The season opener of The Walking Dead attempted to satisfy millions of viewers’ six month long hunger for a satisfactory resolution to the cliff hanger at the end of last season. It had one job: show us who Negan kills and make us feel something besides utterly duped. This season opener was supposed to be a turning point for the show; it upped the ante on the savagery of man in the Walker universe and could have sent a message to the audience: no one, not even your fan favorites are safe. If vieweres are comfortable sitting through essentially twenty minutes of narrative foreplay, their approach may have been effective. Blood pressures may have slowly risen the more Negan monologued and the more Rick looked weak and distressed, but for the tolerant and the patient, the tension would have all been worth it with the first whack of Lucille against Abraham’s ginger head. Did they go big enough? Abraham may have not quite been a big enough blow to the Ricktator squad, leaving fans somewhat unsatisfied, but it set up an effective red herring and misdirect to the most painful blow of the night, Glenn. Of course then they had to push it too far and muddle both deaths in the confusion of a hypothetical series of blows to the rest of the gang. The writers did not leave viewers with enough space to grieve- and other than the two deaths, nothing really happened.

Sonalee Joshi

Sonalee is a fourth year student in the College of LSA with an Honors major in Biopsychology, Cognition, & Neuroscience with a Sweetland Minor in Writing.

3 thoughts to “Adhoc Annotation- SPOILERS FOR THE WALKING DEAD”

  1. Hah I like this: “Show us who Negan kills and make us feel something besides utterly duped.”
    Also this: “the tension would have all been worth it with the first whack of Lucille against Abraham’s ginger head.”
    Hilarious. I would read all of your reviews.
    Judging by where your annotation goes by the end, though, it sort of seemed like you thought the show had another purpose: to shock the audience and also to make us sad! Your language suggests that didn’t work on you (are you going to miss Abraham’s ginger head?) and I agree the “narrative foreplay” was a little much, as was the hypothetical bopping-the-heads-of-everyone moment (I fell for that…) The sacrifice of Glen in the show might not have been the best move, either – since we’ve already grieved for Glen once (his fake death from Season 6), that might play a role in our response.
    I thought your transparency was great; you take a clear risk of sounding insensitive about the brutal murder in the show, but I really like the way you showed your thought process.

  2. I couldn’t agree more about the severe drop-off in quality this show has experienced the past few seasons and this review sums up nicely what has gone wrong – there is no breathing room, no time , just action action action that somehow still feels like nothing really happened. However, I would’ve liked to see a little more depth given into the show’s purpose: I think it extends beyond showing us who got killed and shocking us, and I think that’s part of why this episode felt so underwhelming. At its best, the Walking Dead has given us small personal vignettes ripe with character moments and realistic reactions to the horrifying narrative circumstances they’re in, and for this episode to double down on the idea that all anyone wants is a shocking resolution to last season’s cliffhanger is exactly the show’s ongoing problem. It’s similar, in fact, to what I wrote about in my blog, and a problem that almost every long-running TV show eventually faces: in an attempt to broaden their audience and appeal, they turn into something totally different than what they were initially conceived to be and in doing so actually alienate the loyal core audience that made them popular in the first place. So you may be right, maybe this episode’s purpose was just satisfying resolution to a cliffhanger, but that right there already sabotages their chance of producing a successful Walking Dead episode.

  3. This is great! The images you create definitely remind me of what I saw back in season 2 (the last time I watched the show): rick looking distressed, etc. I would’ve liked to hear more of your ideas on what you believe the intentions of the episode were. You do a good job focusing on what the audience would have liked and your takeaways from watching it, but I would like your analysis on what the producers/writers/whoever is in charge here probably meant to accomplish in this episode and possibly going forward with the bigger picture. As an example, you touched on it briefly with “it upped the ante on the savagery of man” — this was really good insight, I think.

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