The Walking Dead: The Day Will Come When You Won't Be
October 23, 2016 7:13 PM - Season 7, Episode 1 - Subscribe

As the members of the group remain helpless, Negan takes action that will forever haunt those who survive.
posted by gatorae (109 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
What was it, 20-25 minutes before we found out who it was? My husband made an exasperated comment after 15 minutes.
posted by gatorae at 7:15 PM on October 23, 2016 [4 favorites]


you know they feel so fucking smug for killing abraham off first so all the glenn fans would feel relieved like he was going to be safe and then HA HA LOL SUCKERS WE'RE GONNA DO IT ANYWAY bitch pls i've read ff.net fics written by 13 year olds that had better plot twists
posted by poffin boffin at 7:23 PM on October 23, 2016 [8 favorites]


I had the Negan world order all figured out after the last episode. Rick needed another episode of sadistic mind fucking just to be clear on a few remaining issues, I guess. Maybe 16 episodes/season is too much for the writers.
posted by cardboard at 7:25 PM on October 23, 2016


That would have made a better cliffhanger than season premiere. What were they thinking?
posted by MsVader at 7:38 PM on October 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'm done with this torture porn. I'm out.

There's no point to any of this. It's not about the human condition, or adventure, or character studies, or even horror. It's just gratuitous shlock.
posted by Windigo at 7:43 PM on October 23, 2016 [39 favorites]


Jesus' bloody poop, that was some pointless violence/suspense. I've missed several seasons prior to tonight, and damn now I don't miss anything. Ugh.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:44 PM on October 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


I decided to stop watching after last season's finale. Reading the recap, I'm very happy with my decision. I hope the nihilistic idiots on The Walking Dead find peace someday.
posted by codacorolla at 7:46 PM on October 23, 2016 [5 favorites]


Even Hardwick looks like "why the hell am I still doing this Talking Dead shit?"
posted by Burhanistan at 7:47 PM on October 23, 2016 [5 favorites]


I keep seeing folks say it would've been much better to end the last season with the first death, then shock the audience with the second death in the season premiere.

That makes so much sense it seems clear the writers had no idea who was going to die when they finished the last season, then decided they had to up the ante in the new season because folks were so pissed, so wrote in the second death during the break.

God this show used to actually be good.
posted by mediareport at 7:59 PM on October 23, 2016 [5 favorites]


What's awesome (meaning: the very opposite of awesome) is that going forward, this is the new 'bar.' For every season finale, every cliffhanger, every "we need to shock em!" moment they now have to up the ante and surpass what this episode put out there.
posted by Windigo at 8:02 PM on October 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


This was the third episode of this show that I had ever seen. Some of my friends watch The Walking Dead, and I happened to be over at their house tonight. We watched the season finale of last season and then this episode.

I feel like I dodged a bullet, not getting into this show. Gross, reveling in brutal violence, transparently manipulative storytelling with no redeeming qualities whatsoever. No, thank you.
posted by JDHarper at 8:11 PM on October 23, 2016 [4 favorites]


Ditch 75% of those stupid roadblocks in the finale and get rid of the obnoxiously overlong "get my ax!" part of the premiere, and together you would have had a good episode. I mean, assuming you ignore the gross gratuitous violence, which.. is impossible to ignore, and keeps the episode from ever actually being good. But from a storytelling perspective it is aggravating how unnecessarily long this nonsense was drawn out. And yes, I know that critiquing this show for bad storytelling is basically yelling at clouds territory.
posted by gatorae at 8:20 PM on October 23, 2016 [3 favorites]


Well that was 46 minutes of awfulness for little or no goddamned reason.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:27 PM on October 23, 2016 [9 favorites]


Well the only thing I can say was that at least they pretty much followed his comic death. I was hoping they wouldn't because it's gross and Glenn is one of my favorite characters.

I dunno, it was horrible but also boring? Which I find a weird thing to say with everything that happened but for some reason I found I just didn't care so much. I was thinking, yes I get it Negan is a horrible and sadistic person, I realized the characters are screwed. Can we just get beyond the 'showing Negan is sadistic part' and get on with it? Please?

Also glad I chose to watch this before Madam Secretary so some Tea Leone can get rid of this yuck before I go to sleep.
posted by Jalliah at 8:39 PM on October 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


Jesus. That was just snuff porn. The single most gratuitously brutal hour of television I've ever seen.

I did not enjoy it.

This was the third episode of this show that I had ever seen. ... Gross, reveling in brutal violence, transparently manipulative storytelling with no redeeming qualities whatsoever. No, thank you.

The thing is, it hasn't always been like this. This episode was (by far) the worst they've done so far, in terms of violence porn. There's never been any shortage of violence, but it's never been as graphic or as pointless as this before.

This was not a promising start to the season.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 8:43 PM on October 23, 2016 [11 favorites]


What the fuck do we even watch this shit for?

Seriously? Why?
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:43 PM on October 23, 2016 [6 favorites]


Gross, reveling in brutal violence, transparently manipulative storytelling with no redeeming qualities whatsoever. No, thank you.

The first few seasons...I don't want to say this wasn't there, but there was more to the show than this, and the "more" was also "better".

But after this episode I'm absolutely done defending this show.
posted by mstokes650 at 8:46 PM on October 23, 2016 [8 favorites]


Good grief. It's like half of the episode were flashbacks, then the other half telling what happened during the flashbacks.
posted by invisible ink at 8:48 PM on October 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


So glad I came here first, thank you so much for saving my time and my stomach.
posted by gryphonlover at 8:48 PM on October 23, 2016 [3 favorites]


I think this is a really good example of how showing too much violent detail is just too much and takes away from the event itself. The grossness is just gratuitous and takes away from any emotional impact. Now that I think more about it I'm pretty pissed. Glenn the character deserved better in terms of how it was portrayed.

This is one case where I think a comic scene just doesn't translate to live action without coming across as over the top and stupid.
posted by Jalliah at 8:56 PM on October 23, 2016 [4 favorites]


Yeah I think I'm done.
posted by chococat at 9:16 PM on October 23, 2016 [3 favorites]


WTF is Microsoft sponsoring this torture pr0n?
posted by monotreme at 9:17 PM on October 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


I just finished it. So pessimistic and anti-humanistic.
Blah.
I'll take Z Nation any day over . . . that.
posted by Seamus at 9:17 PM on October 23, 2016 [3 favorites]


What the fuck do we even watch this shit for?

join me my frands
posted by poffin boffin at 9:19 PM on October 23, 2016 [12 favorites]


I mean, they could have had more of an impact if they had not gone to the flashbacks at *all* and had it be just the survivors reacting to the violence. I thought that's how they were going to do it at first. The opening scene with the bloody baseball bat and blood on Rick's face and the look in his eyes communicated what had happened fine.

But instead, the showrunners were just using it to jerk the audience around for another 20 minutes before revealing who died. It reminded me of a terrible reality show, where they show each contestants face for ages before revealing who won the contest while playing up the dramatic music.

And then they followed up with 20 or 30 minutes of splatter porn and clumsy analogies to Abraham "sacrificing" Isaac, complete with pulling back as soon as the blade is raised.

Ugh.
posted by JDHarper at 9:21 PM on October 23, 2016 [7 favorites]


I think a comic scene just doesn't translate to live action without coming across as over the top and stupid.

I thought the show held true to just how over the top and stupid this scene was in the comic. This is the point I stopped reading the book since I realized Kirkman was out of ideas. I think I will probably continue to watch the show since Carol is just such a great character (and these threads are so entertaining).
posted by longdaysjourney at 9:22 PM on October 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


I agree with gatorae; if you cut most of the season finale and the season premiere and stitched the remains together, there's a not-terrible (by Walking Dead standards, certainly) episode here.

