‘The Walking Dead': R.I.P., Whatever Your Name Was

'The Walking Dead': R.I.P., Whatever Your Name Was

Let us pause in memory of, um…

The humans are getting as anonymous as the zombies.

It's beginning to feel like “The Walking Dead” has started introducing characters just to mow them down, which makes their deaths, to this viewer, less meaningful. And the show less interesting. The deaths feel like convenient shortcuts for the show's writers: We need to spark a dispute between Tyrese and Rick? Let's kill Tyreese's love interest, Karen, and have someone (probably Rick, right?) burn her corpse.

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“We've now reached the point in ‘The Walking Dead,’ where some deaths just don't have the same emotional impact on us,” writes Chuck Barney in the Contra Costa Times. “The show has mowed through so many key characters — Shane, Lori, T-Dog, Andrea, Merle, etc. — that it's now picking off people in whom we're hardly invested. Who was Karen anyway? Who knows?”

As I put it in my review of the first two episodes of this season: “The most boring part of the new episodes is the ceremonial trotting out of characters we know will be eaten soon. You're cute, a regular cast member likes you, and you're going on a supply run? Hope you've picked out a coffin.”

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So are these new people people? Or just plot points? Let's look at some of the recent deaths. We'll understand if you don't remember everyone's names.

Karen: We first met her last season, when she was one of The Governor's less enthusiastic followers. Eventually she turned against him, in the Season 3 finale, and survived a massacre by hiding among corpses. Last week, we saw that she had a thing with Tyreese. This week, she's dead. Tyreese seems surprised to find her charred corpse. Did she really need to be killed along with the verifiably infected? Isn't it possible she was just a little sick? Perhaps we're heading toward a Rick-Tyreese confrontation, sparked by the death of Karen, who is more plot device than person.

Patrick: Introduced in last week's season premiere, Patrick serves absolutely no purpose except to spread the virus behind the prison walls.

Ryan: The father of Lizzie and Mika is introduced and killed for just one reason: So Carol can demand that his daughter, Lizzie, kill him before he turns. He's here as a plot device to show how tough Carol has become. But is she too tough? Is there no room for humanity? Are even the children… etc.

The pigs: Let's not even talk about the poor pigs.

Zach: Beth's new boyfriend, introduced and killed last episode, is so disposable that even she doesn't seem sad when he dies. That's why he's here: To show us that Beth is jaded now, and, like many others, doesn't get too attached to new people.

I'm not getting attached to new people, either. But that unfortunately has also made me less attached to this season.

By the way, about the rats: That's totally The Governor feeding them to the walkers, right?

  • Backtalk

    Molloy, you've got moxie, spunk . You're taking on the biggest breakout hit in TV AND cable TV history. You want MORE – uhm – but more what? More intimacy, more legacy, more history – from disposable characters.

    Thing is, via these disposable “plot points”, I'm actually getting all that and more from the established characters. They're feeling more formed and human to me than ever. Not simply human targets in a who-gets-it-free-for-all of Mazzara's turn.

    I'm a TV writer – this show makes us nervous because AMC is making showrunners actually disposable – or is certainly attempting, too. But they also gave us Gilligan and Weiner, two of the strongest POVs in TV history.

    Calm down, man. Lets see where it goes. Zombies on the outside, pneumococcus on the inside. I AM INTRIGUED. LET IT RIDE.

    • Joe

      You are a writer? Sounds right. YOU sir are responsible for this dribble. Let it ride? Might as well let your next paycheck ride on red or black dummy because you have no future in this biz. GOOD QUALITY writing is what sticks, not rubbish that gets temporary ratings until the blinded viewers catch up with the remotely intelligent and finally become BORED themselves. Idiot.

  • mark

    I think Tim is on to something and I have read his reviews for the first time recently and agree with his worry that a great show is getting a tad dull. It can work it's way back to being tense and surprising, but so far, this season is a mess and all I can figure is that they are in some way going to kill off almost all the new characters in some sort of disaster. The show lost a key writer and it is hurting after two episodes. I don't think Tim or myself will stop watching, but I echo his concerns and I am a faithful fan of the show. Not kissing up here, just stating an opinion. I hope the show rights the ship.

  • A real review

    How are you analyzing shows when you don't even understand how drama is written? Go take a night class on creative writing or even a high school English class in-between writing these shock jock reviews on the Walking Dead in order to get reviews on your uncreative and typo filled writing.
    Yes nothing much happens in the first episode as almost all books or scripts don't have much happen in the first chapter. It's to create the setting, and establish characters. The 4th season did this well in the 1st episode by updating the audience on the state of the survivors while showing new relationships.
    Then in the second episode is where we see the “rising action”. As every English class from middle school on teaches, this is where a problem or challenge is presented and the plot kicks off.
    Since this is a drama the season will follow the dramatic half circle of plot writing as every other season of the Walking Dead has. This means the group will start off average, neither great nor completely screwed. Then some tough things will happen, eventually the problems will climax and then the plot will slow back down. This is where the season ends and we see the dramatic loop return to somewhere close to where the group started, while being maybe a little better or worse off than before.
    Wait for the next few episodes for the show to be filled with action and stand-offs, and please apply to your nearest Starbucks where your skills will be better served. Plus you won't waste a staff position a real writer could have. I mean you quoted another review in your review, how did your editor not call you out for being lazy as hell?

  • TWDLover

    I think this article is just stupid. Any true walking dead fan would know who Karen is and there is no facts pointing towards Ricks guilt. Get your facts straight and re-watch season 3, please. Overall, you were a disappointment to me.

  • Karma Storm

    The killings are based on the comic book. What is wrong with you, The Wrap? Let me she if you can write something any better!

  • This show is a joke

    Don't listen to these “Dead Heads”. The show sucks. It's a shell of what it could have been, and the writing is just awful. It sucks, something that we were so excited about is less entertaining than the articles exposing its faults. Its only a “breakout hit” because there isn't much better on in today's reality choked television landscape.

  • AJ

    Tim's right folks. I wrote that very sentiment into a comment here last season under an article that was raving about the show (might have been the article about Kirkman and his artist settling their lawsuit).

    At any rate, the problem Tim's talking about has existed longer than just this season.

    The show kinda sucks. No two ways about it. :/

    The spinoff *might* be better because they won't be hampered by the comics’ storylines.