It's no secret that The Walking Dead saw a sharp decline in its ratings throughout Season 7.
Comment sections are more divisive than ever for Walking Dead topics. Some fans stand by the AMC series while other rant about "being done" with the show. In any case, the conversations are happening, so fans are still very much invested in the show regardless of what their comments read.
Heading into the last eight episodes of Season 7, The Walking Dead has an opportunity to prove itself like never before. After eight episodes of Rick Grimes being bullied by Negan, multiple characters sitting out multople weeks, and several new groups being introduced, the stakes are higher than ever before.
On the following slides, we run through five things which would win back the hearts of those Walking Dead fans who claim to be unsatisfied.
The biggest complaint about Season 7 was not the character deaths not being on the show anymore.
Instead, it was characters whose hearts were still beating that were left out week after week. Episode 7x06 (Swear) dedicated an entire hour to Alanna Masterson's Tara Chambler character when everybody wanted to know what was going on with Carl and Jesus.
In the back half of Season 7, The Walking Dead needs to diversify each episode. Fan favorite characters should not be left out for multiple weeks. Rick Grimes' presence should be felt. Daryl, Michonne, Maggie, Carol, Carl and Jesus should all be just as prominent as Negan.
Five characters we can name died in Season 7: Abraham, Glenn, Fat Joey, Spencer, and Olivia.
For fans of the comics, none of these deaths were particularly shocking. In fact, it was really Fat Joey and Olivia that readers didn't see coming. For viewers who don't read the comics, most of these deaths were expected as a result of how largely the Internet and everyday conversations disect Robert Kirkman's books.
With the back half of eight, the show has an opportunity to shock us. The show is about to march Rick, Alexandria, and the surrounding communities to war.
If yet another core charcter is killed off in Season 7 in a truly shocking and unexpected manner (see: Denise Cloyd, Season 6), the show will redeem its manta of "no one is safe" and build a conversation among fans, once again.
The wild card of the next batch of episods is Khary Payton's King Ezekiel. The character has only been featured in a single episode and already has risen to the top ranks of fan-favoritism.
We need more of the King.
A character like Ezekiel is like none another on The Walking Dead. How many times ahve we introduced villains and discussed how they are different from characters previously seen on the AMC series? Probably about once a season. This time around, Ezekiel offers us a refreshing take on good guys.
Plus, his relationship with Carol is one which will be a lot of fun to explore as the most bad-ass woman in the apocalypse comes to grips with survival methods, once again.
With Ezekiel's introduction comes the opportunity for a more complex Walking Dead than ever before.
Political conversations come into play. Alexandria, the Hilltop, the Kingdom, and possibly Oceanside will have to consider rebelling against the Saviors. For some, the oppression has been tolerable though not ideal. Moving to strike against Negan might prove to have a greater risk than reward, in some cases.
Rick Grimes will have to take on the leadership role and convince the communities around him that taking on the Saviors is the right move. Then, he has to be able to trust them.
Rick vs. Negan
Only once has Rick shown any signs of standing up to Negan and it came during their introduction.
"I'm gonna kill you," Rick said.
Promptly, Rick was humiliated and broken in front of his people by the new villain in town.
Now that Rick has gotten his gun back and will begin rallying communities to take on the bad guy, seeing the two characters in going toe to toe will be a welcome battle. However, what might be more entertaining will be their conversations prior to taking each other on.
Going back to when Rick sat down with the Governor ahead of their fights, the idea of Negan and Rick having a testosterone filled contest of wit is one which should get any fan excited. Plus, it's about time we got our bearded fearless leader back, anyway.