More and more, I'm feeling like American dramatic television is suffering from the requirement that a certain number of episodes be filled in a season. Any decent story editor would have cut about half of this episode.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 9:36 PM on October 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


Mrs eyeballkid watched it just to see who died. So it was on in the background while I was reading and listening and holy fuck torture porn is right.

I picked a good season to quit this show.
posted by eyeballkid at 10:09 PM on October 23, 2016


I got about halfway through this and came here to see if it got better. Thanks for the heads up, I clearly should've come here first. I'm out. Just turning it off.

It's not the violence for me, not exactly - I've got Westworld and Ash vs. Evil dead queued up next, and those are some brutal shows - it's the joyless, pointless nihilism of it. None of this is in service to an interesting story, they're just being over the top in the hope of getting attention. They have nothing to say.

I'm not exactly surprised, either. Negan was a a turning point for me in the comics. I didn't stop reading for awhile, but he was where I started to sour on them. The TV version is actually worse. His ridiculous dialogue was bad enough on paper, but listening to a grown man talk about 'no-nos' and 'pee pee pants' while engaging in horrifying violence is intolerable.

I'm so glad this place exists so I can vent about this a minute. Heh. See you all in other threads for better TV.
posted by mordax at 11:00 PM on October 23, 2016 [6 favorites]


I find myself in the unusual position of defending The Walking Dead, or at least this episode of it. I have always -- always -- had a problem with the basically pointless nature of this series; there is no endgame, nothing to build toward, nothing but endless death and moodiness on the horizon. Some may consider this a feature; I consider it a bug. If this is it, why keep watching? You pretty much know everyone's doomed, so where's the suspense, right? Obviously, this is not a problem for the fantastic throngs of people who watch The Walking Dead every week. It's a problem for me, though. I like stories that go places. I dunno.

So within the confines of this shaggy dog tale of a filmic universe, I feel like this episode and the story it promises are about as good as it gets. Negan is a genuinely scary, unpredictable force that our heroes can barely comprehend, much less easily vanquish. The episode did take way too long to reveal which characters died, I'll admit, but the pacing and structure of Negan and Rick's trip was masterful. It felt like just about anything could happen. Now, look: If you say, "Okay, but there's no point, this is all just an exercise in fucking sadism," I would agree with you, except that I would add that's been this whole show from day one. It didn't just start this week. If you accept the show for what it is, this is absolutely as suspenseful and terrifying as it is ever likely to be. If you want a show that is suspenseful, terrifying, and has a point, that has never been this show.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 11:05 PM on October 23, 2016 [5 favorites]


This show has so frequently disappointed me, but has never so thoroughly bored me. Glenn was my favorite remaining character, I guess, but his death didn't really bother me either way. And the other guy didn't even register. So, I was pretty sure I could just tune out, and then I saw the preview for next week. Wow, just wow. Definitely going to be my last episode here, but promise to see you all from time to time in recap threads in the future!
posted by skewed at 11:16 PM on October 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


If you say, "Okay, but there's no point, this is all just an exercise in fucking sadism," I would agree with you, except that I would add that's been this whole show from day one. It didn't just start this week.

The difference is mostly that there used to be someone to root for. Rick was even a decent character... once upon a time. In the pilot? I felt for Rick. Hell, I even felt for *Shane* in the pilot.

The writers have been slowly bleeding off any measure of sympathy I had for these people for years though. Like... last season, Glenn was a total creep to Enid. Carol and Morgan got episode long showcases to demonstrate 'we don't think you should like these guys as much as Rick.' Abraham got some very special 'PS Abraham is actually an asshole' time. They paired off Michonne with Rick, which basically had me braced for her fridging rather than continuing to care about her.

A threat like Negan is only any good if I care about the characters he's toying with. Absent that, they'd need to be telling some kind of actual story, and you're right: that's something they've never really done.

... up side, it's cathartic to dissect why this is bad.
posted by mordax at 11:24 PM on October 23, 2016 [5 favorites]


Don't forget Gabriel. It's not enough for him to betray Rick and everyone else multiple times, while having his emotional meltdowns in the woods, and not get a single scratch. They also had to make him surrogate Leader and Chief Babysitter.
posted by invisible ink at 11:28 PM on October 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


I actually thought they would do the interesting thing and kill Daryl instead. He is basically the Glenn equivalent in terms of fan-popularity and would fit the role Glenns death was in the Comics, but once again the writers and showrunner proved that they dont know how to fucking write a good TV-show and instead focus on Zombie porn and violence.
I am glad I stopped watching in Season 2 and stopped reading after 75.

Me IRL, when everyone else is still hate-watching Walking Dead

You gotta pull the plug.
posted by Megustalations at 3:13 AM on October 24, 2016 [3 favorites]


Haven't watched since Beth was stupidly killed, glad to know I'm not missing much! Especially after the earlier BS of "Is Glen die in the dumpster or not? Tune in next season to find out!"

Interesting that I still keep tabs on the show though, heh!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:04 AM on October 24, 2016


I'm with kittensforbreakfast. This episode was full of gratuitous violence but, oddly enough, was as much about psychology as gore.

Negan has Rick's crew completely at his mercy. He has outmaneuvered them, outgunned them, outthought them and outnumbered them, and now he's in a position where Lucille can turn them all into kibble and then his army can go in and snuff everyone in Alexandria. But he is quite open that that's not what he wants because he doesn't gain anything from that. The Wolves were a silly example of how straight-up nihilism fares -- they went in and started mauling Alexandrians because, well, that's their thing. And despite most of Alexandria being mostly harmless, they lost that battle and got wiped out.

Which is a trend with Rick's group; whatever crisis they face, they tend to win through sheer willpower and bloodymindedness. The Governor's army? Superior firepower but beaten back, at the cost of the prison. Terminus? Taken out, albeit with some deus ex machina named Carol. Zombies overrunning Alexandria? Let's form a Katamari ball of knives and clean it out without losing anyone else. So Rick may be helpless at Negan's feet but he's also calculating six ways in his head to strike back, which is obvious to Negan, and not what he wants. What he wants is control.

So this whole extended sequence of episodes was about that; driving it into Rick's head that _this is not a battle that can be won, or even stalemated_. They can surrender completely and live, or be defiant and suffer extreme violence. Rick's crew killed the people in Negan's outpost, so Abraham becomes a special example. Daryl lashes out, so Glenn -- who carried his own bad karma from participating in the outpost murders -- becomes bulgogi. And he could have kept going all day and enjoyed himself in the process _but that's not what Negan really wants_. He wants to break them into subservience with the THREAT of swift and blinding violence any time they think about rebelling. And, of course, that threat is only real to them once they've seen it happen.

Now, did they completely screw the pooch with the cliffhanger ending to last season? Yep. Did we the viewers really need to see Abraham and Glenn ground beef up close? Not really. But this was torture porn with a purpose; to set up that this time it's different. Next week will not be "Rick plans a retaliatory strike." There WILL be warfare far down the road but this is rock bottom for Rick and his crew, and it pays off a whole bunch of bad assumptions and ideas on Rick's part over the last season.
posted by delfin at 5:09 AM on October 24, 2016 [10 favorites]


I think I got lost during the ax sequence. Or missed a few seconds.

It looked like Negan threw the ax out into the crowd of zombies. Rick goes out, climbs up on top of the RV. Then... isn't there an ax right beside him up there? Laying on top of the RV?

Then he has annoying, pointless ghost-of-Christmas-what-if flashes, eventually decides to swing from the walker because, well, what could be cooler than a zombie's neck being stretched to breaking? Then he decides to go out into the crowd and find the ax.

