Dull developments weigh down ‘Walking Dead’
It’s not quite the same disconcerting and dramatic zombie apocalypse show that you remember. That’s been evident since the start of Season 8 of “The Walking Dead,” a largely uneven adaptation of the long “All Out War” arc from the source comics. It is, as the title suggests, a no-holds-barred, unbridled confrontation between feuding camps—and that can get dull pretty quickly.
Ex-cop Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) has convinced three separate communities to rise up against the Saviors, a tyrannical tribe led by the baseball bat-wielding executioner, Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan).
Feared and hated, Negan nevertheless commands a devoted army of hundreds. Together, they’ve caused irreparable damage to Rick’s group since the previous season, killing some of its members and eventually subjugating the peace-loving community of Alexandria.
The ongoing horror-drama series (airing Mondays on Fox, 11:30 a.m.) shifts into a more explosive, action-heavy show, with prolonged gunfights, to boot. So, how has the long-awaited retaliation, and the change of pace been? Some spoilers ahead.
Rick’s declaration of war—where he seems to deliver an impassioned speech every other episode—has galvanized the communities that have become havens to some of his friends from Alexandria.
The war starts with guns blazing, with well-orchestrated plans finally coming to fruition. Then, there’s more of the chaos, unending hails of bullets and explosions. And, bafflingly, it’s become utterly boring!
Moreover, some characters have gotten annoying. Negan is more a pesky villain now, considerably less frightening than the brutal bogeyman he used to be. Time is wasted on some uninteresting developments, specifically when Rick tries to convince the double-crossing “garbage people,” led by the eccentric Jadis (Pollyanna McIntosh). It eventuallly pays off, but getting there is quite a confounding challenge.
Still, the most frustrating development so far happens in the midseason finale, where it is revealed that teenage Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs) has been bitten by a zombie—which always leads to death in this mythology. Unless they suddenly come up with a miracle cure, Carl will die when the show returns in a few months.
Removing Carl—a major character in the series—is a mistake, according to puzzled fans, as he is supposed to figure heavily in coming storylines. (In the published comic books, he has a sexual relationship with a major adversary’s daughter in one arc.)
Riggs’ own father, William, posted—and later deleted—a rant on Facebook, which revealed that the young actor was fired by showrunner Scott Gimple weeks before Carl turned 18, and after buying a house near the show’s Georgia location.
Angry fans have launched a petition, calling for the firing of Gimple, who stated in an interview that Carl’s future stories will still be made using other characters.
It won’t be the same, as “The Walking Dead” is largely about Rick and Carl Grimes’ shared journey—they’re the two “untouchables” in this tale of carnage and survival. Deviations from the print version happen all the time, but this sort of change is something that may inflict irrevocable damage on the show.
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