Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: “Service”

In which the group gets reverse furniture delivery and Shawn and Kim watch.

Shawn: Much like the actual plot development of this super-sized episode, I don’t have many comments about this episode of The Walking Dead. I should have more to say in case we look back in a couple years to this as the point where viewers started abandoning ship. For now, I’ll keep the good thoughts.

“Service” The episode is so called because like any other job in the service industry, like working for Arby’s or in the bathroom accessories department at Lowe’s, this episode seemed to be all about the feeling of drudgery when you have a long day at work and your boss is a Grade A b-hole. And then you reach the time you’re usually done and that jerk, Chris Hardwick comes over and tells you that you’ve got to work overtime this week for no good reason. Dammit, Chris, I wasn’t even supposed to be here today.

That wasn’t Negan’s bat that Rick was holding all episode. You know, symbolically.

Did the writers get paid by the word this season? Negan has had more dialog in the past four episodes than almost any character on the show. That dude just won’t shut up. But with Abraham gone we need Negan’s “Pee pee pants city” to get our more quotable memes. Is it my imagination or did the language of this show cross over to Mature Audiences only just this season?

I’m holding out hope that Daryl is pulling a full-blown Carol to survive his time with Negan. And like any quality action character, he’ll switch on a dime at some point this season and take down all his captors and drive off on his motorcyle fueled by miracle gas since most auto fuel in our country would last one year, tops, before spoiling.

The most amazing thing happened this episode. I didn’t hate Gabriel. I thought his story of Maggie’s funeral service was a great twist and a little nod to us that she’s fine because the show would never kill a character offscreen. Gabriel had just enough balance of smarm and rebel that I thought for a brief moment than in the light of his good duty to protect Maggie that he might be the one to die this episode. I had always felt that he was the least redeemable character in my head but I have a new appreciation for him.

I did actually think that Olivia was going to be killed. One, Negan is a bad guy and they will have to keep reminding us. Two, she’s the most disposable of the regular characters. I’d even kind of forgot about her until she showed up again. Keeping an accurate inventory is very important to me and murder for misplacing two key items doesn’t seem that unreasonable.

The lesson of the episode is that our group doesn’t need guns. We spent 80 Kim-minutes farting around looking for missing guns just to admit that we aren’t going to need guns to fight back with Negan. Michonne can’t hit the side of the barn with her gun but can slice a skull in half with her kitana. Even Rosita thinks she needs a gun but she killed the zombies with her knife to get the gun. The group isn’t helpless. The episode ends with the shot of the split skull to remind us that the fight is just starting. Either that or they’re just tickling Negan’s balls.

Kim: I watched this on Sunday and have been wrestling with my thoughts ever since. It wasn’t until this morning while I was sitting on the crapper that I realized fully what it is I want to say. I hope you’re ready. Where do I start though? How do I tell you what I’m feeling about a show I love so much, but have come to dread sitting through. Yes, I’m looking at you, The Walking Dead. “Service” was a huge disservice to your viewers. I know, I know, the die-hard fans will scoff at my opinion, but I’m really all about telling it like it is. I’ve had more satisfying meals than episodes as of late and I’m getting a little bit angry about it.

I get storytelling. I get making your viewers anticipate what’s coming. However, I’m not anticipating a single thing but the mid-season break. Let’s be very clear. We’re a quarter of the way through the season. What has happened? Glenn and Abraham have died at the hands of Negan; Carol has met the tiger-taming guru, Ezekiel; Daryl’s being held prisoner; we’ve fallen in love with Jerry. That’s really about it. And it’s taken us 4.5 hours to learn all of this. *yawn* Apparently, we’ll see Maggie, Sasha, and even Jesus next week, but we still have no idea what’s going on with them. In all honesty, what we’ve seen through four episodes could have been compacted into one, maybe one and a half episodes if you throw the missing people in there. It makes me wonder if they are running out of ideas to keep the show moving. This slow burn is not at all what we’ve gotten used to seeing and, quite honestly, we deserve a little bit more.

A couple of things that I feel I need to bring up, and the first (which I’m surprised Shawn didn’t mention) is how in the hell does Rick know Judith is not his child? Is he secretly sterile? Does she have the Walsh nose or jawline? Tell us how you know, for a fact, that Judith isn’t your baby, Rick! I mean, did Maury Povich slip you a note mid-Season 5? Are you just looking to play on Michonne’s sympathies? I don’t understand the whole point of this, really. I mean I’m pretty sure he didn’t stop at Hilltop for a paternity test over the past season.

I was very excited to hear that they’ve established somewhat of a timeline for our people in Alexandria. After bashing in brains, Negan said he’d be back in a week. Rick is surprised and makes a comment about being back early, so we know it’s not even been a week. Keep in mind that we still have no idea how this translates to how long Carol and Morgan have been visiting the zoo. We have zero concept of how long it took Maggie and Sasha to reach Hilltop. These could run parallel or they could run independently. We just don’t know.

So, they’ve taken the mattresses and all of the guns. They’ve paraded Daryl around. Negan’s flexed his muscle. We’ve seen evidence of a pedophile being in the group. Rick’s carrying around Lucille. And yet no one except Carl thinks it’s a good idea to try and take a stand? I mean yes, you put Daryl in a bit of danger, but at some point, don’t you decide that his life might be worth the comfort and security of Alexandria? And Daryl’s not completely helpless, so if you take a stand right then and there, he might actually be able to defend himself and help you out. I guess I just don’t understand the thinking going on here.

I found myself wishing that Negan would just start killing people so we could move on from this. Yes, it’s about time we see our people in a situation where they have no control, because that’s realistic. But at some point, they’ve got to man up, stop worrying about the numbers, and either try and fight their way out or, and this is a bold idea, just leave. For the first time, I’ve actually considered just saving up a few episodes on the DVR because of the poor pacing of the show this season. I know several people who have actually said, “I haven’t watched the last two yet.” Mind you, this is a show that we’ve spent six years waiting patiently for each new episode. How did we get here? How do we get out of it? I don’t have any of the answers, but at this point, I’m just hopeful this all gets turned around and we can actually see the show we all tune in for. You know, the one with zombies.

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Shawn Bourdo

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