Opinion: The deteriorating state of The Walking Dead

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From witnessing the brutal bludgeoning of Glenn by yet another newly reintroduced antagonist -Negan- in season seven to attempting to make sense of the dwindling plot relevance of The Walking Dead (TWD), the show has encountered an impasse with its fans.

TWD’s followers are now at a bottleneck in the show. Do they remain on the zombie bandwagon that they’ve ridden for over five years, or do cut-off all ties with the show entirely?

My two cents? It’s not worth your time.

Jeffery Dean Morgan (Negan) stares down Rick Grimes during the season seven premiere. Negan has been perhaps the most brutal and unrelenting character the show has seen yet.

Jeffery Dean Morgan (Negan) stares down Rick Grimes during the season seven premiere. Negan has been perhaps the most brutal and unrelenting character the show has seen yet.

Now, that isn’t to say that TWD has had some great moments, although they are sparsely placed throughout its convoluted storyline. Indeed, the pilot introduced into a unique narrative of the ever-popular zombie genre. Glenn (may he forever rest in peace) was introduced along with the protagonist, Rick Grimes in a original manner with their paths coincidentally intertwined when Grimes rode into the heart of Atlanta on a horse only to be swarmed by a massive amount of ‘walkers.’

In a panicked stupor, Grimes locates a tank after his horse was hijacked before acquiring a walkie-talkie inside its hull which chimed, “Hey Asshole. Yeah you—in the tank” courtesy of Glenn. From there, season one was history with the introduction of Carol, Maryl, Daryl and other instrumental characters to the show.

But this is precisely were TWD fails to acknowledge perhaps one of its most incremental flaws: character development.

For example, Rick Grimes is a one-dimensional character if you take the time to survey his story arc. He awakens in a hospital that is on the verge of being overrun by zombies (yes, for all validating purposes, we’re going to leave out the ‘walker’ distinction) after suffering a harrowingly close encounter with criminals in a prior scene. From this moment forward, Grimes suffers many losses, including the death of his wife, betrayals, deaths and despondent followers on a frequent basis.

Still, our favorite ex-sheriff’s (or is he, really?) persona remains the same—the same reluctant, vacillating and innocuous character that we have been accustomed to throughout the series.

This season is no different.

After Negan -who is perhaps the most formidable foe we have seen on the show, which lends to its lack of a plot in prior seasons- murders Rick’s friends in cold blood, he sees hardly any resistance to speak of, except for a wary and entirely complacent character Rick Grimes that succumbs to his every whim.

In terms of the plot, or lack thereof; the closest the audience has gotten to quantifying how TWD world fell into a zombie apocalyptic era of chaos was during the underwhelming finale from the first season. We are still in the dark as to how all of this got started.

Case in point, too many questions abound for this wavering show. According to TV by the Numbers, TWD has seen about a 35% decrease in ratings since the premier of season seven—from approximately 17 to 11 million viewers in just four episodes. Their fans are fed up and tired with the poor storyline and lack of depth in a show that requires too much emotional investment.

It will be intriguing to see where Kirkman takes the show moving forward. Will he take a different approach or stay with the familiar narrative of ambiguous story narratives and lack of quality characters?

Only time will tell.

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