The Walking Disappointed

 

the-walking-dead

Who else was disappointed in the midseason finale of “The Walking Dead?” And I’m not talking about students coming out of their college and law school exams.

I’ve always enjoyed the show and even think it is basically conservative in outlook — it reminds us of the state of nature to which we could return if it were not for the fragile institutions that keep society functioning. The group at the heart of the show tries to build a society among itself with rules and institutions and try to balance security with the need for a future. Alexandria struck me as a typical liberal fantasy land, kept alive by luck but from which the inhabitants inferred that they could build a perfect community free from the tough truths of reality.

But I thought that the fall of Alexandria’s walls by the collapse of a church tower was a random element that made little sense. I think for the walls to have fallen because of a direct attack by the other competing groups would have made sense. Maybe they did, since the walls were weakened because of the attack by the fellows with the W’s on their heads, but the inhabitants had plenty of time to recognize and fix that. I also didn’t find the escape of the W prisoner believable or that Carol would try to take on Morgan armed only with a knife to get to him.

But perhaps (spoiler alert!) it is all a let down from discovering that Glen was still alive, hiding under trash dumpster. I had expected it, because you would expect the departure of a major character to get a much bigger send-off. But it was still great all the same. After that revelation, maybe any finale would have been an anti-climax. What did you think?

There are 39 comments.

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  1. Spin Inactive

    John, do you watch The Talking Dead? Robert Kirkman, or perhaps Scott M. Gimple made this point about the first half season: it’s only been 2-3 days from start to finish. So they really have not had the time to formulate a plan for the church tower. It seems like it because we’ve watched it over the course of a many weeks.

    That said, they could at the very least have had someone up on the platform with a long stick, poking walkers in the head, to relieve some pressure.

    • #1
    • December 3, 2015, at 8:16 AM PDT
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  2. Shawn Buell (Majestyk) Contributor

    I thought there was an interesting moment at the beginning of the episode: The ants sneaking in through a cracked window and getting after a cookie left out.

    The ants always get in. It’s what they do. That was an interesting foreshadowing that they should have used earlier. Also, Jesse’s kids’ incipient meltdown following Rick first killing and then becoming their new daddy is something else that they may have squandered.

    • #2
    • December 3, 2015, at 8:26 AM PDT
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  3. Concretevol Thatcher

    I basically like the show but of course some things are maddening. The main characters have terrible weapon selection. The only thing worse than Rick’s revolver is Daryl’s crossbow. Yeah it’s great when you need to be quiet but in all other ways terrible. The problem I had with the wall breach is that they are always completely unprepared for the inevitable. Both the outer defenses collapse at the prison and now in the town cause complete panic and chaos. Maybe after the lesson of the prison you would have some sort of contingency plan?? lol

    It’s better not to over think it, it’s a tv show and is both entertaining and insane at the same time. :)

    • #3
    • December 3, 2015, at 9:10 AM PDT
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  4. A-Squared Inactive

    The show jumped the shark with the whole Glenn issue, and they would have jumped it even if they hadn’t made everyone wait a month.

    I’ve only watched one episode since Glen died, and I’m not sure I will watch any more, even though I may keep listening to the talking dead podcast recaps, they are usually better than watching the show and they can tell me when an episode happens that is worth watching.

    • #4
    • December 3, 2015, at 9:23 AM PDT
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  5. Spin Inactive

    Majestyk:I thought there was an interesting moment at the beginning of the episode: The ants sneaking in through a cracked window and getting after a cookie left out.

    The ants always get in. It’s what they do. That was an interesting foreshadowing that they should have used earlier. Also, Jesse’s kids’ incipient meltdown following Rick first killing and then becoming their new daddy is something else that they may have squandered.

    Kirkman suggested that the opening scene and the ending scene were specifically meant to point out what you are saying. The kid is no more safe at the beginning of the episode, than at the end.

