The Walking Dead: Is there too much going on?
Robert Kirkman’s brainchild is all about excess. And overkill. And ticking people off.
How much is too much?
Based on common sense and experience, it’s not unreasonable to believe we have a pretty good grasp of what “too much” means. Between you, me and every other reader out there, we can attach a reasonable answer to the question in pretty short order.
Take common sense for example: We know when there is too much salt on our food, when it’s too cold to go outside without a jacket, when you’re too tired to concentrate on something. Pretty basic stuff.
On the flip side, the concept of “too much” is not so easy to discern when it comes to some of our television preferences … and especially so with our favorite shows.
Already in The Walking Dead‘s current season’s second half, there’s been a bevy of examples of excess. And many of them have elicited its fans’ displeasure. (This isn’t exactly news to anyone; the show has been doing so from its inception, a big part of its draw and watchability.)
Recent events have caused fans (read “angry villagers”) to wield their pitchforks and lit torches on a vocal little stroll down Main Street, U.S.A.
Too Much Immediacy
With the series leaving us last year mourning Beth’s untimely demise, the writers immediately offered an interesting episode (“What Happened And What’s Going On”) to start the second half of the season with yet another death, this time fan-favorite Tyreese. Coming so quickly on the heels of Beth’s exit, you could practically hear fans gnashing their teeth. Was this too much too soon? Are the writers that heartless? Do they get their rocks off pegging us with multiple deaths back-to-back, barely giving us time to breathe?
No, not at all. It was the perfect time. It kept things flowing and interesting and it keeps us on the edge of our seats. Not to mention it makes for good drama. And it’s not as if it hasn’t been done before — Dale and Shane were “offed” in consecutive episodes during season 2. The show’s Powers That Be aren’t setting any precedents.
But still … too much too soon? That’s what a lot of fans harped about on social media, blogs and other forums concerning Tyreese’s downfall. Just goes to show you can’t please everyone all of the time.
As far as I’m concerned, it’s those gut punches and their ramifications that keep the show’s comfortabilities at bay and our senses tuned. Me? I didn’t have a problem with it. It’s part of what The Walking Dead is. If you’re a fan, you come to expect the unexpected. So, no … it wasn’t too much.
Too Much Monotony
This is one of my pet peeves. And not about the show itself, but of the fans’ attitudes toward it.
To many, last week’s “Them” was filled with plodding and tiresome nothingness. Some of the things I read and heard? “Not much action.” “Boring.” “Little story.” “It’s as if the group was doing nothing but huffing it on down a highway aimlessly.”
And therein lies my peeve. Because there was so much more to the episode.
The group was fresh from a confrontation at Grady Memorial where they successfully won back Carol but lost Beth in the process. They were still reeling from Bob’s fate at the hands of the Terminans not to mention the ruckus of that particular house of horrors. And now? Tyreese is gone. The group, as a whole, is woefully affected on deeply personal levels, particularly so in the cases of Daryl, Maggie and Sasha whose feelings have been especially riven and rent raw as a result of the loss of their loved ones. But wait, there’s more: Throw in everyone’s depletion from lack of food and water and you have yourself a real party going on. Each person is spent to their cores. Does the situation cry for a splatter-fest fracas with the undead?
No. It calls for introspection and understanding of the characters, some healing of those frayed nerves, sometimes in the form of emotional outlet. In whatever form that outlet might take. And, again, that’s just what the writers gave us. They slowed the pace of the show for the greater part of an episode and, as an audience, got us to take a step backward and evaluate the position these emotionally crippled and physically exhausted folks are feeling.
It’s called character study. I applaud it. And I’m certain I’m in the minority.
Most fans want the action, the splatter, the danger … every single episode. And I get that to a degree. It’s all well and fine to get caught up in a show. I do it all the time. But in something like The Walking Dead there’s a whole lot more going on then just the blood and guts, which is my least favorite part. Getting to the heart of the characters and their interactions with others as well as the ramifications of their actions … that’s where the real meat and potatoes of the series is for me. As example, Rick’s introspection and decisions. Glenn’s lay-it-on-the-line common sense. Michonne’s rare, in-your-face sensibility. (We saw example of this big time in Sunday’s episode during her discussions with Rick.) Daryl’s seeming off-the-cuff outbursts which, when you dissect them, can often reveal more wisdom than knee-jerk reaction.
So is there too much monotony when an episode like “Them” comes along to slow down the pace? Hell no. It’s completely necessary to the story.