I love Vox.com. If I planned on growing up one day, I’d want to write for them.
Below is a link to a review of last night’s episode.
To be honest, I’ve always been one to draw the wool over my own eyes – so in love I am with TWD that I’ve only explored looking at the themes. I come up short when it gets down to taking on a critique of the story-telling.
I need to work on that.
The author below has some problems with the story-telling in Season Six. My only disagreement is that a critic watches the show on an entirely different level: he/she is engaging in his/her profession, and brings his (the author is Todd VanDerWerff, so from here on out, it’s a “he”) A-game intellectually.
The rest of us are watching the show to “check out.” We’re looking for a “Calgon moment,” to take us away. As long as we don’t quite know what’s going to happen, and jump out of our seats a few times, hey, we’re happy.
Much as I’d love some of the great insights into story-telling structure I’ve read about – life has been a bit stressful lately. If something can get my mind off that for a while, then, hey, the story is doing the job I “paid” for it to do – whether buying a book or paying streaming/cable fees and tolerating advertising.
My whole exegesis, which I admit takes the whole TWD a bit too seriously at times, is part of my catharsis. The issues I discuss I think are important, but they are important social issues that I see around me, and have impacted my world. Freud would have much more to say on the subject, but he’s not here.
On another level, TWD is a means to an end to raise my voice o the matter. I’d be saying it anyway, but I have the show to hold up and say “Here! See? TWD says so, too!”
TWD also enjoys a good bit of relative elevation. Sci-fi and horror fans don’t get much in the way of original TV viewing, and so much of general TV is bad, so the mere gap between the average quality and TWD allows many of its shortcomings to go unnoticed.
That, and no story is perfect. Well, people say there was that whole Citizen Kane thing. But that’s not sci-fi horror, so …
One last comment on why the average viewer’s take might be more forgiving than a critic: sometimes the suspense isn’t on what happens, but the thrill ride in getting there. VanDerWerff mentions that no one was really worried about Maggie’s safety. Okay, fine. Maybe not. But it was still fun to watch her be worried about her safety.
Even if we know a character is going to be fine, we know they don’t. Their horror and doubt is worth it sometimes.
That said, even I had to notice some shortcomings last night. That says alot.
If Deanna was on death’s door and couldn’t move, how did she manage that final shoot-out? There is the trope of gathering one’s last bit of strength in a rally of defense, but this seemed — like Glenn’s survival — a bit implausible.
They waited too long to bring in any strategy for survival for the group walking through the zombies.
There have been some comments (as in the link) about the Zombie disguise: why don’t they do it all the time? The same we don’t abstain from bathing, the same reason we don’t just omit a few steps and pull up our pants right after doing our business in the woods: it makes for a disgusting, possibly puke-inducting day, for us and the people who share space with us.
Modern man just does not take on that drastic a change in hygiene if it doesn’t have to.
Kirkman had to answer that question on TTD last night. Well, think about it people.
Even if the Kirkman and Gimple took that tact, it would be seen and criticized as gratuitous gore, with critics saying “Oh, that’s not realistic, people wouldn’t do that if they didn’t have to.”
Still, I found parts dissatisfying: there were several clear moments of advantage when the Wolf was threatening to leave with Denise. The suspense and threat there seemed weak. Bank-robber and kidnapping scenarios abandoned that flimsy “helplessness” plot device years ago.
The conflict between Carol and Morgan seemed like simple device, too – a means to the Take-Denise-Hostage end. Philosophically it had been brewing, but there hadn’t been a history of animosity – only difference of opinion. Now they’re going at each other? In such a volatile situation? Really?
I live for those boring, expositional moments of dialogue when characters discuss – when the story goes to tell not show. A little goes a long way, I assure you, but it’s nice. That was the place for that. It didn’t happen. Moreover, the show didn’t take the position that we know the writers clearly have; it ducked committing to its own theme for lack of a way to illustrate it in plot. It sacrificed commitment to the thematic arc for a moment of cheap suspense.
C’mon Scott. I know you know better. Don’t make me take down my Gimple shrine in the basement.
When Carol said “I have to stop it,” I did feel a nice allusion back to the prison where she burned the virus carriers. It established this as her perspective on the world. Still, the fight seemed out of character even for her.
I can see where the invasion of the zombies seems like “same song, different verse.” In the forum, there was one question as to why no one noticed the steeple cracking. Well, people are just that stupid, I’m afraid. For one, I get suspicious when a storyline attributes more sense to humanity than it really possesses. I can fill this blog with tragic tales of disaster and loss of life because of a chain of events that simply adds up to a few stupid people in a row.
Rick and our gang are supposed to be better than that, and such an oversight flies in the face of the “we know more because we were out there” business.