Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: “The Damned”

In which Shawn and Kim get what they asked for, but not everyone is happy about it.

Shawn: How are we only two episodes in and it feels like that episode was just a repeat of parts of the last year of shows.

  • Remember oldey timey Rick from the future? Well don’t worry about that because it doesn’t matter this week.
  • I vaguely remember this Negan character. Seems like he was pretty important to the story they were telling. Wasn’t he stuck in a trailer with Gabriel? Must not be too important because the writers felt like we’d be interested enough to go an hour without him. Know what? We weren’t.
  • Urine bad shape if you think pissing your pants will help save your life in this all-out war. This is serious stuff and no one is going to fall for your whiny pee-pants story. Wait? What? Jesus, are you serious? You did the exact same thing to Rick not long ago and now you fall for it. I’ve never been more disappointed in the lack of logical writing or in wimpy Jesus.
  • Rick and Daryl are looking for guns because everyone else seems to just be firing guns without any real purpose. This episode was like 45 minutes of non-stop gun-on-gun action for a group that spent all last season making one bullet. If they could use a bit of self control, Rick and Daryl could be chilling back in Alexandria with some lemonade on the porch. You know what they say – you gotta fire guns to get guns.
  • It’s Jesus who tells Morgan not to kill the Saviors? Morgan has had the strangest character arc. Morgan rejoined our team with a total Zen Jesus Gandhi vibe going on and tried to tell Rick and Carol all about how “This isn’t us.” and “It doesn’t have to be like this.” Now he’s left for dead, waking up and kicking ass from the rear. As he is in full berzerker mode now, it’s Jesus telling him to chill and handing him a copy of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Another plot point that tells me someone told the writers – just have the characters be the exact opposite of how they were and we’ll say “the tables were turned”. I think this moment was illustrative of just some really lazy writing over the first two episodes this season.
  • I would read a comic book called Carol and the Kingdom. Carol and Ezekiel go on adventures with the tiger while their crew finds crazy new places to ride their BMX bikes. Ezekiel is coming out of his shell and in an episode without Negan, he has the best lines. But seriously, that skateboarding/biking gear they wear does not appear it would serve well as armor. At least Morgan looks like he is ready to step in and umpire a Little League game if called upon.

There just wasn’t much for me to latch onto or care about this week. I’ll paraphrase Tara, “It’s not about revenge, it’s about getting it done and by getting it done, I mean finishing this half season quickly.”

Kim: Here’s the thing. As much as you’re displeased with the episode as a whole, you have to admit that this episode was exactly what we (ok, maybe just me and 750,000 other fans) asked for. What? You don’t remember asking for this? I do. Repeatedly. Allow me to explain, sir.

  • “If we’re going to split up the group, show us what everyone is doing nearly every episode.” See, last year, they would have spent one entire episode on each group, making the entire front half of the season take place in roughly one day. We bitched about that non-stop for the past two years. Well, now they’ve fixed it. Sure, we didn’t see Negan or Maggie, but I’m not sure we needed to, because this episode was about the first move in what’s going to be our chess match this season. And it was a simultaneous attack, with each group needing to accomplish something.
  • “There’s a lot of shooting, but no one is hitting anyone.” Ahem, that definitely changed, and it changed in a pretty big way. Gone are the days of firing and hitting nothing. There was a lot of killing going on.
  • “There’s not enough zombie action.” We seemed to have taken care of that!
  • “There’s not enough Daryl.” Well, they didn’t really fix this one, so perhaps I should just shut up.

The point is this: All of the things you (we) complained about last year were corrected this year, and you’re still not happy (I’m happy). It’s like the people who clamor for action to be taken against a major sports star for his off-field shenanigans – when it finally happens, people bitch that it wasn’t enough, or it was too late, or it was the wrong response.

Now, a bit about Jesus turning into a more Jesus-like figure with the non-violence. This seems to be a common theme going all the way back to the beginning of the show. Dale, Andrea, Hershel, Rick, Carol, Tyrese, Morgan…the list goes on of the people who tried to find their own humanity in this clusterfuck of a world. The thing is, it’s expected. I fully expect every single person on this show to at one point question their humanity, question what makes them different from whatever group they’re viewing as the bad guys, and they’re going to want to hold on to that. Because if they lose that, they’re no better than Negan. I think that’s the point in this. That’s the whole point in everything. Survive, and keep the good pieces of your humanity intact so that you can be happy with yourself when you help rebuild the world.

Having said that, I’m pretty glad that Morgan is a killing machine. I want Carol to open up a can of whoop ass on someone. I’d also like to see Enid going completely savage. Maybe even on Carl. Wait.

Oh, and just for the record, when Morales and family left way back in Season One, I knew he’d be back. I believe I actually said out loud, “He’ll be back. Eventually.” Granted, I was all alone watching when that happened, but still. Other than that, I don’t have much to say. It was what we wanted, in a way you didn’t want, that lets us know that our gang is done messing around and are ready to get down to business. And I think we all want that.

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Shawn Bourdo

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