There are so many problems with this idiot show. For the record, I don’t even watch the Walking Dead; I sat in on the occasional episode while my parents and sister binge-watched all the previous 6 seasons. And despite this, like the asshole I am, I obviously know everything I need to know about the show to write a pretentious and cynical review of Season 7 Episode 1.
I left to write this review after Negan lined everybody up with menacing intent for like the third time, partly because it was deeply affecting (and let’s not lie, it really was), but also because I was fed up. And the review I read ensured I didn’t miss anything that would contravene my hypothesis, and didn’t really need to see the end of the episode at all.
The elements of this episode lined up before the crosshairs of my article like the main characters stumbling into Negan’s mind-numbingly excessive, unrealistic and overpowered traps. What we consuming this week is the pure distilled misery of characters that we’ve grown connected to through the character-driven labour of seasons past, suffering utterly unmoored from trivialities like, you know, story. Because the character of Negan makes no fucking sense.
What the fuck kind of apocalypse-scarcity humanity-extinction operation is he running? The kind where you can afford to tire out your potential manpower on hysterically unnecessary metaphorical jaunts? The kind where killing people left right and centre in the most horrifying and brutal way possible not only convinces them to team up with you, but also leaves them even a tiny bit emotionally stable enough to effectively labour for you? Or like, doesn’t take 10 years off their lives with the stress you’re putting them through?
The kind of operation where the work environment isn’t so violent and toxic there would likely be daily violence amongst your own men? The kind where you would somehow have enough resources to waste fuel left right and centre, but also feed your whole crew while your haul is only half the resources from individuals who have the darndest time finding their own dwindling supplies in a world of constant scarcity? The kind where you, o uber-cruel evil leader, are so mary-sue that you cannot be hurt despite being moronically reckless on an hourly basis?
I could go on, but won’t. If this show was ever good, it is no longer. In a way it’s beautiful, the way what used to be a gritty and psychologically realistic drama became the purest form of metaphor. The cumulative 30+ minutes where everyone has to stare at traumatizing things being done to the body of another character they love is a microcosm for everything the show has become–a shambling, undead, grotesque version of its former self.