“Don’t Look Back…” said the fan that just changed the channel.
I have to admit I’ve had a bit of an on again, off again relationship with The Walking Dead lately. Not that I’ve missed any episodes mind-you, as the magic of DVR allows my wife and I to catch a few episodes during our typical nights of binge watching after the kiddies have been put to bed. However, after the events of earlier seasons took the gang from the green pastures of Hirschel’s farm to the cold, dark walls of the prison, I’ve been struggling to maintain interest.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve watched many episodes that have been an edge of your seat, heart-pounding thrill ride. Problem is, others have been just…meh. I can’t believe I’m the only one who has felt this, as the series has struggled to maintain a certain level of suspense in later seasons. In fact, this seems an issue that the show’s producers themselves have also picked up on. We recently saw the events of the mid-season finale turn the cozy world our cast has worked so hard to build upside, and throw them back out onto the road in a mad scramble to survive. While it tied up some loose ends, it also jolted us out of a stale story-arch at the prison, and into a much needed change of pace. Star Andrew Lincoln (who plays Rick) recently commented on the new direction the second half of the season will take us. “It’s not only a change of pace, but what it does is it rewards the audience that perhaps doesn’t know about certain characters’ backstories and histories. There are some very witty pairings is what I will say. Really, really witty…It’s a very different tone for the show and I think you learn a lot. It’s very character driven, very soulful — much more reminiscent of the first season.” Said Lincoln.
And with one well executed mid-season finale, the show just re-hooked a less-than-interested fan.
Lincoln’s description about it being “…reminiscent of the first season” is very important here. I never had the chance to read the graphic novel before the show debuted, and in an attempt not to spoil future potential plot points, I’m holding off on picking them up. So it’s quite accurate to say I’m flying blind with this series. The first few seasons were great, but it seems that after that, we began a steady decline toward a wash, rinse, repeat attitude. The zombie hordes that were so terrifying at first simply became set-dressing. They’ve increasingly lost their luster and simply don’t pose much of a threat anymore (it’s almost like watching them shoot fish in a barrel at this point). I mean, we just spent a large portion of the past season fighting one of the most terrifying threats the cast has ever faced: the flu.
When catching a cold is your hardest driving plot device, it might be time for a page one rewrite.
However, with the Governor blowing the shit out of everything Rick has struggled to maintain (including his own sanity) I can honestly say my interest is peaked. I can’t be sure that by the end of the season my love for the series will be completely rejuvenated, but this new direction is certainly a step in the right direction.
I like where we’re going here Walking Dead. This time, let’s actually get somewhere.