Sunday, April 03, 2016

The Walking Dead have walked too far

The Walking Dead season finale is on tonight, with the survivors meeting their arch-nemesis, Negan, for the first time. After 6 seasons of our heroes encountering zombies, cannibal humans, and other violent survivors, I'm not really looking forward to it.

I've watched The Walking Dead since the beginning and have really enjoyed the depth to which the show has examined a zombie apocalypse. They do a great job of developing interesting characters and showing the dehumanizing effects that living in such a world would have. The characters have ups and downs in morale, meet new friends and often enemies, lose people constantly, and even sometimes manage to find stable homes for months at a time. But inevitably, some outside force (zombies, other humans) manages to drive them out onto the even more dangerous road. The show is intensely nihilistic, as there is no happily ever after possible for these characters. The show's creators and showrunners have said as much.

Last season, the heroes of the show arrived in Alexandria, Virginia, just outside of DC. You wouldn't know it since they still film the series in Georgia and the setting looks nothing like any of the modern cities around DC. (In fact, pretending they're in Alexandria is kind of laughable at this point.) By now, the characters have had a home in a fenced in community for several months, although still in daily danger.

For the last several episodes, they've come into contact with small groups of other survivors who are led by a man named Negan. Their encounters with these groups have been uniformly deadly for Negan's people, up to an episode where the heroes of the show preemptively attacked a building filled with Negan's people. They went into the building at night and killed all of Negan's folk without a single casualty on their side. The show tried to make it very clear that the people they were murdering in their sleep were bad, evil people. Okay. But they killed them in their sleep.

In The Dark Knight, Harvey Dent says of the Batman, "You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain."

The Walking Dead has reached that point. The good guys have become the villains.

I'm not sure I want to watch that any more.

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