Monday, March 10, 2014

A Negative Review: The Walking Dead S04E13 "Alone" Sucks

I'm not going to bother with an excuse

So I guess at this point, the writers are trying to reduce the fan base of this show intentionally. There are just so many things wrong that it's almost hopeless to try to list them all – but in brief, it's that characters keep doing things contrary to what rudimentary logic would dictate, and that The Walking Dead is no longer post-apocalyptic horror. I have no idea what is going on with this show anymore.

I suppose the most immediate complaint about this episode is the questionable method Maggie uses to write out her message for Glen – sure, it looks pretty cool when she uses walker blood to mark the walls she passes, but isn't it actually a really, really stupid idea for her to shove her hand into the walker guts, potentially cutting herself on all those cracked ribs? At the very least, wouldn't walker guts probably be a very likely place to find all sorts of nasty diseases? Well, not for Maggie – she's wearing plot armor. This contamination idea is actually consistently ignored by the show, as a few scenes previous to this, Sasha visibly uses the same knife she used to kill walkers to open the food she's going to put in her mouth. While it's true that avoiding the walker-plague infection is not possible, given what's been put forth on the show so far, it is still ridiculous that survivors would not consider and be cautious of contamination and bacteria, especially after the major arc involving the flu at the prison.

In the other corner, then, is Daryl's stupidity – after keeping a very level head and never panicking or forgetting to use his skill set, he opens the door and invites all those walkers into the house, near the end of the episode. It's already out of character because Daryl would always check the windows first, but it actually ends up being insulting because Daryl did check the windows – it's just that he does it the time before, and not second time when he ends up letting all the walkers in. Yes, he mutters something about it being the previously seen dog, but is Daryl really the type of guy to leave things like survival to chance? It doesn't end up mattering, anyway, because Daryl is also wearing plot armor. He single handedly slays a dozen walkers in a confined environment, maneuvers his way through a dozen more without being bitten, and then escapes through the only passage which steers him completely clear of further harm. If this is the way it's going to be, then it's pretty pointless to complain any further – Daryl is clearly the fan favorite, and is not going to die any time soon, unless Scott Gimple decides he no longer likes money.

Anyway, perhaps the most disappoint thing about The Walking Dead is something less obvious: recently, it seems to be that plot lines avoid filler status only because the show goes to great lengths to dupe the audience; The Walking Dead consistently sets up a scenario that appears unprecedented and new, but moments later, after distracting the audience with a few zombies, goes back on itself and whatever scenario was set up regresses into its previous state. This is most apparent in this episode:

1. Sasha, Bob, and Maggie argue about splitting up. The audience is led to believe that Maggie, although gone from the scene, intends to stick with the group.

2. Reveal: Maggie has left the group, in search of Glen, and leaves the remainder of the group a message proclaiming to not come after her.

3. The latter party pursues Maggie, but given the state of affairs, ends up splitting up even further – and there is a strong sense of finality in this. Sasha, upon finding the shelter she previously spoke of, sets down her bags to imply that she intends to stay; Bob, believing that he needs to go find Maggie, marches down the railroad tracks in a shot almost mirroring the opening sequence, where Bob was clearly shown to be on his own; and Maggie, up until the point Sasha randomly runs into her, is nowhere to be seen.

4. X runs into Y and Y runs into Z, or maybe Z runs into W, and B and G find F, but who really cares. Sasha finds Maggie, who apparently had a change of heart about leaving the group, and everything ends up working out because it turns out that Maggie's head start was meaningless, and Bob wasn't really that much farther ahead of them either.

The problem with this is that every bit of the tension and/or drama is so contrived that it removes any fear or doubt in the audience regarding the survival of characters. The only character I can even think of that actually died after parting from his/her given group is Andrea, and that much wasn't actually her fault anyway. How many times can the writers possibly pull the same crappy twist where someone who appears to have been lost/on their own magically reappears or decides to come back, absent consequence? What's the point? How are the characters in any way developed when it happens? How is the plot advanced as a result? The answers to these questions do not bode well for the show, so the only saving grace that can exist, really, is if the means by which the characters find each other are interesting – but all that happened in this episode was Bob and Sasha walking around through the forest and moping about Maggie. When the obligatory action scene finally did arrive, anyway, it wasn't even good – so what the fuck did this episode end up being other than filler?

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