Joe Phalon, Columnist Published 10:30 a.m. ET Oct. 31, 2018
Columnist Joe Phalon thinks it might be time for Rick Grimes (actor Andrew Lincoln, right) and his crew to find some endgame on “The Walking Dead.”(Photo: file photo)
Editor’s note: Joe Phalon, a columnist for the USA TODAY network’s Bergen, N.J. Record, has made a yearly tradition out of assessing the strengths and weaknesses in his favorite show, AMC’s “The Walking Dead.” This year, he’s more convinced than ever that it’s time to end the show, now in its ninth season or, at the very least, figure out how to end it. (For the record, USA TODAY’s own TV critic, Kelly Lawler, gave up on TWD last season.)
Its time again for my Annual State of the Dead Address.
Being as deep as I am, I dont have a lot of time to watch serialized TV when Im watching documentaries about Viennese opera. Or was that Viennese sausage?
Anyway, The Walking Dead is the only TV show Ive watched over its entire history, other than six episodes of Police Squad back in the ’80s. So I feel I have a lot invested in this.
In last years State of the Dead Address, I called for the showrunners to start considering their endgame. I have not changed my mind about that position, but other factors have come into play.
The problem with “TWD” after its first few brilliant seasons is that has become repetitive. One evil leader after another, who needs to be taken down by Rick, and usually only some stroke of luck by another character lets him do that.
Rick, Daryl and Glenn were only saved from the Termites because Carol blasted a propane tank and nearby evildoers to bits, distracting everyone.
And Rick allowed himself and all his followers to walkinto an ambush set up by Negan (more on him in a bit) because Eugene arranged for all the bullets in all the guns to blow at the same time. Seriously, what were the chances that none of Negans Saviors werent going to squeeze off a shot at a walker or a rabbit on the way?
Rick then, after three or four seasons of Negans gloating, which would have been resolved in three or four episodes, insists that he be allowed to live. As an example. Or somebody who will get busted out of the jail in Season 27 to reestablish control.
Which leads us into the latest season. The trailers suggested our crew would be heading into nearby Washington, D.C., I would hope this would be to recover weapons, see if any government is still in the bunker or to watch the Senate debate a Supreme Court nominee.
No, they were going to the Smithsonian to find a 19th-century plow. Or harrow. Or something. Why not bring a tank or two back? Yes, I know we had a time jump, and fuel supplies are running low, but if you were going to risk all that, at least come back with some White House china.
In entertainment, they always say leave your audience wanting. After an hour-and-a-half of the season premiere, they succeeded. I really could not figure out where this was all going. Other than there are some sore losers and Negan, who should have been executed, is the living poster boy for the malcontents.
By the second and third episodes, the show had simply devolved into a murder mystery. Who killed Justin? Who was Justin? The show has become so overpopulated with characters its hard to remember.
I was expecting a crossover episode, with Jessica Fletcher riding her bike in from the 1990s Murder She Wrote to solve the crime.
Again, I plead with the producers, go out on high note. Time for the end game.
News & views: Why TV critic Kelly Lawler’s done with ‘The Walking Dead’
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