Big Reveal on ‘The Walking Dead’ Isn’t Enough to Redeem the Show

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Spoiler Warning for The Walking Dead Season 8, Episode 8: ‘How It’s Gotta Be’

I never thought that there’d be a time when I’d miss the farm season of The Walking Dead. However, that’s exactly the point we’re at now with this show, which just aired its 8th midseason finale. The big reveal, and only memorable moment of this episode, was finding out that Carl was bitten by a walker. Why viewers had to sit through took 90 minutes of nonsense to get to it, I’ll never know.

Inconsistent writing has been slowly killing The Walking Dead. I expressed my feelings about this after last week’s episode in my latest TV Rant, but watched the midseason finale with hope; hope that it would get better. It turns out we’ll have to wait till 2018.

It’s tragic that a once incredible show has devolved into an endless cycle of monologues, and the same “we kill” vs. “we don’t kill” debates.

The Walking Dead. Source: AMC.
Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Carl (Chandler Riggs) on The Walking Dead. Source: AMC.

Why did we waste pretty much all of the previous episode with Rick negotiating poorly to win over the Garbage Pail Kids, when they literally scattered and disappeared after 2 minutes of this week’s episode? Maybe the writers did this so they can bring the GPK back during the second half of the season, but why even bother? They’ve added almost nothing of substance to the storyline thus far.

The fact that the writers may not entirely know what they want to do with the show, is becoming more apparent. The actors themselves are all phenomenal, but because of the weak writing, many scenes are often cringeworthy. For instance, we saw Rick and Negan face off again in a horribly choreographed fight scene. There was a point when Rick grabs Lucille and could ended Negan, but instead gives him a little love tap with the handle. Negan then throws Rick out the window, but lets Rick hobble away instead of just walking five steps out the door and stopping him.

Negan’s forces stopped Maggie and Co. in the middle of a road, then pointed their guns at the equally well-armed Alexandrians with no fire being exchanged. There was no attempt to resist, or escape, or fight back. Then the Saviors parked a truck in front of Maggie’s car ever so slowly, popped out, then had a conversation. After some threats are made, the Saviors kill one of the Alexandrians, then let Maggie, Jesus, and the rest go. Maggie then returns home and executes one of the Savior prisoners to avenge her own fallen comrade. Why even pick now, of all times to pull this crap? Especially when they may need bargaining chips in the future? Or need the sympathy of the Savior prisoners in case Alexandria falls and may have to rely on their mercy. Instead, we see the same 0 to 100 personality change that we’ve seen for 8 seasons straight. Just like Morgan (missing for most of the episode) going from crazy, to pacifist, to crazy again.

Rick (Andrew Lincoln), The Walking Dead. Source: AMC.
Rick (Andrew Lincoln) on The Walking Dead. Source: AMC.

We also saw several self-sacrifice moments in one episode, but only one of those actually paid off for viewers. Ezekiel freed his people, then as they were escaping, locked himself behind the gates to buy them time. But there was just something so awkward about that scene. Carol letting out an almost completely unenthusiastic “don’t!” before Ezekiel locked himself in with the Saviors. The other one we saw was Michonne unnecessarily walking into Alexandria for some reason, and closing the manhole cover behind her as the others escaped. Why didn’t she just go with them? I think the writers wanted to demonstrate that Michonne felt guilt for what befell her community. But why is she the only one acting this way? It wasn’t even her fault. Didn’t she walk out on Daryl and Tara’s plan last minute, during last week’s episode? She left because she couldn’t live with herself if something went wrong as a result of her actions. So why on earth are we focusing on her guilt now when they wrote in a scene that would vindicate her of it? Even if she felt guilty, the community escaped. So why stroll into Alexandria again for no gain or tactical advantage?

Carl’s sacrifice was the only one that really resonated. Seeing the once, small brat become an adult, willing to die for those in the community was powerful. Of course, we find out at the end that Carl was already a dead-man-walking after having been bitten by a walker. This however, doesn’t take away from Carl’s bravery, or the fact that he’s grown so much as a character during the past eight years. Carl has been one of the most consistent characters on The Walking Dead and it’ll be a shame to see him go. Here’s hoping that they don’t stretch out his death for five more episodes.

 

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