Convincing zombies and shallow storytelling
By Jonathan Pabico, Senior Columnist
The finale opts to focus too much time on fan favorite characters.
Like many other shows this year, AMC’s zombie TV series The Walking Dead (TWD)saw its season 10 finale delayed due to COVID-19. Despite this bizarre trend, Halloween won’t be deprived of the living dead this year with TWD’s new episode that finally premiered on October 4. The story follows the show’s heroes during the end of their war with new antagonists, the Whisperers—people who talk only in whispers while disguised as zombies.
Visually, the show excels with its action sequences where tension is executed the best. The grimy locations, eerie soundtrack, along with the main heroes fighting together like a military unit keep you on edge. The episode never fails to at least entertain viewers as their favorite characters fight and outwit the undead.
Elevating the visuals, of course, are the ravenous zombies that are brought to life with incomparable realism by make-up artists Greg Nicotero and Howard Berger. Their compelling prosthetics are delightfully grotesque and will continue to please fans of the show.
Series regular Norman Reedus as the crossbow-wielding Daryl continues portraying his character as a dependable leader of his people. His perfect chemistry with Melissa McBride as Carol is one of the best takeaways from the finale and the entire show. Their bond provides a heartfelt friendship that has grown significantly since season one.
Among the talented ensemble cast, a welcome return is fellow main stay Lauren Cohan as Maggie who adds some sentimental energy to the story. Additionally, Josh McDermitt’s Eugene provides hilarious comic relief with his introverted awkwardness and matter-of-fact attitude.
What really weakens the episode is how subversive and underwhelming the climax is for the story arc of main villain and leader of the Whisperers, Beta (Sons of Anarchy’s Ryan Hurst). The climax ended so abruptly, achieving minimal tension and not raising the stakes enough for the protagonists.
The show could’ve explored more of Beta’s past and his damaged psychology for stronger character development. However, the finale opts to focus too much time on fan favorite characters.
Another misstep of the finale is that the script, due to perils and close calls being easily resolved, leaves no lasting impression. The dialogue sometimes feels thematically repetitive due to characters constantly encouraging each other to persevere. This is an overdone story choice since most of these individuals already survived worse situations and should have stronger convictions by now. It’s strangely enjoyable to see the show’s heroes bond in cliché ways, but this may be irksome for those that want something new from the plot.
Overall, The Walking Dead’s season 10 finale has massive letdowns yet somehow manages to stay afloat with its characters and production design. The show decently sets up new questions for the next overarching narrative, only to remain undermined by its flaws.