I'm not sure where I got confused. Did I imagine the ax on the RV?
posted by 2ht at 5:42 AM on October 24, 2016 [4 favorites]


No, the ax was there next to him on the RV.
posted by Windigo at 6:03 AM on October 24, 2016




He wants to break them into subservience with the THREAT of swift and blinding violence any time they think about rebelling. And, of course, that threat is only real to them once they've seen it happen.

Yes, exactly and the only way to do this is by killing two people other than the captured leader!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:29 AM on October 24, 2016 [2 favorites]


I thought it was just bad TV. You'd think killing off two main characters would have some impact, but the show is so transparently jerking the audience around now I didn't even care, even though I used to like both Glenn and Abe. So, shrug, I guess.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 6:49 AM on October 24, 2016 [2 favorites]


Comic Book 101. How do you stymie Superman? Not so much by punching him in the face really hard; he'll shrug it off and say "my turn." But by putting him in a logical trap, where if he acts against you, innocents get killed. Make him find a way out of that.

And that is what we have here. Just killing Rick ends the show leads to the next leader seeking revenge. Breaking Rick, putting Rick in a spot where he realizes it's hopeless and rebelling will just get more of his friends killed, makes him useful to Negan.
posted by delfin at 6:51 AM on October 24, 2016 [4 favorites]


I don't get disturbed very easily, but that was just disturbing, and the rest of the show wasn't even good enough to make up for it.

I think I'm done. Hate watching isn't healthy.
posted by bondcliff at 7:06 AM on October 24, 2016 [2 favorites]


I quit in Season Three, maybe a third of the way through. Is the show any good for a while past that? Is there some generally accepted notion of when things became not worth watching any longer?
posted by MoonOrb at 7:14 AM on October 24, 2016


A lot of people gave up in Season 5, which was the Terminus storyline followed by Beth's misadventures in Ayn Rand Memorial Hospital, and included a handful of anticlimactic deaths and related silliness.

Season 6 featured the Glenn Dumpster Incident, which was when many of the remaining viewers decided that WE PUT UP WITH A LOT OF THINGS BUT WE OBEY THE LAWS OF PHYSICS IN THIS ESTABLISHMENT, MISTER! and gave up.
posted by delfin at 7:28 AM on October 24, 2016 [3 favorites]


Aside from the most obvious complaint, which we mostly all share (THEY STABBED ME IN THE EYES WITH TORTURE PORN), my main problem with the episode is that to this point they're doing a poor job of conveying what a complicated prick Negan is in the comics.

A viewer who hasn't read the comics could be forgiven for dismissing him as an amoral, power-mad psychopath.

He's most emphatically not amoral. To be amoral is literally to be without a moral code. Negan still believes in right and wrong and the public good. It's just that in the wake of the apocalypse, he has recalibrated himself morally in a catastrophically awful way. He believes that modern civilization as we know it is over. And that's not simply in the sense of cell phones and elevators and newspapers. He think it is dead as a concept. And so, to him, what makes sense in the aftermath is feudalism.

It's the bullying-you-for-your-own-good attitude of an asshole gym teacher or drill sergeant or football coach supercharged with the violence and minute-to-minute urgency of the apocalypse. And in his eyes, it's an organizing principle that restores order to the world. He's enjoying that this just so happens to put him on top, sure. But he also thinks it's needed.

They really need to settle in with him and maybe let some of the longer dialogue bits from the comics onto the script to breathe a little. It would go a long a way toward making his character bearable on the screen.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:38 AM on October 24, 2016 [4 favorites]


I am amazed at how many of you are here despite claiming to quit the show seasons ago.

Not my fav episode. Gratuitous and gross. However, I am eager to see a shift and change in the show. Reserving full judgment for now.
posted by agregoli at 7:40 AM on October 24, 2016 [6 favorites]


For the last couple years, I've only been tuning in to see Carol and Daryl and because my friends watch and it's fun to talk about with them.

I was pretty much planning to quit after last season; the whole show is and has been a mess with no coherent narrative arc, and, worse, I found what they did with Carol's character last season exceptionally unsatisfying.

I knew I would watch last night. Not watching would have been like turning off the tv five minutes early at the end of last season's finale (or 30 minutes, but who's counting). And I'm glad I watched it! The clumsy, indulgent way the show runners handled the episode--from the stalling to the boring scene in/on top of the camper to the laughable in-a-different-world dinner tableau--will give me zero hesitation to find something better to do on Sunday evenings. Especially considering now that Daryl has been taken captive, he'll most likely be absent from a lot of the episodes. The gratuitous torture porn was the icing on the I'm Done cake.

In short, fuck this show.
posted by chaoticgood at 8:00 AM on October 24, 2016 [3 favorites]


It's just that in the wake of the apocalypse, he has recalibrated himself morally in a catastrophically awful way. He believes that modern civilization as we know it is over. And that's not simply in the sense of cell phones and elevators and newspapers. He think it is dead as a concept. And so, to him, what makes sense in the aftermath is feudalism.

Redrawing the lines of civilization is one of the most interesting pieces that the comics get right, but the show has failed almost entirely to explore.
posted by 2ht at 8:00 AM on October 24, 2016 [2 favorites]


I watched only because my wife insisted. I won't watch any further. Kirkman is capable of only a couple themes and that's it. There's always going to be a Big Bad who's awesome and terrible and one dimensional. There's always going to be gratuitous shock/torture porn. And the plots will always depend on someone doing something stupid to advance it. Oh, and ridiculous amount of time spent on teasing the audience. Like I've said before, it's Gilligan's Island with the undead. There is no end in sight and never will be.

Oh, and "Not cool" is a terrible tag line but Kirkman kept spouting it in the Talking Dead like it was his greatest achievement. You know nothing, Robert Kirkman (see that, that was a line worth repeating).
posted by Ber at 8:19 AM on October 24, 2016 [4 favorites]


I am amazed at how many of you are here despite claiming to quit the show seasons ago.

Schadenfreude ? Moral support for those lost souls still watching ? I don't know.
posted by Pendragon at 8:32 AM on October 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


My partner reluctantly agreed to watch with me and made it two blows into Glenn's killing before excusing herself.

And the part that was the worst about that wasn't that she was judging me. It was that she wasn't judging and I was relieved... because I would have been ashamed with no way to rationalize watching if she had.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:43 AM on October 24, 2016 [3 favorites]


all the reactions to this episode in this thread are pretty much the same reaction i had to this issue in the comic book and what led me to drop the book. it only gets hackier, guys. kirkman is everything metafilter hates about mark millar but times ten.
posted by entropicamericana at 8:55 AM on October 24, 2016 [2 favorites]



I am amazed at how many of you are here despite claiming to quit the show seasons ago.


Eh, it's not really that amazing, sometimes you like a show enough to want to know what happened, but not enough to spend an hour watching it. Sometimes the discussion that the show engenders is worthwhile even if the show isn't. Sometimes a show has gone downhill but you might check back in to see if has found its way again. All of those can definitely apply to TWD.

For what it's worth, I have never seen a single episode of the Flash or Supergirl, but I have read through the Fanfare threads of both.
posted by skewed at 8:57 AM on October 24, 2016 [3 favorites]


Yes, TWD, like much of tv or media, is also a conversation piece, so people talk about, even if they've stopped watching. Especially if the show has compelling characters, which TWD most certainly does.

I'm still curious how it all ends and what happens to various characters. But still not gonna watch it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:05 AM on October 24, 2016 [2 favorites]


Hi! I didn't watch! And I stopped watching the show about 3 episodes before last season's finale, and I mostly caught up using these threads, which only served to reinforce my decision.

