May 14, 2015

[TV] The Walking Dead: Season 5

As I mentioned last time, The Walking Dead continues to linger on that last of TV shows that we watch and increasingly don't know why we continue to do so. The plot lines have just gotten more and more convoluted and things only seem to move forward based on continually bad decisions by the characters involved. And it's not like we were all that into modern zombie culture, if you can even call it a culture, really.

And that last season really ended on a weird note with the whole Terminus story. Yet another example of possible shelter not being quite that, which seems to be a primary theme in this show. And that's truly a reality in this dark post zombie apocalypse world, I'm sure. But man, is that all this show is going to be about time and time again?

It's a bleak show, and things do need to be bleak. But five seasons into the show I think we all need to take a step back and wonder where this show needs to go. The characters need to have some sense of purpose, and thus far we have everyone slowly breaking down, it's a wonder they're still alive.

Synopsis: The Walking Dead is a US television drama created by Frank Darabont based on the comic book series of the same name by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie Adlard. The current showrunner is Scott M. Gimple.

The season begins with "No Sanctuary" - an effort to illustrate just why the folks at Terminus are somehow justified in luring people to their location and taking them prisoner as possible food. Sure they had a bad hand dealt to the, but it seems everyone in this world is determined to take it out on everyone else. At the very least this episode was a chance for Carol (Melissa McBride) to be all awesome once more as she manages to stage a rescue all by herself. Seriously, this episode is worth everything we've been enduring just to see Carol being a total badass.

The show, however, continues on with more weird stops and people with dark secrets. The latest play on this plot concept involves Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) and his little church as a temporary shelter. Sure, it's made of wood and some supplies and it's a church, but why our diverse little group decides that shelter can be found in what is essentially a religious cabin in the woods is a little beyond me. It might have worked for a day or two, but then they stay there long enough for so much drama to happen. And then you have the classic "good man with a dark secret" in order to create yet another character we're all going to dislike but is part of the cast anyway.

Seriously, this is like a board game where the players keep having bad rolls, thus saddling the party with more useless characters that they still have to take care of. And the unseen players navigating this TV show's plot seem to be pretty bad with dice. That's an Ameritrash game for you.

The show had a side-plot involving Beth (Emily Kinney) being something like an indentured servant at the police-controlled Grady Memorial Hospital, but that's neither here nor there. Again, another enclave with people trying to do good but doing so in a rather sucky manner that all just confuse me. And given how that plot resolved, it felt like a protracted distraction that didn't really go anywhere except eventually giving our primary survivor group another survivor to drag around. But hey, at least there's Carol, right?

The show now tries to tackle things with the whole mid-season almost-finale sort of story that divides the season into two major chunks. It could have been a fun gimmick if the second half of the season didn't involve yet another potential sanctuary that won't hold for long. The only twist here is that it's actually Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and his bad of traumatized survivors who stand to totally much up what the community of the Alexandria Safe Zone have setup. Yes, it's a heavy-handed effort to demonstrate that Rick and team are as messed up as some of the folks who have nearly killed them, but I'm not sure to what end.

And that's it - I respect how the show has shown how the characters have changed over time and how many of them are suffering something akin to PTSD. But at the same time, we still need our heroes and we need our sources of inspiration - and so do the folks in this show. At this point you'd think that everyone would have committed suicide by now since all sanctuaries are doomed to fail and the possibility of trusting people out there is severely limited. The survivors need hope and maybe even a mission of sorts or a goal, and it hasn't been clear if their gold is mere survival or finding a place to find sanctuary and set up roots. There's a constant tug-of-war between these concepts and this has been going on for a while. And it's getting rather tiring.

The Walking Dead is still a decent show, but one that I'm not sure if I'm going to stay for the long haul. It's just becoming one long tiring mess and I don't know what they hope to achieve at the eventual "end" of the show. Thus I can only rate this season as 2.5 people who are bound to betray the survivor group out of a possible 5.

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