In this edition of John and Kelly React!, we discuss all the movies AMC plans to spit out about their supposedly most popular characters!
Kelly: So. The Walking Dead.
John: I found out what happens to Rick but don’t know if you want to get into spoilers.
Kelly: AMC has like… three Rick movies in the works after he gets helicoptered off
John: Just heard about that.
Kelly: Basically, TWD is a show that refuses to die but probably should have ended three seasons ago. The best part is that I can’t even think of a way for the show to end. Usually you can see a light at the end of the tunnel. We’ve had lots of shows in recent memory end with the main character, they’ve obviously decided to continue. Is there a way you can see it wrapping up? Or maybe a spot in the series where it should have ended?
John: The way the show is designed, it seems like this is the kind of show where it can go on forever. Just like the comics. It’s not like Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad. As for where I would have ended it? I honestly don’t know. These kinds of shows lose me after a while because the story arcs either get repetitive or the flaws get in the way of my enjoyment. Most of the core cast is gone so whenever this show ends it’s going to not feel as emotionally resonate.
Kelly: I agree with you 100%. The show didn’t do a very good job of passing off the torch to another set of characters. TWD probably should have ended with the end of Rick. Or they shouldn’t have killed of Carl and passed the torch off to him. In a perfect world, the Kingdom should have been the rebuilding phase, or at least something where they started to Lego things together. Simple stuff like a washing machine or something. Then self-governing villages, etc. And it could have ended there.
John: Negan could have worked as a final boss maybe? Just some closure. I don’t honestly think that humanity would still be in total anarchy for more than 15-20 years
Kelly: Yeah. Personal preference, villains in this kind of show shouldn’t last for more than a season. It should be a season long arc, one and done. Negan hanging around for three seasons contributes to the stiffness of the show. And I agree. It would be total chaos in the beginning and there would be scavenger or anarchist groups but there would be some sort of settling at some point.
John: The Walkers were super manageable at the point I left the show. It’s kind of a problem if your show is called The Walking Dead and the walking dead are just an inconvenience than an actual threat. But Negan was so boring. His whole crew was boring. Focusing on the one dude was boring.
Kelly: Right!? As good as Jeffrey Dean Morgan is, there’s not much Negan contributes.
John: The thing I did like was King Ezekiel BUT EVEN THAT WAS BORING.
Kelly: Dwight, Negan’s man with the face burn, was actually one of the better newer characters they brought in.
John: Didn’t stick around long enough to care. I think I left off with Carol in her new pad… King Ezekiel was making some moves on her. Not going to lie, if a man had a tiger and talked that way, I’d be down.
Kelly: I’ve casually watched but I only watched seriously when Carol, Morgan, and Maggie are on. Morgan has arguably the best arc in later seasons, dealing with his inner psychosis and how he is visibly losing his humanity with each person he kills. It’s something that’s more suited to a main character. And Carol has always been my lady. They stalled out her character once she got to the Kingdom which is a shame but I’ll always have a soft spot for her. What drove you away from the show?
John: I wish I had a more intelligent way of saying boredom. It was mostly that the story didn’t match the quality of the show’s first season. I will happily defend that the pilot is one of the best in all of TV! That first season was also great. But then the show started showing its weaknesses on the farm. The cast meanders in the wilderness, settle in a space, hope that it will last, shit goes wrong. And repeat. Aside from the core characters, not much of the antagonists or side characters all that interesting to me.
Kelly: See, I liked the farm season. The characters had good dynamics, thanks mostly to John Bernthal’s Shane. It started going downhill for me when they stopped having those interesting debates about doing the right thing. It wasn’t as intriguing when everyone went Team Rick.
John: That’s actually a great point. There was that turning point where Rick goes “This is not a democracy!” So, all dramatic tension in leadership dynamic all hinges on this one guy.
Kelly: It’s like Dany on GOT though. He’s simply not a good leader, he makes selfish decisions, and no one questions him. They just go with it. But unlike GOT, everyone is in one location for the most part and there aren’t these side character quests to keep you distracted from the main characters faults. I’m absolutely not interested in any spinoff movies for Rick. Carol maybe. Not Rick. What other arcs could there possibly be?
John: I feel you. And not to mention, after a while the side characters were becoming more and more disposable. I remember a scene in particular, where this one woman was built up over a few episodes. She goes into this speech about something profound, only to be shot in the head with a crossbow. It was unceremonious, abrupt, and it was never addressed again. Is the show telling me not to invest my interest in these people??? Because it’s working.
Kelly: I’d agree with that. The show doesn’t handle fall out well. I’m all for offing characters for emotional impact and to affect or turn things upside down to see how characters will handle a new situation, but I always felt that TWD just did the death and didn’t bother with the rest. Glenn is a prime example of this. Sasha as well. Emily’s death was huge in the moment and then nothing. What is more annoying is that when these people are brought up, it is literal conversation. Like they’ll namedrop people and how sad they are but it’s never felt. Or demonstrated. Meanwhile on other shows, you just watch people fall apart after those closest to them get killed.
John: You remember that dude in Breaking Bad, Glenn? The guy who was going to replace Walt in Gustavo’s operation? I felt more about his death than a majority of the characters on The Walking Dead.
