I am a big fan of The Walking Dead, both the comic books and the TV show. I started watching the show very early on, back when it wasn’t the phenomenom it is today. Though I don’t plan on giving up on the show, the past few seasons have become a mix of entertainment and constant disappointment.
Season 6 ended on a high note with the introduction of one of The Walking Dead’s best characters (and by far the best villain) : Negan. Everybody complained about the cliffhanger ending but as frustrating as it was, I thought it was clever. I spent the following summer wondering how they would play it : comic storyline, big surprise or cop out. Then, Season 7 started with one of the best episodes of the entire series. What a thrill ! It was great, suspensful, scary, full of tension and bloody. The controversy that followed was, in my opinion, stupid and uncalled for. People complain about a zombie show (a.k.a a horror show) being gory ? Really ? Human stupidity knows no limits.
What I loved about the season premiere is that they managed to surprise me even though I had read the comic books and therefore knew what the outcome should be. When Abraham got Lucille-d, I wasn’t expecting it. I liked Abraham so it was definitely a powerful, violent and saddening moment. But it made me feel like they didn’t have the guts to kill Glenn because he’s a main character. So, when a few moments later, Lucille met Glenn’s face in a perfect recreation of the comic pages, I was shocked ! I thought it was brilliant. They tricked me though I knew the original material. I also loved Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s performance as Negan. Most viewers complain because he is different from the comic books character both physically and sometimes in his behaviour. But that is exactly why I love the TV character as much as his comics counterpart. I like the fact that I get to watch/read two slightly different incarnations of the same character.
But after this epic season premiere, disappointment started creeping in. The next episodes were lighter in tone, which was a good thing…at first. I loved the introduction of Ezekiel, Shiva and The Kingdom. I loved watching a destroyed Rick trying to cope with the horror he witnessed. But after a couple of episodes, it felt like the story was not moving forward anymore. I am 100% supportive of character development but it definitely turned into a poor excuse to produce filler episodes (which felt unnecessary most of the time). Character development is crucial, after all, the viewer needs to feel engaged and care for the characters. But spending this much time on secondary characters, dragging the storyline to the point where it deeply hurts the rythm and not showing the show’s biggest asset this season (Negan) made this season a big disappointment. I feel like so much potential has been wasted.
The season finale was a perfect example of the tone of the season : a few great moments surrounded by unnecessary scenes focusing on details that don’t help the big picture and are plain boring. I’m sorry for the viewers who liked Sasha but I never cared about her and it was extremely obvious she would be the one to die. I thought all those hallucinations/memories were not only very uninteresting (and a complete bore), they also stole airing time that could have been used more wisely on the actual confrontation between the Survivors, the Saviors and the Garbage Pail Kids. Though very entertaining, the battle felt rushed (and wasn’t very well produced compared to previous seasons’ big fights).
For the past few seasons, The Walking Dead has been creating expectations the show never meets. A prime example is the Junkyard Walker. When I saw him in the promo, I was amazed at the design and was excited in anticipation of a great scene. The result was quite underwhelming…
As I have stated above, I will not stop watching the show anytime soon because I love the world of The Walking Dead, I love seeing comic book moments adapted on screen, I care about the main characters….and I foolishly hope the show will stop disappointing me so much ! I have high hopes for next season and the beginning of All Out War (a great arc in the comics) so I’m crossing my fingers the showrunners will learn from the many mistakes they made this season (and for the love of God, we need more Negan) !