You guys are wonderful for justifying my feelings. Go team #fuckthisshow!
posted by numaner at 9:27 AM on October 24, 2016 [7 favorites]


I thought nothing could be worse than attempted child rape and Rick tearing out someone's throat with his own teeth.

I was wrong.

I will still watch because I like Carol and Daryl. But it's hardly worth it anymore.
posted by cass at 9:51 AM on October 24, 2016


Daryl is dull, now, too, because he's safe as houses as he's the most popular character. They can't really DO much with him.
posted by Windigo at 10:30 AM on October 24, 2016 [3 favorites]


I, too, have never watched this show, but have been weirdly caught up in reactions to this episode. Like some other folks have said, this was the issue that made me drop the comic book, having utterly lost any trust in Kirkman to respect his audience, characters, or storyline. It's been a couple of years now since I subjected myself to that issue, and it still gets to me - I think that was the first time I've ever made a conscious choice to quit a series on the basis of self-care.

Ever since I heard about the cliffhanger I've been waiting to see how fans would respond if the scene played out the way it did in the comic. It's been kind of encouraging to see that so many others have reacted the same way I did, that so many people seem done with this thing. I'm relieved to know that yes, this scene really did come off as artistically bankrupt torture porn - I'm not just being oversensitive and missing the grand design behind the whole thing.

I quit the comic ages ago; now, I think I can finally put this away in the "it's not just me, that really was a garbage move" box and give it no further thought.
posted by DingoMutt at 11:00 AM on October 24, 2016 [6 favorites]


Calling it now: Jeffrey Dean Morgan is the new, show-ruining Ted McGinley.
but maybe I'm still bitter about undead Denny fucking Duquette.
posted by ApathyGirl at 11:57 AM on October 24, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'm done with this torture porn. I'm out.

There's no point to any of this. It's not about the human condition, or adventure, or character studies, or even horror. It's just gratuitous shlock.


This. After the bat swung to glenn and they just sat the camera down pointed at him, I stood up like pretty much like this and turned off the television. I've watched this show since the pilot. I read about it months before it ever aired. I have watched and rewatched so many episodes, looking at so many different facets of this show, from the characters to the clothing, from the story consistency to the music, from the things they didn't show that they should have, to even the minor characters. I have walking dead merchandise. I watched the Talking Dead.

But that was it. I'm done too. I have deleted twd and talking dead. For me, the characters in that scene all died that night and the show ended. That's what they should have done anyway, in last year's finale, in the old fashioned style of rough endings with perhaps just the faintest glimmer of hope left.
posted by cashman at 12:32 PM on October 24, 2016 [8 favorites]




I stood up in my own living room during last season's finale and said "FUCK THIS FUCKING SHOW I'M DONE."

Between all the real horror in the world and the election morass, I simply won't have another negative source of energy in my life. Not one like this, anyway.

Enjoy, folks.
posted by Thistledown at 12:54 PM on October 24, 2016 [3 favorites]


Kevin Killian on confronting the Walking Dead season premiere as a couple.
posted by larrybob at 1:02 PM on October 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


I will just add, for the all the hate that the transparently manipulative double-murder torture-porn is (deservedly) getting, the real kicker for me was that they weren't even done with that bullshit before they started in with the "who's going to lose a hand!?!" schtick that's clearly going to be the next round of manipulative teasing bullshit and will probably last at least until the midseason finale. First there's Chekhov's hatchet, then there's Negan carefully cleaning and disinfecting said hatchet, then you've got that crap with Carl's arm...and they literally started in with that crap before we were even done with the last round of fuckery.

I hope all those smug, self-satisfied writers who are no doubting patting themselves on the back for how much "buzz" this cliffhanger and premiere generated all never work again.
posted by mstokes650 at 1:03 PM on October 24, 2016 [8 favorites]


This episode reminded me of two things. First was Batman comic #497 I believe, the one where Bane just basically beats up Batman for 20 pages then breaks his back. More than that though it reminded me of the Six Feet Under episode "That's My Dog" where you watch David Fisher put through the fucking ringer for the whole episode.

It reminded me of those two things but near the end of this episode I asked myself "why am I still watching this?"

That question never occurred to me while reading the batman comic or watching Six Feet Under. I think from here on out I'll dvr the episodes and have them on hand if this season ends up being something different, but over the last two seasons I've found myself caring less and less about the story and the characters.
posted by I_Zimbra at 2:26 PM on October 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


Man I won't be able to hate watch this.

I think at some point there was somebody in the writers' room who understood how things work, writing wise.

I think the last time I defended this show was with the death of Tyrese. Then we had the dead people sort of letting him let his burdens down, as Tyrese is struggling to stay alive, with this interesting concept of witnessing, which has a very rich history in terms of justifying existence. We got beaming old Bob gently let Tyrese know that he can stop witnessing and turn off the horrors that issue from the BBC.

I can't fathom why the writers would be "aw but here's a Thanksgiving dinner scene" which has Glenn with his kid. WTF no. This is not, the peace of the grave and the hereafter it's like *GUESS WHO'S NOT GONNA SEE HIS KID EVER! BECAUSE HIS HEAD HAS BEEN HAMBURGURIZED"

Sheesh. It's like the Donald J. Trump of TV viewing. *No one has ever pulled down their pants and took a shit on live TV before! Watch!"

It's like noooo well that's special and all but I've lived all my life without seeing people excreting on live TV I'll skip that.

And it makes me ANGRY like I'm ANGRY at DJT for basically being disgusting and calling it genius
posted by angrycat at 2:53 PM on October 24, 2016 [9 favorites]


I have never flat out resented an hour of television like this before. There's a certain pleasure in hate-watching a show with bad plots you can pick apart and mock, but there is no joy to be had in this nihilistic gore. I didn't need to see that; didn't want to see that; and I don't think I want to see any more. Someone text me when someone guts Negan and maybe I'll watch that episode. But this one just pissed me off.

We're cord cutters, so my wife and I have watch this from the beginning by buying iTunes season passes and I hate that I just absolutely wasted $40something on this. Should've torrented it.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 4:04 PM on October 24, 2016 [5 favorites]


Also finally throwing in the towel (for the second time). I first quit after season 2 when, following an interesting world-building in S1, it was devolving into a show where idiots just argue amongst themselves for an hour every week.

After hearing that S3 had a big crazy new baddie to propel more action-driven plot, I got back on-board. But I've never been on board with the violence-porn, and this episode pretty much made me regret ever giving the show a second chance.

The second worst part of this episode for me: As soon as the torture porn is done and team Rick is alone again, they go right back into idiot bickering mode, even while mourning. "Maggie, you have to sit down.," "No, I can't." Back and forth about who can go to Hilltop, who should be one lifting their friends mangled corpse. WTF you guys?! Show some sympathy and solidarity for a change. And it looked like they would have been full on shout-fighting if they weren't so exhausted.
posted by p3t3 at 4:15 PM on October 24, 2016 [2 favorites]


I keep hearing the word 'nihilistic.' If the gore factor was too much for some viewers, I completely understand and agree that that was _a lot_ farther than basic cable tends to go... but what happened in that episode was not about nihilism. It had a very specific cause and purpose.

Rick and his crew have tangled with a variety of antagonists in the past. The Governor and his obsessions, Terminus and their deception and appetite, the largely inexplicable Hospital arc, the Wolves -- who WERE nihilistic yahoos -- and other scavengers. The link between all of these was that, in almost every sense, Rick's crew were defending themselves. They were not looking for trouble, just trying to survive and keep their own people in one piece and unbitten.

