By: Casey Johnston (@DarthHockey)
WARNING: There are spoilers ahead for the latest episode of The Walking Dead.Denise
Did anyone see this coming because I did not? I mean, I had a feeling Denise would die in this episode, but I was fully expecting a walker to come out of nowhere and take a chunk out of her. When that arrow came out of her eye, I jumped a little. This show has desensitized of all us to death-by-walker enough at this point that seeing Denise die from getting bit would not have elicited much of a response from the audience. Seeing her die the way she did, even though the writers made her painfully annoying in this episode (more on that in a minute), made us hate the Saviors even more. That was a good choice by the writers.
Now about Denise and her little walkabout, the whole thing became excruciating to watch. I get that the writers have to take a break from the action every now and then. As exciting as it is seeing the group fighting a herd of walkers or getting into shootouts with rival groups, it would get boring if that happened every episode. The show needs to take a step back every now and then. Still, there’s nothing interesting about watching a character using life outside the walls as a character building exercise. We watched Denise essentially become a zombie apocalypse tourist. It’s a shame because she was a good character. At first, she was in over her head as a doctor but it was fun watching her grow and take care of people. She became a strong character, but the writers seemed to lose her in the very end. It was almost as if they needed to kill someone as another catalyst for the fight against the Saviors, but they didn’t want to kill a “good” character just yet so they chose Denise. To me, this was a waste of Merrit Wever’s underrated talent.
Eugene is another character that I think the writers are starting to lose. He was interesting when he was living his lie about being a scientist, and he remained interesting after that truth came out. I feel like he disappeared for a little after the group got to Alexandria, or, at least, he was unnoticeable, but now he’s back and the writers don’t know what to do with him. Weird one-liners can only carry Eugene so saw. At some point, the writers are going to have to choose a direction to take the character.
Carol can’t really be gone, right? I know that Carol was emotionally and mentally spent at the end of last week’s episode, but her leaving feels like a rushed twist to me. If she really is leaving, I feel like we need some more time with the character to get our own closure on her.
The short exchange between Morgan and Rick in the opening of the episode said so much about these two characters. Rick simply asking, “Why?” and Morgan responding, ‘”It’ll give us some choices next time” is all this scene needed. There have been plenty of times when the characters have gotten preachy about their views on life, ethics, and morality in the new world, but the writers were able to speak volumes with just two lines. What I loved most about this scene is we don’t quite know for sure how Rick feels about Morgan building this cell. Asking why would suggest that he thinks it’s silly, but it looked to me like he took a second to ponder Morgan’s response. But again, we don’t know and that’s why this scene was so strong.