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Doctor Gash’s Tip of the Scalpel to The Walking Dead

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Doctor Gash's Tip of the Scalpel to The Walking DeadIf a Tip of the Scalpel to “The Walking Dead” came out a couple months ago, just after the mid-season finale, you guys would have certainly been like, “Atta boy, Gash; you nailed again!” and “Another Scalpel right on the money, Gash.

But right now, maybe you don’t necessarily agree so much. Read on, my friends.

Believe me, Dreadies, I was right there with you on Sunday night, watching Season 4, Episode 3 thinking, “What the fuck is going on tonight?!” We have Daryl and Beth lost in the woods, Tyreese with Carol and a gaggle of children blindly following a train track toward a potential sanctuary, Glenn and Maggie blindly searching for each other, and some intriguing new characters just introduced to the television audience a week earlier; and what are we watching? Rick trapped under a bed and Carl and a new smiley Michonne digging what seems to be needlessly deeper into her back story. And here we all sat thinking, “WTF! Please… advance the story!”

And, like you, I went to work the next day and gathered with my “TWD” watching brethren and bitched about the episode. Amongst the comments tossed into the conversation were, “I cannot fucking stand Carl!” and “Where’s Daryl?” and “What’s up with the guy with the mullet?” I feel your pain, guys, but that’s also the reason that the only possible subject of this Doctor Gash Tip of the Scalpel could be “The Walking Dead.”

Doctor Gash's Tip of the Scalpel

Yes, right now, in this 11th episode of Season 4, things seem to have derailed a bit. But we’ve been here before. Haven’t we all heard, and maybe even said, all these complaints before? Do things like this sound familiar: “They’ve been at the farmhouse for too long”; “They’ve been at the prison for too long”; and “Where are all the zombies?” But regardless of the complaints throughout the entire series, “The Walking Dead” is still one of the few shows on television that can absolutely floor you with an episode at any time. It doesn’t have to be a finale; “TWD” is so good that it can, and does, consistently, floor viewers with an episode without a hint that a powerfully emotional one is coming.

As the highest drawing show on cable television, “The Walking Dead” was instrumental in helping the zombie to usurp the vampire as the monster du jour. From the moment Rick fired a single shot into the head of actress Addy Miller in the first scene of the first episode, viewers were enamored by “The Walking Dead.” And even when we have issues with the show, it’s not because we’re falling out love with it. It’s because we are so much in love with it. “The Walking Dead” has taken us from that walker-infested hospital in Atlanta to a welcoming campground to an initially standoffish farmhouse to a stronghold of a prison to now… To what? The only problem with “The Walking Dead” right now is we don’t see the endgame of the season. It looks scattered. It looks disjointed. But fear not, good citizens of Gotham; I’ve got a damn good feeling that the people that have brought us so many absolutely incredible episodes have everything under control and know exactly what they are doing.

Doctor Gash's Tip of the Scalpel

Think back. We needed a quality ending between Rick and Shane, and we got it. We needed something intense to happen when a baby was born amongst all this insanity, and we got it. And we needed The Governor to die in just the right way, and we got it… eventually “The Walking Dead” has consistently withstood criticism during the middle of its seasons, almost without fail. And “The Walking Dead” has delivered absolute haymakers, episodes that simply blow viewers out of the water, over and over again. There is a certain pacing to the show that the creators accept that seems to jostle fans a bit, but when each season draws to a close, fans are normally so stoked with the action and the suspense for that which lies ahead that the conversations examining what has happened and what is coming in the future for our weary survivors rage on for long after the seasons’ final episodes have aired.

So where are we now? We’re in another small lull for “The Walking Dead”. The creators are building up to some new crazy, intense action. But first the bills have to be paid. Foundations must be laid, which means we aren’t going to get explosiveness every week. We’ve got to take the action with the foundation. We’ve got to take the episodes that blow your head off with the episodes that seem to go nowhere. All we can do is trust that the geniuses behind “The Walking Dead” who have given us so much insanely powerful entertainment over these past few years know exactly what they’re doing, even as so many of their fans are screeching and turning to social media to voice their displeasure as to where the show is headed. All we have to do is sit back. Sit back and let the season play itself out. There’s no reason to jump the gun and say the show is broken. Wait five weeks and see what you think after the Season 4 finale.

