Has the Walking Dead become Pointless Torture Porn

**POSSIBLE SPOILERS FOR EVERYTHING UP TO AND INCLUDING THE SEASON 7 EP. 1**

the-walking-dead-season-7-rick-lincoln-michonne-gurira-cci-key-art-1200x707-1A man wakes up in a hospital, disoriented, to a world gone to hell. The dead walk the earth and he has to re-learn how to survive in it. Well, first he has to find his family but then he has to re-learn how to survive.

In the first season of the Walking Dead, the goal for the characters – and we, the viewers – was clear. Figure out the new rules of living, re-orient ourselves to a post-dystopian reality, smash in a few zombie heads. It was camp – how many more and more creative ways are there to kill a zombie – but it was also the most extreme version of man against nature, and at its heart there was soul – people we cared about, rooted for, were invested in. There are those among us who still think wistfully of Shane and he’s been gone for five of the show’s seven seasons. Hershel’s season four death was a rough one – the initially delusional farmer who wanted to pretend that everything was everything and would be again had become an essential part of the Group and had found a place in our affection. I hated to see Noah go out in season five. That might have been the last death I actually cared about. Now, I feel numb. Am I alone in this?

Has the zombie show that was never really about the zombies become a mindless zombie gore fest? No, the season seven premiere was something else, torture porn, and as with actual porn, it quickly becomes repetitive and, dare I say it, boring.

I wasn’t as psyched, granted, for this season’s premiere as previous seasons because I felt the writers had lost the plot. The uneven writing of the Carol character, Rick’s dumbass decisions, in fact moving the characters around to serve the plot without really selling us on it, then dropping another baddie in to the mix without really making any effort anymore to answer the big questions – do we care anymore about a cause and a cure, about the existential angst of keeping your humanity in an inhuman afterworld, or are we to commit to several more seasons of bloody bats. That was the weapon of choice this time and Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s Negan, the latest version of the Governor, the hipster cannibal (whose name I can never remember), insert baddie of the season here. And – a passing inquiry in to whether he was like this before the world went crazy or if he was always crazy and the world ending gave him the freedom to let it out – I just didn’t care.

I was curious yes to see the pay-off to last season’s cliffhanger – who’d Negan get with his kitschily-named bat Lucille? But the up close and soppy bashing in of first Abraham, then Glenn’s, heads didn’t move me to tears, or to anything really. It was hard to watch not because of any emotional resonance but because brain matter and splattering blood are hard to watch. (ETA: This was written immediately after the episode a week ago; I can acknowledge now that I’m going to miss the dark humour that our gruff red-head brought to the group and Glenn, well I’ve been missing season 1 Glenn, who had such spirit, for a while now, but it is hard to see another one of the original group go).

The Abraham-Isaac allusion when Rick is asked to do harm to his son didn’t even feel particularly high stakes. I wasn’t surprised when Negan stopped it but I also was kind of meh about him potentially not stopping it (ETA: and I’m one of the Walking Dead diehards who has actually softened on Carl).

Now that does make me sad because I have watched this show from episode 1 season 1 and been invested in their journey through this unreal world. But at this point, there’s a what’s the point feeling about the whole thing, and yet, a credit to how addictive this series has been, a vague hope (though the writers have given us precious little reason to hope) that maybe next episode will be better.

-by Joanne C. Hillhouse, who loves this show and beseeches the producers to do better, jack.

p.s. he might be Negan now but Jeffrey Dean Morgan will never not be Big Daddy Winchester to me.

Read my previous Walking Dead pieces:

To My Friends Who think This is Just a Zombie Show

It’s About Character, Really

…and here’s a bonus Supernatural piece:

Supernatural Plot Points that I Reject as a Fan

 

5 thoughts on “Has the Walking Dead become Pointless Torture Porn

  1. To answer the question no I don’t think it was torture porn. I send a side eye to the people berating the show for its violence in this episode, if your little kids are watching this then you dear parent, not the show are the issue. That being said I agree that the writing needs a lot of help, or needed as of the last two seasons, as is evident in the Carol character. Even with Glenn who in my mind became stale and stagnant. I’m not happy he is gone, but having read the comics I can see how he outstayed his welcome. I also want to state for the official record that the Negan character holds little hope for me, save his death which will be an event as satisfying as the death of Joffery. Simply because to watch an actor like Daddy Winchester have to go through them sad ass monologues hurts my soul, it could have been better. As for the breaking of Crazy eyes, that part tugged if not ripped out a few heart strings. When he was faced with the Carl maiming I cried out in anguish, I did, I couldn’t stand that for him. That scene with Maggie too also had me all misty, losing him, not being sure of the baby. I think I might be a little too invested here but going on 7 years later I think I have the right. I think now we can see some real plot advancement and maybe be a bit more satisfied in the fulls scheme of things.

    • I don’t have any little kids, so my issues had nothing to do with anything like that…wish I could’ve felt some of the emotional engagement you described though…would’ve made for a more stimulating viewing experience. The next ep and the Kingdom shows promise though so I haven’t checked out yet.

  2. Negan the baddie of the day with his trusted Wife “Lucille”. Lucille is the name of his dead wife who died of cancer. Walking Dead has always been over the top violence but this season may have taken it to another notch based on who’s opinion. The show is going back to its comic roots hence the death of Glenn and Abraham. Hope comes after the storm and Glenn’s death is a pivotal plot element as it transforms Maggie into a great leader

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