How The Walking Dead suddenly got good again

...really, there’s no such thing as hate-watching.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Ha ha, you’re still watching Walking Dead!

Oh man, I haven’t watched last nights episode yet, have to wait from my GF before I do. :( I completely agree, it was a show i long overdue on quitting. I’m not glad i didn’t. Actually looking forward to seeing it tonight!

Don’t tempt me Tom. I kept love for TWD deep within me. I nurtured the smoldering coal of that love through thick and thin for 7 and a half seasons, but finally realized it had been snuffed out when the thought of watching another episode felt like a chore rather than a pleasure. I’d moved on. And now… now I find myself wanting to finish season 8.

Great article Tom!

I too have been hate watching for quite a while now, and I’ve definitely found a lot to like about the most recent episodes of The Walking Dead. You hit all the highlights in your 10 points, even the add-on point about Rick Grimes.

Your first 5 points have all been present in the most recent season of Fear the Walking Dead, which I actually enjoyed more than the season of TWD that preceded it. I can’t help but wonder if the writers and show runner took notice of the marked improvement in Fear as it matured, and tried to incorporate the same improvements into TWD? Since the time jump, and to a lesser extent in Rick’s “final episodes”, TWD feels more complex, and yet has also returned to the basics that made the show work so well the first couple of seasons.

Without the hammer of a Negan/Governor/Terminus moustache-twirling villain smashing every episode flat, TWD feels more three dimensional, and is suddenly worth watching again. I hope they don’t screw it up.

Great article, Tom - articulated a few points that I hadn’t fully formed in my own mind; about “hope watching” (and walking dead is a great example, but at different times I’ve gone through the same cycle with Dexter, Ray Donovan, Battlestar Galactica, etc.); about how much the central villain in Governor/Negan really turned into a real weakness for the show (and the books); and finally how important the “how are they living/adapting” to this new world.

I’m really happy with all of this season (not just the past 2 episodes) aside from the truly awful Rick departure episode - it’s back to characters and character interactions, it’s back to survival aspects, it’s finally abandoned the pontificating about how great Rick and Maggie are, etc.

That shot at the head of the article is great too.
Michonne finally in her badass true self, with 5 “how the hell are you still alive” hipsters queued behind.

I’m shocked this show is still going on. I thought it must have run out of material long ago. I mean, how much can you really do with zombies? you figure out that they exist, you fight them, gather a group of survivors, set up a town, inter faction fighting, and thats about it. They finished this in 3 seasons! you have far more dedicated than me… i liked the walking dead but i gave up when i had to watch a whole 2 seasons of the governor…

Negan ruined this show for me. I think I watched maybe 1 season with N, and then maybe half-another. Then I quit. As long as they keep stringing him along, I won’t come back. And in fact, he’s been ruining the show for so long now that I CAN’T go back. There are too many other things that have happened, people have come and gone that I wouldn’t know. So thanks AMC for completely trashing any hopes I’ll ever came back. The show itself is “the walking dead” in the truest sense.

I hate to tell you this, but the one scene with Negan episode before last was pretty good. It was him talking to Judith though the bars of his cell while she sat on a doorstep doing homework. They have a pretty well written back-and-forth that ends with her getting the upper hand. Jeffrey Dean Morgan does “charming criminal languishing in a jail cell” pretty well, so you just have to forget all the nonsense that landed him there. Because, yeah, all that stuff was embarrassingly bad.


Everything to do with Negan coming up, if they stick to the books, is actually fantastic. I 100% agree that he and the “war” derailed the show previously, however.

Ugh, I thought I was finally out but you guys are pulling me back in.

Yeah, the All Out War arc in the comics was supposed to be this big event. Kirkman and Adlard churned out 2 issues per month for 6 months. It was supposed to be a Big Deal. But it ended up being pretty meh, with not much actually happening, and the same kinds of scenes repeating. The comic series’s turn after the war ended, at least until the Whisperers, was really fantastic though.

I gave up on this show in the middle of the Negan arc. I hated it so much, I don’t want to see Jeffrey Dean Morgan or his smirk in anything ever again. But maybe I should give it another shot, with liberal use of the fast forward button to get to the end of his bit.

That arc does end, right?

Him as the main bad guy, or really a bad guy at all…yes he is done.

A shadow of him remains…that’s all Ill say about that

FYI IF they brought him back as a bad guy… I would drop this show finally…purely on principal. Im tired of black and white bad guys and resorting to that again means you wouldn’t have whats going on now…with interesting character cross tensions and goals.

And it’s staying good! I can’t remember the last time I liked three episodes in a row.


I stopped watching the show several seasons back. Sounds like they’re catching up to the comics, to the extent the narratives are similar.

Total agreement. Of course, the three best episodes in years come right before the mid-season break. Bah!

Now that it can finally be discussed, I’m amazed at how well this new showrunner has handled the “Whisperers” - they were so goddamned ridiculous as a concept in the book (like almost all of Robert Kirkman’s ideas and stories), and here they were introduced so effectively and were legit scary.

It was the first time since the 2nd season that I thought Darryl was in danger, or Henry, or anyone - and that’s NOT because they have established an “anything could happen” atmosphere by killing Carl/Rick; but rather almost in spite of how they handled those characters. The stuff where Aaron/Jesus/Darryl are watching the strange behavior of the zombies (almost acting like the flocking hive-like zombies from the Cell) was creepy and really well handled by the actors and production crew.

I thought the trashyard people led by Anne (who weren’t in the books) were going to end up being the Whisperers (and I’m still not convinced that wasn’t the original idea) since they introduced the concept of an insane roleplayer society into the show and it seemed like if they were pushed even further in that direction they could evolve into the Whisperers. I’m glad that wasn’t the case and they started fresh and just erased those other losers.

Finally, I’m really bummed that they killed off that character at the end. He was really marginalized on the show compared to the comic - in the books he did cool things like take out whole groups of Saviors; catch grenades and throw them back; and managed to survive the introduction of the Whisperers even though almost none of his group did (by effectively fighting off an entire horde, single-handedly). He’s basically a superhero in the comics, which obviously would overwhelm other characters and the larger cast on the show, but I was hoping with Maggie’s departure that he might finally get similar prominence on the show.