Some spoilers might be included.
The Walking Dead season 7 started last Sunday with “The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be”. There will be a day that violence won’t matter, but this is not the day. This is not the day this comes as just a shocker. TWD has put comparable levels of violence and gore before. Why would we tolerate them then and not now?
Let me start by saying that the show has been consistently pushing the envelope. That has been a positive thing. I don’t think it comes as a surprise to see violence on TV anymore when the modern audience has seen it all through online video sharing. The news have had a hard time keeping up with the level of graphicness that you can find online. I’m not going to blame TWD for amping the violence on a zombie series that is supposed to shake us in a time where we’ve all been shaken. Video reminder of global violence even in first world urban settings is so much of an ongoing trend that it is invisible to most people. The show had to take it a step further.
Was there anywhere else to go for the show? Not really. In one episode, the show has established the character of Negan. He’s already displaying the right mix of hostile charisma, psychopathic demeanor and street thug attitude. Did we have to be so graphic with the violence? I think that was just par for the course. They went there because it’s swim or die after six seasons. They went there because anything shy of showing that level of brutality would have fallen short. They set themselves up to be this kind of show.
Did it matter that it was Abraham and Glenn? YES. It did. They were not zombies. They were not anonymous characters. They had names and we’ve grown fond of them over the years. The question of why should it matter is a deeper one. It should always matter. But we care only about those we can relate. We automatically divide victims into those in the cast and those that must die for the entertainment and the thrill. If you’re not sure if I was talking about the world of TWD or our every day lives, you’re not alone. I have to double check myself what I write about fiction when it hits too close to the mark.
At this point the reasons why this episode was like it was doesn’t matter. I have to decide what I dedicate time to watching and writing about. I found myself watching this episode with nothing but stress. Gone was the sense of adventure and the thrill of the couch survivalist. I just wanted the suffering to end. We all judge, we all have opinions and criticism. We all have the right to do that, even when we can’t justify our point of view. I can hear arguments until the cows come home (probably as zombie cows) but I can’t deny to myself that I was just not enjoying the show.
The bottom line is I watch series for entertainment, not stress. Perhaps I’ve grown soft. Perhaps it’s the fact that as I’ve grown older, I have experienced loss and I can’t distance myself from it. Then again, perhaps I’m just burnt and I’m overanalyzing things post mortem. Regardless of reasons, this is where I change the channel. Good luck.
That will do for now.