It’s no secret that THE WALKING DEAD has been in danger during season seven. Viewer tallies are absolutely plummeting. AMC isn’t going to dump the show on a dime, as 10 million viewers is still mighty impressive. But with dwindling viewership fewer dollars will roll into production, and the show could conceivably take a hit on a number of levels. And this would put the show at immediate risk.
We’re not at that stage of the game yet, and there is still some quality story to be told. Best yet, THE WALKING DEAD has already faced adversity and bounced back wonderfully. The show is strong, and they can survive for a good handful of future seasons if the right decisions are made. But if AMC wants to really engrain the show in the hearts of viewers once more, they may try working with a few of the following ideas.
SOME PROPER VENTING FOR DARYL
Daryl made his escape and returned to his makeshift family at Alexandria in THE WALKING DEAD season seven mid-season finale. We didn’t hear much from him, and that’s to be expected; the man is understandably traumatized. But with episode nine, the return episode after the dreaded hiatus, Daryl just wasn’t Daryl. He’s obviously angry, but he never had a chance to vent, instead he was fed some pretty lazy lines to toss out in a few random instances. But if AMC wants to get things back on track, they’ve got to allow Daryl to be the compassionate antihero he is. We’d better see some important vocal exchanges between Daryl and Rick, and especially Daryl and Carol. He’s got to get some of that animosity and damage out so that we can once more see Daryl for the amazing survivor he is.
THE ABANDONMENT OF THAT KING EZEKIAL NONSENSE
Those who read the comic books know that Ezekial abandons his already-tired “king” gimmick. Frankly, it’s a load of shit, and on screen it’s more embarrassing than powerful. So, it’s time for AMC to make a big adjustment and axe the mockery that oozes from the Kingdom. Ezekial is a good, strong leader. Let him be that good, strong leader without that nauseatingly pretentious title he insists on toting. You’re a stud, Ezekial, but you’re no king.
RICK GRIMES… GROWS A NEW PAIR
We can see it happening, slowly. But it’s going to take some astounding actions from Rick to wipe away the memory of the timid and feeble little pawn that Negan brought to the surface. For six full seasons, we’ve seen Rick juggle a myriad of emotions and react in unpredictable ways. But the one thing we never witnessed, up until season seven, was Rick Grimes going full on sissy mode. He’s become a domesticated feline content to hang in the shadows away from trouble, and it doesn’t fit his personality… at all. “Rock in the Road” gave us a brief glimpse of a Rick Grimes rediscovering himself. Now, as long as he continues on this path and rediscovers his testicles before his next encounter with Negan, we’ll all feel a little safer.
TRIM THE FAT
If THE WALKING DEAD doesn’t begin eliminating or merging communities soon, fans are probably going to grow more distant. Keeping track of a dozen (I’m obviously exaggerating) different groups we’re going to be stretched too thin to give a damn about anyone. We’re already perilously close to that point. The logical move seems to be gathering all communities to tangle with The Saviors and topple Negan before dispersing in different directions or bringing a few communities together in order to create a stronger unit as a whole. Either way, we either get back to caring for 10 or 12 characters, or we begin caring about none.
If Rick and his battalion are to beat Negan and create some degree of reasonable living with the inevitable surviving members of The Saviors, Negan has to be brought down a few million pegs. His aura of invincibility must be broken, or, Negan out of the picture or not, The Saviors will always be a problem. That’s not safety, which is the ultimate goal. Rick is going to have to make Negan look as human as he is, and he’s likely going to have to do so more than once before the big battle gets underway.