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Did The Walking Dead Jump the Shark?

February 25, 2018

If you’re a fan of The Walking Dead, you might wonder did The Walking Dead Jump the Shark with it’s recent plot twist?

***Spoiler Alert***

If you haven’t seen the mid season finale from December 2017 of the Walking Dead (Season 8, Episode 8), you’ll want to see that before reading on as I will be talking about one major spoiler.

Okay, if you’re still reading, then you know that it was revealed that Carl was bit by a walker. There have been theories that he was bitten by a Whisperer (apparently they are humans that dress like walkers), but Scott Gimple, the show runner dashed that theory and said that Carl’s story is coming to an end. He will succumb to the bite.

If you’re a fan of the show, you also know that Carl is still very much alive in the comics. Of course, the show has diverged from the comics multiple times – Carol dies in the comics while Sophia lives on, Daryl doesn’t exist in the comics and Andrea is still alive and shacking up with Rick. Those are just some of the differences between the comics and the show, so it’s not unheard of for the show to stray from the comics.

Did The Walking Dead Jump the Shark?

Jump the Shark is in reference to Happy Days when Fonzie jumped the shark. It was a ratings ploy, an over played one at that, and the show was never the same. It puttered on for a couple more years, but that was the turning point for the show. The term has been applied to any great show that has declined in quality following a gimmick used for ratings. 

One could argue that the great Glenn under the dumpster fakeout death scene was when The Walking Dead jumped the shark, and I might agree.

Carl was an annoying character in the early years – spoiled, impolite, even outright rude at times. He grew up and stopped being as annoying. However, he grew up faster than the was supposed to. Time passes much more slowly in the land of The Walking Dead, and Chandler Riggs grew up too fast. His character is only supposed to be 12 or 13 now, not almost 20. 

Carl’s relationship with Negan is an important part of the storyline in the comics. I was looking forward to seeing how that played out. It may not have been a believable storyline with an adult Carl. Carl, as an adult who watched Negan kill Glenn and Abraham, wouldn’t be inclined to have a relationship with him, he’d simply do all he could to kill him so his people could lead a better life.

Carl was turning into a leader, and that was fascinating. Watching how the children who survived the initial apocalypse would have been an interesting arc as far as I am concerned. Of course, I’ve always been more interested in how they rebuild, now in how they wage war. 

I believe the death of Carl is a mistake. Sure, it frees the show to explore avenues out of the realm due to to the comics, but Carl remained the hope of the show, along with his sister Judith. We want them to reach adulthood.

For now, I’ll keep watching, I think there is still life in the show, and maybe the shakeup of show runners will change the trajectory of the show, but I’m not convinced The Walking Dead hasn’t jumped the shark. 

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