The Walking Dead ‘Save the Last One’: Going Nowhere

Another week, another hour of The Walking Dead spinning tires on camera. Sunday night’s episode slowed the already sloth-like pace down to a crawl last night as Shane and Otis tried to escape the high school while Rick and Lori complained about Carl’s future. It is quickly becoming clear the creative team on this show don’t know where to take the show at this point, and are just throwing zombies and faith conversations at us randomly, indecisive whether it wants to be a plot-driven show, or a slow-burning character study. Even the fantastic closing scene of the episode is ruined by lazy foreshadowing, bad acting, and worst of all, no clarity as to what they were trying to show us in the last few moments of the show.

Last night’s episode featured another conversation about hope vs. hopelessness, this time between Rick and Lori over the fate of their son, Carl. Again, the same tired lines about ‘do I want to be in this world’ are juxtaposed by the inane emotions of Rick when he talks about the moment Carl got shot and why that should represent hope. Combine that with the scenes of Andrea pissing and moaning at Dale AGAIN for the CDC incident and the too-easy-to-spot romance brewing between Glenn and the girl on the farm, and what do we have? A whole lot of nothing going on for a third straight week, while we search in the woods for Sophia, a character who’s been gone long enough for me to forget what she looks like. And where is her brother, the kid hiding under the car in the premiere? Has he gone missing?

This season is suffering from a severe case of Cardboard Character Syndrome, where everyone acts in three dimensions, but is written in one. Rick is the hopeful person in the existential crisis, Shane is losing his sanity, Dylan is a redneck…. you know the drill. Each character provides a specific point of view when it comes to dialogue and plot, and sticks to those guns so faithfully, they become easy and predictable. Did I know Shane was going to sacrifice Otis and save himself and the medical materials? No, but one surprise out of a thousand expected conclusions makes not for great television, and last night’s episode was proof. And when you pace the plot of your show at a pace like Dead does, the show will live and die with character studies – something Dead either isn’t realizing, or just doesn’t think it deserves the same attention the makeup and violence of the show gets.

Not much happened last night, so I will keep this short. A few final thoughts:

– Shane acting all bug-eyed and uncomfortable when he returns, then wastes a ton of hot water while he cuts his hair. Awful scene, with silly acting, misleading direction, and a number of images ripped from other works of cinema. If Shane is going some psychotic change, you gotta do better than that.

– Does anyone ever feel the main characters are really in danger? Their contracts kind of make it clear nothing will happen to them, but I still wish they would kill off people like T-Dog. Also….. why can they have lights outside on the farm all night, while the black family in the city from season one boarded everything up and hid? If the zombies can travel through the woods, why aren’t they congregating around this farm, which must stink like living flesh for miles and miles?

– another episode, another scene with Lori crying, Andrea being angry, Sophia’s mom being scared and depressed, and Opie’s mom(wife maybe?) crying and falling over. Strong female characters, this show does not have.

– can we get to the part where Rick and Shane fight already? This show is going to string it along until it gets to the point we don’t care anymore.

– why would Shane and Otis use their nine rounds attacking the horde of zombies from distance? what’s the point?

Getting tired of this show right now, but will stick through it at least until the fall break. How about you? Still loving The Walking Dead, still hating it, or still on the fence?


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