John: Not sadness but it actually meant something to the story as a whole.
Kelly: I’d put Sons of Anarchy in that camp too. SOA really knew how to distinguish the meaningful deaths from the more random ones.
John: I get its the apocalypse but in a smart show, characters shouldn’t just be disposable.
Kelly: Absolutely. If anything, who seems like the last people on the earth should be made to feel as the most important. If they were smart, they would have put all their resources to Laurie Cohen, who plays Maggie, but it’s pretty much confirmed she dies this season because get this- they didn’t want to pay her more. What’s weird is that they build her up to be one of the top three characters. They even give her the nickname “The Widow” which is badass. She seemed like the only character who would be anywhere near prepared if something happened to Rick. But that’s not happening anymore. I mean, Daryl is popular but I can’t take him seriously as the leader of the show. It just suffers from poor character development all around. That being said, they’ve written themselves into a corner.
John: Not at all. He’s got fan armor on at this point. Kind of like Tyrion.
Kelly: I wouldn’t say that. Tyrion will at least have a purpose. Daryl hangs out in the back. He’s Rick’s henchman for the majority of the series. There’s not even any banter with Carol anymore. Like Tormund. That’s more appropriate. But a much less interesting and less funny Tormund.
John: Pretty much.
John: Speaking of AMC movies, Breaking Bad movie supposedly in the works. It’s being written and directed by Vince Gilligan. Synopsis so far is a “kidnapped man escapes and seeks freedom.” That sounds like a Jesse movie to me.
Kelly: Looks like a Jesse movie, absolutely. I wonder if AMC is just going to do TV movies for all their popular characters then. I’d watch a Joan and Peggy movie. I know we just ripped apart TWD for Rick movies but Jesse is different. I’m all for that, the reason being that he’s a character that most likely finds a new meaning of life once his show is over. He’s also a hell of an interesting and popular character that people want to see more of. You?
John: This feels more of a welcome addition to the property. Whereas the Adventures of Rick seems like beating a dead horse. As long as the movie is Jesse-centric I’m on board for it. Or even if this is just a red herring and Vince is making the movie about an all new character in the Breaking Bad… Universe???
Kelly: I think the difference is the quality of characters and situations. Breaking Bad is completely reliant on those relationships and their dynamics. It’s more interesting, thrilling in a sense, even if the kill counts aren’t as high. The meat of Breaking Bad is how they all interact with each other.
John: Absolutely. There are never any moments in the show that feel motivated from outside sources, if that makes sense. The interactions and plot feel completely organic and don’t have to rely on gimmicks and shock value to keep the audience interested.
Kelly: Yes. Not to mention it’s clever as hell as far as detail goes. There’s so many layers and aspects to one episode of Breaking Bad. You could watch it three times and not have caught something. I’m hella interested in seeing what happens to Jesse post-Walter. I love that we got into his story arc and recovery. As the character we were rooting for towards the end, it feels right that we’d get to see how his life turned out.
John: Agreed? Any must haves in this Jesse solo flick? I kind of want them to keep Walter out as much as possible, like a flashback at the most. But I wouldn’t hate it if he’s in it a bit more. Whatever works for the story.
Kelly: Is Badger still alive? I always liked Badger.
John: Pretty sure he and Pete we’re the “snipers” in the last episode.
Kelly: Breaking Bad was a show that didn’t outstay its welcome at all. They put lots of room between their stuff. It’s nice when those characters and actors can pop up again. It’s usually after we miss them and in very thoughtful ways.
John: And Better Call Saul is an engaging show in its own right. Naturally, if you’re going to do a show on Saul, it’s going to have to bring up his connections with Fring, Mike, etc. Doesn’t feel like a cash grab at all.
Kelly: What if Walt Jr seeks out Jesse to find out what really happened?
John: YOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. AND THEN WALT JR BRINGS UP THAT TIME WALT CALLED HIM JESSE???
Kelly: OH YES. hire us Vince Gilligan!!! Or- he runs into Skylar at a Walmart and she’s like, “are you fucking kidding me?” And he can’t stop calling her Mrs. White.
John: The movie is just Jesse bumping into the surviving side characters… I’d watch it.
Kelly: I kind of want to see Jesse in every day normal life opportunities. Like Jesse Enrolls in College. Jesse Waits on Line at the DMV. Jesse Goes Grocery Shopping. Even that would be interesting to watch.
John: Knowing Gilligan, he’d make it the most engaging line at the DMV in television history. Just get the Emmys ready.
Kelly: Gilligan knows how to cause the right kind of disruption in everyday life. Is there a direction you can see it going in?
John: I think an interesting take would be if maybe the law is catching up to Jessie. Or somewhere he slipped up and some loose end still needs to be dealt with. It’s sort of up the n the air but the synopsis of him trying to find true freedom is a good start.
Kelly: Yeah. Being out and being clean. I’m thinking of that shot in Hurt Locker where Jeremy Renner is in a grocery store and doesn’t know how to live a simple life. Jesse’s quest to finding peace seems accurate.
John: I will say, as much as the allure of this flick sounds, that final shot of Jessie driving into the unknown might lose some of its meaning. But if the end product is great, that’s worth it.