Here lies The Walking Dead, a former hit series that fell with honors
What trace will the great zombie saga leave behind after the broadcast of its final episode?
It’s been a long time since we’ve hoped for anything The Walking Dead. Formerly a war machine with phenomenal audiences (up to 18 million viewers in the USA) to the point of being at one time the biggest series in the United States (on the crucial target of 18-49 year olds), the horror series has ended in a certain chilling indifference. Less than 2 million American fans were in front of their posts on Sunday evening to witness the conclusion. A final yet far from missed, paradoxically.
The Walking Dead: where is Rick Grimes at the end of the series?
After a great fireworks display to conclude the Commonwealth arc, The Walking Dead played the emotional card in a truly poignant ending. Rosita’s unexpected death was cleverly staged, while the epilogue offered a truly satisfying ending to Carol, Ezekiel, Aaron, Gabriel, Lydia, Eugene, Connie, Yumiko, Magna, Kelly, Juanita, Jerry, Judith, RJ …Wait…Who?
Yes, there were a lot of people invited to the table for this final. Too much. And this was one of the major problems of The Walking Dead during its last years of existence: a gallery of secondary characters which extended until the nausea. Insipid new faces, who never had room to settle down as the place was so crowded. unable to kill anyone for ages, the series suffered from glaring narrative overcrowding. Before Rosita in this finale, it had been three and a half years since The Walking Dead had not killed one of its main survivors (in this case Tara beheaded by the Whisperers in March 2019). Enough to break one of the most effective springs of the drama, which consisted in killing its heroes coldly (from Shane to Glenn, via Hershel, Carl or Beth) to shock and keep the spectators alert, at all times.
On alert, we hadn’t been for a long time. Especially since the unthinkable departure of Rick Grimes, which hurt the series very badly. Combined with that of Michonne a few weeks later, The Walking Dead never recovered from the defection of its emblematic sheriff, leaving the keys to the truck to a Daryl Dixon too monosyllabic to carry the entire show on his shoulders.
In the absence of charismatic leaders, in the absence of strong dramatic stakes, the AMC series had only its zombies left to walk. But there again, she faced a form of manifest weariness. Seeing undead chewing up viscera over and over again leads to a certain boredom. Especially when the means to achieve it are increasingly pokey. Ostensibly, the production budget has fallen from year to year and the staging, always more bland, has become perfectly incapable of bringing back the thrills of yesteryear. Without startle and without throbbing, this post-apocalyptic story – which is still a horror story at its core – no longer had any chance of making anyone flinch.
Moving away slowly but more and more surely from the original comics, The Walking Dead tried to lengthen his life expectancy against all odds. Even if it means ruining the legacy of the first (successful) seasons and leaving behind the image of a sacrificed drama. It does not matter for the production and the cable channel AMC, which does not want to be buried so easily. The Walking Dead is dead, but it will come back to life very soon, with three (!) spin-offs already in production. A true undead series.