You're Better Than This, 'Walking Dead' -- Stop Trying to Out-Gore 'Game of Thrones'

Negan with Lucille Walking Dead

Oh, Walking Dead. We still love you -- we'll always love you -- but why did you have to try to out–Game of Thrones Game of Thrones last night in the season seven premiere? (Warning: Spoilers for both shows ahead.)

You didn't need to do this. For one thing, you're on AMC, not tucked away on premium cable where you'd be expected to shock and appall on a weekly basis. And despite the warnings you sometimes splash on the screen about viewer discretion, that's not really what we tune in for.
Maybe you felt like you had to compete with the behemoth known as Game of Thrones -- a series that does, admittedly, keep its viewers on edge with the taunting knowledge that a main, beloved character can be slain at a moment's notice. They killed off Ned Stark, after all -- the show's Rick Grimes! -- in the first season.
But Ned's death was swift. It was horrible, but it was swift. Glenn, though? A resident Walking Dead hero, a fan fave, a gentle soul we've been rooting for since the series premiere back in -- oh my God -- 2010? (Where have the past six years gone?!) You did him so dirty, Walking Dead. Still alive after two blows, with his eye bulging out, right in front of his horrified wife, before he met his untimely end.
It gave us flashbacks to Oberyn Martell getting his head popped by the Mountain in season four of Game of Thrones. But that was one pop. And Oberyn was a new character -- there wasn't time for us to be so emotionally invested -- and his carelessness brought about his own death. It was different, dammit -- it was different!
Leave the over-the-top violence in the fantasy/medieval-esque Game of Thrones setting on HBO where it belongs, and where it somehow (for the most part) works. 
Less can be more, Walking Dead. These are characters we love and have invested in. It felt like you were f-ing with us the entire episode. We could tell. And the blatancy was distracting; we were too angry to feel the emotional effects you meant for us to feel.
There were two deaths, but the hour-long torture-fest felt endless, aggravating, and overly calculated.
We get that you wanted us to understand just how bad Negan is. (He makes the Governor of seasons past look like a wuss in comparison.) And in that sense, we guess you succeeded -- we are all, viewers and characters alike, sufficiently shaken.
But it didn't have to go down like that, TWD. Not like that.
Image via Gene Page/AMC
Read More >