Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: “Swear”

In which the dead horse moves closer to the end.

Kim: With only two episodes left before the mid-season break, I’d like to take a moment to discuss what’s really on everyone’s minds: How badly this season sucks ass. So, I tuned in last night fully understanding that we would not see Carol, Morgan, or Ezekiel (or that damn tiger). We would not see Negan. We would not see Daryl. We would not see Rick, Michonne, Maggie, Sasha, or Jesus. I reluctantly sat to watch, knowing that this episode would feature characters that none of us honestly give a shit about. And if you think I’m wrong, then you’re really only fooling yourself. Even the people who wrote it didn’t care that much about them, because they sent them away last season before Denise was shot in the face with an arrow and no one has ever mentioned them since.

Yes, yes, I’m sure that Oceanside will become important, as they have guns, but just like every other episode since the first one back, this could have been condensed into something way less than an hour and however many odd minutes of my life I can’t get back.

I get that our people are split up. I get that we’re likely setting up for an all-of-us-versus-them scenario. But there has to be a better way to do that. There has to be a better way to keep fans who have been watching for six faithful years interested in a show and invested in the characters. I have a theory that the price tag on the regulars was getting too high, so they’ve cut each of their screen time into ¼ of what it used to be so that they only have to pay ¼ price. I know that’s not realistic, but that’s how I’m choosing to see it because I cannot explain this disjointed format in any other way.

I think the writers and show runners need to take a really close look at what they’re doing to their fanbase. We see the dropping ratings and I don’t believe for one second it was because the opening was too brutal. Yes, that could account for the drop off between Episodes 1 and 2 this year, but the ratings drop every week. I can tell you exactly what is happening here and I can tell you with a high degree of certainty. We no longer care about people because no one is giving us a reason to care about anyone (except maybe Daryl, but even that is wearing thin).

I think in trying to tell the story that they want to tell, the people who are responsible for taking us all on a journey have bitten off far more than they can chew. They’re busy creating all of these pieces of a story that has become the most uninteresting thing on TV. It’s certainly the most frustrating thing I’ve watched this Fall, and I am a huge Packer fan, so you know that’s saying something.

I am tired of tuning in every week knowing that I’m not going to get a single answer about any of the questions raised since the deaths of Abraham and Glenn. In all honesty, I think I would have been perfectly content to save these all on my DVR and watch them together once the mid-season break is here, because maybe then, I’d care. Instead, I have lost interest in everything and everyone this show has to offer, much in the same way I’ve lost interest in watching the Packers. It just turns into a whole lot of sighing and eye-rolling, and ain’t nobody got time for that.

So, what did we learn this week? There’s a group of women hiding out by the ocean who hate Negan just as much as our people do. They have guns and don’t like outsiders. And yes, that is truly all we learned.

I’ll say it if no one else will. The introduction of Negan, while highly anticipated, could have reinvigorated this show. Instead, it’s only served to disappoint the majority of people I know. The show that used to always be exciting has hit a brick wall. I think over the course of the rest of this season, we’ll all come to realize that the reactions to the deaths of Glenn and Abraham were the moment The Walking Dead truly jumped the shark, sending an incredible show into the most painful death spiral anyone has ever witnessed.

Shawn: They called it “Swear” because mostly that’s what I did during the episode. They called it “Swear” because I swear it contained 13 minutes of actual storytelling. They called it “Swear” because I swear I couldn’t have told you it was Heath that left with Tara oh so long ago. I think you summed up the overall frustration with how this season is progressing. The direction is questionable at best, confusing at its worst, and generally annoying. I had a few other things to add to the discussion.

For at least the third week in a row, the allusions to Lost are becoming more and more obvious. This colony was one book club short of being just out of the Island and the Others. Oceanside – Oceanic Air. C’mon, folks.

I’ve never bonded with Tara as a character. I will give the episode one prop and that’s she’s more funny than I thought. I’m hoping that she can take a little of Abraham’s one-liner role. Also, if there could be more of Tara running, I think I’m speaking for all of us when I say that’d be a good thing.

At least I like the music in this one. I had to look it up but Dirty Three’s “Everything’s Fucked” was as good as their choices have been all season.

The connection to the guns at Oceanside seems like too easy of a plot for us to waste a whole episode to get Tara back home. Her not mentioning it makes it probably the reason after all. Of all the things about this season that we can complain about, it’s the way the show seems to have devolved into some really lazy storytelling.

The worst moment of this turd? That stupid Heath-lookalike zombie on the bridge. The whole episode every zombie on the bridge is covered in dust. Except the one zombie that isn’t Heath but looks like Heath. Stupid.

Tara does love a good fist-bump (avoiding a good inside joke here with Kim) and the odd interaction here was a nice twist on the previous fist-bumps she’s had with at least Rick and The Governor. I’m sure there was one with Abraham at some point.

Two episodes to bring this dead horse across the finish line. I don’t want to admit that the steam is running out this series at the speed it appears to be. Until then just remember – PPP.

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Shawn Bourdo

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