That is not what happened with Negan and the Saviors. Rick and Maggie negotiated a deal where their crew were acting as mercenaries for hire, going out actively looking to kill. They had reasons for that -- they were low on supplies, the Saviors certainly didn't sound like an asset to the neighborhood -- but it was still crossing a line. Going into a Savior outpost, killing whoever they found, Glenn stabbing a sleeping guy in the heart -- that's crossing a whole bunch of lines.

Does Negan know or care what their motivations were? No. The first patrol group never reported back thanks to Daryl's RPG shot, so he doesn't know what happened there, just that they never came back. Then the outpost group was straight-up slaughtered by Rick's crew. Then the survivors considered a hostage exchange with Rick's crew but then Carol killed all of THEM. That's a body count of three dozen Saviors, at least two-thirds of which were premeditated murder. Negan says, okay, these new people want to play hardball? Let's play hardball. Time to show them who really has the power here. And so they did -- toyed with them, rounded them up, and demonstrated just how badly they'd fucked up in picking this fight and how helpless they really are. And even then Negan was ready to stop at one until Daryl attacked him.

This is not to suggest that Negan did not draw way too much pleasure from feeding Lucille. He did. That's sort of his thing. But this was not random violence for violence's sake; it was a response.
posted by delfin at 5:27 PM on October 24, 2016 [7 favorites]


Well, I agree with you all. I swore after last season I was quitting but I didn't delete the series recording. I made it 20 minutes. Good god. I really don't get what they're doing. Gross, violent murder is not entertaining. It's certainly not enough to build an entire show around. They've given up completely on trying to write an actual story.

I turned it off, deleted the series recording, and am now watching Clash of the Corps, a reality show about college kids doing marching band competitions. It's nice.
posted by something something at 5:41 PM on October 24, 2016 [3 favorites]


Redrawing the lines of civilization is one of the most interesting pieces that the comics get right, but the show has failed almost entirely to explore.

Yeah. That kept me with the show a lot longer than I would've stayed without. That's what I *want* to see: a new civilization being rebuilt on the ashes of an old one, with lethal new threats to daily life. I don't want a zombie movie to end with everybody dying - I want a zombie movie where people are trying to figure out how to make gunpowder and farm.

(I am a long time fan of the Riverworld books, and have long wished to see something like zombie apocalypse Parolando, I guess? This is part of why I'm Team Z-Nation forever: their world suggests Old West levels of social organization, and that rings true to me in the absence of modern organization/comms/infrastructure.)

but what happened in that episode was not about nihilism. It had a very specific cause and purpose.

Yeah, okay, Negan's not nihilistic. He is, as you say, engaging in a proportionate response to violence done to his people. The narrative of the show *itself* is... okay, nihilism isn't exactly right either. I'll be precise: it's an ahistorical, anti-human, anti-civilization wankfest. The entire premise of the show is that civilization is a thin veneer over the brutality that lies in the hearts of all humanity, and that brutality is the real key to survival. Rick 'doing what he has to do' is the entire point of the show.

That's just nonsense on the face of it. The reality is that we've had brushes with zombie apocalypse level shit before, as a species: the plagues that swept North America and took out most of our native population before the Europeans ever saw them. The Black Plague. Maybe even stuff like the Toba Event. In the wake of each catastrophe, people banded together and rebuilt. That's what we *do*. The defining advantage of humanity is that we work together and rebuild. The scenario presented in TWD: family sized groups wandering and scavenging is an unstable situation that would resolve into proper communities at *some point*. Much sooner than seven years, simply because stored food and gasoline would no longer be sufficiently reliable after that long. Someone would be farming. Someone smarter than the Alexandrites. There would be trade. There would be protocols for dealing with zombies, as humans adapt and zombies don't.

This happens in the comics, and it's interesting. Much more interesting than anything I've ever seen on the show. Even Negan's ideas have a perverse logic and merit to them, as DirtyOldTown noted above - he's not an anarchic raider, he's a proponent of feudalism. If not for the unfortunate dialogue, (Kirkman writes dialogue so, so badly), he'd be a legitimately interesting figure. If not for the dialogue and the ridiculous, over the top gore, I would probably have enjoyed his storyline, because these sorts of philosophical differences about how we should organize fascinate me.

Here? The story itself is about how everyone is awful, and how being A Hard Man Who Does What He Has To is actually a good thing. It's... well, like I said, it ignores everything we know about humanity for the entire course of history, it posits that all people are bad, and they couldn't string together a real story arc to save their lives.

This was tolerable when I liked some of the non-Rick people involved, (I was TEAM CAROL for a long time), but this premiere is a clear indication they're doubling down on the 'people are bad everything is bad' crap instead of doing cool stuff like making it rain zombies in a big box store.

The other problem with Negan is simply that he operates by magic bullshit. His guys are ninjas when they have to be. They can block off roads, they can fade in and out of the woods, they have unlimited resources. He's different than the Governor or the Termites, who had obvious constraints on weapons and manpower, and that breaks the story for me. There's no point trying to figure out what he'll do next because he's just a walking deus ex machina. The show has been edging closer and closer for awhile now, and finally flipped to 'pointless nonsense.' (Like, the CDC facility in S1 was magic bullshit, but had some kind of rules. The Governor flirted with this, but never as badly as Negan, and so on.)

All of that said: no judgment for anybody who liked this. De gustibus non disputandum est and all that. I mean, all it tells me is that we're not looking at this through the same lens, and that's cool. If we all agreed about everything 100%, the forum would be superfluous.
posted by mordax at 6:12 PM on October 24, 2016 [19 favorites]


Rick: still worse than Negan.
posted by koeselitz at 8:41 PM on October 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


Not surprised that it was Glen.

Ok with the aftermath (but... this kind of emotional hostaging used to be associated with "avant garde" euro films when I was in Iowa '96-00, where the *whispers* were that they were dodgy).

I don't have enough energy left over from my personal life to care about these people (or maybe it's following the election that's drained the gland that made this show interesting).
posted by porpoise at 10:13 PM on October 24, 2016


Daryl is dull, now, too, because he's safe as houses as he's the most popular character. They can't really DO much with him.

Well, they could have him fill Glens place instead and actually make an impact in killing him. That would not solve their horrible pacing problems and awful decision making re cliffhangers, but would make it fun for all of us bystanders who don't watch the show. The salt, tears and frustrations of people watching TWD is really entertaining, I just had hoped the show would care for their audience and make it worth their time.
I kinda hoped they would have deviated way more from the comic and go more interesting places, but it seems that the comic still has too much influence in where the show progresses to.
posted by Megustalations at 2:22 AM on October 25, 2016


The folks at The Verge posted a savage review/conversation about the "orchestrated cynicism" of the premiere and announced they'll no longer be writing about it.

I stuck with my decision to not watch after the manipulation of the S6 finale, and am so happy i did. I'll continue to not watch while following the conversation about what used to be one of my favorite shows. I remember scenes like that one wordless episode opener where the group is foraging for food and Rick comes in to see Carl and some others looking at each other trying to decide if its ok to open a can of dog food they just found, and Rick takes in the situation and then just quietly takes the dog food away. I *loved* stuff like that, and the show used to deliver those moments regularly.

I sad-watched for far too long because "hi I'm Todd I'm addicted to zombies," but they turned a huge corner last season into unredeemed schlock. I look forward to reports the writers have shocked everyone with a stunning return to sharp writing.
posted by mediareport at 4:41 AM on October 25, 2016 [6 favorites]




The narrative of the show *itself* is... okay, nihilism isn't exactly right either. I'll be precise: it's an ahistorical, anti-human, anti-civilization wankfest. The entire premise of the show is that civilization is a thin veneer over the brutality that lies in the hearts of all humanity, and that brutality is the real key to survival.

