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Walking Dead Finale – Don’t You Dare Bring In a Deus Ex Machina!

December 6, 2010

This is really a sort of ramble.  I’ll get it together a little more coherently soon, but I need to share some thoughts about the finale now.  There are vague spoilers for those that haven’t watched.

So, it was a pretty quick season.  Six Episodes in as many weeks.  I feel sort of empty inside, like a zombie.  Too soon?

Well, as stated earlier in my blogging dead posts, Frank Darabont was a writer/ director of his word.  He definitely got off the path that was laid out by Robert Kirkman in the Graphic Novels.  Did this make for  a better story?  Did it allow for better character development?  Or, was it just typical Hollywood, fearing to go balls to the wall like the comic does every single month?

I’m torn here.  I have two very distinct opinions why this show was both good and bad.  I look at it as a lover of the comic book medium a.k.a. an avid reader of The Walking Dead Comic, and as an utter and complete movie/ TV addict.  So lets look at the two points of view separately.

As a comic book reader the Walking Dead translated wonderfully to the small screen.  The setting was wonderful.  You could sense the actual heat of the Georgia summer sun in every shot.   The producers found places to film that made the book come alive.  The music was perfectly eerie at every note.  The special effects really did bring the dead back from the grave.  The only real problem I had as a comic book reader, was the shows unwillingness to bring the Shane/ Lori/ Rick triangle to  head.  We, as an audience, needed the confrontation between Shane and Rick.  In addition, the story jumped off Kirkman’s path and ran off to the CDC, which, story-wise, was a bit of a waste of time.  What did that accomplish?  We know nothing more than we did.  All we gained was confirmation that the zombie plague is worldwide, and I feel that the suspense would have been greater if the characters still had no idea how big this thing was.

So, as a Comic Reader:

POSITIVE ASPECTS: ACTING, PRODUCTION VALUE, LOCATION, SPECIAL FX

NEGATIVE ASPECTS: STORY WAVERED, LACK OF FOLLOW THROUGH WITH PLOT ELEMENTS THAT NEEDED CLOSURE

As a film geek:

His character name should have been Deus

As a film lover, I felt that the conflict with the CDC scientist was wayyyyyyy too Deus ex Machina.  He literally came out of nowhere, provided information, then like Egghead from the 60’s Batman show set an elaborate trap for the survivors to outsmart.  Which they didn’t, because there was a Deus ex Machina within the Deus ex Machina in the form of a convenient hand grenade.  Simply, I felt cheated.

Further, the licking of their wounds and simply driving off was slightly anti-climactic.  There was no plan.  They simply left.  There were better ways to fade to the credits.  For instance:

– In the last shot,  the camera could have racked focus in an obvious manner, then tilted to the sky revealing that the POV of the camera was actually a pair of binoculars.  Someone was watching them, and following them.

or

– Merle could have been sitting in the Winnebago.

or

They hear gunshots in the distance, and go towards them to see who else is out there.

or

They drove back up to the quarry to find a note from Morgan, the man who helped Rick in the first episode.

or

They pick up a transmission over the Winnebago CB Radio.

I just wanted something that would have me at the edge of my seat as it switched over to the credits.  That, or, I wanted a real holy S#!t scene that would make me have another beer just to take it all in.

Don’t get me wrong,  I enjoyed the show to an amazing extent.  I just wanted something very specific to happen, to Shane, and it didn’t, and I’m trying to come to terms with that.

If this show is going to switch up plot, who dies, who lives, where they go, etc. then why couldn't Amy live? Poor Amy.

An added treat.  I bought this page of original artwork from the Walking Dead Comic a few years ago, and I thought I’d share it.  This page features the core cast in a scene in the Winnebago.

Some great advice from a real?/ fictional?/ real-fictional? character person (Robert McKee) about writing: “I’ll tell you a secret. The last act makes a film. Wow them in the end, and you got a hit. You can have flaws, problems, but wow them in the end, and you’ve got a hit. Find an ending, but don’t cheat, and don’t you dare bring in a Deus ex Machina. Your characters must change, and the change must come from them. Do that, and you’ll be fine.”

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. rickcarrion permalink
    December 7, 2010 10:07 pm

    good call on Jenner as a deus ex machina. it struck me as odd, considering the tight and consistent continuity between episodes. i liken it to the intro of the temple gang in LOST. to late in the show to really be plausible or garner any real sympathy once they all died.

    i will say that considering the fact that they weren’t sure the show would get a second season pickup, they had to leave it somewhat open ended. if they had an episode or two extra to flesh out the characters and plot, i feel like we would all be happier with how it turned out. regardless, it was a fun six episodes.

    • December 8, 2010 7:05 am

      Thanks for the comment Rick, and comparing Jenner to the Temple folks is a good call. If the sixth was the last episode, it would have been alright. The whole riding off into the sunset would have been rather fantastic. But it isn’t the last, so now I, you, and everyone else has to sit and wait until season two. Which I’m sure I’ll watch and love, as long as they don’t make it too palatable to a mainstream audience and stick to the unrelenting horror and unpredictability of the comic.

      I know you attended NYCC so I assume you read the comic, and all I have to say is, I can’t wait until Rick starts getting telephone calls. That will be some eerie and excellent TV.

  2. paul permalink
    December 9, 2010 7:52 am

    i agree with the Shane still being alive kinda sucks sentiment. Im hoping they dont drag this conflict out for much longer cause that wont leave much room for anything else. after his near rape of Lori it seemed a fine time for an exit.

    Telephone calls? did i miss something in the comics? did i stop reading too soon? Can i borrow them???

    • December 9, 2010 9:58 am

      I agree with your agreement.

      You must have stopped reading. You wouldn’t have forgotten the phone calls. Ill lend them to you after Apryl is done reading them.

    • rickcarrion permalink
      December 9, 2010 3:09 pm

      wow. the phone calls added an interesting wrinkle to the series. an almost twilight zone vibe. btw, have any of you fine folks read Crossed, by Garth Ennis and Jacen Burrows?

      • December 9, 2010 7:01 pm

        Very twilight zone in the feel. Agree. Haven’t read Crossed, but you are the second person to mention it this week. I’ll give it a look. I haven’t really enjoyed Ennis since the end of the Preacher. He hasn’t quite done it for me and/or always felt like he was riding a fad to the end. Except possibly for his Punisher stuff, but then that went on too long. He did do the single best Punisher Comic I’ve ever read though, Punisher: The End. Very good stand alone issue.

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