As the Governor unflinchingly sneered by his SUV while gunfire whizzed by his head, I couldn’t help thinking that I didn’t care much for his comic book villain ways. I also found myself caring less and less for ‘The Walking Dead’ as a whole.
While Rick runs around chasing Lori’s ghost around the outside of the prison, everything else goes to hell. Glenn believes that hitting Woodbury with a surprise attack is the group’s best bet. Maggie develops a new-found contempt for Glenn due to her almost-rape. Daryl and Merle settle right back into bickering brothers mode. And Hershel is really sick of these damn crutches.
‘The Walking Dead’ is enjoying all-time high in the ratings, due in part to its burgeoning word-of-mouth popularity, the zombie zeitgeist, and the fact that AMC runs ‘Walking Dead’ marathons just about every chance it gets. (Now see ‘The Walking Dead’ in black and white!!).
Even with the show’s popularity spiking, I find it more and more difficult to maintain enthusiasm for a new episode. Zombies are such a limited resource that basing an entire series around their invasion is doomed to fall into infinite repetitiveness. Since head shots and cranium bashing have become old hat, the show has veered off into other avenues of storytelling: Rick’s sudden bout of insanity, the impending attack from the Governor, and two hillbilly brothers’ improbable reunion, just to name a few.
The third season has been a white flag of sorts. The shuffling undead, and the endless dispatching of them, can only take a show so far. The hardened characters treat Walkers as little more than a nuisance now. Instead of killing whatever zombies are ambling around the prison fences, the living instead let them wander. In confined spaces, a horde of Walkers poses more of a threat, but in the open, they’re easily dispatched in increasingly inventive ways. While the foley artists might be having a ton of fun with the show, I can’t say that I am.
The Governor has become far less scary and far more cartoonish. This is the single most disappointing aspect of this season for me. The way he chews up scenery is fit for a ridiculous Bond villain. Everyone else in the prison firefight treats the situation like they’re actually in mortal danger. Not the Governor, though. He’s far too macho to be worried about a few hundred rounds of bullets heading his way.
I find myself attracted to the more intimate storylines, like the raising of Li’l Asskicker in an unlivable world. Will Carol ever find a man, or is she doomed to be the most unlucky woman on the face of the Earth?
I think this is where I miss the tactical mind of Shane. The way the group gets taken by surprise, even though they knew the Governor was coming, is disappointing to say the least. Maybe they need to be exterminated and the show needs to start fresh with the maniacal cackling of the Governor chewing up every scene. Imagine if the show was ballsy enough to wipe all the main characters out just to start anew.
What does everyone else think? Do you like the direction the show is going – more ‘Lost’ and less roaming the land and killing zombies?