    • #5
    • December 3, 2015, at 9:45 AM PDT
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  6. John Hanson Thatcher

    Sometimes to develop plot points on TV shows, the groups don’t do obvious stuff, and make silly mistakes. Same occurs on “reality” shows, where the filmed group makes basic errors, that competent persons would not make.

    Here, for Alexandria, the wall is essential for their survival in both a practical and an existential way. As an engineer, looking at security, any external obstacle (or internal) that could damage the wall, should have been removed, e.g. the tower should not have been still standing. Further one would clear away debris, and ensure a clear field for the task of killing zombies. Also would aid in defense against other enemy human bands, but none of the basic security stuff beyond just having a wall was done. Also, there should have been some form of defense in depth, e.g. a second wall inside the first, so when one wall is breached, the whole settlement is not immediately at serious risk.

    The argument that it has only been a few days of show time, holds only for what Rick’s group might have done. The Alexandria group has been there since the apocalypse and should have done a lot more towards defense.

    And overall, one would expect a general zombie eradication program giving mercy to zombies, not just a reactive stance to active attacks. But it all makes for exciting TV, so those of us who see the flaws, should just stop worrying about what wasn’t done, or should be done differently, suspend belief and just watch as mindless entertainment.

    • #6
    • December 3, 2015, at 9:46 AM PDT
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  7. Spin Inactive

    A-Squared:The show jumped the shark with the whole Glenn issue, and they would have jumped it even if they hadn’t made everyone wait a month.

    I’ve only watched one episode since Glen died, and I’m not sure I will watch any more, even though I may keep listening to the talking dead podcast recaps, they are usually better than watching the show and they can tell me when an episode happens that is worth watching.

    Do none of you watch talking dead? I was perplexed by the way they did the Glenn issue. I said after the episode “No one has died that way on the show before, where it was somehow unclear if they are dead or not. Why did they do it this way?” Gimple provided the answer. He wanted to audience to experience the same uncertainty as Maggie. So he constructed a way to do that. It was not elegant, to be sure, but it certainly did what he intended. Everyone was wondering and thinking about it, and trying figure out clues, or rationalize what might have happened.

    • #7
    • December 3, 2015, at 9:49 AM PDT
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  8. Spin Inactive

    John Hanson: The argument that it has only been a few days of show time, holds only for what Rick’s group might have done. The Alexandria group has been there since the apocalypse and should have done a lot more towards defense.

    This is true, but the point is, the Alexandrians are dumb. Really dumb. Or I should say, as Tovah Feldsuh (the actor who played Deanna) said “We are not dumb, we are innocent.” She made the point, and I paraphrase: “Why has there never been a mass of walkers at the gates? Dumb luck.” You are right, they should have known better. But they didn’t. Rick should have known better from the moment he arrived at Alexandria, and to some degree he did. But he was battling the threat within.

    • #8
    • December 3, 2015, at 9:52 AM PDT
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  9. Ross C Member

    I like the show, but I am having real trouble as follows:

    1. When the church tower falls on the wall there are dozens (if not hundreds) of walkers in the compound as soon as the dust clears which is impossible because the tower debris would be in the way and while there would be gaps in the wall they can’t cover that ground anywhere near that fast. [This is a subset of my issue with how the walkers, despite their slowness, are always within biting distance when they are first seen on screen, I realize that is dramatic but it is getting old, in that they make noise and would generally be seen at a distance.]
    2. The horn attraction – If it is really as simple as blowing a horn to attact walkers, why wouldn’t they set up horns to distract them. Similarly, if the walkers can be made to follow a honking car or motorcycle then a truck with 3 guys in the back with spears could easily kill the entire herd of thousands of walkers in the same way they were leading them in the show. That does not occur to anyone.
    3. I want to kill Enid, I don’t know why Glen brought her along.
    4. We now know, there are three different groups of people in a 20 mile radius (Wolves, Alexandrians, and the new ones) How is it that they have never crossed paths in the two years since the zombie apocalypse.
    • #9
    • December 3, 2015, at 9:53 AM PDT
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  10. Spin Inactive

    John Hanson: But it all makes for exciting TV, so those of us who see the flaws, should just stop worrying about what wasn’t done, or should be done differently, suspend belief and just watch as mindless entertainment.