Doctor Gash's Tip of the Scalpel

Let me finish with this. Please feel free to take to the comments section below and tell me I’m wrong. Tell me “The Walking Dead” has jumped the shark or lost direction or just doesn’t interest you anymore. I welcome anyone to do that. Is it a soap opera with zombies? Hell yes. Is pro wrestling a soap opera with scantily clad mega-men in short-shorts. Absolutely. Serial television is all soap operas. The viewership just depends on what flavor you like your soap. If you are disenchanted with “The Walking Dead” right now, do yourself a favor; keep tuning in on Sunday nights, and by the time Season 4 is said and done, you’ll be happy you did. There are old conflicts to be worked out and new ones to discover. Our weary travelers all seem to perhaps be funneling back toward one another. What could possibly lie ahead?

Doctor Gash's Tip of the Scalpel

Please, go out and enjoy all the horror-themed television programming you can find. It’s great to see that there is so much out there right now. But please do not forget to be there on Sunday nights at 9 p.m. on AMC. An absolutely fantastic television show is there, and you don’t want to miss what’s coming next.

To stay up-to-the-minute on all things walker related, follow @WalkingDead_AMC on Twitter and visit “The Walking Dead” on Facebook. For more be sure to hit up the official “The Walking Dead” page on AMC.com.

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Scott Hallam

14 Comments

  1. I find it amazing that a person could not like TWD and be a visitor to Dread Central. I have longed for the day we would see KNB splatter my TV screen, and now that it’s here we complain that an episode is slow? Jesus guys…. we all know this show is great, and it deserves your support. Viewers = ratings = more horror projects down the road. Of course I recognize the slow storylines as much as anyone else, but I also recognize that suspense is built over time.

  2. Aside from the wretched Season 3 finale, which managed to do everything wrong, The Walking Dead has been a consistently solid show. And I love the slow-burn approach. What people complain as “filler” I see as a slow tightening of the screws.

    Everyone bitched and moaned about the search for Sophie in Season 2. Would that incredible barn scene have been half as effective if we hadn’t gone through all that? No.

    Would the Governor’s assault on the prison have been dramatic enough had we not had the half-season build-up to it? Hell no.

    Some haters are incapable of empathizing with characters who don’t act as they would under extreme circumstances. Others just want instant gratification. I like my food slow cooked.

    • What some peeps have got to realize is the show is a marathon not a 40 yard dash, it’s trying to tell a story and develop characters so we give a shit about their fate, the comic has over a decade of source material to pull from. In the mix is some of the best Zombie carnage we have ever seen. There’s no other show right now that i need a fix for like TWD , one i’m a true horror fiend that grew up on Romeros Dead and secondly it’s damn good regardless of genre. Sure there are the occasional lulls in action and some plotholes but the good totally outweighs the bad.

    • Well said. I’m a huge fan of tension and suspense and that stuff needs to be created over time. Great point, Sirand.

      • I think most viewers (maybe not the stupid ones) realize that stories have a beginning, middle, and end. The problem is, the ending will inevitably be recycled from past seasons. Everything will ultimately go to shit, Rick and the rest of the group will have to abandon yet another seemingly perfect community and go to war with yet another power-hungry psychopath. The formula has already played itself out.

        And God help the show if they ever decide to introduce Negan at some point.

  3. Dr. Gash’s article is making excuses for a show that doesn’t need excuses. The show is the best it’s ever been and season four hasn’t found a lull yet. Rick and co found paradise and they had it ripped right out from their hands thanks to the governor. Now they’re all looking for Terminus, where their salvation hopefully lies.

    And yes, the people that watch something else on Sundays beside The Walking Dead? Good for you. Pat yourself on the back and go have a cookie, for you are truly superior to the fans of the series that still love the series, regardless of your petulant fan boy penis envy. You watch “Hannibal” and “True Detective”? Aren’t you special?

    Keep saying it over and over and over until everyone bows down to your truly rebellious non-conformist TV habits. Go you!

    • Down Terminal! No Kill! No Kill! Hahaha!!!

      But honestly this is the kind of response I was hoping for when I wrote the article. People saying, “What the hell, Gash, chill out. The show is still kicking ass. Maybe you just need to pay a little better attention.” And that’s exactly what I’m going to do tonight! Enjoy your TWD tonight, Terminal. I know I will. And thanks, as always, for your comments.

