TV: Dead Men Walking: How The Walking Dead Premiere Succeeded

Love it or hate it, last night's premiere made you feel something. 

In the years that The Walking Dead has been on TV, we've seen hundreds of deaths. Men and women are torn to shreds at the sight of the 'walkers'. Flesh is chewed. Skin is a commodity for the undead. Children have been shot to death by adults. Limbs have been severed for the fear of being turned undead. Rape and plunder are not frowned upon. The human existence must somehow carry on at all costs. And Rick has continually tried to lead his group of survivors to some new form of regular life. Each and every time, their world is disheveled when another drastic event rocks their post apocalyptic world. This is just another day at the office. 

By and far, violence is the mainstay of the program. Besides the characters, it's the only thing that keeps the show going. It is in fact just as important a key player as any of the bloodied stars of the show.  If one thing is for certain in The Walking Dead main characters will die. Shock for the value of being shocking often times takes precedence over our need for more character development.. The creators have relied on this since day one and they're not going to quit any time soon. It's only going to get worse. The gradual progression to last night's dismal display of abuse, torture, and all out blistering gore was where we've been headed for quite some time. Somehow, the world will still continue to turn and the world of TWD will become even more deadly. 

The point is this. If the series stayed where it was at and never rendered anything more graphic than what we've seen in the past, things might get boring. In turn, we've seen Rick broken and battered numerous times. In each instance, he's come back stronger and more vindictive than in the past. With the season premiere, we've finally reached an absolute low that he may not ever fully recover from and that's what we call character development. We can't sit idly by anymore as the crew ventures out on another journey to find goods without a new omnipresent force of danger being felt at all times. The 'walkers' aren't enough to carry the show any further. And the power struggle for Alexandria has all but winded down. Although, I was just as disgusted by the turn of events and the grotesque manner in which they happened, Kirkman and his staff knew it was time to go for the jugular. 

Peace will never be had. It may be bargained for but it will ultimately falter again. Negan HAD to cast a dark and unforgiving shadow or else his terrifying presence might not have the effect they were going for. He is unhinged and the way he dealt his deadly blows showed how gratified he was by the pain and sorrow he was inflicting. Again, the gore factor was completely blown out of proportion and the multiple strokes it took to finish the job was way too much for a casual viewer. But for horror fans this has become quite the norm. Yes, it was shocking as hell but it delivered a clearly distinct message. Things are changing. The world is becoming dimmer. The battle for existence is more futile. And the wrath of Negan has finally left a mark. 

If you're going to give up on the show now, it's well understood. No one can fault you. That's your prerogative. It was not a happy episode in any regard. Yet, that was just an introduction to our new villain. There will be ups and downs. There will be the slow episodes we all complain about. There will also be more death and destruction. No matter what, the show succeeded in making you think. It made you feel for the characters you love. And it made you whimper at their final moments. The Walking Dead succeeded in making you feel sympathy and pain for fictional beings. Despite the despicable way they did it, the show has created a new dynamic that will stick around for the next few seasons. 

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