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“The Walking Dead” Season 7B Has Been a Fun Vacation from the Most Depressing Show On TV

One of the cool things about “The Walking Dead” is that the show is constantly re-inventing itself; by splitting each season in half, AMC has essentially allowed themselves to pack two mini-seasons into every one season. Why is that such a good thing? Because it allows the story to evolve according to the state that the characters are in at any given point in time; and never has the hit zombie series been more tonally in line with the characters than in the now-airing seventh season.

To say that the Season 7 premiere was downbeat would be a massive understatement. We all knew that something horrible was coming, but actually watching Glenn and Abraham meet Lucille was utterly disturbing and downright depressing. By the end of the episode, we were as broken as Rick and the rest of the survivors; of course, that was very much the idea, but many viewers nevertheless vowed to never again watch the show. They complained that the series had become “misery porn,” for lack of a better term, and they weren’t exactly wrong about that.

The first half of Season 7 was highly depressing, as Rick was reduced to a shell of his former self in the wake of Negan making his presence known. Our heroes had become beaten down victims, and it damn sure wasn’t fun to watch. But the mid-season finale offered a glimmer of hope: Rick got his mojo back and the whole gang reunited inside the walls of the Hilltop Colony, vowing to take back their independence and bring the fight directly to Negan. It was one hell of a satisfying moment, paving the way for a new batch of episodes that promised a massive tonal shift.

We’re now four episodes into the second half of Season 7 and indeed the show has once again evolved into something completely different than it was when the season started. The back half of Season 7 has been, tonally speaking, worlds apart from the front half, and the shift couldn’t have come at a better time. Just as the show was starting to become a bit too oppressive, the mid-season break allowed the writers to change the game, and I’m not sure there’s ever been a point in the show’s history where it’s been so much fun to watch. Granted, “fun” has never been the name of the game when it comes to “The Walking Dead,” but fun is precisely what it needed to be after turning off many viewers by being so, well, hard to watch.

Last night’s new episode primarily centered on Rick and Michonne having sex, killing zombies, eating chili mac ‘n cheese, and foraging for supplies; they even made a pit stop at an abandoned carnival that quickly became one of my all-time favorite episode settings. There was a very light tone to the whole hour, as Rick and Michonne gleefully (and easily) dispatched zombies and mostly acted like they didn’t have a care in the world; even when they fell through a roof, they couldn’t help but laugh. Sure, the threat to their lives and the lives of their loved ones was still present and addressed, but it mostly took a backseat to a side adventure that was something of a vacation for Rick and Michonne. Rick’s goal was to spend a few days away from the harsh reality he’s rarely afforded the luxury of escaping from, and when you think about it, that’s what the second half of Season 7 has been all about: a vacation, more or less, from the most depressing show on TV.

In the past four episodes, we’ve seen Eugene play Yars’ Revenge and make a homemade bomb; we’ve met a bizarre community that lives in a junkyard and has its own language; we’ve come face-to-face with a fortified heavy metal zombie that quickly became an undead icon (bring on the toy, McFarlane!); and we even saw Rick and Michonne work together to kill literally hundreds of zombies at once in a Ghost Ship-inspired moment that totally blew our minds.

In other words, we’ve seen some of the show’s most all-time fun moments since Season 7 returned last month, and I don’t know about you, but I’ve been having a total blast with all the wackiness. The episodes have put the characters we love into situations and locations we’ve never before seen them in, and they’ve showed that fun can still be had in a show that seemed totally stripped of any and all future joy just a few months back. I was sure, post-Season 7 premiere, that the show (and characters) had been irrevocably broken on many levels, so seeing Rick battle a gladiator zombie in a junkyard arena and have some fun at the carnival has been an unexpected treat that I’ve enjoyed the hell out of.

As we build to the all-out war that’s not far away, we can pretty certain that “The Walking Dead” is about to get traumatic again. Important characters are going to die. We are going to be depressed once more. And we are probably going to shed some tears. But for now, we’re taking a vacation away from the horror. And right now, a vacation was just what the doctor ordered.

After all, even the post-apocalypse can’t be depressing all the time.

Here’s a sneak peek at this Sunday night’s new episode…



  • Aaron King

    Let’s face it, some awful shit is going to go down.

  • RedNeoCon

    This show is a miserable, depressing shell of its former self.

    Nothing has happened in a while.

