So, the people in charge of The Walking Dead have decided to kill off Darryl’s little friend. This does not please me in the least. While Beth wasn’t exactly one of my faves, she was a likable kid so I am not at all happy to see her get her head blown off. Nope, I am not happy – but worse than that, I am not surprised.
When they first did this kind of thing by killing off Shane I thought, “Holy crap, they just killed one of the main three! How very innovative!” Not long after that, they killed off Lori. Then Merle. Then Andrea. Then Herschel. In fact, so many characters have been offed during the show’s run that Norman Reedus has gone from about number seven on the cast list to number two – not just because Darryl has become so popular, but because the characters played by the actors between Reedus and Andrew Lincoln have all been killed off!
And it’s here that the problem arises. What was once a breaking of the rules, of the convention that you don’t kill off main characters – that you should kill off only throwaways brought in specifically to wear the red shirt – has now become something of a Walking Dead cliché. In the same way that in traditional shows it is thoroughly predictable that nobody will die, so it has become thoroughly – and boringly – predictable that in The Walking Dead somebody, and sooner or later everybody, will die. What has happened to these people’s imaginations, to their creativity? Is this the best they can do in terms of shocks, these faux surprises that surprise nobody? The cannibals, that was cool, but these cops? Beth gets kidnapped by a car with a cross on it and it turns out it’s just a bunch of cops in a hospital, not a nutty religious, doomsday cult? Talk about a wasted opportunity. Is the sadly predictable death of Beth yet another sign that the well is running dry, despite years of comics to work from? I hope not, but at the very least the well seems to be contaminated by one too many walkers. I can only hope that when the thing comes back to life next year – don’t even get me started on the whole mid-season break absurdity – they will have something fresh on offer, something that will make us go, “Whoa, didn’t see that coming!” as opposed to yet another death in the family because, folks, that kind of thing we can all see coming.