Tread carefully. It was my attempt to address the ways in which the show was completely screwing the promise of its concept. A serialized character study built around a zombie apocalypse, produced by the network behind Breaking Bad and Mad Men, should be riveting television.
The Walking Dead turned out to be the complete opposite; a mess of forced conflicts between boring characters. The end of the mid-season finale had the single best character beat of the series Shane hesitated; Rick didn't.
It was enough to keep me watching. By the end of the return episode, when Lori crashed a car and was stranded, for no reason other than to create a dramatic opener for the next episode, I nearly tuned out for good. And yet, I kept coming back.
But also, in a way, The Walking Dead reminds me of Boardwalk Empire, a show that, despite it's higher pedigree, didn't seem to have any sense of direction until the final few episodes of the latest season and then, suddenly, was amazing. Anyway, about my original ten complaints. Did they address them?
Let's find out Stop with all the monologues and serious talks. My complaint: This show should have been called The Talking Dead? Am I right?!
Seriously, the show is filled with boring monologues. Was it addressed? There were still plenty of monologues, but finally there were some good ones. When Rick lectures Shane, about him and his wife and his son, that was aces.
And when Rick has the talk with Carl, about how he wishes things were different but they have to accept that this new world is dangerous and people are going to die, that's exactly what this show should give us: A tough talk between a father and son that never would have taken place, if not for the circumstances of a zombie apocalypse.
Hire more female writers and directors. My complaint: The female characters on this show are bitchy, crying, weak stereotypes.
Was it address? I'm encouraged to see that Carol and Andrea are acting like people with depth, instead of broken, shivering stereotypes who can't function unless there's a man around.
In fact, they're both showing signs of toughness. But Lori, oh Lori Give Lori a break. My complaint: Lori is a terrible, contemptible character.
She starts the second half of the season by driving into zombie-infested territory and trashing a car for no discernable reason.
Then she has a long conversation with Andrea about how she's pregnant and has no choice but to have her baby, but the men will protect them, and the job of the women is to cook and do laundry.
It was a monologue written by Rick Santorum. In the last few episodes I warmed to her a bit, but mostly because she just stood in the background. She did have one redeeming moment, which is when she apologized to Shane for everything that happened between them. But that made Shane go crazy and try to kill Rick, so even when Lori tries to help, she screws things up.
Give T-Dog something to do other than be black. My complaint: T-Dog is on the show to fill a racial quota. Also, his name is racist.
He shot a zombie and drove a car and carried a box. He had a dozen lines. He's still the show's affirmative action character. The writers aren't even trying, to the point where it's really sad.
The worst part is, when T-Dog finally did get to say something in the final episode, he was being a jerk and trying to abandon everyone. IronE Singleton deserves better. And I still wish someone would just stop and ask, "Hey man, what's your real name? Because T-Dog is a "black" name created by a white person.
Address this season's massive logical fault. My complaint: The entire conceit of the first half of the season was that the survivors were looking for a little girl who, it turned out, had been zombified and locked in a barn.
And yet, no one on the farm noticed The characters said it was ridiculous Sophia was in the barn and no one on the farm realized it.
Hershel explained why it happened. I know this seems like it's nitpicking, but it's not, and here's why: To completely ignore this means that the writers were willing to forgo all bounds of logic in order to create an emotional payoff, which shows contempt for the audience.
I can accept that Hershel didn't know. I'm just glad they acknowledged this. Stop making characters do stupid, illogical things in every episode.
My complaint: How have these characters survived this long, when they clearly haven't taken ten minutes to sit down and come up with a logical plan of action? They seem to believe that poor communication and randomly doing things is equivalent to a survival strategy.
Why did Lori go into town after Rick? Why did Randall tell Daryl his people were rapists? Why did they even save Randall in the first place? Why was Shane's plan to kill Rick so needlessly complicated?
Why did Dale go wandering off, in the dark, alone?
Why doesn't anyone keep a better eye on Carl? Why, after so many episodes, did they wait for the next-to-last installment to actually address security on the farm? I can answer all these questions with two words: Lazy writing. If the characters constantly make bad decisions, it leads to easy dramatic moments.
I do suspect this will get better, as they'll probably learn their lesson from the farm burning down and all those people dying. Kill all the survivors; replace them with new ones. My complaint: A lot of these characters are not sympathetic or interesting.
They didn't kill all the characters, but they certainly made them less annoying. A lot of them have even grown on me, Carol and Andrea being two good examples. The showrunners did kill Dale, which was great, because he meant well, but he was super-annoying. I'm a little disappointed they killed Shane, because Jon Bernthal was one of the more charismatic members of the cast.