The Boob Tube Review: The Walking Dead's Problem With Secrecy by Alex Snider

Well I got what I asked for: flashbacks and a brief glimpse into the Governor but neither fully satisfied. The City Slickers-like flashback to Andrea and Michonne eating beans by the fire did little to convince me of their bond and instead left me with more questions. How long had they been together at that point? If Michonne is so tight-lipped about her life then how close could they be? Plus it was just such a sloppy way to *almost* reveal the significance of her 'pet' walkers:
Andrea: You still haven't told me, where did you find them? Did they attack? Did you hunt them down? Or did you know them?
In a world where zombies wander the forest, still chill at their favourite restaurants and hang en masse in abandoned factories (collecting massive overtime, I bet), asking where Michonne found two seems pointless. I know I'm being pedantic and that the writers were trying to tell a story at the same time as maintaining Michonne's tight-lipped persona but there had to have been a better way to tell that story. Maybe showing Michonne tell Andrea right away who they were or a scene of them sharing stories of their pasts or just having Andrea tell someone else about Michonne's history. Other ways of telling the story would also go a lot further towards developing their relationship. Instead what we're left with is another tiny piece of a puzzle that has taken 14 episodes so far to develop. Why did Michonne's walkers deserve what they got? More to the point, why do we have to wait even longer to find out?

Sheeeeeeeeeeit, we got an Omar fan in the house
Ugh, why can't anything on this show be easy? Why can't any information be shared? Why can't any character fully disclose what is going on? Why does everyone in TWD world insist on living out soap opera-esque ways of cryptically revealing information? I nearly ripped my hair out when Andrea skipped out of Woodbury without elaborating to Tyrese and Sasha just how terrible the Governor. How long would it have taken to let them know about the Governor's torture room? His plans to kill everyone at the prison? The way he's trying to bargain for Michonne? Life or death situations don't usually call for vague warnings – it's not like Andrea was trying to cover for her best friend who got caught smoking cigarettes in the school bathroom. Far too often, TWD relies on this worn-out storytelling method of hiding information from the characters in order to get them into tense situations. It's a lazy way to tell a story, to manipulate the viewer and a sneaky way of artificially inflating tension.

Totally Looks Like:

I get the feeling that with TWD, the writers have their explosive endgame in mind and instead of dedicating effort into the journey, they just write us from point A to B. The fun is in the path towards that finish, guys! There are ways to keep all the characters (mostly) in the loop while still maintaining mystery. Look at Homeland: Saul is almost always up to speed with what Carrie's doing (and if he's not then it only takes one episode max for him to catch up) and that show keeps me perpetually on the edge of my seat. Let the characters live, let them be real and act like regular people who when they're trying to bring someone onside actually tell them "hey, that guy who are sleeping with? He sexually assaulted your friend".

The whole withholding information so that the audience knows the whole story before the characters has a noble history dating right back to my one true love, Greek tragedy (and its loving, devoted child Shakespearean tragedy). I mean poor Romeo and Juliet could've made a go of it if only there hadn't been so much secrecy. What makes stories like Oedipus the King and Romeo and Juliet work is the reasoning behind the silence: the good intentions. Characters withheld information because they thought it was to protect. The lack of sharing helped the plot and added to the sympathies of the audience who could see the tragedy unfolding. In TWD, this secrecy doesn't help the plot but instead stalls it. The tragic if-only-they-knew atmosphere is never achieved and the audience is left frustrated by the nonsensical omissions. If only one character withheld important information it would be that character's fatal flaw (thinking of Rick and his hero-complex) but all of them? And for no reason other than prolonging tension for the serialized story? That's just lazy writing and tedious to boot.

Looks like Andrea finally found Lori's car accident from season two
We knew that Andrea was always going to turn on the Governor and we know that Tyrese and Sasha will jump ship from Team Woodbury so why not just get it over with? Why do this annoying dance where we wait for the characters to catch up? Would Tyrese and Sasha knowing more about the Governor compel them to abandon ship? Would they necessarily believe Andrea or would silver-tongued Philip sooth their fears? Would they plot a way to betray the Governor and warn Rick? Who knows because instead of giving the characters enough agency to make decisions, the writers have decided to drag everything the fuck out.

Goddammit! I'm a boxer, not a sniper!

Other thoughts:

Liked getting that teeny bit of background into Milton and the Governor. The parallel between Milton talking about the Governor and his theories about the walkers was a little heavy-handed but forgivable. Poor Milton thinking that he's immune to the Governor's whole bloodthirsty revenge-thing.

Would have been a bit more interesting if it was Martinez who set the biter pit on fire because of his bro-mance with Daryl – fair fight and all that. Maybe it will turn out to be him? Seems odd that Milton "never killed a zombie" would venture out in the dark, unprotected.

Totally skeeved out by the Governor's torture chair. A speculum? Please no.

The whole chase scene in a decrepit warehouse was pretty B-movie but I enjoyed how kickass Andrea was. Plus the Governor taking her down just as she reached the prison was really well done. Oh man, I don't want Andrea to be tortured or killed.

Milton fretting about not fitting in at the prison was adorable. I bet he struggles with crowds, too.

Totally feel you on hating parties where you only know one person

I want no I need more jokes about Ladies' Night from Michonne and Andrea. Bottle episode?

Seriously, who'd want to give this up?
It didn't really align with the Governor's evil genius to have Tyrese and Sasha go along to the biter pit. They've established themselves as deeply moral and unsure about battling it out with the prison. The Governor has shown his manipulation skillz on both Rick and Andrea so it stands to reason that he'd keep Tyrese and Sasha in the dark about the more ethically abhorrent Woodbury practices.

Loved it when Tyrese was all humble and soothing when Allan first confronted him about saving Donna then later threw it in his face. Oh snap.

And that last shot? Chilling. Speculum? PLEASE NO.


Previous The Walking Dead recap: 'The Walking Dead' Parlay

Alex Snider had a pretty busy week. Her website is What Fresh Hell is This and her Twitter handle is @what_freshhell. 


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