  4. I’m still in the “good outweighs the bad” camp as well. But as a reader (and huge fan) of the comics, I wonder how much that colors my opinion. If I had no preconceived notions of the characters or how their storylines “should” progress, would I like it more and be less critical? Would I have been okay with the show’s version of Andrea if I didn’t know the “real” Andrea so intimately? Is the reason everyone loves Daryl because he only exists on our TVs? Keeping Shane around and losing Dale so early both annoyed me, but only because I could compare the situations to their original outcomes. All of that obviously didn’t bother very many other people though because the ratings just keep going up.

    Overall I’ve come to think of the differences and even the shortcomings of the series as a means to keep things fresh and surprising for those of us who think we know where things are going. I do think people over-reacted to having the Governor storyline continue this season. When you have an actor doing as great a job as David Morrissey did, you want to use him to his full potential. I’m happy to have the show be leisurely and take its time – as long as AMC keeps renewing it and Kirkman keeps writing the source material, I don’t think we’re going to see it end anytime soon. Might as well savor the journey as long as we can.

    And I guess I’m in the minority, but I’m loving these standalone-ish, getting to know you episodes that focus on just one or a few characters. It doesn’t have to be all zombies all the time for me to enjoy it. I watch other shows like “Arrow” to get my weekly amped-up action fix.

  5. You’re wrong.

    “It doesn’t have to be a finale; “TWD” is so good that it can, and does, consistently, floor viewers with an episode without a hint that a powerfully emotional one is coming.”

    What? Because an episode that comes off as competent you start crying because of how emotional you get for characters that you are just so attached to? Captain Rick and his merry band of un-relatable characters?

    ” If you are disenchanted with “The Walking Dead” right now, do yourself a favor; keep tuning in on Sunday nights, and by the time Season 4 is said and done, you’ll be happy you did.”

    Are you joking? If someone isn’t enjoying a show they should desperately cling on for dear life because it will probably get better? That’s sad.

    This entire article comes off as a desperate fan trying to convince himself, not the reader, that the show is going to get better.

    For those disenchanted with the show, do yourself a favor and stop watching. I did. Now I watch True Detective and Hannibal. Two shows that are so far superior to The Walking Dead that I’m embarrassed that I just included all of them in the same sentence.

    • Ladies and gentlemen, for those of you keeping score at home, if you’ve ever heard the expression ‘getting your ass handed to you’ or ‘getting chewed a new one’ that’s definitely what Buz did to me here. Wow!

      Buz, I’m sorry if you don’t agree with my take on The Walking Dead. You seem to be very passionate in your dislike of the show and I apologize if I offended you with my enjoyment of the program.

      I wasn’t trying to convince myself the show would get better. Honestly, I’m consistently impressed by it, and enjoy the whole soap opera of it. Maybe it’s my lack of good taste, but I have a lot of fun with The Walking Dead. But judging by your comments, maybe I would be more suited drooling on myself while watching Honey Boo Boo on Sunday nights! :)

      I’m sorry you don’t share my opinion on TWD, but I appreciate your comment on my article. As you know, that’s what it’s all about here, getting everyone talking and voicing their opinions about the shows and movies out there. Thank you!

    • Buz I hope you didn’t like American Horror Story too?I dont get your hate for TWD but whatever does it for you enjoy.I still need to watch Hannibal and True Detective I can only hope they are better than AHS after I heard how good that shitty show was wtf were they watching?

    • Oddly enough you found The Marked Juans a “not bad” film and loathe a free weekly zombie soap opera show with fun characters and a shitload of bloody carnage.

      I think the point was clear, every time the show goes through what some perceive as a lull, it ends with a significant payoff that more than makes up for the time spent building up to it. He’s by no means suggesting to stick it out until the end of time even though you hate the series just to be a glutton for punishment.

      And yet a 5th film that cost actual money, gas, and time to watch in a theater that regurgitated the same recycled cliche nonsense and eventually contributed absolutely nothing major to the overall stalled endgame storyline before finishing with the same camera gimmick as the previous films in the series as “not bad” and worthy of investing additional time…

      Go figure….

      (drops camera…roll end credits….)

  6. One thing that really makes me say WTF? is that the counsel didn’t plan a rendezvou point, somebody really dropped the ball on that one!I’m going with it though the good still outweighs the bad.

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