Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: “Monsters”

In which Kim and Shawn debate a character that hasn’t even appeared in two episodes.

Kim: Episode #3 is done. I had hopes after last week that we’d pick up some interesting stories, get moving, and find a new way for Rick to mess up a decent living situation (which is what happens every time they get comfortable somewhere).

I know Negan is an integral part of the comics, and therefore the show, but I’m going to share an unpopular opinion here. Ready? I am already done with him. The story arc involving him is old and played out. I feel like they could have done so much more, but all they’re really doing is leaving all of these dangling loose ends. They begin these storylines for him and apparently the only intent is to give him snappy dialogue. There’s no other purpose, because you’ve already established the fact that he’s a ruthless asshole when he killed Glenn and Abraham. I don’t need any more evidence.

Another other problem with Negan and the Saviors: No storyline ever wraps up with them. There’s no finding out how anything turns out, pretty much ever. There’s no resolution to anything that occurs as far as they’re involved. It honestly feels like they’re just dragging out the storylines, knowing that if there’s enough of them, fans will forget what it was they were waiting to find out.

Don’t even get me started on the fact that it’s quite unbelievable that Negan is still alive at this point in the show. I mean, seriously.

I thought at this point, I’d have at least one or two questions from last year answered, and yet I’m left with some burning questions, such as:

1.) Where are the oceanside ladies? Why did we spend all of that time with them for…abso-fucking-lutely nothing?

2.) Where are the trash dwellers? Why did we spend all of that time with them for…abso-fucking-lutely nothing?

3.) Where is Michonne? Carl? Rosita? What are they doing right now? Abso-fucking-lutely nothing.

Here are the things I learned this week:

1.) Kung-Fu Jesus vs. Not-So-Zen Morgan ends in a draw with not a single scratch on either.

2.) Morgan leaving the gang – again – really wears on my nerves.

3.) I’m not even going to get into the sudden compassion Jesus has, because I think I covered that yesterday. I’m pretty sure we’ll see that from Maggie as well. I kinda hope Tara lights the trailers on fire, if they do decide to house the Saviors there.

4.) Daryl no longer gives a shit about much of anything and is the only character I want to see make it out of this season at this point.

As for the cliffhanger ending – The only person I really give a shit about that we may have lost is everyone’s favorite axe-wielding, court jester, Jerry.

I’m struggling with the show. I will openly admit that. Then again, we’re at that point where most good shows that go out on their own terms throw in the towel before they jump the shark. I’m afraid that we may have already passed that point with this show. I mean, I’m going to keep watching, but if they suddenly have Daryl trying to jump over a pit of zombies on his bike…

Shawn: I don’t know that I can differentiate between my questions and what I learned like you did. Mostly every time we learn something it raises three more questions.

Here’s the things I learned this week:

1.) “It doesn’t matter. Not one bit.” Daryl sums up the whole episode succinctly. In this case, his killing of Morales should have come more quickly. I don’t get what that whole scene was about. Morales is mad at Rick. Rick tries to explain why Negan is a bad guy. Daryl has enough of their crap and shoots Morales. The whole Morales returns was useless from the beginning, and before the month is done, I won’t be able to tell you his name again.

2.) I don’t care about Eric either. I barely care about Aaron but at least I know him. Aaron has had a few moments with Rick and I like the lug well enough. I want him to be happy and all in the zombie apocalypse with his boyfriend. But really I don’t know you, Eric. It’s crappy that you got shot and all, but the writers aren’t paying attention if they think that’s a heart-wrenching death. What we have is a show where dozens of random extras are killed on a weekly basis. A few times a season, we lose someone we truly care about and it’s tough. We’ve been through it a dozen times at least. So if you roll out an Eric and then expect it to be the emotional center of the episode, you are way off. Aaron, you’ll get over this quickly.

3.) “I know I’m not right. But I’m not wrong.” Morgan has a funny way of scoring a fight. “I didn’t win. But I’m not a loser.” I get that the show has gone through phases of discussing violence versus nonviolence. This current standoff between Jesus and Morgan came to a literal fight in the woods. In the midst of this season so far, it feels like the one really forced storyline. Guns, killing, zombies – let’s stop and have a philosophical discussion – guns, killing, zombies. The fight was actually pretty great because Jesus is a magic, kung-fu dancer fighter and avoided master stick fighter, Morgan in a way that no one ever has succeeded. In the end, “it doesn’t matter” because neither wins (although Jesus actually did) and things aren’t any different than when we started.

My burning questions

1.) Did Ezekiel steal more speeches from Braveheart or Shakespeare? I think he suffers from odd editing and weird timing. I love Ezekiel but he’s being turned into a caricature this season. His speeches need to be calmed down just a little. Every sentence can’t be Patton leading the troops into war. It’s not every night that you want to dine in Hell. He does realize that it’s the 21st Century and he can speak a little more informally?

2.) Rick’s worried about killing people now? Of all the people who shouldn’t care about random killing of the enemy by Daryl would be Rick. He’s been screwed over more times than we can count and didn’t he come up with a plan in the first episode that included killing of all kinds of random sentries? If they follow this much further, they’ll really push my disconnect with the series. Morales was a waste but he served the purpose to name the episode for us “We’re all monsters.” All, Rick. All.

3.) Do we need Negan? I was interested to see your reaction to this. Especially because we are on slightly different sides of the feeling. I think we need Negan. We need him because there aren’t any characters like him in the show. We don’t have the pragmatic leader with a load of charisma. Negan gives the show laughs – I didn’t laugh this episode or the past one. Negan gives us the tangible “other”. The writers want us to see that Rick and our gang aren’t that different from the Saviors. You don’t just show us people killing people and draw the connections. Negan provides his own conflicting feelings with viewers. Without him, I’m left with merely a meh when I see Daryl and Morgan going about their violent business. I think the problem will be just what you said – how the hell is Negan still alive.

To paraphrase Morgan – “I know I’m right. I’m wrong.”

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Shawn Bourdo

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