Walker Wednesday

Walker Wednesday


The Walking Dead, Season 7, episode 3

November 6, 2016


For me, episode three was almost as emotional to watch as the season premiere was. Before we’d even reached the first commercial break, I had turned to my husband and said, “I can understand why people have stopped watching.” Here’s why.

The episode starts with Dwight going about his business. He’s making a sandwich, giving us a little glimpse into how things are run.

Dwight takes.

While other people living with the Saviors have to stand in line and wait their turn, sometimes begging for a small piece of bread, Dwight jumps the line and takes an entire loaf. Then he takes pickles from someone. He takes lettuce. He takes mustard. He takes an egg. Others get nothing, while he takes what he wants.

It’s obvious Dwight is at the top of the food chain here, so you think everything must be good for him. Then he steps outside, all ready to eat his sandwich (which looked really good by the way), and he seems to lose his appetite when he looks out over a yard of zombies who are chained up and struggling to get free.

Like Dwight, I was really bothered by the yard of zombies. It might not seem like much to some people, but to me it was another example of just how little humanity lives in Negan and his top men. The zombies may have been around for over a year now, and the sight of them may have become almost normal, but they were still people at one time. They were fathers and sons and sisters and mothers, and it should bother a person to see them chained up the way they were. A person who can feel anything should be able to look at killing them as an act of mercy. I think of it the way Rick did, way back in the first season when he woke up to a crazy world that had fallen apart. After parting ways with Morgan the first time, Rick went back to find the half-eaten zombie he saw when he first left the hospital, and before he put a bullet in its head Rick said,  “I’m sorry this happened to you.” To me, that’s a normal reaction.


That moment when Dwight loses his appetite is our first clue that he might not be as thrilled with his position in life as he first appeared to be. Every time we’ve run into him since he stole Daryl’s crossbow, he seemed loyal and pleased with his place at Negan’s side. He also seemed to have a personal vendetta against Daryl.



But it isn’t too long into episode three when we find out something is up with Dwight. 

We run into the woman he was with before, who turns out to be his wife, and it seems they are no longer together. Even stranger, she’s with Negan now, and apparently trying to get pregnant (creepy alert). There’s even a moment when Negan tries to use her as a reward for a job well done, which he doesn’t seem to realize would only be adding insult to injury for Dwight. It’s a messed up situation where Dwight has been backed into a corner of loyalty, and it seems he isn’t the only one.

No one except a handful of Negan’s top mean looked happy to be with the Saviors. The people are there because they feel like they have no other choice, but they’re scared of Negan. They bow down when he walks into a room, which I felt was a bit ironic considering we’d just met a man the week before who actually calls himself a king, yet not a single one of his subjects bowed to him. Negan rules with fear. He thrives on it. He uses the zombies in the yard to lord his power over people. He carries Lucille with him everywhere he goes as a reminder of what can happen if you cross him.

Seeing what Daryl is going through in this episode… Wow. He’s being conditioned and tortured. Locked in a cell with nothing—not even clothes at first—and fed dog food sandwiches while overly happy music is pumped into his cell. They’re trying to break him, and as the viewer, it’s easy to think that Daryl is stronger than this. He’s been through a lot and always come out of it. He’s Daryl Dixon. He can handle it. But now he’s alone with little hope of rescue, and he’s carrying the guilt of Glenn’s death with him on top of everything else. His one attempt at escape ends up being a trap and deep down he knows he only has one choice to get out of this alive: follow Negan. Daryl says he’ll never bow to Negan, but I have to admit that I like Dwight, I found myself wondering if he would be able to keep it together. A person can only take so much before survival instincts kick in. 

The standoff between Daryl and Negan at the very end of the episode was intense. First, we get the story of what happened with Dwight and his wife. She offered herself up to Negan in exchange for her husband’s life. Holy shit. Dwight has to walk around every day knowing that his wife is with a man he hates, and he has to serve that man.

Is it worth it, though? That’s the question. Watching this episode, I found myself wondering why these people were fighting to live if this was the only future they saw for themselves. I got why Gordon (the man who ran away from the Saviors) chose death over going back. There is no future in this group, not unless you’re willing to sell your soul. Dwight can see that logically, but he hasn’t reached the point where he’s ready to throw in the towel because he is focused on keeping his wife alive. Daryl gets it, though. Daryl understands Dwight now and I think that may turn the tide of how these two interact. But it’s also why Daryl refuses to give in. He knows doing it would be the easy way out. His torture would end. He could leave the room and join the Saviors and go about his day just like Dwight does, but it would be a betrayal after what happened. He inadvertently caused Glenn’s death, and giving in to Negan’s demands would be wrong in Daryl’s eyes. It would be repeating the mistake he already made, and he’d have to walk around for the rest of his life with the blood of every person Negan killed or hurt on his hands, and Daryl isn’t willing to sell his soul. It makes me love him so much more than ever before. 



