My last Walking Dead review was all the way back at Say Yes which means there have been four episodes since I last did a review, and I normally do those every two weeks. I’ve been a bit distracted. Or I got fed up at taking easy potshots, I’ve mainly been doing these reviews because it’s an easy target for me to take out my more negative critiques out on. And when there is stuff I like, like Eugene’s arc in general, there’s a whole lot of stuff I didn’t like.
Let’s start with the first of the last four episodes, Bury Me Here. It’s intended mainly to get the Kingdom into the war against the Saviours so they can show up as a deus ex machina in the last episode. And it tries to achieve this by showing the brutality that the Saviours have wrought upon the Kingdom and letting Carol know about the deaths that Negan has caused to get her on side. My problem with this is the expendability with which it treats the secondary Kingdom characters. Benjamin is a young and vital guy, people like him are so valuable in this new world that it is utter stupidity that he be put in harm’s way at all. Even the Saviours should realise this. Or that the Kingdom let him bleed out so easily. It’s glossed over like it’s almost nothing yet in a real apocalyptic situation this would be Code Red for the older members of the group to save him, and how many times have main characters been saved from far worse? Rick had better die from his bleeding out leg that he got in the finale. Then Morgan goes and makes it worse by killing Richard in revenge, which just confirms Morgan as the raving lunatic he was always on the edge of being, yet he isn’t forever cast out by Ezekiel after this, they just meet him in the final episode and all is okay.
The Other Side, the Rosita and Sasha suicide mission was on one hand fairly well organised to give some characters who’d been lacking in decent development some spotlight, but also incredibly stupid on their part to be going off on a suicide mission. Eugene panicking as a coward in the heat of the moment was expected, but it’s just stupid to try and go in rather than just bide their time, evade searching groups and wait for a clear shot with a sniper rifle.
Oceanside was confirmed as a pointless community in Something They Need when it turned out the only reason they were there was to give some drama over their leader being too bloodthirsty and to give the group some extra guns. However the good thing about this episode was Sasha and Eugene’s conversations in the prison, Sasha’s development weighed up against Negan’s evil, and in general, Sasha’s story. That was good in the penultimate episode.
Now, on to the final. I have to say I expected most of the main story points that happened in it, Sasha dying, Sasha turning, the Saviours attacking, the Kingdom turning up at the right moment, except for the Scavengers turning heel, which bothers me more than anything else because I already don’t like them, which is why it never had crossed my mind, and it had far less of a practical effect than it should have given their numbers compared to Alexandria. But that meant that while it was a fairly enjoyable hour, it also felt like it was going through the motions and not making a single effort to surprise anyone anymore.
By far the most interesting character in the upcoming war is going to be Eugene, as he conducts undercover operations against Negan (I was right, he hadn’t turned into a bad guy if he gave Sasha her way out) and despite all my expectations, surviving it out, I count at least three times where by all reasonable expectations he should have died in the finale. Maybe he’ll go down next season but that’s the main thing I’m looking forward to. The Walking Dead has really stretched my interest in it this season, at times it’s remained watchable but it has gone on for too long, there is even less sign of a neat resolution to tie everything up at this point and there’s nothing new to say about anything. It’s telling that aside from Sasha’s corpse, no walkers appeared in the finale. They’ve been low impact and low threat all season and that’s surely a sign that the show, having lost its premise magic, has gone on too long. The show (and I’m guessing the comics as well although I don’t read those) has lost the apocalypse feel to it and now it’s turned into a far more human conflict and that human conflict can’t really stand up to more grounded human conflicts just by implying that people are bigger bastards now there’s no solid form of society.
I’ll probably still watch it next season, I’m too invested at this point to not but I don’t expect a whole lot from the war anymore.