I watched the midseason premier of The Walking Dead last night, and found the episode thrilling – one of the best in recent seasons. I haven’t read online discussions of the show in the past for the sole reason that I have a life that I must attend to. But, something made me check today to see the comments and reviews. There was a wide range of opinions; most loved it, others really disliked it. Some of the latter reactions were due to plot holes and inconsistencies. I find these criticisms amusing. I mean, we’re talking about a show that depicts a zombie apocalypse. Nonetheless, some people were troubled by head scratching moments. (Okay, I’ll give them one. When Sam was frozen in place due to panic, instead of trying to talk him into moving, Rick--or any of the cast--could have just picked the kid up and continued on…). More intriguing, though, were those individuals who were troubled by the on-screen death of a ten year old kid. TWD has never hesitated to kill a child character. I thought the episode where Carol “executed” Lizzie was a dynamic, and intense plot development – and solely necessary given her psychotic behavior. Yet, within short order during the midseason premier, a little boy was eaten alive on-screen and then his mother suffered the same fate seconds later. The boy’s older brother was then stabbed with a machete to avoid his shooting of Rick, our main character. Graphic and unnerving for sure. But, highly “believable” within the context of a random series of events that could happen within a zombie apocalypse. Not to be outdone, Rick’s teenage son was shot in the eye in the melee. When Carl turns toward the camera with a mangled face and a hole where his eye should be, the shock of the scene is complete. All-in-all, this was a three minute segment which was gripping and devastating. And, it worked.
Anthony Hains is a horror & speculative fiction writer.