  • Wil McMullen

    This is one of my all time favorite shows! In defense of the 7A portion of TWD, I think it played out as it should, especially after the death of 2 of it’s major characters- it needed room to breathe. Yes, it was very disturbing, (we are watching a show about a group of people trying to survive in an apocolyptic world filled with walking dead flesh eaters, not to mention mad men with horrible henchmen). Yes at times it was very depressing, (again, 2 major characters were beat in the head while there loved ones watched) the tone matched that of our lead group and their loses. It would have definitely been bizarre to have seen Rick and company going about their zombie filled everyday with sunny-er dispositions and totally unaffected by Glen and Abraham deaths. As they say art imitates life. In life sometimes tragic events happen that can stagger the shit out of us, with the only remedy being time. So it totally makes sense why things are starting to look a little more upbeat because the characters have had time to mourn and regroup their focus to take out the dumb asshole who has named his bat Lucille. I do love 7b just a lil more, not inspite of, but because of the events that took place in the first half. I love how it progressed.

  • zombie84_41

    idk this show needs to be reinvented. Its starting to become quite repetitive. This season is better then 6 but thats not saying much. Its still quite boring. But i did love when negan killed the doctor. Negan is deft the best thing on the show too. Hope they dont kill him really quick give him another season or two. Zombie deaths have gotten better though.

    • dan houle

      Reinvented? I think that was the purpose of this article. You may not like the show, but nothing in S 6 or S 7 has been repetative.

      • zombie84_41

        Yes it has, the whole show has been repetative, but that’s come to be expected. When you 7 seasons deep.

        • dan houle

          Name what’s repetative? God dam, they introduced whole other colonies for Christ sakes. Repative is what your hating is.

          • zombie84_41

            Well repetative isn’t my only problem. The writing feels like its been dragging too. As for being repetative they seem to be fighting the same damn problems over and over. When you think they solve the conflicts they are in, they are back to the same conflict they were in the first place. That’s my only gripe and with the show giving us useless ep’s like that last ep was just awful. Who gives a crap about them finding guns, then they get guns then the lady wants more, just to be a bitch. Like it doesn’t work for me. That to me is filler.

  • Wheez Von Klaw

    The show is running on fumes. The characterization is only there to serve this tedious as hell version of a plotline. Negan should go bowling, decapitate Rosita, and force Eugene to keep score.

    • The Fucked Up

      Rosita needs to be iced ASAP, what a snorefest of a onedimensional character. Looks like we won’t have to wait long, unless the writers decide to not continue the story line from last episode.

      • dan houle

        Yeah, she’s good eye candy, but her character sucks. Maybe she’s just a shitty actress.

  • dan houle

    I’m just happy someone @ BD is finally writing a column for all of us that aren’t too cool to admit we do love the show. Love the current pacing. The Eugene episode was probably my favorite non Rick episode. Someone brought this to my attention some time ago. All great episodes involve Rick, his character drives the show. Hopefully they realize that & stop the one arc episodes.

    • Wil McMullen

      I enjoyed the Eugene episode as well.

  • John Piccolo

    Sorry people. Sunday nights episode that was Rick and Michonne centric was a total bore. Even the Eugene and Tara centric episodes were more interesting. Seriously it was utter crap last night.

    • dan houle

      Huh? The Eugene episode was great.

      • John Piccolo


        Exactly Dan, the Eugene and Negan episode was very entertaining. Andrew Lincoln can carry the show on his own when giving good material to work with. The episode was just so boring. The only real part character wise that was any good was Rick telling Michonne that each one must go on if the other dies. That was probably the only part I enjoyed. Rosita and her bad ass attitude is really not working on the show, and the actress who plays her, Christian Serratos seems to be getting way to skinny and it is not attractive. The show only has 16 episodes to make a season. If they are going to make these episodes single character centric, they better have a great story and a actor who can pull it off. A Tara centric episode was a a very bad idea. Nothing against Alana Masterson, but her character is to minor to carry the show..Look at your Darry Dixon ( Norman Reedus ) single episodes. This actor can bring it and all his single episodes have been wonderfully written and Norman can do the job. Tara is such a minor character that no one really cares to see 45 minutes of her. While it was nice for her to have an episode centered on her, fans are not going to be to receptive to it.

        • dan houle

          Hated the Tara episode & I agree, Rosita is getting old. She looks good, but what has she really ever done besides get nailed by Abe? She missed Negan from 5 ft away. Haha

  • richp_91

    Show is crap. Stopped watching after the dreadful 7A.. so happy I did. I don’t like the show as much now and I was a huge fan at first.

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