The Walking Dead is sleepwalking through its latest season with the Rick we know and love seemingly dying along with his companions.
The seventh season of The Walking Dead is collecting critics quicker than Rick Grimes and his crew were racking up bodies prior to Negan’s unwelcome interference.
The seventh season has been less disappointing, more baffling. After all, how can a show go from being must-watch TV to a snooze-fest in just a few short (or not so short) hours?
Season six was gearing up for an almighty showdown, ratcheting the tension to an unbearable degree, only to jump the shark at the final moment, but there was still the chance for salvation.
Much has been written about the decision to delay the identity of Negan’s victim(s), and just as much about the slow, depressing crawl of the season seven premiere. However, few would have expected the dire instalments that followed.
The introduction of Ezekiel’s Kingdom gave the show a welcome shot in the arm, but since then it has been nothing short of terrible.
And in the midst of it all, Rick has died and no one has even noticed.
At least, that is the only explanation for why Negan has been allowed to strut his way through countless scenes like a 16-year-old bully on an infant school playground.
The Rick of old would have dispatched the leader of the Saviours in a few short minutes, not allowed him to steamroller the show and turn it into a post-apocalyptic stand-up routine with jokes your dad would be ashamed of.
The Rick of old died with less fanfare than Glenn and Abraham but with far more impact. After all, without the group’s erstwhile leader to rally the troops, the angry are off plotting suicide missions while the weak are thinking up shopping lists to appease their new boss.
We get that Rick is scared to act in case he loses another friend – and we understand that it will probably be the sight of Judith in Negan’s arms that finally flicks the switch – but the show has lost all credibility regardless.
After all, Rick bit a stranger’s face off to protect his son. He planned and won an all-out war against the Governor. He instantly set about fighting the Termites when all seemed lost and hacked them to death to finally alleviate the threat.
Not to mention the silent assault on the Saviours that got Rick into this mess in the first place.
Yes, he was getting cocky, and yes, he underestimated Negan’s strength in depth, but the Rick Grimes we know and love would not be kowtowed, especially not when the latest villain is not that big and not that scary.
Rick is dead and in his place is a boring – and rarely seen – character that is not even the star of his own show anymore.
That role has gone to Negan, who is nowhere near as interesting as The Walking Dead’s producers would have us believe.
There is time for Rick to be resurrected, and eventually he will be. But whatever happens in the coming episodes, the first half of this season will always be remembered for killing the very thing that set him apart from other wannabe survivors – the need to fight at any cost.