Yes to that entire comment. I can't willingly suspend my disbelief any longer. I'll give you zombies, I'll give you the Governor, I'll even stretch it to Terminus. But I do not believe that humanity is this dark. I think the vast majority of people would want to rebuild a functioning society as soon as possible and would reject the Negans of the world and throw their resources into building up places like Terminus and Hilltop. I do not recognize this vision of humanity.

I am tired of the Sisyphean realm this show is stuck in. Things were good at Herschel's farm, then zombie horde! Things were good at the prison, then the tanks roll in! Terminus offers sanctuary, but it's really run by cannibals! Alexandria can be a new home, but here comes Negan. Always back to zero, and the latest threat is always worse than the previous one.

I'd still support "nihilism" as a good description of the show's narrative. Sure, maybe Negan has a purpose, but life doesn't. Nothing you do matters. It always gets worse. There's no point in trying to build anything. There's no reason to hope things will get better. Whatever you do makes things worse. All promises are false. This is not a narrative want to spend any more time with. This is not what humans are like.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 7:11 AM on October 25, 2016 [7 favorites]


I decided I was done after feeling jerked around last season, where nothing happened for forever between ridiculous cliffhangers. Reading the recaps and commentary here and on the Verge and The Daily Beast confirmed my decision.

I'm ok with violence; I love HBO's Game of Thrones--because there, at least, each death still feels like it serves the greater plot. With The Walking Dead, each death now just feels like an indulgence in their special effects goriness, and that they think of that before any sense of character development or narrative arc. So disappointing.
posted by TwoStride at 7:17 AM on October 25, 2016 [3 favorites]


I'd still support "nihilism" as a good description of the show's narrative. Sure, maybe Negan has a purpose, but life doesn't. Nothing you do matters. It always gets worse. There's no point in trying to build anything. There's no reason to hope things will get better. Whatever you do makes things worse. All promises are false. This is not a narrative want to spend any more time with

Sounds pretty realistic to me actually. I guess most of us watch TV because we want a fantasy that will take us away from reality for a bit, which explains why I'm also done with this show as of last season's finale.
posted by some loser at 7:23 AM on October 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


each death now just feels like an indulgence in their special effects goriness, and that they think of that before any sense of character development or narrative arc. So disappointing.

I started a comment earlier but decided against it. I feel like I shouldn't be constantly comparing the show to the comics in these threads, but I can't resist here...

One of the things that made the comics great, that the show toyed with early on before we really knew the characters, was that anyone could die senselessly at any time. You're in the zombie apocalypse, people die, deal with it and move on. It gave the story a sense of realness. There was no plot related reason for a character to die - a death didn't move the story along, it didn't make sense, it didn't cause other characters to change and grow. A death didn't require a character to complete their story arc. They just died because the world is an awful, dreadful, deadly place.

And it was great.

Somewhere in season 2 the show stopped with this. Glenn's death was pre-ordained when he lost his innocence when he killed another human in cold blood. Abraham had some life changing realizations late last season where he was embracing death, then found a reason to live. Even Merle had a chance to redeem himself a little. Characters are given big goodbye story arcs, or their death pushes the plot along. They're far from senseless.
posted by 2ht at 7:51 AM on October 25, 2016 [5 favorites]


The violence torture porn, the bickering among idiots, recycled and predictable plot arcs, self-congratulatory "shockers", etc. were all enough to make me quit. But another thing that really really irked me was the complete lack of imagination. We're a few years into the apocalypse now and we have yet to meet someone that has this really figured out: say a group that cruises up and down a major river in gunboats, or one camped out on the roof of a Costco with their own garden, or just someone that has moved far enough north to let the snow freeze the walkers and enjoy a fire in a log cabin. The possibilities are endless and all we get from this fucking crapfest is a small group wandering from one disaster to another (disasters all initiated by someone doing something stupid).
posted by Ber at 8:27 AM on October 25, 2016 [13 favorites]


That would be an amazing show, Ber, but sadly it's not what the Walking Dead is about. (Read World War Z - though it mostly deals with the onset of the Zombie Apocalypse, there is some of what you describe.)

However, I would say the Saviours, and to some extent, Terminus are exactly what you describe.

We also had Morgan in his well protected safe house a few seasons back. Think he's regretting leaving yet? His mentor (sensei?) had a pretty good setup in the woods, but it took a contrived, stupid error for him to get bitten.
posted by 2ht at 9:12 AM on October 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


The torture porn is creatively bankrupt, but the reason I'm dropping the show is that it's gotten so dull, every season is starting to look the same, just a bigger Big Bad, with the core group grinding out about 3-4 episodes worth of events over 16 episodes. Nothing changes, no ideas are explored, character development is almost non-existant because there are too many damn characters, and there are too many damn characters because they feel like they have to have someone of note die at least 4-5 times a season.

So they seem to have made a conscious decision that we're never, ever, ever going to develop the world that they've created. TWD is set six months after the zombie apocalypse, it's always been six months, and it always will be six months. They'll try to develop individual characters, but collectively, the people in the show and their situation are never going to change. If they have the ratings, the show will go on for 20 seasons, and each season will be basically interchangeable with any other. They'll be driving cars with mystery gasoline, scrounging canned goods from dusty general stores and always having just enough guns and ammunition to get into and out of trouble.
posted by skewed at 9:31 AM on October 25, 2016 [9 favorites]


I get what you all are saying re: society coming back together after catastrophic events because that's what we do as a species. But I also think there have been long periods of chaos in human history caused by power struggles in the wake of such disasters. Hasn't only like 2 years passed in the TWD universe since the collapse? It doesn't seem unreasonable to me that they're still in the "holy shit, society collapsed and everything is madness" phase.

I agree that the pacing of the show is a problem, and gore is a lazy way to shock people and get everyone talking. But the crazy, sociopathic gang leader? That doesn't seem so out of the question.
posted by torisaur at 9:39 AM on October 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'd still support "nihilism" as a good description of the show's narrative. Sure, maybe Negan has a purpose, but life doesn't. Nothing you do matters. It always gets worse. There's no point in trying to build anything. There's no reason to hope things will get better. Whatever you do makes things worse. All promises are false.

Or you could have Rick and his crew making very bad choices and paying for them while trying to make life better for their Alexandria community, full of mostly decent people whom they are generally succeeding in protecting. Also while trying to start friendly trade relations with the Hilltop community, which seems full of mostly decent people. Also while two of their number just met with members of the Kingdom community, which seems full of mostly decent people as should be depicted next week.

The presence of something dark that preys upon the light does not mean the light was never there.
posted by delfin at 10:11 AM on October 25, 2016


I agree that the pacing of the show is a problem, and gore is a lazy way to shock people and get everyone talking. But the crazy, sociopathic gang leader? That doesn't seem so out of the question.

I don't think it's a question of what's plausible, or reasonable to expect given the nominal timeframe that TWD is in (I think it's supposed to be three years or something, not that that date makes sense based on the actual circumstances shown on screen). It's just about what is interesting to watch. They have nearly unlimited choices, and they went with another crazy sociopath leading a stronghold of nondescript toughs. And here's the kicker: this time he's crazier, and the stronghold is bigger!

I don't think it's implausible that a post-apocalypse would have some truly evil or just amoral types willing to kill for any perceived personal gain, or even perhaps for fun. I do think Neagan's group as portrayed so far strains suspension of disbelief (they would have to be hugely more efficient gatherers of resources than any other group we've seen to sustain the kind of operation they seem to have, and it's not clear what advantage they have other than being grimdark bad-asses), but that's not the important problem. The problem is, it doesn't look like they're doing anything beyond recycling old plotlines. Do you think they're going to develop some new ideas, explore new ground with this? It seems like such a generous assumption at this point to think that it's going to be anything more than a re-hash of stuff they've already done. Only the effects and make-up department seems at all capable of innovation on this show.

