AMC has been taking fans on a seven-year emotional and psychological post-apocalyptic rollercoaster called The Walking Dead, and yesterday’s season premiere might finally be the last line some won’t cross.
Spoiler alert, here: It’s revealed that Walking Dead villain and terrible zombie wasteland human being du jour Negan has killed Glenn and Abraham, after making viewers wait in suspense following a cliffhanger in the last season finale.
The show’s fans are crying foul now—partly because of the fact that one beloved character was killed, but mostly because of how the showrunners chose to do it. It was too brutal and “manipulative,” apparently. The Verge‘s Walking Dead Quitter’s Club has finally declared they’ll stop watching the show, criticizing it as “torture-porn masquerading as storytelling.” What they did here was probably the zombie horror version of How I Met Your Mother‘s awkward, offensive angling to finally get Ted with Robin in the official series finale.
The episode’s director, Greg Nicotero, says that fans should “chill out” because Game of Thrones does the same thing in killing off beloved characters all the time. While that may be true, the difference between Walking Dead and GoT is that the latter will straight up 86 a character, no questions asked, no matter who loves him or her. They won’t construct any drama building up to the death; sometimes, other characters aren’t even shown dealing with the implications. When Hodor died, the show didn’t do any cliffhangers—you know the White Walkers got him, and that was that.
So basically, what this tells us is that although people are okay with TV and movies messing around with their feelings, they’ll only accept it if said messing around is productive or cathartic in some way.
Image from Forbes