    All of us see the flaws in how the zombies are portrayed. I could list them out here, but there are too many. But the point of TWD is not to talk about zombies (you’ll notice they are never called that in the show or the comic books). The title of the show refers to the characters themselves. The point of the story is to illustrate how people behave, when confronted with an existential, ever present threat. They don’t need to be consistent with how that threat behaves or work, so long as it doesn’t affect how the characters respond to it. For example, I always wonder “Exactly what part of the brain has to be destroyed for the walker to ‘die’?” It really doesn’t matter. If they spent time in the show articulating that to kill a walker you have to get the base of the brain, specifically you have to perforate the lamina quadrigemina (I just googled brain anatomy, fyi), what would that do for the story? Scenes involving the killing of a walker would look a little different. But the primary story would go on, unchanged. So there’s no real point to articulating that.

    Am I making sense?

    • #10
    • December 3, 2015, at 10:01 AM PDT
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  11. Ross C Member
    •  The fight between Morgan and Carol was too dumb for words. Why wouldn’t Carol just walk out and inform the others that Morgan has a Wolf in the basement. He was tied up and there was not reason Carol needed to act immediately like that.
    • Zombie apocalypse survivors should be pretty ruthless, right? Why would Rosita and the others lay down their weapons for the Wolf Guy who just had a knife? He could have killed them all right there, it does not make any sense.
    • #11
    • December 3, 2015, at 10:03 AM PDT
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  12. Ross C Member

    Spin:That said, they could at the very least have had someone up on the platform with a long stick, poking walkers in the head, to relieve some pressure

    My sense exactly, I know the knives are dramatic, but no one would want to get that close to kill a walker.

    • #12
    • December 3, 2015, at 10:05 AM PDT
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  13. A-Squared Inactive

    Spin: Do none of you watch talking dead? I was perplexed by the way they did the Glenn issue. I said after the episode “No one has died that way on the show before, where it was somehow unclear if they are dead or not. Why did they do it this way?” Gimple provided the answer. He wanted to audience to experience the same uncertainty as Maggie. So he constructed a way to do that. It was not elegant, to be sure, but it certainly did what he intended. Everyone was wondering and thinking about it, and trying figure out clues, or rationalize what might have happened.

    I sometimes watch the Talking Dead show (though I always listen to the unaffiliated Talking Dead podcast). It doesn’t matter, I don’t care why they did what they did. When the controversy started, I said if Glen survived, I was done with the show. He did, and I am.

    Making everyone sit through four boring episodes including 90 mins of the cheese maker (which I admittedly still haven’t watched) made a bad decision a thousand times worse and cemented my decision.

    I’ve been hanging by a thread with this show for a while. I almost quit just about every season, I’m just getting tired of almost quitting and the show.

    • #13
    • December 3, 2015, at 10:08 AM PDT
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  14. Spin Inactive

    Ross C: I like the show, but I am having real trouble as follows:

    1 – This scene was done specifically as an homage to the old John Carpenter film The Fog. Kirkman, Gimple, and especially Greg Nicotero like to do that, and there are dozens of these kinds of throw backs to old campy horror films. I am not a fan of old campy horror films, so they are lost on me.

    2. This is a valid point, but remember that the first half season of season six takes place over 36-48 hours. And they’ve had a lot going on.

    3. – Ditto. But this is about showing who Glenn is. Glenn made a statement when they were escaping from terminus “That is still who we are, it has to be.” His view of saving Enid from her own despair is in direct contrast to Rick’s view, and it’s important to see it that way. It’s not about Enid as a character.

    4. This is a valid point. It’s possible that the Wolves are nomadic. As far as Negan’s group, I have not read most of the comics so I don’t know the back story. But I do know his group will make all the others look like boy scouts. Apparantly he is a “veddy veddy bod mon”.

