"There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with
power to endanger the public liberty." - - - - John Adams

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The Walking Dead Plays it Safe

The Best Villain in TV History

  • Negan is without doubt the best villain in the history of TV.  If he had not appeared I suspect The Walking Dead would have sputtered down to cancellation. 
  • As it is the series has meandered in assorted directions unsure where to go and gotten lost in side stories about 3rd level characters in order to save on salary costs. 
  • The season finale played it safe. Though a fairly standard season ending the series is still better than 80% of the crap on TV. Maybe 90%.
  • Even in its weakened state as long as Negan is on the screen there is some damned fine acting going on. Negan survived the season finale. I am looking forward to his return.

(The Verge)  -  The Walking Dead is back and careening toward the conclusion of the “All Out War” saga. That means the end of the feud between Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and his archnemesis Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) — and perhaps that’s a good thing. Overall, the show’s big bet on Negan has been a bit of a misfire, with ratings hitting staggering lows last year, and Negan himself largely absent from the first half of the show’s eighth season.
But a season-ending climax is an opportunity to bring all the threads together. I’ll be analyzing the season’s final episode through its presentation of Negan: how he acts, how he delivers his jokes and threats, and most importantly, how his character develops in contrast to our supposedly virtuous heroes. We’ll look at all the traits a villain is supposed to excel at — including those we detest — and boil it down into one single score on what we are calling the Negan-o-meter™. 
A score of 10 means he’s the best, most complex villain we’ve ever seen; a score of 0 means he’s pretty much the same ol’ Negan he’s always been. Hopefully, in these final episodes, The Walking Dead can turn Negan into the big bad audiences have always wanted.

At long last, The Walking Dead has arrived at the conclusion of the Negan saga. Over the past few weeks, the show has displayed a level of unpredictability that would have seemed impossible back at the season 7 premiere. That’s when Glenn was killed off and the show began feeling shackled by its comic book source material. Now, nearly two seasons later, the cheap character deaths and gimmicky cliffhangers have all but disappeared as more momentous world-building, narrative closure, and character explorations have taken center stage. Perhaps not surprisingly, the show’s ratings have responded accordingly.

But last night’s season finale, “Wrath,” fails to build on that creative momentum. The episode may ultimately be a satisfying episode of television, but aside from a few minor curveballs it plays things safe, and it takes almost all of its cues from writer Robert Kirkman’s comics storyline. In that sense, the TV show’s version of the Negan saga ends the same way that it began: resigning itself to mediocrity by focusing on telling someone else’s story.

Following last week’s last-minute surprise, in which Dwight’s turncoat tactics came to light and Negan plotted an ambush against Rick, it seemed like TV viewers might get a radically different conclusion to the “All the War” storyline than the one that the comic book delivered. But “Wrath” throws the entire Dwight subplot overboard in the first 15 minutes of the episode, wasting the immense emotional investment the show has encouraged viewers to make in his character.
While Rick and the others felt they were going to be able to get the drop on Negan, they quickly discover that they were being set up when they take out a group of Saviors that just happen to be carrying a map of Negan’s actual location. Thinking they’ve kept the advantage, they arm themselves and head out to take him down. But first, the show takes a breath with an emotional moment Rick finally asks Siddiq to tell him how Carl had become infected.
Meanwhile, the show cuts back to the Saviors, where a conversation between Negan and Gabriel reveals that map Rick has just found is also a fake, a backup decoy just in case the original plan to use Dwight to spread disinformation didn’t take. It completely sidelines Dwight for what feels like a completely unnecessary (and convoluted) reason, right when the show had the opportunity to do something unique and original. Instead, it pivots right back to the comics.
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