The Walking Dead: Season 7
Within the vast, eternally shifting sea of entertainment specific genres come and go, ebb and flow like the perennial tides. During my childhood, the marque on the local movie theater and the listings in the TV Guide inevitably included television series and movies representing the venerable genre, the western. Now, some fifty or sixty years later, this category continues to appear but at a considerably slower pace. The type of story that has the current attention of the viewing public is zombies. These undead creatures have been lumbering around seeking the stray, tasty bystander, since the thirties. The creatures have undergone numerous and significant changes in morphology and methodology, so the creatures seen today are a long way from their primitive predecessors. The most popular and influential examples are those populating the post-apocalyptic world of AMCís ĎThe Walking Dead.' It has reimagined the entire drama moving it from ĎBí horror flicks to a show providing a showcase for some of the best writing, direction, and performances in popular entertainment. Unlike most vehicles highlighting these staging, decaying creatures to set the stage for incredible, intensely in-depth examinations of the human conditions running the gamut of dealing with the most horrendous horrors our kind is capable of inflicting to the greatest triumphs of loyalty, perseverance and love humanity has ever been able to display. The eponymous walking dead relegated to the directorial technique known as the McGuffin. This stylistic device acknowledges that some circumstances are considerably important to the characters within the context Zombies are a daily menace to the characters. The award-winning special effects makeup creates an environment of fear and anxiety that captivates the fans. This platform makes possible the raw, intensity of this plague to serve as fertile soil for engaging stories.
A 'Bible guides most of the television series,' a set of rules determining the scaffold defining situations and characters. One of the most adamantly adhered to is never using the word Zombie. They can be referred to by any number of local euphemisms, biters, creepers of, the most prevalent, walkers. This distancing the characters from the term most frequently employed in real life does significantly more than the distance the characters from a meta involvement with the creatures, it removes them from contention from occupying the position of Ďbig bad,' or primary antagonists. This show is only superficially focused on the ever-present monsters lurking around the corner. This state of perpetual hypervigilance underlies every significant decision. Frequently this manifests as a desperate need to gravitate to and group or location offering a modicum of safety normalcy. Or a hint of pre-apocalypse normalcy. This situation cored once again during the sixth season when Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and his band of survivors gather in a small community, Alexandria. This community maintained the outward appearance of an all-American town straight from the fifties. The audience watched this scenario play out repeatedly. Trust is as rarefied as a safe place to sleep.
Towards the conclusion of the sixth season, Rich=k has taken the lead of the community due to his battle harden demeanor and strategic insight accumulated from years of experience surviving walkers and, more importantly, the worst opportunist from the dregs of humanity ranging from straightforward murderers to a cadre of cannibals. The citizens of Alexandria were fortunate to have retained an oasis of the of the former world but at the expense of developing the skills and pragmatic attitude necessary for survival. When their community is encountered by scouts of a savage band of marauders, the Saviors, they are ill prepared to defend themselves. The ruthless invaders loot the provisions, arsenal and other items of comfort catching their eyes. Rick organizes the Alexandrians but upon concluding they must be proactive in their response. A successful raid with casualties among vandals incites the anger of the leader of the Savories, Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). When his men capture Rick and his people forcing them to kneel in a circle around a fire. Negan stated that their transgression must be paid, blood for blood. Someone is going to die. Neganís preferred weapon is a wooden baseball wrapped in several strands of barbed wire that he lovingly calls Lucile. The weapon is darkly stained with long use. The season ended with Negan walking in a circle terrorizing the people as he decides which will have their brains bashed in by Lucile. Ending at that intensely dramatic moment creating one of televisionís most hotly debated and controversial cliffhanger in television history. One thought dominated the fans, which of their favorite characters are about to be reduced to a puddle of blood and grey matter.
When the series returned, it was revealed that Negan extracted his price of defiance with the gentle ginger giant, Abraham Ford (Michael Cudlitz). Adding to the shock, slamming into fans a long-time fan favorite, Glenn Rhee (Steven Yeun). The sheer amount of gruesomely gory violence was insufficient that has b4come the baseline expectation is no longer able to shock fans that have seen a plethora of ways for a human being to be dispatched in ways designed to maximize the revolting reaction overtaking the viewers. The combination of building suspense and maximizing expectations over the period of hiatus only to watch the suspense continue to tease the fans as Negan resumes his methodical walk around the circle of frightened potential victims. The series has built a reputation for crafting suspenseful moments that serve as substantial pivotal points that alter the direction of the narrative. When Negan, the incarnation of all that is evil in the darkest recesses of the hearts of man. The force of Lucile crushing into the skull, the wet sound of blood and grey matter forced out of the shattered cranium is sickening. After six seasons of witnessing unimaginable cruelty, the most ardent fans are sickened. One aspect of any series of movie that utilizes such tropes inevitably encounters the point where the audience is oversaturated with gory. The creative minds crafting the narrative here are a genius in avoiding this unwelcomed outcome.
This circles back to a previously cited observation; the zombies are McGuffins. The barely ambulatory forms of rotting flesh are always there, perpetually a source of danger and a reminder at the end of the world. The Walkers might appear to be the focus of a serialized creature feature, but the real monsters are those that are still breathing. Over the years Rick and his ragtag group have faced many deranged, self-important warlords that have carved out a small corner of hell to subject to their draconian control. There were some that descended into a nearly universal taboo, cannibalism. They are the nadir of our species, but they pale in contrast to Negan. He is a sadist, a malignant narcissist and a psychopath devoid of even an iota of compassion, the regret of sympathy. The opening salvo of brutality served as an introduction to the depths of torment that awaits. Every action taken by Negan is to exert is dominance. Superficially, this might appear to be akin to an alpha male wolf cowering his pack but that is not the case and unfair to the creativity that permeates this series on every level. Negan has set himself up as a god, ruling over not only the actions of the subjugated but their very thoughts. This is demonstrated with this treat of two specific individuals, Rick and Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus).As the leader, Rick was systematically stripped of his authority and everything that makes him a natural leader. Negan used the lives of the members of the community, murdering a few to prove he hasnít the slightest compunction about cold-blooded slaughter. Rick is forced to comply to save lives. The suppression of Rickís identity is so complete that as a demonstration of Neganís dissolution of Rickís will, he has Rick fetch Lucile for him. Watching Rick obediently fetch a stick, one still marred with the grey matter, bone and flesh of friends, disheartens everyone.
Daryl has always been the scout, the most self-sufficient member of the troupe with the strongest sense of identity. Negan initially stripped Daryl of the objects that delineated his unique character that defined him as an individual. His motorcycle and crossbow were confiscated yet that was only the beginning of the degrading dissolution of Darylís rugged spirit of self-sufficiency. Negan has contrived a special circle of hell to deconstruct the ultimate survivorís personality. He Is confined to a cell was overly cheerful music is constantly playing. Every detail is designed to sever another shred of his identity, dehumanizing him until all that remains is a shell, a broken, compliant automaton entirely compliant to the slightest whim issued by Negan. The diabolical actions of Negan extend far beyond villainy; he is the epitome of evil. There are deeper meanings that target numerous aspects of respectable humanity. Murdering Glen in front of his wife Maggie (Lauren Cohan), forced to watch as the first strikes from Lucile is so extreme it enucleates Glen. Glen, Maggie, and their child represented hope that despite the fall of civilization an ember of hope persists for a future generation. Rickís compliance depicts Neganís anarchy overwhelming law and order represented by former lawman Rick. This season is the most intense section of a continuingly engrossing story.