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Tag Archives: Abraham Ford
There was a hue and cry after the Season 7 premiere of The Walking Dead. Two characters we knew and cared about died, and people were undeniably, understandably upset. Some of that reaction stemmed from the mere brutality of it – the protruding eyeball and the last gasps and the earth stained with bloody mush of it all. But more of it stemmed from the senselessness of those deaths – the sense in which these individuals had perished not as the culmination of their journeys, but as fodder for puffing up the series’s new biggest of big bads, turned into sacrifices made on the altar of “this guy means business.”
How can an episode where so much happens seem so dull? “Twice as Far” features a firefight, a significant casualty, a big decision from a major character, and a reckoning between two people who’ve had unfinished business for a long time now. This is all major stuff. So why did the episode feel so thoroughly lifeless?
In fairness, “Twice as Far” aimed for a certain feeling of routine in the proceedings. It opens with a repeated sequence of supply inventory, guard shifts, and the daily rhythms of Alexandria in order to establish the semi-normalcy that the town has settled into after the most recent bit of excitement. The Walking Dead has thrived on this type of “calm after the storm” vibe in episodes like “The Next World”, but here it felt ponderous and contrived.
In the ancient past that is the year 2008, an ambitious (and ultimately disappointing) game, entitled Spore, was released. Nicknamed “SimEverything,” the game was meant to depict the progress of life and civilization across millennia, beginning with single-celled organisms and ending with spacefaring intergalactic communities. Part of Spore’s premise involved splitting the game up into stages based on that progression, starting with ones that let your characters evolve individually and then eventually advancing to others where they would form collectives that traded and went to war with neighboring tribes.
As The Walking Dead moves toward a new stage of world building in “Knots Untie”, I like the idea of the series taking a similar path. For several seasons, we’ve seen the core group of survivors grow and change with their needs changing accordingly. In the beginning, TWD was about Rick surviving on his own and finding his family. Eventually, with the number of survivors swelling after the events of Herschel’s farm and beyond, it became about that group and finding safety and security for more people. This idea was reinforced at the prison, a setting that continued the theme of trying to find a place that offered at least temporary safety, and then struggling to protect it from both the dead and the living.