After last week’s strong episode, The Walking Dead’s gone all wonky again – this show’s standards seem to stumble more frequently than a zombie trying to walk on marbles.
As we’ve had fairly solidly confirmed this season, The Walking Dead isn’t afraid of veering pretty wildly from the comics. If anyone doubted it, killing off Carl (still alive in the comics, and expected to make it to the final issue) was a major statement.
The only problem is, the more changes you make, the harder it is to run parallel with the comics when you want to return to the main ongoing narrative that Robert Kirkman established. Of course, it wasn’t the first time the showrunners had deviated from the books – they’ve been changing stuff since season one.
One of the biggest tweaks came in the season one finale, with the reveal that everyone’s infected, and it doesn’t matter if you’re bitten or if you die of natural causes, you’re coming back as a walker.
In the comics, that hasn’t come up at all, and the characters still don’t know the source of the infection. This makes the scene in ‘All Out War’, where Negan decides to cover his weapons (knives and bullets) with walker gore to infect anyone those weapons come into contact with, a logical tactic.
The show has now just referenced that iconic moment, playing it almost exactly the same as in the comics. There, the plan was eventually used as a test of Dwight’s loyalty – Negan ordered him to fire an infected arrow at Rick, and Dwight got around it by using a normal arrow. Looks like the show is setting up the same twist.
Sadly, on the show, this will read more like a plot hole than a plot twist – if walker gore infects people, why has it never been an issue before? Remember season two’s well walker? The one the farm gang yanked out of the well so it wouldn’t infect the water? We’re pretty sure it leaked a couple of fluids even before it was torn in half, so why did no one get fatally sick?
Also, what about all the scenes in The Walking Dead (and Fear The Walking Dead) where people smeared themselves with zombie guts to hide themselves from the walkers?
And don’t give us the ‘it only infects you if it enters your bloodstream’ excuse; several characters have had zombie blood sprayed on to them – in their eyes (Andrea), into their mouths (Rick), and into open cuts (Rick and Shane). Now, all of a sudden, it’s deadly?
Maybe Scott Gimple and the gang will surprise us and give us an explanation that works for the show, but considering how all over the place it’s been recently, we won’t hold our breath.
Mainly because we might die and then come back because THAT’S WHAT HAPPENS.