Oh, The Walking Dead. We used to love you so, so much. Like, you were our favourite show (after Game of Thrones, obvs). So what went wrong?
What follows are the most popular contenders for what could be the most bonkers moments that The Walking Dead just couldn’t come back from – ending on our verdict of which is the absolute winner (or should that be loser?)
So, pick up your baseball bat, cover yourself in garbage and let your pet tiger off its leash, these are all the stupid times we almost gave up on what used to be the best show on telly.
6. Terminus cannibals – season 5
Some fans believe the rot set in as early as season five, when Rick and his crew went up against a gang of cannibals in Terminus – which was indeed very silly.
The Terminus cannibals had all the tools and land they needed to give farming a go, in addition to all the infinite supplies of canned food that have been lying around in all the post-apocalyptic supermarkets that Rick and his pals stumble across on a regular basis…
…And they decided the best option was to eat people? This was definitely the first sign that The Walking Dead writers weren’t letting little things like logic hold them back from a good plot twist.
Still, the Terminus situation was resolved relatively quickly, and we haven’t heard so much as a belch from them since, so it didn’t impact the main narrative too profoundly. So we’re prepared to forgive this sub-Hostel nonsense, especially as it feels like a golden age compared to what came later.
5. Glenn under the dumpster – season 6
This one still stings for Walking Dead fans, and for good reason.
If Terminus was the writers demonstrating they didn’t care about logic, then the Glenn dumpster twist (they pretended to kill him, took Steven Yeun’s name off the credits for a bit, then brought him back for a BIG REVEAL… shortly before killing him off again) was the showrunners proving they don’t care about the fans as much as they did about trying to copy Game of Thrones‘ Jon Snow cliffhanger.
Still, as annoying as it was, Glenn’s ‘final’ appearance was followed immediately by ‘Here’s Not Here,’ arguably the best episode in the show’s history, so it didn’t do too much immediate damage.
4. Carl getting shot in the eye and surviving – season 6
RIP Carl, but you should have died two seasons ago. We’re not sure if any of The Walking Dead‘s showrunners have had a physical recently, but getting your eye shot out of the back of your skull is usually pretty fatal.
Like, if someone can see through your head, there’s a chance you won’t be able to pop a couple of paracetamol and carry on with your day.
This was a warning shot (no pun intended) to the writers that the comic books couldn’t directly translate to live-action without feeling so weird it borders on surreal. It was a warning they would definitely ignore.
3. King Ezekiel and Shiva’s arrival – season 7
Which brings us neatly to King Ezekiel.
Sure, a mad king that talks like he’s been scripted by Willy Shakespeare who also happens to have a pet tiger that obeys his every whim might fly in a comic book, but even on a show where the dead come back to life with a massive case of the munchies, Ezekiel and his tiger Shiva are utterly unrealistic.
In any other season, their introduction would be the jump the shark (leap the tiger?) moment – but The Walking Dead managed to do a couple more things in its seventh year that made the King’s pet seem sensible.
2. Enter the garbage people – season 7
We can’t actually blame the comic books for this one, as this was an invention unique to the TV series, but it doesn’t get much more bizarre than a bunch of people who have chosen to live in a smelly landfill, even though the location doesn’t actually protect them from zombies.
Also, said people speak in their own made-up language, the very existence of which seems to suggest that they’ve been surviving for so long that speech has evolved into this distorted alternative. Even though everyone else on the show talks normally, and the zombie apocalypse hasn’t been going on for that long.
The garbage people make no sense. At all.
Thankfully, they’ve been retconned out of existence and, while they were an important aspect of the show’s decline, they weren’t the instigator. No, that honour belongs to…
1. Negan’s arrival – season 7
Negan has completely upset the balance of The Walking Dead, mainly because the writers don’t seem to know what to do with him.
His introduction scene, which featured him killing off two fan-favourite characters, contained the most over-the-top violence the show’s ever unleashed. It was so drawn-out and brutal, casual viewers switched off in disgust. The show’s been trying to recover from the shock of his introduction ever since.
Violence on The Walking Dead wouldn’t necessarily be a problem if the showrunners were consistent. But now they’ve decided to make Negan a sort-of anti-hero (or at least trying to make him sympathetic), they’ve completely broken the show – and it’s not just casual viewers that are turning off, but loyal fans too.
Bringing Negan into the series without a proper game plan, then trying to shift him from an OTT bad-guy to someone who has his followers’ best interests at heart, simply doesn’t work. That’s why, as far as we’re concerned, this is ultimately the moment The Walking Dead jumped the shark.
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