‘Time For After’ Perfectly Embodies My Frustrations with The Walking Dead

Time After The Walking Dead
Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Time For After Plot Summary:

Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) needs to figure how to get his people out of the walker surrounded Sanctuary. He looks to a conflicted Eugene (Josh McDermitt) for answers. Rick (Andrew Lincoln) is at the mercy of The Scavengers while Daryl (Norman Reedus) is about to mess everything up.

‘Time For After’ is the perfect embodiment of my frustrations with AMC’s hit zombie apocalypse drama.

Here we have an episode that has strong performances, strongly structured action sequences, and tension. By this description alone you’d think this was a really good episode.

But it wasn’t.

It was absolutely frustrating because the story, and the actions of the characters within it are so illogical. This has been the hallmark of this series for nearly three years. When things start getting good, the writing takes you completely out of it.

The show had actually built itself two strong stories to take us into the midseason finale…the traitor(s) within The Sanctuary, and the impending storming of the Sanctuary by The Walkers.

And there’s real tension in these stories. However, the writers, in their “we can’t have nice things” mode undercut both stories.

The whole conflicted/not conflicted Eugene thing is a bit ridiculous. Josh McDermitt did a fantastic job in the episode. He absolutely acted his ass off. However, the way the writers positioned Eugene, and some of the dialogue they gave him — complete misses. Eugene is all about helping people, but he’s really only concerned about himself? He has sworn off Rick and the Alexandria squad in a matter of months … and that’s because … Negan likes him? The same guy who brutally murdered two of his closest friends (Abraham and Sasha)? He’s all about being Negan’s buddy, but yet doesn’t turn Dwight in? The same Dwight who threatened his life? The same Dwight, who intentionally or not, has allowed Walkers into The Sanctuary and people are dying?

That’s a lot of questions.

These are not cliffhanger questions. The writers are to be obviously trying to complicate matters but Eugene’s motivations are muddled, and they leave us more confused, than inquisitive. Why not just have him pretend to be on Negan’s side, have a little bit of conflict (particularly when The Walkers invade), and leave us there. Now we’re really wondering what side he’s on.

Then there’s the whole “The Gang Murder All The Saviors” storyline. At the beginning of this season everyone was on board with Rick’s plan until Episode 2. Then seconds into that episode it all falls apart. No build, just flat out disfunction. Then “this is why we can’t have nice things” mode goes into high gear, and Tara, Daryl, and Morgan need to murder everyone. Three characters who were based on compassion for their fellow man now want full-on genocide. Makes sense. Oh, and Michonne wants in on mass murder too.

So Daryl drives a truck into The Sanctuary and let’s all The Walkers in.

Here’s why this is a stupid (and obvious) thing to happen. First, you’ve just allowed for the possible extermination of The Walkers, the best weapon the alliance has. Eugene’s going to create enough bullets so The Saviors will in fact just sit there and mow The Walkers down in a flurry of bullets. So, bravo guys. Also, you’ve made the alliance looks like murderous assholes, which they are, and the Saviors and their subordinates will unite together to save themselves from becoming a buffet. So Rick’s plan is blown, and you’ve really just made our “heroes” into complete villains.

Also, you just know Rick and The Scavengers (another dumb ass storyline) are going to walk into the fray and see what’s happened. The Scavengers will obviously be disgusted, and they’ll bail on Rick again. While we’re we’re talking about it, how stupid is the whole Scavengers thing? Yes, the Rick in his undies vs. a Walker and various Scavengers was fun — but they so easily returned to his side? AND he trusts them? Really silly.

‘Time For After’ should have been a really strong episode, but instead things get complicated for the sake of complication. Instead of being clever or leaving us with some shred of intrigue, the writers insist on sorrow, misery, and bloodlust to get through episodes. This show used to be so much fun, so intense, so scary — now it’s just an endless sea of misery, much like the world we find our characters in.

Rating: 4.5 out of 10

Bill Bodkin is the gray bearded owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, he is lucky husband, and proud father to a beautiful daughter named Sophie. He can be seen regularly on the site reviewing The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and is the host of the site’s podcast, The BreakCast. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites

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