The Walking Dead Just Hit a New Low. Again.

Monday, 14 November 2016 - 10:19AM
The Walking Dead
Reviews
Monday, 14 November 2016 - 10:19AM
The Walking Dead Just Hit a New Low. Again.
After the inexplicably awful season premiere, we thought The Walking Dead had turned a corner. The addition of Ezekiel and the Kingdom injected some much-needed levity into the proceedings, and we got spoiled, convinced that the show wouldn't return to its frustrating, gimmicky ways. Then "Service" happened. This week's episode completely lacked any new or unexpected elements, and it did almost nothing to move the plot forward. The worst part? It took 90 minutes for them to reiterate what we already knew. "Service" may as well have been a ridiculously long-winded catch-up special. And even if the episode had been tightened up, the overwhelming sense of tension and apprehension that Negan supposedly embodies didn't come through at all.  
 
This isn't to say that the episode didn't have a few moments with some potential. Rick is as dejected and broken as he was when we saw him last, but he looks like he could be getting ready for a last attempt to regain control. In one scene, Rick seems prepared to bash in Negan's skull with Lucille, so he might have some fight left in him yet. Meanwhile, Rosita and Michonne are likely to be the ones on the front lines in the rebellion. Both of them are quickly running out of patience when it comes to Negan and the Saviors – and so am I.
 
Negan continues to be a brash, sexist, entitled, run-of-the-mill bully. If your villain is going to rely almost entirely on charisma, at least give him some better dialogue. At the moment Negan's lines are better suited to an internet troll in a chatroom than to the terrifying, larger-than-life villain he is hyped up to be. And sure, the presidential election has shown us that an internet troll can be perfectly terrifying when given too much power, but that comparison just reinforces how utterly banal Negan's brand of evil truly is. Negan was supposed to be comparable to the Joker, but so far he falls disappointingly short of the mark.
 
If Negan had been left out of this episode entirely, we might have gotten to see a more complex dynamic develop between the Saviors and the survivors at Alexandria. It also would have given us a chance to see if Rick would still readily comply even without Negan (and Lucille) around. As it is, the Saviors are pretty bland villains. They were more intimidating last season as a looming threat, but their lack of complexity erases their humanity and makes them seem more like typical henchmen.

Dwight is the Savior with the most character development, and that's really not saying very much. Right now, he's taking his Daryl impersonation/obsession to new levels, and it's more weird than anything else. It might work better if he had a clear motivation, like psyching Daryl out, or trying to get him to fight back in preparation to rise up against Negan. Unfortunately, he's just coming off as a wannabe Daryl/Negan. You can't just toss together some character traits and a sprinkling of backstory without adding a little more substance. Not if you want audiences invested in the character at all.
 
It'll be satisfying to see the revolution and defeat of the Saviors, and I'm hoping it happens sooner rather than later. But after all that went into setting up the Negan plotline, that probably won't happen anytime soon (although considering the Terminus debacle, you never know). Once the Kingdom and the Hilltop are brought in on the effort, it looks like we're preparing for All-Out War. That should be an exciting prospect, but given the poor execution of the major turning points in the show lately, it's just not enough.
 
This episode brought absolutely nothing new to the table. The main points that were addressed amounted to: Negan is a bully, Rick is broken, Daryl is broken, and eventually the people will rebel. The problem is that we already knew all of that. It's been established. Multiple times. In short, "Service" was a waste of time, and there was a lot of time to waste considering that it was a 90-minute-long episode.
 
Hopefully, next week's episode will bring us some exciting moments, well-written plotlines, and better dialogue as we rejoin Maggie and the survivors at the Hilltop Colony.

 

Stray Comments

 
*The upside of this episode? It looks like the rebellion is going to be led by the women of the show. Rosita and Michonne, Maggie and Sasha, and Carol will likely lead the charge. And, hopefully, Tara.
 
*I think we can all agree with Negan on at least one point- Gabriel is creepy and needs to go.
 
*The Negan/Carl dynamic I was hoping for basically amounted to Negan: "Carl drop the gun." Carl: "Ok."
 
*Negan got even more sexist and disgusting this week. But none of it moved along his character development or added the complexity he so desperately needs. 
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