by cowardice. Yet, they are all still standing.
With each episode that explores these new communities, and that includes the newest of Oceanside, we learn that maybe they each have something of value to offer. A strength, where another community may be lacking or weak. Right now, Rick and the group are at their lowest. Probably even more so than when we saw them on the road to D.C. when they were hungry, tired, dehydrated and devastated over the losses of the prison, Hershel, Beth and Tyreese. Why now, when they have walls, food (kinda), homes, etc., are they worse off? Because the thing that held them together, is gone.
And no, I don’t mean the ginger and Glenn. I mean, confidence. It was beaten right out of them as the events of the premiere played out.
Too soon? Anyway… my point is that these episodes are setting up something big. It has to be big because the threat is that big. Negan isn’t more dangerous because he’s got a baseball bat (as pretty as Lucille is), it’s because he’s got the numbers. Possibly hundreds of people that are either loyal or petrified. Both types can be lethal.
But in the Comics…
I know, SHUT UP ABOUT THE COMICS! I get it… but I can’t. Because they do matter. You don’t have to be a reader or fan of them to acknowledge that, but they ultimately provide a blueprint for the show. While Gimple and company can deter off course (hello, Oceanside, lookin’ at you), ultimately it’s the core source material for what they plot out for television. So, keeping that in mind, knowing what could POSSIBLY be coming in season 7B, these first eight, seemingly disjointed episodes, are going to be important.
What is happening through these first handful of episodes is what will lay the foundation for Rick and the residents of Alexandria to stand up and take back half their shit. Or, all of Negan’s… hopefully.
Some of these new characters and communities may not stick around, or some may become newly beloved characters (now I’m lookin’ your way Jerry). But, one thing you can count on is that somehow, all these little pieces will begin to paint a larger picture, one where an army grows to stand up against Negan. A picture where, some characters will begin to shift and grow into hardened leaders, and others, returning to a place of leadership; becoming strong again, but humble in taking back control of their lives.
What IS Working for The Walking Dead This Season
I’ve read a couple articles about what isn’t working on The Walking Dead, and from everyone I have chatted with, the general consensus agrees with these articles. So, I would like to focus on what I believe is working in this season. My hope is to solely offer a new perspective on how I have been viewing the events as they unfold.
- While it hurts to see a good number of these characters in the current state they’re in, it is certainly different than we’ve seen them over the course of 6 seasons. Bringing them down to their individual lowest places, will only make their way back up that much sweeter. They will get back up, of that I have no doubt.
- I would always prefer the core group to be together, but I think they are all where they need to be right now. Well, maybe not Daryl. Poor guy just needs a shower, a new radio station and maybe some food meant for human consumption. Specifically, I mean Carol and Morgan. I think they are right where they need to be in order for them each individually to fix what it is they need to fix within themselves, so they are ready for this war that is brewing. Whether it is as a voice of reason with Morgan, or the urge to fight for one’s life from Carol, both of them seem to be finding a starting over point within The Kingdom, and that will be essential for their roles in what’s coming.
- Maggie and Sasha at The Hilltop is just flat out exciting to me. Glenn’s death is going to start something within Maggie… a fire that is nearly impossible to extinguish. The cards have already been dealt for her to take over that community as her own and a true extension of Alexandria. The entertaining part will be watching how Gregory deals with it all. Having Sasha and Enid with her will continue to build her confidence and give her a support system she needs to be the leader she was always meant to be.
- SHIVA! SHIVA! SHIVA! She looks beautiful for being CGI and will end up being a real threat to anything in her way.
- I enjoyed watching ‘Swear’ and seeing what happened to Tara and Heath. I may not feel the same levels of love and adoration for them that I do for Carol and Michonne, but I am still curious to see what happens to them while out on the road. Tara’s discovery of the Oceanside community was important for several reasons: A) their armory B) their abundance of fish and C) they’re smart, quick, and already know how treacherous and deadly Negan’s group is. We’ll be back there, eventually.
I could go on, but I think I’ve been long winded enough here. Point is: if you’re frustrated by what you have been watching, try to let go of what you expect, and just let it play out. Know that it is leading to something big. If you’re feeling bored, just remember it could be two episodes about the governor, or an episode centered around Beth in a hospital. Now those were boring.
Ok, Let Me Have It… What Are Your Thoughts About The Walking Dead?
We always love feedback, and we always want to know your thoughts on the show. Feel free to share them in the comments, or use our contact form. But, please remember this is all about opinions. I personally don’t agree with the assessments I’m seeing all over the web, but I do respect the opinions stated and hope that all our readers can do the same.
Thanks for reading, and keep tuning in. Don’t give up just because it looks like Rick has. Remember this… he doesn’t know about the tiger yet. SERIOUSLY! A TIGER!
The Walking Dead mid-season finale airs on Sunday, December 11 at 9/8C on AMC.