The only reason I started watching The Walking Dead was because of the episodic video game by Telltale Games. The story captured me from the first episode, with different moral dilemmas forcing me to continuously question the decisions I make. I was emotionally invested for the whole playthrough. It was because of this game that I decided to watch the TV show, assuming that if the video game could have characters I genuinely care about (Clementine is one of my favorite video game characters ever) then the immensely popular TV show must be great as well. Season 5 was about to start, so I had to binge watch seasons 1-4 in about 2 months. The biggest takeaway from those seasons was that the show is…..fine. There were definitely big moments within those first 4 seasons, but I was not nearly as dedicated to the show as I was to the video game. Too many of the characters were just ok, I was not the biggest Rick Grimes fan, and the story just was not as interesting as I expected. Scenes and story arcs dragged too long (for example, we all know that The Governor getting 2 flashback episodes was goddamn torture) and it became more of a chore to finish the seasons in time for the season 5 premiere. I battled my way through it, and stuck with the show. My reward: Season 5 was fucking dope.
Season 5 is the most riveting season of the series by far. (SPOILER ALERT) All the deaths (besides Beth) were done very well. Tyreese was a character I wasn’t too connected with, but the way the show sent him off made me catch a lump in my throat. Seeing Sasha at Tyreese’s grave was heartbreaking, upset not just because she lost her brother, but that she didn’t have a chance to say good-bye. Rick and Carol evolved and became the badasses they needed to be for the group to survive. The group’s attempt to adapt to their new home Alexandria was intriguing as well; TWD’s formula of a group finding a new home just for it to get destroyed was starting to get tired, but Alexandria truly felt like a fresh start. The season finished on a high note, and I was glad to finally be a part of The Walking Dead phenomenon. Then, Season 6 happened.
Several realizations occurred in this troubling season. I found out that I actually don’t like Morgan, and don’t know why I ever thought that I did. His whole “Every life is precious” shtick was attempting to battle Rick and Carol’s “Do whatever it takes to survive” mindset, but it came off as cliched, boring and idiotic. There does not exist a strong enough word for how pointless the fakeout of Glenn’s death was, a sign of what was to come in the finale. The show continued to tease Negan and the mystery of who will be his first victim over and over, even in the commercial breaks. Season 6 was just one long drag. The second half of the season was a little better than the first half, and I foolishly assumed the finale aka debut of Negan would be a top TV moment of the year. Instead, we got the heavily despised cliffhanger that completely undermined Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s electric entrance. Viewers were then forced to wait 6 months and 2(!) commercial breaks before finally showing us the unlucky members of the group. While still shocking to watch, it is quickly realized how poorly they handled the reveal (if they were going to kill 2 characters, why not do 1 at the end of season 6 and another at the beginning of 7? How do professional TV showrunners miss that opportunity?) They played with me too many times in the recent years, and I decided enough is enough. They traded story for gimmicks and I was not going to be a part of their ratings record anymore.
So why am I a hypocritical ass that has caught up to season 7? I can point at my father for that. He has finally started the habit of binge watching and ignoring all of my suggestions.
“House of Cards is good, and you like Kevin Spacey.”
“I’ll watch Mad Men.”
I’ve told him about Game of Thrones, The Wire, Westworld, True Detective (only season 1), Luke Cage, Breaking Bad, The Leftovers, Arrested Development, Louie, Silicon Valley, and probably some other obvious picks. Not only that, I told him after deciding to stop watching TWD all the problems I had with it and how it was not worth it anymore, yet I walk in on him watching a scene between Rick and Shane. While disappointed in the show he picked, it was also cool that he got into the act of binge watching. I started finding myself sitting in the living room, rewatching the show, slowly realizing that, yes, I’m falling for this shit again. We caught up to the episode after the midseason finale, and with the football season over, Sunday’s are officially for The Walking Dead.
Is it because I enjoy the family time with my mother and father? Or is it my ego, not allowing my parents to be more up to date on a cultural, TV phenomenon than me? Either way, I’m a sucka, and TWD has me by the balls.
Fuck you AMC.
See you Sunday.