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The Walking Dead Comic Readers and TV Viewers Need a Unity Horse

How long can The Walking Dead fans hold on to this resentment?

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My name is Kate, and I’m a Walking Dead-aholic. I’ve been here, chillin’ on my couch with a glass of vino, since Rick woke up from his coma all those years ago on my TV screen, and I have something to say.  You may not like it, and you may start a fight with me about it on social media, but I still need to tell you:

We don’t deserve to know who got Lucille’d on the season six finale of The Walking Dead. And if I read one more blog post about how it’s definitely Glenn who meets his maker— or no, wait! It was Abraham! — or aw, shit, it was totally Eugene— I will make my own rusty version of Lucille and bid adieu. I’ve been hearing you OG comic fans loud and clear for a solid two months, but now it’s time you sat back, take a breath, and let someone else talk for a second.

And that someone else is a TWD TV viewer.

I will admit, I had an extreme reaction to the finale, just like a majority of viewers. I cursed TWD gods, and broke the cardinal rule of going to bed angry.  I felt gypped, but couldn’t place why, until I realized it was my own fault. I had read online spoilers prior to the finale; I had spent hours on message boards with folks well versed in the Gospel of Kirkman. I knew it was Glenn who got the bat in the comic without actually knowing that Glenn got the bat in the comic because everyone under the sun told me. I quickly felt like there was this huge party I was missing out on, so I dutifully found the comics and began to read, hoping the graphic nature of the original books would serve as a therapy session for my unresolved angst. I immersed myself in The Talking Dead, eating up online interviews with Scott Gimple and Robert Kirkman post-finale.  It was a revelation.

You guys, I say this from a place of love: maybe fans are over complicating something that is extraordinarily simple.

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Look at the seasons of The Walking Dead past. Shane outlived his own character by an entire season on TV. Dale never felt the sweet, sweet love of Andrea.  Michonne crashed the prison party a tad too early… and that’s simply naming the stand out differences I’ve met in the comics so far, being only 20 issues deep. Why are we so up in arms over being stuck with this cliffhanger? Why are we so surprised that we didn’t get answers the night of the finale? Even Gimple himself is quoted as saying, “We never intend to fuck with people. You all just saw the episode and I want to go on record and say we were not trying to fuck with you.”

So, here’s a crazy idea: why don’t we just believe him?

It’s clear from the get-go that Kirkman has always imagined a televised home for Rick and his crew. This story has been his baby, along with his niche comic read— I mean, enthusiasts. But now, with thanks to AMC, it’s become everyone’s baby. Let’s face it: that’s a whole ‘lotta mouths to feed, all with their own story desperate to be heard.  In a world where we can watch the Game of Thrones‘ red wedding in all its violent glory, or even reflect upon the epic arc of LOST’s true cliffhanger, we need to remember that this is not that.

So, go ahead. Rage-tweet Chris Hardwick.  Watch YouTube videos analyzing the trees and facial shadows of the characters all the live long day.  Just know that there is a bigger picture involved; a picture you’re blind to because you’re in too deep.  It’s a picture that we, as platonic yet equally-invested TV viewers, see with our rose-colored glasses. Spoiler alert! It doesn’t involve an answer about Negan, or Lucille, or her victim until Season 7… because we never felt entitled to an answer at the end of Season 6.

So take the trust fall with us, guys. Close your eyes and believe that with everything The Walking Dead has done right — from Nicotero’s zombie gore to character development, scenic poetry to the rich tapestry of story lines — they simply won’t fuck with us in October.

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Kate Barnes

Kate Barnes

Kate is a stay at home mama to her adorable son and four fur babies. When she's not covered in spit up, she likes drinking vodka lemonades and telling everyone on the internet they're wrong.
Kate Barnes
  • sauce

    I do not think you could be more wrong. Universally recognized as the biggest comic book moment, the reason that we put up with 3 filler episodes prior to the unnecessarily extended finale in which we watched the gang ride around for an hour. All they had to do was show 60 more seconds and we the fans could’ve had closure on this season. Gimple and Kirkman gave bullshit excuses after the show, and I think Season 7 will suffer from this decision.

    • Kate Barnes

      You want to take issue with the slow ass episode? Go right ahead. I agree it was painful to watch everyone tool around in the finale, waiting for the last ten minutes and subsequent cliffhanger… but i stand by my view that we weren’t owed an answer, especially now that i’m a bit further along in the comics, inching my way towards Negan’s introduction.

      I mean, look. I read all over the place that everyone hates Gimple and Kirkman’s responses to the uproar. But there is literally nothing either of them could say to change the minds of viewers who did not want or appreciate a cliffhanger. No apology or explanation would make the end of season 6 better for these people.

      I believe each and every person that argues that Glenn dying at the hands of Negan is the biggest arc of the comic. But the tv show is NOT the comic, and, holy moly i’m going to start charging every time i say this, but… they have spent six seasons adapting a comic for television viewers. the televised version was never meant to be a carbon copy of the comic and you can tell by the literal hundred of discrepancies made thus far. At this point I consider the two more of just a compliment to each other.

      I seriously doubt season seven will experience any sort of rating drop. people will most likely hate-watch over giving up on it entirely. And even for every one comic book reader that vows to bail, there will be two folks who never watched but will tune in in October to see what the fuss is about.

  • TWD Fan

    The part I hate the most is that they will get what they want… from Kirkman himself, people to talk about it. Was it truly to try to get more ratings? Was this even necessary? I don’t know how much more popular the show can get. I’ll say what I said the moment it the screen turned black and my biggest fear, When did TWD turn into 24? They really felt the need to try some slap-in-the-face gimmick over an unbelievable story line and characters you love and identify with? So now we have all with our anger and tweets and online posts reinforced what they wanted, so why change it? Lets just have bull shit cliffhanger after bull shit cliffhanger. I love the show and have watched every episode as it airs, but I’m worried for the direction the show is going, less about telling a story and more about shock and awe. I have no doubt the ratings will most likely go up, but at some point the “Let’s see how bad we can fuck with ’em this week!” mentality will lead to a giant fail as that type of show / story can’t go on forever.