Why I’m So Annoyed at Walking Dead’s “Thank You”

WARNING: This post contains spoilers for this week’s episode of The Walking Dead. Obvious, but I felt it had to be said. Also, some minor spoilers connected to the graphic novel, though nothing specific.

I am okay with main characters dying.

In fact, I kind of like the fact that some tv series are finding ways to move on even without characters that were major characters, if not the main character.

I understand that The Walking Dead is a post-apocalyptic world where people die. A lot.

And I also understand that in a “real” apocalyptic situation people would die. Randomly.

But this is a television show. It is a construct of fiction.

I am okay with main characters dying if it a) advances the plot or other characters’ development or b) is a fitting end

Because this isn’t real life. We watch these shows, especially violent, suffering filled, death saturated shows to see those who live. To see that one person can make a difference. To see that choosing to do the right thing isn’t always easy, and sometimes it costs a very high price, but that it doesn’t make it any less right. To see that people can survive even in the middle of the worst possible circumstances.

I don’t watch shows like this to be reminded that life is random and people can die in mundane ways. Of course, the truth is, minor characters die randomly and mundanely all the time. And, to be blunt, that’s why they are minor characters. That’s why we meet new groups of people. Because, in this world people die. Randomly. Violently.

But this is the truth about fiction – we craft it. It is written. It is designed. It isn’t real life.

walking-dead-glenn-nicholasWhich is why I am still so angry over Glen’s death.

He isn’t the first main character to die. He isn’t even the first that I’ve been upset over. But his death is the first that made me spitting angry. That made me stalk around my apartment muttering angrily to myself. That made me want to give up on this show (though I won’t – not yet, anyway).

I had a feeling Glen’s death was coming soon. Just a sense that his character’s arc was coming to a close. And having read the graphic novel and seeing the direction the show was going in its echo of the book’s plot arc I just had a feeling. I knew it wouldn’t happen exactly the same as the books, because it was too similar to Hershel’s death in the tv series. But I knew it was coming.

I just thought it would mean something. That it would represent the growth we’ve seen in his character since the beginning of the series. That it would be more than a tragic accident from being in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong person.

It felt random. Pointless.

And real life can often feel that way. Good people get sick or die for no apparent reason. While evil people survive or even excel.

I see that every day on the news, in my friend’s Facebook feeds, in the posts on Twitter. Real life can really suck sometimes.

I don’t watch tv for real life. I don’t get caught up in a fictional world because I want pointless random happenstances. I watch it because I know that it’s crafted. And I want it to be crafted for a greater reason than, hey let’s kill off a main character because I think it’s about time to kill someone else important off. Which is what this felt like.

I want my illusion back. I want a death to feel like it has a purpose. That it’s part of something greater. I want to believe.

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