Angry fans of the hit television series The Walking Dead are sounding off in social media circles, upset that the show ended its season in such mediocre fashion and essentially violated its contract with fans by getting rid of popular characters in a disrespectful manner, keeping hated characters around too long and by starting and ending the third season in that awful prison. Words like "ambiguous," "anti-climatic," and 'disappointed" have dominated the trending #WalkingDead conversation on Twitter, while on The Walking Dead's Facebook page fans are arguing over the finale, the passion obvious on both sides of the coin.
One fan in particular, Joseph Tomaselli, echoed this talk in one of The Walking Dead's own posts, a comment that had attracted over 115 likes as of Monday afternoon:
"I have to applaud AMC for pulling off the biggest con job in the history of television. Two weeks ago, the creators of The Walking Dead said that when the screen faded to black at the end of the season finale, 'millions of jaws would be dropped.' And just a few days ago, [character] Andrew Lincoln (Rick) said that 'it all goes off' during the season finale. So what did we get? A season finale that was short on action and drama and big on commercials..."
I've been picking on The Walking Dead since Season 3 started by previously stating that I thought the show had officially "jumped the shark," simply because its audience had reached a certain critical mass. It was an early-season hypothesis and hardly based in fact. Now, however, the evidence of the show losing its creative juices and adopting complacency (what typically constitutes jumping the shark) is on the table. Let's look at the facts:
1) The Walking Dead started Season 3 at the prison and in a disappointment to many fans also ended this season at the same, stale prison: so much for brainstorming and creativity! After two seasons of scenery change, Season 3 should have set us up for something new to look forward to and failing to do so hindered the plot line.
2) They killed off Andrea in a compassionate manner. What, we were supposed to care about her? Based on her backstabbing and weak, no-backbone style, and the fact that she continually slept with the enemy, Andrea deserved to die a horrible death. The Walking Dead fans deserved to see this hated character go down in flames, rather than with sympathy. This character kill-off shows a lack of understanding by the writers with the show's audience. Did they really think there was sympathy in the fan base for Andrea?
3) Merle's death received only five seconds of mention in the season finale, something that was only communicated between two people, as if nobody else on the show was even notified of his emotional departure just one episode prior. It's as if this character never existed, never had an impact on the other characters and was just a "bit player," in the grand scheme of the show, which is the farthest thing from the truth. Merle's character deserved more respect.
4) Clearly, The Walking Dead has been suffering all season long with internal struggles, evidenced by the hasty firing of its show runners and veteran writers. This season's character development pretty much ceased to exist at the mid-point of the season and never recovered. Merle's parting, as mentioned above is but just one character fail of The Walking Dead, Season 3.
The fact that the show's most popular character, Daryl, didn't dominate the finale is proof that the show's writers are now missing the boat, where in Seasons 1 and 2 they were on the money with character development. Daryl's brother was killed in the finale and Daryl doesn't even get a shot at revenge? Not even an opportunity? Cookie-cutter characters do not a show make.
5) Reminding viewers during every commercial break that "The Talking Dead" with Chris Hardwick is "coming on next" is a constant reminder how uncool the show has become in Season 3. What is this, The Bachelor? The Walking Dead fans don't need endless reminders that AMC's paid actors and guests are ready to dissect what we just saw and then try to explain why we should care about those scenes. And of course, why we should tune in next season.
As a fan of The Walking Dead's first two seasons it pains me to write these words, to slam the very show I fell in love with. That being said, am I wrong? Am I misreading these cues? I hope so. I'd love nothing more than to see The Walking Dead make a strong comeback next fall for Season 4. Unfortunately, I fear the show lost a good portion of its audience in Season 3.