Let’s start by talking about what Walking Dead is not.
It is not an action show. It is not a show about zombies. Or zombie killing. Or human killing. Or any killing of any kind, for that matter. It is not about gross, gratuitous scenes of flesh being torn from people’s bones.
Here’s what The Walking Dead is:
A riveting but deliberately slow-moving, character-driven story about extreme survival and what happens to people and civilization as a whole when by some remarkable set of circumstances, they are forced to deal with the reality of the possible extinction of the human race. It’s a story about human emotion in the most trying times imaginable.
That’s it, folks. Everything else is just window dressing, bones threw at the zombie-addicted masses who are no different than the Romans in the Colosseum clamoring for more blood. Sooner or later, the writers are going to have Rick and Daryl go on a zombie-killing spree then turn around and go …
And they’ll be right to do it. The typical rabid fans of Walking Dead are both ridiculously loyal but also silly in their over-inflated expectations. They complained last year with how slow the whole farmhouse season played out, but seemed more content with this whole prison season. Why? What changed?
Last year everyone complained because they were stuck at Hershel’s farm for a whole season and didn’t really do anything. Weren’t they basically cooped up at the prison this whole year with an occasional run to Woodbury or a peace negotiation somewhere in between?
There was one change — the Governor and the whole Woodbury angle, so that must have been what made it better, right? Well no, apparently not, since fans were pissed off that the Governor was watered down from the comic book (which I’ve never read, but always consider getting into it) and that David Morrisey wasn’t very convincing. What else do they want? I spent much of this season trying to figure the Governor out, and along the way, I found myself getting a little bored with his act of talking about of both sides of his mouth while successfully cloaking his clearly insane side.
But once he was able to let his freak flag fly when he became obsessed both with keeping Andrea in the fold and exacting revenge on Michone, I was in. Now that he decided to just slaughter his own people, I’m even more on board with the Governor. His true self — a maniacal, crazy, delusional, power-hungry d-bag — is much more interesting than his fake-@ss benevolent leader of a utopia of zombie apocalypse survivors. We always knew he was crazy. We just didn’t know how crazy he actually was. Now we do, and the answer is, “very, very crazy.” So he’s fun.
But the die-hards will probably fight you on this and say die-hard things like, “If you think that’s crazy, wait til I completely spoil next season and tell you what he does next!” which is the equivalent of forcing you at gunpoint to read the last page of a book you just started. Why are fans of the book being such hipster pricks about the whole Governor thing?
TV is different from movies, it’s a slow burn of weeks, months and if you’re lucky, years of action condensed from a format that you could have banged out in a week or two if you really wanted to. So you’re ahead of the rest of us, and you think you know what’s coming. Congratulations. But stop trying to ruin it for the rest of us who actually like one of TV’s best shows, enjoy its pacing and believe that the senseless killing of innocent zombies isn’t necessary to make this show successful, or more to the point, likeable.
Some of us like it just the way it is, thank you.