Walker Wednesday

I’m going to start a new thing:

Walker Wednesday!!

Every Wednesday I’ll post my thoughts and feelings about the previous episode of The Walking Dead, starting with this past Sunday’s episode, the long-awaited premiere of season 7. This isn’t necessarily a review of the show, but instead just my thoughts and feelings about what happened, and where I think the group will go. 


***Beware of spoilers***


The Walking Dead, Season 7, Episode 1

October 23, 2016


We’ve been waiting months for the season 7 premiere, and it’s finally come and gone. Wow. The episode nearly broke the Internet, and possibly a lot of people’s brains. It was rough. We knew it was going to be, we had months to prepare, but it seems like a lot of people just couldn’t prepare themselves for what happened.

Season 6 ended with most of Rick’s group (Rick, Carl, Daryl, Glenn, Maggie, Abraham, Eugene, Rosita, Sasha, Aaron, & Michonne) lined up in front of Negan, who was about to put them in their place by brutally beating one of them to death with his bat, Lucille.



All summer long we were warned that this was going to be intense. The Walking Dead is known for its gore and special effects, and these are all characters we’ve come to love, so no matter who got chosen, we knew it was going to be rough. Sometime during the months between the end of season 6 and the beginning of season 7, I heard rumors that two people would be killed, so again I was prepared. I also knew that in the comics Glenn was the one chosen by Negan. But the show doesn’t always follow the comics, and I felt pretty certain that Abraham would be chosen this time around. He’d just traded Rosita for Sasha, and had finally reached a point where he felt like he could start over, so it made sense with how the arc of the show usually goes. In the back of my head, although I didn’t want to admit it, I also had a good feeling Glenn would be the second one. I hoped it wouldn’t be true, of course, but we all know that no one is safe on this show. Maybe Rick, but even his death wouldn’t surprise me.

No matter how prepared I was for the premiere, it was still rough. Just like I thought, Abraham was chosen by Negan, and his death was both horrifyingly brutal and devastating for the group. It was nothing compared to Glenn’s end, though. That part of the show will be forever tattooed on my mind. It was unforgettable and heartbreaking, and the fact that Maggie, who is pregnant with his baby, was right there watching the whole thing made me physically sick. Even now, two days later, I can’t think about it without feeling nauseated. Glenn’s last thoughts, his last words, were of Maggie. Letting her know how much he loved her. Saying his goodbyes despite the agony he must have been in. It was gut wrenching.


To say the premiere was gory is an understatement. Watching someone get their head smashed in with a bat will leave an impression on you, and the amazing special effects that The Walking Dead is known for weren’t missing in this case. It was made worse by the fact that the entire group had to watch, and you could see the shock and anguish on everyone’s faces, but the thing that tipped it over the edge was the utter glee expressed by Negan. I’ve read some of the comics, but not all of them because I don’t want to get too far ahead of where we are in the show, so I haven’t reached the part with Negan in it yet, but I’ve heard that he makes the governor look warm and cuddly. He is, by all definitions, a sociopath. No one can do the things he did on the premiere and not be disturbed, and despite the fact that I loathe this character so much, Jeffery Dean Morgan is brilliant casting. He’s charming, which is a common characteristic of sociopaths (Don’t believe me? Google Ted Bundy and read a little bit about his early life, he was known as a charming man.), and even though there are people out there who will try to deny it, I have literally no doubt in my mind that men like Negan would thrive in an apocalyptic scenario.

But the deaths of Abraham and Glenn weren’t the end. Rick was dragged into the RV by an axe wielding Negan, and I thought for sure (about a dozen times during the premiere) that he was about to lose his hand. If you’ve read the comics, you know that Rick loses his hand to the Governor. I’ve been waiting for it to happen on the show and I was sooo sure this was it! He doesn’t, but then Negan puts him in an almost Biblical situation: Cut your son (Carl’s) arm off or everyone dies. There’s Rick, literally sobbing, while his son is on the ground in front of him and everyone else in his group has a gun to the back of their heads. It’s an impossible but obvious choice: he has to do it. He knows it. Carl knows it. Carl tells him to do it. Negan is counting. It’s so intense and all I can think is: Rick will never recover. He will be broken forever if this happens. Thankfully, Negan stops him, thinking he has broken Rick enough. He’s wrong, of course. He’s reined Rick in for the time being, but he isn’t totally broken. Not yet. I honestly think, though, that if Negan had forced Rick to go through with it, it would have been the end for the group (or at least the end of him as a leader). He wouldn’t have been able to recover. He almost lost his mind after Lori died and he didn’t have the constant reminder of his failure right in front of him. With Carl, though, he would have been there every day, and every time Rick looked at his son, he would have seen his failure in Carl’s missing arm. It would have eaten away at him, ground him down until he was nothing inside but dust and ashes. He would have been lost for good.


