My friend, Nathan, texted me a few weeks ago as he was catching up on season 5 and said that he thought the writing in the second half of last season was the best yet and I agreed with him. I thought they were really pushing the envelope on certain characters and showed that they were willing to drive people like Rick into seeming insanity as the grinding, horrifying nature of life finally started taking its toll. Clearly, the theme of this season is the introduction of chaos in the form of good intentions. Happy Fun Land, otherwise known as Alexandria, has been doing just fine up until Rick and Co.'s arrival. Now that they're here to demonstrate to the natives what it takes to survive in our brave, new world, said natives are dying in droves. What was this supposed to help again? If the intent is to show the road to hell, that's great. Sometimes people don't need a whole new outlook on life when they've been doing just fine to this point and turning Rick's group, the people that the audience is closest to, into well-intentioned idiots is something of a curveball. Will people still be fans of Rick and Carol and Abraham and the other hardliners if they show that the only thing that they brought to Alexandria was the elimination of half its population?
|We're here to help. Really.|
Similarly, they've now introduced at least one person per episode this season who is only too ready to overtly accuse Rick of leading everyone to their collective doom. That person is subsequently killed off within minutes of stating said objection. If this is how the writers have chosen to portray the fact that Rick's best intentions are actually doing a ton of damage, we've gone past "heavy-handed" to "hit you over the head with this plot element like it's a cinder block." We can already see that things are going awry just fine by ourselves. We don't need to be reminded by the whiny assholes each episode, only for them to suffer the Truthsayer Phenomenon ("If you'd only listened to me, maybe I wouldn't be dead!") Perhaps that's their way of keeping Rick as a sympathetic figure while he's leading everyone to destruction because other people have to keep standing up for him, even while doubting his actions (like Michonne this episode)? If so, well played, but it's still getting annoying.
|This one gang kept wanting me to join because I'm pretty good with a bo staff.|
The other big topic is, of course, the fate of Glenn (not really shown at the top of this post.) My opinion is: he's not dead, walking or otherwise. It was clear that Nicholas, after conveniently removing himself from the ranks of the returned via serious head trauma, fell on top of Glenn as they made the world's worst attempt at crowdsurfing. The blood and entrails were clearly coming from that body and Glenn's anguished reaction was from seeing someone else torn apart on top of him (which, y'know, could be trying) after having just witnessed a suicide. This is clearly a bad mental health day for Glenn. So, yeah, he's alive and this is shock value. Of course, in doing so, the writers are taking the viewers on a bit of a thrill ride by dangling the possibility that a crowd favorite is on his way out, but the payoff at the end of the ride seems almost impossible to do correctly. If Glenn does just die, then they might as well have just shown that and given everyone the Game of Thrones moment ('Anyone can be killed! Er.. except people crucial to the plot!") and moved on. If he doesn't die under a pile of walkers, then they're going to have to introduce some kind of deus ex machina moment that saves him and no one with any sense of storytelling will like that. At all. If they do come up with a way that successfully navigates out of this scenario, great. They've surprised me and that's always good. If not, well, they've made a cheap gamble for viewers on the most popular show on TV so... WTF?
Anyway, still worth watching. It's just descended a bit from "really intriguing" to "OK, but what do they do when this day is finally over?"