by Sherry Lipp
The long-awaited season seven premiere of The Walking Dead has come and gone and I now find myself with mixed feelings. Not about this episode, “The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be,” but about the show itself. I already know I didn’t like this episode and it’s made me question whether I still like this show or not. I want desperately to like it, to eagerly look forward to Sunday nights –avoiding social media for three hours until its West Coast air time – to agonize over the long summer break until the next October, but I think those days are gone.
It’s not the over-the-top gross-out violence that did it, or the loss of two characters I liked, it’s the utter lack of storytelling. I’m just not looking forward to another season of Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and gang fighting off yet another really bad guy. Where’s the forward momentum? Every time they get anywhere, what they have gets destroyed and they find themselves with nothing, battling some maniac for their lives.
I’m more interested in how civilization might start to from the ashes. What might we do differently if we could do it all again? I thought with the introduction of Eugene (Josh McDermitt), the guy who was supposed to have some answers, we might move in a different direction. Of course it turned out that Eugene didn’t have any answers and everything was the same as it ever was. Here we are again – same as it ever was and apparently always will be.
I hate to be so harsh, but that’s what happens when something you care about disappoints you so much. That’s not to say there weren’t a couple of okay things – I felt Rick’s desperation. That worked. The most gripping scene of the entire episode occurred near the end when Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) nearly convinced Rick to cut off Carl’s (Chandler Riggs) arm. I felt that scene. What I didn’t feel was the death of Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Abraham (Michael Cudlitz). I’ll miss these characters, but the emotional impact of their deaths was diminished by schlocky horror violence. Brains all over the ground are just gross for gross sake and had no point. Even with all the blood and guts this show has offered it felt out of place and wrong.
I’ll probably hang on for a few more episodes to see if The Walking Dead goes in an unexpected direction, but I’m not holding my breath.