While “The Walking Dead” has come back from launching the Jet Ski over the shark, it’s still only treading water as the first half of Season 5 limps to a conclusion.
The production value is still great. The money shots of Atlanta, the zombies, the music, camera work, Rick/Daryl/Carol/etc. are all played beautifully — that part of the show is all solid gold.
WHAT DIDN’T WORK
The show is still mired down mightily because no one has a goal (sorry, but did anyone really think that Eugene was gonna save Earth?). They’re not trying to find an island, or a fort, or a prison … oh wait. In other words, “The Walking Dead” is missing that crucial bit of plot that gives the characters motivation to keep on doing anything other than just living.
“Battlestar Galactica” used Earth as a means to keep the show on the rails when the writers needed to. It was the underlying foundation for all other story lines and ultimately provided the means for perhaps the best TV show finale ever filmed.
The characters continue to do dumb things. The good guys never would have done a trade in real life as they had no need to. They already had three of the cops. Just wait till curiosity got the better of hospital cops and snipe the next two (knee shots if you must) who come and search. Then either wait or hit the place. In any event, with the two or three cops (who just seemed to have pistols) left — all with their limited experience — would seem to have little chance against what amounts to a platoon of super killers armed with rifles.
Also misplayed is the obvious attempt to have Rick (yet again) walking the razor’s edge between good and evil. To wit, it’s clear that by having Rick shoot a cop in the head we’re meant to question him. Except the guy wasn’t a cop — there are no cops. Cops are an extension of a municipality/city/village — obviously that’s all gone.
And even if it wasn’t, he was a cop working for what amount to slavers. Better than the cannibals I suppose, but only just. Let’s put it this way, you don’t want to be caught by those cats (remember they did kidnap Beth, who wasn’t hurt in the slightest, to kick this all off). It was pretty clear no one ever left the place … alive anyway.
And the “cop” attacked the girl with the AR-15. The way her head cracked the window, she could have died. And when he ran, Rick told him to stop what, three times? This ain’t playtime man, it’s the end times. And by shooting him, Rick saved the dumb-dumb from being torn to pieces while still alive.
In other words, if the writers are trying to make me hate Rick, they have super-failed. And that seems to be what the entire season is about — are the good guys really good or not? Such moral quandaries might make some sense in a long-form comic book, but in a 13 episode TV season, it’s pretty frustrating. Until the show understands that we love these characters — and find a reason for those characters to get the hell away from Atlanta — the show has no choice but to tread water, and that’s not as pretty as swimming laps.
GIVING CREDIT WHERE IT’S DUE
“The Walking Dead” is based on Robert Kirkman’s graphic novel from Image Comics. “Coda” was written by Angela Kang and directed by Ernest R. Dickerson. It stars Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, Melissa McBride, Steven Yeun, Lauren Cohan, Chandler Riggs, Danai Gurira, Michael Cudlitz, Chad L. Coleman.