Much of the focus this season of The Walking Dead has not been on the show itself but on the viewers it has been failing to bring in. Over the years #TWD has found itself on the top of the ratings charts and has broken quite a few records. This seventh season however, has taken a downward slope in terms of numbers and overall viewer satisfaction, and one of the reasons being blamed is that each episode focused on different individual, separated characters instead of the group as a whole.
But was that storytelling approach actually the right call for Season 7?
Why The Ratings Drop?
The #Negan cliffhanger obviously brought a monster number for the premiere episode, which was to be expected. The first episode topped over 17 million viewers — but the second episode lost five million. The viewers have been steadily decreasing, and there could be multiple explanations why that could be.
Much debate arose involving the level of brutality being featured on the show. especially after the violent premiere. Personally, I have come to expect this level of violence due to the subject material and storylines taken from the comic book. For those more sensitive to the nature of the show, I can definitely understand why they feel certain scenes may have crossed the line.
There is also the issue of killing off two fan favorites to start off the season. Even if you expected it or not, saying goodbye to Abraham and Glenn was tough, certainly setting a bleak tone right from the get-go. Losing two strong characters, who we'd gotten to know and wanted to see each week — while also separating the rest of the group — took away that excitement to tune in each week.
Did 'The Walking Dead' Make A Mistake By Breaking Up The Stories?
The group of characters as a whole has always been a bright spot of the otherwise dark method of storytelling. The relationships, bonds and dependence among one another is something viewers look forward to — and it is no surprise we would feel a sense of loyalty to the characters who have been on the show the longest.
With such a vast group of new characters and locations from the comics on the horizon, I can see why the show writers want to jump right into exploring fresh groups. With so much material to work with, the format the writers used during the first half of this season sure seems understandable, even though it frustrated many of us fans.
After Abraham and Glenn met the wrong end of Lucille, I immediately wanted to see how the rest of the group was faring. How were they coping? Are Maggie and the baby going to be okay? How will Rick regroup and handle this new threat?
Well, it is hard to answer these questions when each episode focuses on a select group of characters. Having to wait week after week to find out what is going on with certain characters was grueling. Each and every one of the stories is important, I get it, but it seemed to hurt the pace of the season. Why not use the Game of Thrones method and just add a little bit from everyone's storyline?
The Divided First Half Of The Season Perfectly Sets Up The Unity Of The Second Half
Along with Alexandria and the Hilltop, we were introduced to the Kingdom, the Sanctuary and Oceanside, which is a ton to pack in less than eight episodes. That is not even to mention all the characters we were introduced to, which brings us to the possible reason to all of this plot jumping.
All signs indicate that the show will follow the comic book story arc, in which the various groups unite in the war against Negan and his band of obedient followers. By separately introducing the Kingdom and Oceanside, and inferring Maggie's leadership within Hilltop, it is assumed they will all form an alliance with Rick and Alexandria to create an army against Negan.
Interactions among the communities could be something to look forward in the second half of the season. By getting the introductions out of the way, the show can focus on the path to a unified front. With a joint effort, the group can trade supplies, food, weaponry and protection.
I predict that the second half of season seven will bring in higher viewer satisfaction once we see some key players share the screen together. King Ezekiel should certainly have a more prominent role, and we will definitely see more of Maggie, Carol and Morgan. Reuniting the original group might not happen right away, but I have hope — and, yes, that even means Daryl! When it does happen, it'll have been worth the wait.
The pain and suffering we have been feeling will ease, but this is The Walking Dead, so there is always a foreboding feeling for what is to come. Hopefully all we have dealt with so far will pay off and we can finally see the war we have been waiting for by the end of the spring finale. Fingers crossed, no more insane cliffhangers!
Do you think the "All Out War" is coming the second half of the season? Comment below!