I love The Walking Dead. I’m a super fan, but I’m not a mega fan. Mega fans play the games, enter contests, dress up, have online conversations, follow the stars around, show up at the airport when they know the stars are due to land. They totally obsess. That’s all right. I get it. Sundays, Twitter, at least my feed, is all #TheWalkingDead, #TWD, like there’s nothing else going on anywhere. I was amazed the first time I saw this. I, personally, don’t want to be compulsive about it. That’s just me.
But last night I tweeted a response to the episode. I was so floored and upset, downright pissed off.
I’d been all sanctimonious, like, “Sheesh, some fans go berserk.” I love TWD too. I mean, really love it. I get excited when Sunday rolls around. I always say, “It’s Dead Day.” I anxiously await time for the show to start, re-watch previous episodes, re-watch seasons on Netflix, go through withdrawals when the season ends. Withdrawals! Really. With. Drawals. I can’t hardly stand facing the summer months without TWD! Yeah, I’m a super fan.
When Sophia, Carol’s little girl, walked out of the barn, a walker, way back in Season 2, I gasped. “Oh, no!” I exclaimed. “Awe! Awe! No!” Carol screams out , “Sophia!” and runs toward her, but Daryl stops her. Carol falls to her knees, while Daryl holds her firmly, compassionately. Man, I get choked up just remembering. Other favorite characters died, horrifically, and I was shocked and saddened by it. Hershel’s death was especially difficult. I could barely stand it. I cheered when Michonne got the evil Governor, who had beheaded Hershel, right there in front of Hershel’s daughters and friends, who really are more of a surrogate family. As if the walkers weren’t enough, there are deranged people, as was the governor. You don’t really know who to trust in this apocalyptic dystopia.
There have been a number of beloved characters who met their demise, one way or another, and I wish they hadn’t. But that’s the show. No one is safe. No one. My heart leaps to my throat when a beloved character looks to be in danger. In danger of walkers, or deranged humans, or, well, the writers.
I haven’t read the comics. I don’t have the time. I just don’t. But I read articles that discuss the show as well as the comics.
Last night’s episode was hardly bearable, horrific. I felt compelled to tweet about it. I felt angry, and I thought I might have to stop watching TWD.
I also watch The Talking Dead, which comes on after the episode. When a beloved character meets her or his demise, it really is therapeutic to watch TD. They always have a good-bye ceremony, saying good-bye to the walkers and people, both good and bad people, who get killed. Sometimes with a touch of humor, cleverly labeling the walkers or characters (like Cross Country Walkers, Rick’s Road Rage Walkers, Blame’s Rick for Everything Guy, referring to the particular scene or circumstance in which the characters are encountered), and certainly tenderly when a favorite character if offed. But this time I muted the TV and turned away when the good-bye segment came on. I could not bear saying good-bye to Glenn. (I’m not going to explain the characters or the show. This is not an analysis of the show or any of the characters.) My heart was still pounding. I still felt angry. I had noticed possible hints that Glenn might die. I was not, am not, wanting to believe it.
I turned the sound back on TD and I heard Chris Hardwick, host of the show, point out that there had been no clear good-bye to Glenn. This made me feel hopeful that this character will be saved, yet again, but also ambivalent about having my emotions jerked around. But having emotions jerked around is part of the deal you make in watching TWD. Hardwick also said there would be episodes in which we will see Glenn again “in some way,” “some version” of him, “or some parts of Glenn” “either in flashback or in the current story.” If Glenn is gone and shows up only in flashbacks, or Maggie is pregnant, which has been hinted, or he returns as a walker, I’m done. I mean it. I’m done.
My favorite character is Carol. She started out as a subservient, abused wife, but has transformed into a take-care-of-business badass. Her asshole husband got attacked by walkers. I was not sorry about that. Daryl, of course, is a major fave of all fans. Prob thee most fave.
For me, there is a core group I really cannot tolerate to see die: Rick, Carl, Judith, Carol, Glenn, Maggie, Michonne, and, of course, Daryl. There are other characters I like, and it’d be great if the show kept them, but these are the characters I couldn’t stand to lose. I would stop watching. I want to feel that there’s still hope in their dismal world, hope for a better world in the future. But, sure as hell, not a world like Alexandria, where people were living with their heads up their asses. I want to feel that there are characters who learn to survive, develop keen skills to survive, while maintaining a sense of humanity. I want to feel that there is still some good luck in spite of all the bad luck. I love the show, but I have my limits.