We’re heading into the season premier of AMC’s The Walking Dead and I am sure the first episode will create more questions than it answers. The fans are hype and I am sure the executives at AMC are more than hype about the possible ratings for this 8th season of the hit series.
Early on in season 2 Lori Grimes wonders if it would be better for her young son Carl to die because the world has been transformed into ruin & decay. Rick tells her that there must be a place for them in this world, a place for their precious son Carl. This powerful and life affirming scene happens episode 3 of Season 2 titled Save the Last One and it beautifully displays the true drawing power of the show. The fact that The Walking Dead (TWD) offers its audience hope in face of hopelessness & devastation. It’s the perfect show for these imperfect times. In my opinion the greatness of this global phenomenon does not lie in the killing off of its principal cast members or even in the artfully gruesome elimination of its minor characters. The MAIN attraction of TWD lies in its relentless striving for a place of refuge, a “sanctuary” of hope. Each struggle, each battle comes with the prevailing purpose of finding this place of safety.
While the deaths are dramatic and do change the course of each season they are only a fraction of what makes this series a must watch for any true fan of good television. Which is why it pains me to see so much emphasis being put on the ‘who is going to die next’ aspect when people are discussing the show. I 100% blame the cliffhanger of season 6 and the buffet of death that season 7 turned out to be. Don’t get me wrong a show about zombies is supposed to feature tons of blood, guts and yes death but i hope TWD keeps striving to be much more than the typical gorefest.
Some fans fully expect more death than story in the upcoming eighth season of the show. Some are even prophesying that that the “next to go” should be Michonne simply for the fact that this one of a kind character has made the critical error (according to them) of falling in love. But if we’re being totally honest what would we really gain by her death? Another scene of Rick Grimes woefully sobbing over his lover and poor Carl saying another ill timed goodbye to a mother figure?? The truth is the richer more creative narrative is seeing what this couple forged in the fire and trauma of the zombie apocalypse can do together because story wise that’s the true reward for their faith and belief. The safe haven that they’re all searching for is really found with one another. Safety, sanctuary, security are the goals but the only certainty is love. It’s in the relationships that are built while fighting for survival in a world gone mad that make every single sacrifice worthwhile.
Killing off the main cast is something that from the very beginning defined this show but it’s not the true treasure of The Walking Dead series. All the death, pain and carnage is fools gold, the true jewel of this epic story lies in the hearts of a group (family) of people we are all rooting for. Season after season whatever peace they gain is lost in some of the most gruesome ways possible. It’s time now that we see Rick & Co. win more than they lose. We’re coming up on the 100th episode of the show and a lot is riding on this one, expectations are at an all time high from long time and new fans to the series.
I hope this upcoming 8th season is about triumph over despair and victory over savagery. Enough is Enough!! Give us a show that reaffirms our belief in the human spirit that demonstrates that even in the fall our humanity will not be lost and that heroes still exist!
Photo Credits AMC.com, Valhallamotionpictures.com, hollywoodreporter.com, express.co.uk