I rarely blog about television shows – most likely because I don’t watch that many and also because being an author, mother, and wife doesn’t leave much time for anything else. However, after last night’s mid-season episode of The Walking Dead, I am angry. I would love to have ‘The Powers That Be’ from the show in front of me so I could tell them exactly how they screwed up. I’ll have to settle for a good rant and a cup of coffee.
We all knew we would lose a cast member that we loved on the mid-season finale. After all, The Walking Dead is notorious for knocking off favorites (Dale comes to mind here). The show is also known for its creativity when it comes to these casualties, and they own the patent on bombshells and shock-factor. I thought I was prepared for just about anything last night when I sat down to watch the show. What I was not expecting was to see a beloved character die so horrendously.
On Talking Dead, Robert Kirkman stated that when it comes to the demise of a character that has a major impact on the show (such as Herschel), he believes their death should reflect their importance – that they should die how they lived or some crap like that. In other words, the death should be as monumental as the character was. I took it upon myself to read between the lines of gibberish he spouted and interpreted his speech to mean that a character’s departure from the show should emulate the type of person they portrayed.
In Herschel’s case, his death should have been a noble one. He lived his life trying to save others. He instilled hope, humanity, and morals in the group. He was their conscious – a little angel sitting on everyone’s shoulders whispering that just because the world had gone to Hell didn’t mean they should give in to their inner demons. He should have died in a blaze of glory while saving someone or perhaps by gunshot as he iced the Governor or one of his followers. Instead, his head was partially chopped off with Michonne’s katana (which has never failed to take a head clean off in other episodes) and then left to drag his broken body along the ground until the Governor finished him off (which took several more blows with the sword). WTH was that about? Is that Kirkman’s idea of a death that reflected Herschel’s impact on the group? If so, I’m sending the man a dictionary. He has no idea what the word ‘reflect’ means.
Let’s talk about the Governor’s death. The man was scum. He kept walker heads in a fish tank. He tortured, maimed, and killed without batting his one eye. Kirkman stated that in the comics the Governor is killed by Lilly. He later learned this was not a ‘satisfying’ death and decided to change things on the show by giving him a “three-punch” murder with Rick, Michonne, and Lilly all getting a turn. In the end, Kirkman’s idea of a ‘satisfying death’ was Rick getting a few punches in before the Gov. nearly choked him to death. Michonne ran him through once with her sword before helping Rick to his feet and giving the maniac a sly smile. Lilly, whose only real contact with the man was a roll in the back of a van and questioning his attack on the prison, was the one chosen to deliver the final blow. Again, I say WTH?! Also, that idea of sending Kirkman a dictionary is looking better all the time.
Hello?! Herschel’s head was chopped off! The psycho mentally tortured Maggie, killed Andrea, tried to have Michonne killed, and was responsible for Oscar, Axel, and Merle’s deaths – and these are just the ones associated with Rick’s group. In all, the Governor killed twenty-three people during his time on the show. Twenty-three – and his death was quick and almost painless compared to what he dished out to others. This was a ‘satisfying’ death? Not for me.
My final gripe about last night’s episode is one I am sure I share with other fans. How many bites does it take from a snake before you stop playing around with it (trying to reason with it and tame it) and kill the thing? Carl was the only one with a brain in that episode. He was right when he told Daryl they should take the Governor out – no more talking or trying to negotiate. You can’t negotiate with crazy. How many times have we seen it in this show? Shane. Tomás. Their first round with the Governor… What did talking and negotiating do for them on those occasions? When someone has gone that far around the bend, you can’t pull them back. Some have said, “Rick tried to talk him down because he had Herschel and Michonne held hostage.” I’m sorry, but their death certificates were signed the second the Gov. got his hands on them. If you think for one second he was going to let them all walk free if they gave up the prison, then you obviously haven’t been following the show very well. There is no way he would have let them go. Once they cleared those gates he would have shot down as many as he could. He wouldn’t risk leaving anyone alive who could get word to his new followers about his past. That would have incited a revolt from within. The Governor might have ended up hanging over the prison fence from a very long rope as a Walker chew-toy (now that would have been a proper death for him).
All in all, I think those of us who have been loyal fans of The Walking Dead since Rick woke up from a coma were treated like virgins in last night’s episode. How gullible do ‘The Powers That Be’ think we are? Not all of us watch the show for the ‘zombies.’ Some of us actually follow it, think about scenarios, make predictions, and love the show for the struggling characters, as we relate to them in some way or another. The least they could have done was acknowledge that not all of us fell off the turnip truck yesterday and given us a show worthy of the three and a half years we’ve given them.