It's too bad, because so much of the show is still really high quality (good acting mostly, great casting, good to great direction/photography/editing, use of music). It's just the writing is so shitty. And that may be by design, and it may get them another 5 seasons and bajillions of dollars, and so it's not like they're definitely failing at what they're trying to do.
posted by skewed at 10:27 AM on October 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


Am sorry I watched it. I felt bad during and after and I think it comes down to as mentioned earlier that I am watching this to escape thinking about the actual evil in the world and the dreadful things people do to people. Swinging off the zombie till it's head popped off? Yes please. Some guy beating two guys to death as a message to the others, no thanks, that's right here, they're throwing gays off buildings in Iraq ffs. This televisual race to the bottom is pretty grotesque and I wish they would explore any of the thousands of possible themes fans have been suggesting for years. At this stage even if Rick really were broken, that's kind of been done and slighly wasted with Reek.
posted by Iteki at 12:14 PM on October 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


No this is great because now I can cancel my extra channels.
posted by corb at 12:16 PM on October 25, 2016 [6 favorites]


To be honest, I had much bigger problems with the cannibals (in terms of logic and plausibility) than I do Negan. I feel like there might be a lot of Negans and wannabe Negans around. I think most of them would die very quickly. But a few might make it. The cannibals, on the other hand, were so outlandishly outside the realm of normal human behavior that I just never believed it. In the comic, the cannibals were driven by famine, which is very believable. In the show, they were just like...jerks, I guess. A dude might eat people for the hell of it, but a whole community of people who eat people because why not? Come on, no.

In terms of what's interesting, I would love to see the show become increasingly bizarre and Mad Max-like. I think people would only get weirder as the reality of their new world really set in. I don't know that this show is willing to shake up its status quo that much, though.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 2:00 PM on October 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


I get what you all are saying re: society coming back together after catastrophic events because that's what we do as a species. But I also think there have been long periods of chaos in human history caused by power struggles in the wake of such disasters. Hasn't only like 2 years passed in the TWD universe since the collapse? It doesn't seem unreasonable to me that they're still in the "holy shit, society collapsed and everything is madness" phase.

Well stated. I haven't watched this episode yet, but for me grim nihilist pessimism would actually be a selling point. Back in Season 2, I decided that what this show was about was not survival or plucky humans coming back from a catastrophe to rebuild civilization but rather a portrayal of an inexorable slow-motion extinction event. Which is really interesting to me since it's NOT the typical post-apocalyptic plotline. I don't have to believe that real-world people or human nature are actually like this; they just are in this particular 'verse. And people are trying to re-establish order; it just seems like this world in general hit a tipping point and that's all she wrote. I may look in at the first few eps this season since I do think Our Folks being in a situation where they are well and truly fucked, caused in part by their own hubris and arrogance, is probably a good development -- if it's handled with some level of competence, which may be doubtful.

It's the execution that drove me crazy: shoddy writing, stupid cheap tricks (Glenn + dumpster, idiotic cliffhanger, etc.), loss of interesting ideas, "let's kill off all the people of color" weirdness, insultingly implausible character development like Carol's absurd recent guilt trip or the Rick/Michonne romance. But the show has had its moments -- the Carol, Lizzie, Mika, Tyreese episode was incredibly well done. Morgan's great, if irritating.
posted by FelliniBlank at 4:51 PM on October 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


And here's the kicker: this time he's crazier, and the stronghold is bigger!

Do we really know much about how big Negan's stronghold is? We've seen a scouting party get blown up, an outpost get overrun by Rick's crew, and then this latest large group. There's a potential that we're still just seeing the limbs of a much larger community.

I guess I still see a glimmer of hope for seeing more world-building in the proclamation from Jesus last season that the world of Rick's group just got a lot bigger.

The show definitely taps into that Mad Max over-the-top comic-ness for its world, something that Fear the Walking Dead has stayed away from so far. It will be interesting to see if the shows continue to diverge on that, since FTWD doesn't have the roadmap of the comics to draw from.
posted by jimw at 8:18 PM on October 25, 2016


Here's the thing:

Zombie fiction emerged from the world of comics and pulp fiction and B movies. Which is to say, it has always had an element of exploitation and vulgarity. It has rarely, if ever, brushed with literary or cinematic greatness in the way that, say, the best sci-fi has.

But TWD – the show, I mean; I have very limited exposure to the comics – seemed poised to become the grown-up zombie story. The zombie story which accepted the fantastic premise of the genre – a world overrun by the undead – but took its human characters, and the world they lived in, seriously. (Just as the best sci-fi accepts fantastic premises – superluminal propulsion, alien life, time travel, advanced artificial intelligence – yet approaches its characters and cultures thoughtfully and maturely and artfully.)

At times, TWD came tantalizingly close to delivering on that promise. But it never quite got there – and, too often, it fell dreadfully short.

I've kept watching because I kept seeing glimpses of a truly great show. But, at this point, I see no reason to believe that it will ever become the show I want it to be – to the contrary, it's being doing its damnedest for the last two seasons (at least) to prove that it won't.

I don't follow the inside-baseball stuff very closely, but part of the problem seems to be Kirkman – who may be a very fine comics writer (I wouldn't know), but doesn't seem to know shit about cinematic storytelling. Another part is that the showrunners seem to be more interested in visual FX and "whoa did you see that zombie get blasted in the head, fuck yeah" scenes than they are in story, or believable/coherent character development, or not straight-up insulting their audience.

If zombie fiction is still a thing in 20 or 30 years, maybe we'll finally get the mature post-apocalyptic drama that I've been hoping to see when I tune in to TWD. But right now, the genre is about where TV sci-fi was in the 1960s.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 9:21 PM on October 25, 2016 [3 favorites]


A dude might eat people for the hell of it, but a whole community of people who eat people because why not? Come on, no.

Why don't we discuss this over dinner? Bring a friend!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:32 PM on October 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


Potato planet: wait til the movie The Girl With All the Gifts comes out. Actually no, everyone read the book and let's meet back up in the FanFare after the movie comes out?

I told my mom I wasn't watching anymore because Issue 100 is where I got physically ill. AND CRIED. And screamed "fuck you to death, Robert KIRKMAN!!!" But dry-heaved through maybe 3-4 more issues before breaking up forever with the comics.

There are interesting zombie/apocalypse stories still being written, but TWD isn't one of them.

My mom was so excited Sunday night:

Mom: Are you watching Walking Dead?

Me: no I'm done fuck Robert KIRKMAN

Mom: Well I have to watch season premiere!!!!

Me: I hope you handle it better than I did. I don't know if I can watch it anymore
And you know how I feel about zombies ❤️☠️

About 25 minutes in, she texted me this:

Ugh! Understand now. It was so poor brutal!

Me: I'm sorry 😭

Mom: It was very graphic & horrifying maybe next week The Strain instead yep

Me: Glenn

I have one of these "cool horror moms" in her mid-60s who also drives a school bus, so zombies and vampires ain't shit to her. It's fun to do scares with her and now we can both move on... maybe I'll get her addicted to Z Nation next.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 10:16 PM on October 25, 2016 [3 favorites]


Back in Season 2, I decided that what this show was about was not survival or plucky humans coming back from a catastrophe to rebuild civilization but rather a portrayal of an inexorable slow-motion extinction event.

