It is becoming painfully clear why the Walking Dead is losing so many viewers. The majority of the episodes are just flat out boring. The group is fractured and there is a blandness that permeates the individual survivors story lines. Sadly, “Sing Me A Song” is no different. There was no peril. Negan was menacing, but his routine is quickly losing its novelty. The sad part is that there were a couple of nice setups for some action, but they either didn’t pan out, or are being put on hold for next week’s 90 minute mid-season finale.
Speaking of which, why did this episode need to be 90 minutes long? It was boring enough at regular length.
As always, spoilers for The Walking Dead.
The episode started off with Michonne luring walkers in close and killing them on the road. Intentionally drawing walkers to her, killing them, and then dragging the bodies away made it seem like she was planning some grandiose scheme that spell certain doom for Negan and his followers. Nope. Not even close. It was the same lamebrain plan that Carl had: go lone wolf and try to kill Negan. We don’t know if Michonne’s plan will work because it was left unresolved in the episode.
There’s another problem: too many things are being left unresolved. And when they are resolved, it is very unsatisfying to the viewer. Case in point, at the end of the previous episode, we see Carl and Jesus become carpool buddies as they both sneak into the back of a truck headed to Negan’s place, aka, Sanctuary. This seemed like an awesome setup! Carl was going to go all lone gunman on Negan and end his reign of terror. Of course, anyone who is at least remotely familiar with the comics, knows that this is definitely NOT what happens. In the show, Jesus jumps out early while Carl rides the truck until it stops. Carl then grabs an assault rifle and is able to take out 2 saviors before he is unceremoniously tackled by Dwight.
There are two things that can be taken away from Carl’s initial standoff with Negan.
Number 1: Carl hesitates. He easily kills two Saviors in quick succession, and then aims the sights at Negan. Carl has a clear shot, but does not take it. Instead Negan is able to prattle on and on about how impressed he is with Carl.
Number 2: Negan hides behind another guy when Carl starts shooting. Yes, Carl had a clear shot on Negan, but only for a moment. While taking to Carl with a smile on is face, Negan moves and places one of his henchmen between him and Carl. This makes it fairly evident that Negan might be genuinely afraid of Carl. Or perhaps, Negan is afraid of a fair fight. Either way, when Carl had Nega dead to rights, Negan chose to hide behind one of his minions.
It also needs to be said that the show does not do nearly enough to provide a somewhat logical explanation as to how Negan is able to control so many people so deeply. Most of his followers live in a constant state of fear Why? Yeah, if you goof up they iron your face or throw you in jail, but still…For all the hype leading up to how bad Negan was, he’s turning out to be somewhat of a pussycat. He killed two of the main characters right off the bat (pun intended), but what has he done since? He threatened Rick pretty effectively to the point where Rick has no choice but to comply with his orders. He is working on breaking Darryl. He has a bunch of different wives and treats them like crap. He put a hot iron to a guys face (though to credit, this was a brutally visceral scene to watch). That’s about it. We haven’t seen Negan kill anyone else, even when he had good cause to. In fact, during this episode, Carl asks Negan why he hasn’t simply killed off Rick, Darryl, and now Carl. Negan’s reasoning is that Darryl will make a good soldier, Rick can get the supplies, and he wasn’t sure what to do with Carl (insert evil laugh here).
Another thing that was questionable in this episode was Negan’s interactions with Carl. For a couple of moments, it looked as if Negan was showing genuine concern for Carl. When Carl broke down crying about his eye after Negan belittled him for it. Negan appeared to have taken to heart to Kyle’s breakdown and actually apologized for hurting his feelings. Some tension built as we thought that Negan was going to hit Carl with Lucille, but once we saw that he wasn’t, we knew that no one else was going to die in this episode.
Overall, the episode struggled to cover the individual stories. The show is at its best when all of the survivors are together, which hasn’t happened for quite some time. In a time when the show needs to be figuring out new ways to bring audiences to the small screen, it continues to flounder. The audience craves action. The audience craves meaningful story arcs. With any luck, next weeks mid-season finale will have more of what fans of the show want. Unless changes are made, The Walking Dead will continue to lose viewers until they become forced into an early retirement.