    • #14
    • December 3, 2015, at 10:11 AM PDT
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  15. Spin Inactive

    A-Squared: When the controversy started, I said if Glen survived, I was done with the show. He did, and I am.

    Don’t be a hater. I said the same thing about Lori and Shane. Hated those characters, glad they are gone. Nobody wanted Glenn to die. A lot of people were angry that they had to go through weeks of anguish to just find out that he’s not dead. To which I say “It’s just a TV show…”

    • #15
    • December 3, 2015, at 10:19 AM PDT
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  16. Spin Inactive

    Ross C:

    • The fight between Morgan and Carol was too dumb for words. Why wouldn’t Carol just walk out and inform the others that Morgan has a Wolf in the basement. He was tied up and there was not reason Carol needed to act immediately like that.
    • Zombie apocalypse survivors should be pretty ruthless, right? Why would Rosita and the others lay down their weapons for the Wolf Guy who just had a knife? He could have killed them all right there, it does not make any sense.

    I’ve given this some thought. She should have gone down and grabbed the doctor and brought her upstairs. She can’t go and find the others as the town is filled with walkers. So everyone is hanging out and trying to decide what to do next. Remember though that Carol is, I think, concussed. She’s not thinking straight. That said, Morgan’s character is becoming less and less something I’m excited about. I was hoping that the result of his nonsense with Mr. W was that he’d realize his black and white view is wrong. But instead he’s possibly killed Carol, and made himself a liability. He needs to go.

    That said, you are right. They should have blasted Mr. W in the face. And worse, once he got the gun, why did he not shoot all three of them? Poorly done, in my view.

    • #16
    • December 3, 2015, at 10:23 AM PDT
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  17. Blue Yeti Admin

    Jumping in here to let everyone know that we are recording a special TWD podcast today at 11:30AM PT/2:30PM ET with John Yoo and James Lileks (our other resident zombie expert). Please join us in the chat room and listen in live. I’m sure they’ll take some questions/comments from the chat.

    • #17
    • December 3, 2015, at 10:24 AM PDT
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  18. A-Squared Inactive

    Spin:

    A-Squared: When the controversy started, I said if Glen survived, I was done with the show. He did, and I am.

    Don’t be a hater. I said the same thing about Lori and Shane. Hated those characters, glad they are gone. Nobody wanted Glenn to die. A lot of people were angry that they had to go through weeks of anguish to just find out that he’s not dead. To which I say “It’s just a TV show…”

    FWIW, I wouldn’t call myself a hater. I can’t think of a single show that I have watched consistently for six seasons as I have with TWD. Last year when direct-tv dropped AMC from the basic package, I even bought the show on Amazon. But this was just the straw that broke the camel’s back for me.

    It’s just a TV show, and the net utility just isn’t there for me any more.

    • #18
    • December 3, 2015, at 10:34 AM PDT
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  19. Spin Inactive

    Blue Yeti:Jumping in here to let everyone know that we are recording a special TWD podcast today at 11:30AM PT/2:30PM ET with John Yoo and James Lileks (our other resident zombie expert). Please join us in the chat room and listen in live. I’m sure they’ll take some questions/comments from the chat.

    Oh snap! I’ll be there!

    • #19
    • December 3, 2015, at 10:37 AM PDT
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  20. Spin Inactive

    A-Squared:

    Spin:

    A-Squared: When the controversy started, I said if Glen survived, I was done with the show. He did, and I am.

    Don’t be a hater. I said the same thing about Lori and Shane. Hated those characters, glad they are gone. Nobody wanted Glenn to die. A lot of people were angry that they had to go through weeks of anguish to just find out that he’s not dead. To which I say “It’s just a TV show…”

    FWIW, I wouldn’t call myself a hater. I can’t think of a single show that I have watched consistently for six seasons as I have with TWD. Last year when direct-tv dropped AMC from the basic package, I even bought the show on Amazon. But this was just the straw that broke the camel’s back for me.

    It’s just a TV show, and the net utility just isn’t there for me any more.

    I’m just teasin’ ya!

