Tuesday, October 27, 2015

That Thing That Happened on The Walking Dead this week

Spoiler Warning: If you haven't watched the latest episode of The Walking Dead - the third episode of season 6, titled "Thank You", then by God, do not read another word of this blog post. Close out your browser right now, and don't look back. I pity anyone watching this show or who will ever decide to watch this show at any time in the future who is not up to date this week, because it's going to be awfully hard not to be spoiled about the thing that happened in this episode. I'm going to stop referencing it coyly in no more than an indirect manner after this sentence, so if you don't already know what I'm talking about - goodbye, I'll see you when you've watched the episode.

Spoilers below!

So, a lot of people are talking about whether the thing that happened really happened or not. It was quite a shock to see one of the core cast die. To be honest, I liked the character, but I wasn't so fond of him that I cried to see him go. Rather, I think it was a good move on the part of the show. This show is brutal, and that's what makes it so good. Like Game of Thrones, no one is safe. Or rather, almost no one is safe, because I can't imagine this show continuing without Rick. But this show does lose major characters. However, the show hasn't lost a major character in a while. Tyreese didn't count, because he was never as big as he should have been, going by the comics. Beth's death was pretty infuriating, but as much as I liked her, she wasn't a pivotal character, either.

The thing is, this show has built up a core cast - Rick, Carl, Carol, Daryl, Michonne, Maggie, Glenn (in no significant order). And the longer not one of them dies, the safer the show gets. The comics weren't afraid to kill off the character that died in this week's episode. It was a startlingly brutal death, but again, that's what makes the series so good. Yet, the TV show has been cutting back on some of the more brutal developments in the story going all the way back to the Governor and Michonne, and then Lori and the baby. So, if you ask me, killing off such a major character is a good thing for the show to do. If you just ask me. But I was watching the episode with a friend, and I have to say, I was deeply concerned for the grief she was going through when this character died.

For me, I would say kill anyone you want, but for her, if this character dying means she's going to be this sad - not in an "oh my God that's so brutally sad, this show is fucking awesome!" kind of way like I was when Sophia came out of that barn, but in more of a "oh my God that's so brutally sad, I'm going to cry myself to sleep tonight and then not watch this show ever again" - I'd just as soon the creators keep the character alive. Because the truth is, even if the show isn't truly brutal - where no one really is safe - it's still damn good. And I'm not so petty as to say that if the show doesn't kill its main characters off, then I'll stop watching it. And you have to imagine that there are people out there like the "if Daryl dies, we riot" brigade, and the creators of the show have to know that.

Which is another thing. I was absolutely convinced of this character's death when I watched the episode. And then when people started talking about how he could still be alive (here's an excellent discussion), I thought it was just people going through the first stage of grief - denial. But the more I hear these theories, the more plausible they seem, to the point that I'm almost convinced the character is really still alive! At any rate, I've convinced myself that the scene was shot in such a way as - although pretty damn convincing - allowing for the possibility of reneging. Which makes me think, damn, I wonder if the creators put this situation together so as to gauge audience reaction to a pivotal and beloved character dying, so that they can determine whether it's something they can really still do this late in the series.

And whether it goes one way or the other, this is going to be a turning point in the show. I don't know when or how or if we're going to find out any resolution with 100% absolute certainty what happened to this character, but if we do, it'll determine whether this show a) still has the intensity that it was born with, or b) has changed into a show where some of the characters really are safe. And if it's b), then I think we know that if they weren't going to kill the character this time, he probably won't die later (particularly, in that scene from the comic that's still coming up, where he's supposed to die), unless of course his contract expires and he wants to leave the show or whatever (the usual stuff for major actors on other shows). But I can tell you this - either way, I'll still watch the show. Because it's still pretty damn good. In fact, it's remarkable that it's still this good this many years in. It went through a couple of rough patches, but I'm as excited about it now as I ever have been. And I can't wait to see what happens next week!

Spoilers above!

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