To say that The Walking Dead has a bloated, overflowing, unwieldy cast is barely an exaggeration. There are, simply put, far too many characters on this show and the creative minds behind the scenes have never fully worked out how to service them all equally and properly. Case in point: Tonight's episode was dedicated entirely to the whereabouts of Tara (Alanna Masterson), of all characters.
The show has become increasingly fond of giving whole episodes over to just a one or a small handful of characters, ignoring the rest of the vast world it's begun creating. Sometimes it works out well (say, whenever it's a Carol-centric hour), but more often than not, it can feel like the show is simply spinning its interminably dull wheels until the next big death comes around. Rather than it feeling like The Walking Dead is telling one propulsive story, each season is beginning to feel more and more like little hour-long character studies strung together between their epic premieres and finales.
But is this really how we want TV shows to work? While the second episode of this season introduced us to a fascinating new realm of this post-apocalyptic world run by a dude with a freaking tiger, the show has yet to return to it, and with each week that passes, the chances that we won't even care about King Ezekiel and Shiva by the time the show does deign to check in with them next grow increasingly.
This wasn't a bad hour of television, and Masterson handled the lion's share of work as ably as she could, but the character is so slight, so overwhelmingly inconsequential to the totality of the series, that giving her an entire episode—especially one that ran 11 minutes late—feels foolhardy. Did what we learn warrant the full hour-plus? Nope.
While the knowledge that there's an all-female settlement out there somewhere (Negan killed all their men and boys over 10 because of course he did) with a cache of weapons that Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and the gang would love to get their hands on—and the fact that Tara's willing to keep it under wraps for the time being—is clearly part of a bigger plan, could we have learned about it while advancing some of the other storylines at the same time? Definitely.
Smart of the show, though, to keep the possibility that Heath (Corey Hawkins) is alive, despite losing his glasses, and could pop back up should Hawkins' next gig headlining Fox's 24: Legacy not work out.
Are we making much ado about nothing or was this one of TWD's most boring episodes yet? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on AMC.