    • #20
    • December 3, 2015, at 10:38 AM PDT
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  21. J Climacus Member

    Concretevol:I basically like the show but of course some things are maddening. The main characters have terrible weapon selection. The only thing worse than Rick’s revolver is Daryl’s crossbow. Yeah it’s great when you need to be quiet but in all other ways terrible. The problem I had with the wall breach is that they are always completely unprepared for the inevitable. Both the outer defenses collapse at the prison and now in the town cause complete panic and chaos. Maybe after the lesson of the prison you would have some sort of contingency plan?? lol

    It’s better not to over think it, it’s a tv show and is both entertaining and insane at the same time. :)

    Yes, my problem with the show is they keep making the same mistakes over and over. Defense in depth is a basic concept; yet despite being overrun time and again by zombie hordes, it never occurs to anyone to have second and third defense lines and contingency plans if the outer walls are breached. Didn’t any of these people ever visit a castle??

    • #21
    • December 3, 2015, at 10:53 AM PDT
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  22. Spin Inactive

    J Climacus: Didn’t any of these people ever visit a castle??

    Probably not. Let’s see, you’ve got a small town cop, a housewife who spent most of her time before the ZA being beaten by here husband, a farm girl, a Korean American who’s pass-time before the ZA was delivering pizza and trying to make payments on his car, a kid who was, well, still just a kid, etc. Abraham is likely the only one with any real understanding of what they should do.

    • #22
    • December 3, 2015, at 11:15 AM PDT
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  23. A-Squared Inactive

    Spin:I’m just teasin’ ya!

    Bazinga.

    12289511_920632217973620_2564626673140871145_n_90571d45635d9c4fca8b6dfbdc40606bd4aef71e

    WM TWD

    • #23
    • December 3, 2015, at 11:19 AM PDT
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  24. J Climacus Member

    Spin:

    J Climacus: Didn’t any of these people ever visit a castle??

    Probably not. Let’s see, you’ve got a small town cop, a housewife who spent most of her time before the ZA being beaten by here husband, a farm girl, a Korean American who’s pass-time before the ZA was delivering pizza and trying to make payments on his car, a kid who was, well, still just a kid, etc. Abraham is likely the only one with any real understanding of what they should do.

    That’s true. But it doesn’t factor in all of the people who have come and gone over the series. And yet, their defensive organization is just as inept as it was at the start of the series. The learning curve is brutal. Basically flat.

    They don’t even implement the defensive strategies they already know about. Morgan set out lines of stakes outside his building when he was holed up alone. Very effective as a zombie obstacle because they don’t avoid them. How about some lines of stakes across the interior of Alexandria to stop or at least slow down a zombie horde? That wasn’t too difficult to come up with was it? But it’s beyond the imagination of our intrepid band of heroes. They never conceive anything beyond random panic once the walls are breached.

    • #24
    • December 3, 2015, at 11:28 AM PDT
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  25. J Climacus Member

    At least these people must be familiar with the concept of compartmented ships with watertight doors. One section gets breached, you shut the watertight doors and the ship is safe. Just build sections in Alexandria so that if one part is breached, you shut the gate and the rest of the city is safe. It’s not hard.

    • #25
    • December 3, 2015, at 11:34 AM PDT
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  26. Bob Wainwright Member

    Spin:

    All of us see the flaws in how the zombies are portrayed. I could list them out here, but there are too many. But the point of TWD is not to talk about zombies (you’ll notice they are never called that in the show or the comic books). The title of the show refers to the characters themselves. The point of the story is to illustrate how people behave, when confronted with an existential, ever present threat. They don’t need to be consistent with how that threat behaves or work, so long as it doesn’t affect how the characters respond to it. For example, I always wonder “Exactly what part of the brain has to be destroyed for the walker to ‘die’?” It really doesn’t matter. If they spent time in the show articulating that to kill a walker you have to get the base of the brain, specifically you have to perforate the lamina quadrigemina (I just googled brain anatomy, fyi), what would that do for the story? Scenes involving the killing of a walker would look a little different. But the primary story would go on, unchanged. So there’s no real point to articulating that.

