Wednesday, 17 February 2016

The Walking Dead: "No Way Out"

I don't talk about individual episodes of tv shows here.  Hell, I don't really talk about much of anything here anymore.  But I really need to get this off of my chest.  I know I'm not breaking new ground by saying this, but the latest episode of The Walking Dead was really, really dumb.

Needless to say, there are spoilers ahead. But I honestly don't see how I could "ruin" something that already sucks.  I know you might think you understand how stupid this was. But I really need you to appreciate just how much more stupid this was than anyone thought it could be.

This wasn't just bad for a Walking Dead episode. This was such idiotic misery, I'd swear I was watching 2 Broke Girls.

So, Darryl, Sasha and Abraham are driving a truck on the road when they're stopped by some bikers.  They're Bad Guys and they're Mean and they're gonna take your stuff and Kill You because they're Bad Guys.  Incidentally, Greg Nicotero is four years old.

And so is Robert Kirkman.

One of them tells the group that they're going to rob them and then probably kill them.  Nah, just kidding.  But not really.  But yeah, he's just joshing you guys, he wouldn't do that.  But on second thought, he will.  Or not. DRAMA!

One of the bikers leads Darryl behind the truck for some reason.  There's a tense standoff, the bikers are about to just kill them for no reason, and then they explode.

No build-up. No warning. They just blow up.

If you're confused, that's because you have a functioning brain.  It turns out Darryl had a bazooka.  Immediately, whatever threat posed to the group is eradicated.  I guess whenever the writer doesn't know how to get the characters out of a tense situation, they just get a video game power-up.  Now I'm really on the edge of my seat!  Maybe next episode, God just comes down and kills all the zombies for them.  If they're going to kill all of the tension by giving the protagonists cartoon super-weapons, why don't they just give everyone lightsabers?  They might as well.  If they could afford pyrotechnics like that, they could probably have sprung for an actual shark for Darryl to jump over.

And then we find out that he killed the biker that escorted him behind the truck, but Darryl got stabbed in the shoulder.  And at no point during this encounter did either him or his attacker make any sort of sounds of a struggle.  And none of the other bikers noticed him walking back with a bazooka aimed squarely at them.

The explosion somehow did not hurt Sasha or Abraham, but was somehow also contained perfectly in the radius of the Bad Biker Dudes.  In fact, the blast managed to cleanly decapitate the lead Bad Biker Guy.  Because that's how explosions work.  He later uses this rocket launcher to set a pond on fire to distract the zombies that have invaded the town.  But this loud noise and spectacle somehow does not attract new zombies from outside. Only the ones that are within five feet of it notice or care.

That is a very specific level of distraction.

Meanwhile, back at who cares, Rick and the group are walking through a herd of zombies in sheets covered in fleshy bits and muck to disguise their scent. They keep stopping to change their plans to go to literally any place that has four walls and a roof.  Hours pass, and it's night-time, and they're still fucking walking around, even though there's a million houses they could have easily gone into.

Then a kid and his mother get eaten by zombies.  Zombies that jump in off-screen.  Meaning the other characters would have seen them coming, and could have just pulled those two away from the stereoscopic rows of teeth.  It's like the writer thinks that if we, the audience don't see something, then that means the characters don't either.  Do these people have the object permanence of babies?

Why did these characters die?  What was the point of their deaths?  What thematic purpose does it serve to see a kid and his mom get eaten alive?

Some Kid Died!

The point was that they went overbudget, and needed to make a smaller list of people on the payroll.  Jeffrey Dean Morgan doesn't work for free, kids!  It's so cynical and stupid that we can't even use the excuse that it's "shock-value" anymore.  Because everyone hated Sam, so it's not like we lost a character we grew attached to.  They can't even fall back on the excuse that it's "edgy" anymore.  It was for sterile economical reasons.  This is maybe the tenth time in the last year where I wondered aloud why they bothered having these characters at all, if they weren't going anywhere and don't have any real arc to them.

In addition to being pointless, it's also inconsistent.  There's this part where Carl's hand is stuck to a lady being eaten by zombies, so Rick has to cut her hand off to free his son.  It takes three whacks to get through her dainty wrist.  Several bigger, beefier dudes had their entire arms cleaved off in one swing with weaker cutting instruments, but apparently this lady's skeleton is made of Adamantium.  But when a gangly kid is about to murder Rick, Michonne stabs through his rib-cage from behind with ease.  I guess bones only stop blades when it's convenient for the writer, the way a car always has trouble starting when the monster is getting closer and closer.

And I must remind you that at no point is this supposed to be tongue-in-cheek.  There are no lampshades here.  This isn't a comedy.  This isn't satire.  We're actually supposed to take this clown shit seriously. The show no longer even pretends to follow its' own nonsense rules anymore.

And you know what the saddest part about this is? This is still a million times less stupid and awful than the comics AND the video games!

The more you look at this picture, the worse it gets. Everything about it is wrong and stupid. It's fractally-bad.

Maybe that's why people put up with the show so much.  Every other piece of content under this banner is so godawful by comparison.  I guess being repeatedly slapped in the face doesn't hurt as much after you've been stabbed.

It's still really disappointing though.  This show has not always been great, but even as early as last year, there were episodes better than some movies that tried to deal with similar subject matter.  It doesn't have to be this bad. Does AMC just assume that because it makes a lot of money for them that they're actually doing something right? Like, from a quality standpoint? Are they actually so stupid that they think their show is better the more people watch it?

I guess when you have an army of idiots on Twitter that reward your every decision, no matter how terrible, there's no incentive to improve or try.

Constructive criticism is cheap, and this guy's movies made BILLIONS.

Three years ago, this was great television. At least The Simpsons had a good decade before it crapped the bed.



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