Anyone who knows me is aware that I take my TV VERY seriously. Like, I love my tv people more than most people I know. And so every now and again, something so egregious happens that I have to vent. So here we go. If you’re not up to speed on Walking Dead, don’t read on.
Beth is dead. Let’s talk jumping the shark. This is a tv term that is used to signal a major error in story telling. A plot gone wrong that fans go back to years later and say ‘that was the beginning of the end.’
The gimmick was Beth killing Dawn. The writer’s asked us to believe that Beth would kill Dawn. Would she? Is that her character? Looking back over the episodes I don’t think she would. Described by Daryl as the light, as the last hope and bright moral compass of the show, I don’t believe she would have tried to stab Dawn in the neck. It wasn’t her personality.
Because killing Dawn elevated the situation. It was tense, sure, but she crossed a line, (I suppose the same line that Carol crossed and got her kicked out of the group) she decided to take a life, for the benefit of her comrades, and put everybody else in jeopardy, escalating the situation.
She wouldn’t have done it.
My other grievance is the way it was done. Frankly, we’ve been waiting for Daryl and co. to find Beth for months. FOR MONTHS. And this is how the writer’s pay everyone back? Not well done. Frankly, I think that the fans clamoring for a Beth/Daryl relationship frightened the writers. Far easier to kill her then have to show Daryl be vulnerable and manly at the same time.
And by not giving fans the closure they wanted, but killing her so abruptly, they didn’t provide a pleasant viewing experience. I didn’t think this was the evolution of my favorites shows characters, I felt ripped off. This wasn’t a natural progression.
Part of the appeal of the Walking Dead is seeing the characters struggle. It’s the walls of darkness closing in, stealing the lightness and wondering where they will find the fortitude to continue on. But although we like to see the characters struggle, I don’t believe a show should do that to the viewer as well. What hope does the audience have now that Beth is gone? Who’s left to be the bright light? The weak pastor?
As soon as Beth died I was aware of where I was. My living room, just watching a show and something ridiculous had happened. I wasn’t with the gang in a crumbling, rotting world. I’d been thrown out by a brutal and ill-thought out act. How many different show-runners has Walking Dead had? Maybe it’s time for another. Because, honestly, that was some pretty disgusting and pathetic story-telling. For shame, Gimple and Kirkman. For shame.
The only hope is that the fans are so outraged that we get a Dallas moment and they rewrite it. Spend the money and man up AMC, write the character’s arcs as they should have been written. Because as of now, the shark has entered the building.