    Am I making sense?

    Yes but you still wonder if they thought it out at all. For instance, if everyone is already infected with the zombie contagion, why does getting bit kill you?

    • #26
    • December 3, 2015, at 11:48 AM PDT
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  27. A-Squared Inactive

    Bob Wainwright: Yes but you still wonder if they thought it out at all. For instance, if everyone is already infected with the zombie contagion, why does getting bit kill you?

    Every one who dies turns regardless of how they die, but getting bit accelerates the process of dying for reasons other than the zombie virus.

    • #27
    • December 3, 2015, at 12:12 PM PDT
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  28. Bob Wainwright Member

    A-Squared:

    Bob Wainwright: Yes but you still wonder if they thought it out at all. For instance, if everyone is already infected with the zombie contagion, why does getting bit kill you?

    Every one who dies turns regardless of how they die, but getting bit accelerates the process of dying for reasons other than the zombie virus.

    There must be some other contagion or something. Also, a big question is how 99% of the world population got wiped out or became zombies in the short period of time Rick was in a coma. What killed them all? Could that many people have been bitten that quickly? I think that’s impossible. It must be that the zombie virus can kill you directly, and that most people died that way. Except for a few who are immune, and they only become a zombie when they die for whatever other reason.

    • #28
    • December 3, 2015, at 12:43 PM PDT
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  29. Dan Hanson Thatcher

    Here’s the real reason why they aren’t smarter about zombie defenses: Because if they were safe from the zombies, you wouldn’t have a show.

    That’s the real problem with the Walking Dead: Because the ‘enemy’ is theoretically really easy to defend against, the writers are forced to gin up conflict among the survivors, and they are forced to write plots that require the humans to behave stupidly in order to put themselves in danger.

    Forget the complex defenses: Why isn’t it standard procedure for everyone going out on patrol to wear leather? The only way these things can kill you is with a bite. Humans can’t bite through heavy leather. A good pair of leather pants, snake boots and leather gloves, a good leather jacket and a football helmet would make you almost impervious to zombie attack. I recall Glenn had a decent set of zombie armor at one point, then it just mysteriously never came up again on the show.

    The answer to that: Without the chance of getting bitten at any moment, the show would be much less intense. So the characters have to somehow not ever think about protecting their exposed skin and they go out into dangerous walker areas wearing idiotic shorts and T-shirts.

    The ants at the beginning give a good example of what would have made the walkers much more scary: have them behave like ants. Give them hive intelligence. Say the disease activated some latent functionality that caused them to adopt colony-like behavior. Ants do amazing things as a colony, but as individuals they’re as useless as a walker.

    Imagine ‘flocks’ of walkers forming intricate patterns that served to trap their prey into a contracting circle, or which used their bodies to build bridges or ramps so other walkers could go over walls or across chasms. Ants do things like that.

    Imagine a scene where the protagonists hide behind some big walls, only to watch as the first walker against the wall lies down. Then another lies down behind him. A third walks over them both and lies down on top of the first one, and so on. Soon you have a horrible realization that they’re piling up bodies so they can walk right over your wall. THAT would be scary.

    Or you hide out on an island, then you see the walkers on shore wade out into the water, and drown. But they keep doing it until the mass of bodies is so big than they can walk on top of them…. Ants do that too.

    But with the walkers as they are now, the only way they are a real threat is if the protagonists are really stupid. So we have a show full of stupid protagonists.

    I still enjoy it. Half the fun is complaining about how stupid they are…

    • #29
    • December 3, 2015, at 1:00 PM PDT
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  30. Spin Inactive

    Dan Hanson: That’s the real problem with the Walking Dead: Because the ‘enemy’ is theoretically really easy to defend against, the writers are forced to gin up conflict among the survivors,

    This isn’t gin’d up. It’s the whole point of the show. It’s all it was ever about.

    • #30
    • December 3, 2015, at 1:10 PM PDT
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