That makes sense, but I have to disagree that the show ever really demonstrated any of this. TWD zombies are pretty clearly not an extinction level event. Rather than going into exhaustive detail about how much walkers suck against even Carl, the most obvious evidence is this:

FTWD fast forwarded through the fall of civilization. TWD zombies defeating the modern military is so implausible they had to just gloss over it because the writers couldn't offer us anything *even after they said they would*. I can't visualize a scenario where we lose that does not rely on Three Stooges levels of military incompetence, and it's clear they couldn't either.

A good inexorable slow-motion extinction event comes from something we could never change. Like, Threads is a great example. People can fight the end all they want there, nothing's going to help.

These? Eh. Not so much?

I don't have to believe that real-world people or human nature are actually like this; they just are in this particular 'verse.

This is a legitimate point.

The thing about it is this: breaks from reality only work if the audience is entertained. For instance, when I watched Alien, I wasn't too concerned with the ridiculous life cycle of the xenomorph because the movie is fantastic: good pacing, good scares, Sigourney Weaver. Everything clicks. I consider Alien to be basically a perfect horror movie, and so I don't care that the xenomorph reproductive process doesn't make any sense. It's not important. Ditto Aliens. I love that movie, so I don't care about plot holes. Plot holes? Game over for anybody who brings up plot holes to me.

Skip to Alien Resurrection, which I consider boring and schlocky and dreadful, and suddenly? I'm noticing how dumb the 'science' side of the science fiction is. Same universe, but whatever. (See also my love of Deep Space Nine, compared to my deep seated exasperation with Star Trek Voyager. Same universe, same rules, only one grated my nerves until I had to quit watching.)

When a ton of people truly *mind* the seams and holes in a universe like this, that's when the writers have failed to do every other part of their job, not just characterization.

But the show has had its moments -- the Carol, Lizzie, Mika, Tyreese episode was incredibly well done. Morgan's great, if irritating.

It did. I don't, like, want 100+ hours of my life back. Well, maybe everything that happened on the farm...
posted by mordax at 11:05 PM on October 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


In the comic, the cannibals were driven by famine, which is very believable

This is exactly how they played it in the show too.
posted by agregoli at 8:36 AM on October 26, 2016



In the comic, the cannibals were driven by famine, which is very believable

This is exactly how they played it in the show too.


Well the show also had the "mass trauma derangement" angle; it implied that the Terminus folks had been building a peaceful community, but trusted the wrong people and were taken over and brutalized/murdered/starved/raped by a gang of baddies. Somehow they took Terminus back and in the process started taking the whole "you're either the butcher or the cattle" attitude very literally.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 11:46 AM on October 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


Anyway I'm failing to see what was either especially terrible about this episode or especially violent; to me it seemed pretty much of a piece with the rest of the series. Possibly because I tend to respond to the zombie gore the same as the human gore--I never can get it out of my head that the zombies are just regular people who've had LITRLY the Worst luck, so watching them get torn apart always seems awful.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 11:50 AM on October 26, 2016 [3 favorites]


Yes, they did, but they also have at least one line (And I think two) from the Terminus people about how hungry they've been. So it's not like they abandoned that idea of where the cannibalism came from.

This brutality was far worse to me than anything we've seen so far in the series. I think because it was surrounded by lazy, lazy, LAZY writing, worse than we've ever seen as well.
posted by agregoli at 12:31 PM on October 26, 2016


Zombie fiction emerged from the world of comics and pulp fiction and B movies. Which is to say, it has always had an element of exploitation and vulgarity. It has rarely, if ever, brushed with literary or cinematic greatness in the way that, say, the best sci-fi has.


I don't know that this is true. I suppose we must define our terms: There were the original zombie stories, about Haitian animated corpses that were used for slave labor, but the primary examples I can think of of that are I Walked With a Zombie, which is based on Jane Eyre and directed by the superlative Jacques Tourneur, White Zombie, which I agree is pretty pulpy, and King of the Zombies, which managed both to be pulpy and win an Oscar for best soundtrack.

But there are only related to modern zombie movies by a coincidence of the monsters being called zombies. The modern zombie movie starts with George Romero, and Night of the Living Dead is an undisputed masterpiece, as is Dawn of the Dead, and I think Day of the Dead has come to be seen as a minor masterpiece. And Romero's primary influence was the great I Am Legend by the great Richard Matheson.

I agree that the movies inspired by Romero have tended to be lurid in ways that classical science fiction isn't -- Fulci's Zombie films, which pretend to be sequels to Romero's, are just essays in ingenious representations of rotting bodies destroying healthy bodies. And they have tended to have a stranger sense of humor than mainstream films, such as the Return of the Living Dead films, which actually are semi-official sequels to Romero, and are wonderfully bananas. But I would argue that the zombie genre starts with literary and cinematic greatness and has made its way back with great frequency. One need merely look at films like 28 Days Later and Pontypool and novels like The Forest of Hands and Teeth and The Last Bastion of the Living to see that the genre has never strayed that far from its actual origins, which are in socially conscious, sometimes satiric, often exceptionally realized visions of humanity fraying at the moment of mass disaster.
posted by maxsparber at 2:36 PM on October 26, 2016 [4 favorites]


Interestingly, though, I don't think TWD works as any kind of satire of/meaningful commentary upon real life at all. It's just pulp (however fashionably dressed in the skin of a prestige cable drama) in a way that something like the original Dawn of the Dead is not. I really do consider it a shaggy dog story. There's nothing wrong with that, and in all seriousness this less sophisticated approach has everything to do with why The Walking Dead has made its creators fantastic sums of money. In a generation, we've gone from social satire zombie movies that kids would watch only after their parents were safely asleep to the zombie story as conservative parable about the importance of guns and family (and guns!) that the entire household watches together on a Sunday evening. That's quite a trick, when you think about it.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:09 PM on October 26, 2016 [4 favorites]


A+ for bringing up Forest of Hands and Teeth, Maxsparber. Another trope-defying zombie work of fiction, IMO. I haven't finished book three, but the first of the trilogy: WOWSERS!
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 9:41 PM on October 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


Back in Season 2, I decided that what this show was about was not survival or plucky humans coming back from a catastrophe to rebuild civilization but rather a portrayal of an inexorable slow-motion extinction event.

Thomas Disch was ahead of the game in 1965 with The Genocides.
posted by larrybob at 11:56 AM on October 28, 2016


I read spoilers and reviews and waited until I'd had a chance to digest, because I knew it was going to be bad. MrsMogur wanted to see it, so I agreed to finally watch, after I'd done all I could to prepare, but...

...here I am, sitting up in bed trying not to freak out because I've been triggered ten ways from Sunday (small for my age, bullied through school, it never really goes away). Fuck, this is bad. I stopped GoT because of Ramsay Bolton, and now I'm stopping TWD because of Negan. I took a pill, I'm hoping to be able to sleep tonight.
posted by Mogur at 5:33 PM on October 28, 2016


*hugs Mogur*
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 9:30 PM on October 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


Right. At some point the central concept of the show became "What if... people were JUST AWFUL to each other?"

and it's like yeah what if
posted by Rat Spatula at 10:06 PM on October 28, 2016 [5 favorites]


Danai Gurira on Steven Yuen (Facebook post)
posted by larrybob at 12:50 PM on October 29, 2016


In a generation, we've gone from social satire zombie movies that kids would watch only after their parents were safely asleep to the zombie story as conservative parable about the importance of guns and family (and guns!) that the entire household watches together on a Sunday evening. That's quite a trick, when you think about it.

I love you Fanfare nuts so much and there's a ton of great stuff in this thread but the above may be the sharpest take I've ever seen on this stupid show.
posted by mediareport at 3:19 AM on November 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


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