POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD…JUST FYI…
By now we’ve all seen the exclusive photo released by Entertainment Weekly; you know the one with Daryl Dixon bound and gagged. Rumors are swirling like little hurricanes, blowing through social media news feeds and giving me agita. This isn’t a new phenomenon, especially where the Walking Dead is concerned. But, for some reason it is all becoming too much for me to take.
I grew up in an era of no cell phones, no computers, blah blah blah. I watched a lot of television and every week would pour through the latest issue of TV Guide in search of some nugget of knowledge, preparing me for what to expect on my favorite shows. Will Tootie tattle on Blair? Will David and Maddie ever kiss? In the name of all things holy, who IS the boss?
The difference with spoilers of television days gone by is that they didn’t really spoil anything. TV Guide would give you two vague sentences. Take my mom’s favorite show, All My Children. We would read ahead for every entry at 1pm, Monday through Friday, to check for spoilers. What we would get came in the form of “A stranger comes to Pine Valley. Erika braces for a showdown.” What could this mean?! Combine that with the little cut scenes at the end of every episode, “Next time on All My Children…” which would be a few scenes in quick succession that gave just enough to grab your attention, but not enough to give away a major twist. The result? Thousands of housewives talking over the clothes line and debating plot points. When the new episode would air, cries of “I knew it!” could be heard throughout the neighborhood. Serialized programs still resembled books and plays, in that you had to make it to the next chapter to see if your imagination was interpreting the material correctly.
What is there left for your imagination to do when every where you turn someone is posting photos from the sets? Can you imagine Shakespeare done this way? Now, when you get to the next page, you’ll see that Romeo will find Juliet laying there and then someone’s going to die!
During the first two seasons of the Walking Dead, I loved seeing pictures that people would post after having spotted a cast member in Georgia. Or when someone would post about certain streets blocked for filming. Oooh! That’s exciting! I wonder what they’re up to? But as time progressed, fans truly started spoiling things. There is such a thing as taking it too far. I want a little free milk, not the whole damn cow!
Not to sound like a hypocrite, I admit that I live tweet during the show on Sunday nights. My apologies to fans in other time zones, but come on. I didn’t bitch when you all ruined the whole Doctor/Donna thing for me, or season three of Sherlock. I do try to keep my tweets ‘reactionary’ with gems like “Oh snap!” and “Are you kidding me?” As opposed to others who flat out post things like, “Bye Hershel!”. I am guilty of reading spoilers and plot details a day or two before the show airs. I did it once or twice in the second half of season 3 and nearly all of season 4. However, I did not publicly share what I had read. I believe it should be up to the individual to choose whether or not to read that amount of detail. I enjoyed it for two reasons: 1) So I would know what anxiety level to expect for myself and 2) So that I could get a jump start on making notes for my episode recaps. It helps expedite things (though I still stick with my rule of watching an episode 3 times before writing about it to ensure that I am getting the most out of each one that I possibly can).
I have removed myself from a few spoiler groups in recent weeks due to some of the rampant rumors and speculation being tossed about. I have even witnessed fights and threats–between adult human beings over fictional characters–and that just sucked the fun out of it for me. I want to be surprised. I want to feel that same shock and awe like I did in Seasons 1 and 2. Blow my mind, AMC!
That being said, it has been difficult this past week not to publicly react to the images of the van going off the overpass in Atlanta. There were rumors prior of Carol being involved in a car crash. Then rumors of Carol AND Daryl ‘dummies’ being used in the van crash. They have been spotted here, there and everywhere filming. (Fans need to keep in mind that many series, as with movies, film things out of sequence and complete the scenes in post production editing). The photo of Daryl bound and gagged could be a scene from S5-Ep1 or from Ep10 for all we know, though his wounds from the fight with Joe’s gang are still evident. Who knows what is going to happen? Moreover…who cares? Let them do their jobs. Let them entertain us! Enjoy the celebrity spotting, the location discoveries, and leave the plot secrets on set where they belong until ready to go public officially.
Adding fuel to the fire are the posts regarding last Friday’s “Death Dinner” in Atlanta. For the uninitiated, a Death Dinner is the final farewell when a cast member goes bye-bye. It’s a big, emotional deal. And given the rumors that Jon Bernthal (Shane) and Jeffrey DeMunn (Dale) both flew in to attend the meal, it’s a strong possibility that one (or more) of the ‘First Five’ has bit the dust. Both Shane and Dale had dealings with Maggie and Beth in Season 2, but those scenes and exchanges were minimal. This leaves Rick, Carl, Glenn, Daryl and Carol.
It has been a long time since TWD killed off a main character. By that, I am referring to someone who survived/appeared in more than one season of the show. Last year, we lost Hershel and the Governor. I mean, really everyone else was a secondary or tertiary character. I fully expect to have my heart torn out by Season 5. Someone we’ve cherished since 2010 is going to leave us. And that’s as it should be. I know it is going to happen, but I am choosing to not acknowledge the details until the time is nigh.
Thinking about the Death Dinner, though, I have a question for YOU: With Shane and Dale coming to say farewell, what were YOUR favorite moments between either of them and the members of the First Five? Do not speculate on who you think they were actually saying goodbye to, please. That’s not what I want to discuss. We know it was one of the First Five. Period. So, what were the moments that stuck with you the most? Was it Shane consoling Carol and washing the blood from her hands? Was it Dale teaching Glenn how to fix the RV? How about Shane and Carl catching frogs and tying clove hitch knots? Any scene between Shane and Rick, right? Dale and Rick arguing about what to do about Randall? Or when Daryl had to put Dale out of his misery? What were your favorite moments between Shane, Dale and the First Five? Share yours in the comments below.
And remember, spoilers can do just that…spoil things. Like mold. A little mold on the end of your slice of bread? No problem. Just cut around it. Let it get out of hand and your entire loaf is ruined.