So where are we now? What do I see playing out for this season? Well, Negan took Daryl, which means he’s in real danger. Even worse, Daryl was unintentionally to blame for Glenn’s death. The group was told not to move, but Daryl jumped up and punched Negan, and Glenn paid the ultimate price. Daryl will blame himself forever. He is a deeply emotional character who internalizes everything (Remember how he was after Sophia walked out of that barn?), and even though he’s come a long way, I think this may be a real setback for him. He’s a fighter, so he’ll do what it takes to survive, but I’m afraid the guilt he’s going to carry with him may be irreversible. On top of that, the group is stuck. They can’t run because it would mean leaving Daryl behind, and they now know the consequences of crossing Negan. They work for him, he owns them, and at this point, they’re all too wounded to really do anything about it. Our only hope may be the new group that Morgan and Carol find themselves with. Again, I haven’t read that far in the comics, but these people could be a real ally against Negan. Even more, they could be the only hope Rick and his group has.

My final thought about the premiere of The Walking Dead is this: Andrew Lincoln is a phenomenal actor. Amazing. That man makes me believe this show is real. He literally broke right in front of our eyes. You could see him fall to pieces. Could see his anger and rage crack and shrivel away, leaving only pieces of the man behind. I believed every second of his performance. I felt it. He made me hurt. Seriously, everyone involved in this show is awesome, but Andrew Lincoln is mind-blowing. Watching the evolution of his character over the years, I already knew he was great at what he does, but seeing the range he has squeezed into one hour of television cemented that in my mind. This show would not be what it is without him.


***Final words***

I’ve seen a lot of posts about the show, and some people are saying they are done with it. Not because of who died, but because the gore has reached a point where they just can’t stomach it anymore. Then there’s the other camp who is calling them names and saying they’re babies for being upset, which I personally feel is ridiculous. People are entitled to feel how they feel. End of story.
Even though I’m not ready to give up on the show (I love it too much) I get how people are feeling when it comes to the violence Negan inflicted on the group. This episode was really hard to watch. I’m on the fence about the gore and violence personally. I totally understand why people feel sick, because that’s how I felt years ago when I watched the movie Hostel. I still can’t think about it without feeling physically ill. Others are shouting things like “it’s a zombie show, it’s always been bloody” and “you’ve seen zombies rip people’s throats out, but this is where you draw the line?” There’s a difference, at least to me. The zombie violence is fake. Zombies aren’t real, and it’s easier to stomach because we know they don’t exist and even if they did, they would be mindless creatures who aren’t taking joy in what they’re doing. With Negan, it’s a whole different story. Yes, we’ve come across cannibals, but I didn’t see Bob get his leg sawed off. He woke up and it was gone. Yes, the group at Terminus was hard to stomach, but it was over quickly and less bloody, whereas we all know Negan is just getting started. For me, it isn’t so much the blood as it is the joy behind the pain he’s inflicting. People like this are real. There are people who take real delight in hurting others, and that’s where the line gets fuzzy.
The truth is, the fact that people as vicious as Negan are real is something we like to keep in the back of our minds. We know it’s true, serial killers and sociopaths do exist, but we don’t want to dwell on it. I know I don’t, and I know this episode did push me toward the line that I felt Hostel crossed. To me, the premiere of TWD wasn’t any less brutal in it’s plausibility as Hostel was, so I’m not sure why it didn’t push me over that line, but it probably has something to do with how much I love the story and characters in TWD. But I do understand if other people might be done with the show. The prospect of more bloody nights like this one may not sit well with everyone, and that is their right.
There was also some discussion on Facebook about how people feel the show has lost all hope with the current storyline, and this is something my husband and I discussed after the premiere, and something he repeated against last night. Where can the story go from here? How can it end? It’s not like the group is going to stumble across a walled city that’s totally safe. They’ve done that, and guess what? It wasn’t safe, because there is no safe place left in this world. The only possible way this series can end is with the death of everyone we love, and I think that’s another thing that has turned a lot of people off. I get it, people have a right to bow out if they feel they need to. I’m still a devoted fan and I will be until every single person (even Daryl) is dead and buried, but those of us who are sticking with it have no right to criticize the people who are unable to stomach the blood and hopelessness anymore.


All clips courtesy of Giphy.