The Walking Dead seems to have cut back on its intimate and brutal explicit violence to a considerable degree. When the show does feature scene loaded with gore-driven sendoffs for the living, it has only been with characters who fans do not have an attachment to in recent episodes. This could be a sign of the AMC series catering to the backlash of the brutal sendoff for Glenn and Abraham, the moment which sparked abundant controversy across social media and was the last time the ratings of the show peaked before a dropping nearly three-quarters of its live audience. Is it a good thing? Maybe, for some, but the show is as good as it has ever been right now, regardless of the on-screen violence (or lack thereof).
Throughout Season 10, only one character who fans have spent considerable time with and that is Siddiq. Siddiq's death was completely without any blood or gore as he was choked to death by Dante in Sunday night's Episode 10x07. Outside of that, recent on-screen deaths include a random woman getting devoured by walkers to open Episode 10x02 and Negan killing Brandon with a rock. The woman's face getting in was prime in the frame but it echoes sentiments that creatives behind the show have thought about the Glenn-death backlash. This is not a character fans felt an attachment to, so watching her nose get chewed on by zombies as blood poured out was not the same experience as watching Glenn's eye bulge out of his head as he struggled to reach out to his pregnant wife.
Meanwhile, Negan's bashing of Brandon's skull with a rock was not shown in frame but shot from the perspective Brandon as the pounding of his skull was carried out. Another character which fans felt no attachment to was killed and his bloodied head was left behind but it was certainly nothing along the lines of Noah being trapped in a revolving door as walkers literally pulled his face off.
Going back to the pike sequence, the AMC series followed its comic book source material in not showing the actual execution of those victims whom Alpha had beheaded. Sunday night's Episode 10x07 toyed with the events of Episode 9x15 by showing Siddiq's flashbacks to the barn where the Whisperers slaughtered the Alexandrians but always cut away when her machete was completing its swing. Rather than showing any of the characters fans were attached to getting killed, the series wisely used a red shirt within the Whisperer group to be beheaded and show how Alpha's tactics work ahead of time.
Fans aren't complaining about not seeing this violence, and they shouldn't be, it would be gratuitous, at best. Still, it seems like a step in the safer direction for the AMC series which once showed Lori dying in child birth and Austin Monroe having his guts spilled out in front of the community.
It seems The Walking Dead still intends to feature its violent moments, but the use of blood and gore might be chosen a bit more specifically and not so intimately.
It's tough to say if this is a sign of the AMC show responding the backlash, seeing as Hershel's beheading was also completed off screen after the Governor hit him with one incomplete, yet brutal slice of his sword. It does seem as though the days of gore-filled violent deaths for main characters might be behind the series. Then again, the true test is coming as the Whisperer War is ready to erupt into full swing and the comics saw the story launch with might be its most hard-to-stomach deaths of the entire series.
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9pm ET on AMC.