Dear Monkey Boys Currently Running AMC’s Signature Property:
With regard to Sunday’s The Walking Dead episode “Swear”:
Wow. And by “wow” I don’t mean in a good way.
This had to be the most singularly horrible installment of the show to date. If you take the past 6 seasons, toss in the half dozen airings of this most recent season and pick out the three or four worst episodes, “Swear” is right down there at the bottom of the barrel.
You didn’t lose a bet and turn production duties over to someone who doesn’t know anything whatsoever about the show, did you? Because you might as well have, given the “winning content” we witnessed this past Sunday. It was that bad.
Look … I get what you’re doing, focusing on different characters and where they’re at in the grand scheme of things. But this latest televised exercise was even more of a failure than this season’s brutal premiere.
The light that shone on Tara? The one that was supposed to highlight her journey since she and Heath headed out on their exploratory mission directly after The Savior’s outpost siege oh so many episodes ago? It was a tedious snorefest. And it didn’t help that most of Tara’s dialog had all the liveliness of a wet noodle. Just about everything she said was dreadful, even deficient – it was alternately groan-worthy (again, not in a good way) or sadly lacking in any sort of believability.
Here … let me give you a few examples:
When Tara gets caught by the all-female community, her introduction to them went like this: “Hi. I just, uh … didn’t mean to. Look, I’m cool. I didn’t mean to hurt anyone … ” She’d just cold-cocked Beatrice and that was her response? But it gets worse: “I’m sorry. I just walked in. Crawled. I didn’t even know I was in. I’m sorry. I can just go.” Talk about your bumbling lines. And then more awkwardness while she’s surrounded by people pointing guns at her: “Okay … this is cool, too. We just keep doing this …”
Who scripted these lines? I’ll blame the episode’s writer, David Leslie Johnson, along with director Michael E. Satrazemis who obviously forced Alanna Masterson to utter this dreck.
But the hits just keep on comin’. As she’s being interrogated, Tara responds at one point with the following: “We were scavenging and we got attacked by walkers, the dead. We were trying to get away from them. Then I got knocked off a bridge. I fought the current and wound up in the inlet. The estuary. The bay. Look, I’m not good with geography, I just thought I was dead out there …”
Masterson looked as if she’d never previously acted before while stuttering this dialog. Horrible, awful stuff.
Here are the real kickers, though:
“What kind of fishing boat did you work on? Trawler? Seiner? Larder?” – Beatrice
“That last one. You got it.” – Tara
… and later …
“Tara, a larder is a room used for storing meat …” – Natanya
“Yeah … I was lying …” – Tara
… and later still …
“Are you sure there isn’t a fishing boat called a larder? ‘Cause I’m, like, pretty sure …” – Tara
“There isn’t.” – Natanya
“Yeah … fair enough.” – Tara
Once more: Wow.
Come on. You see now why I called you “Monkey Boys” at the top of this letter? Because this was a truly terrible chapter in the series. The acting was terrible, these utterances were sad, head-shakingly so, and I realized right smack dab in the middle of it all it wasn’t going to get any better. And guess what? I was right. It didn’t. Not for a minute.
It was schlock at its most dreadful. I’m having a hard time even referring to it as dialog. It was schtick … and really bad schtick at that. I’m having a difficult time believing Mr. Johnson came up with it all by his lonesome. There had to have been other perpetrators of such atrocious back and forth, right? No one person could write so poorly.
But it wasn’t just the dialog that made the hour virtually unwatchable. How about the perpetual grimace on Eugene’s face? It’s been plastered on Josh McDermitt’s mug since the premiere. And there it was, once more, squinting on this episode. Enough, already.
Or how about that klassy (with a “K”) moment where Tara flipped off Rachel as she left the community? Dumb, pointless, forced.
About the only redeeming points were the curious Roman numerals 26, 13, 22 and 9 tattooed on Tara’s inside left arm. what do they signify? (There are others as well, ones we couldn’t see.) And what about that “PPP” card or key tag she found and put in her back pocket while hunting for Heath? More to be revealed down the line I’m sure.
The bottom line is this (and it’s positive news): You guys and gals who put the show together (though I have a difficult time believing females contributed to “Swear”) have nowhere to go but “up” from here. Because right now? The Walking Dead is at its lowest rung of the virtual ladder.
On the next episode of The Walking Dead
Is The Walking Dead at a low point? Can it be redeemed? Tell us in the comments below. We want to hear from you!