Getting involved in a cultural phenomenon is a lot of work. It is so much easier to stay true to the outsider's creed and experience the zeitgeist from a safe distance. I know this doesn't seem like a reasonable opinion coming from a guy who just spent fourteen hours over Spring Break in a theme park run by a giant rodent, but I say this with wheelbarrows full of chagrin. I feel more comfortable on the sidelines, but sometimes I confess that I let myself get caught up in the game.
Which completely explains why, the night before I returned to active duty on the front lines of public education I decided to join my wife in a viewing party of the season finale. Not of the posh-posh Downton Abbey folks, but of the Walking Dead. Feel free, if you would like, to compare and contrast these two worlds, but that will have to wait for a quieter time when I have finished recovering from hanging from a cliff. That's what they call it: a cliffhanger. Episodes that don't resolve effectively at the end of an hour, or in this case an hour and a half, opening up more cans of worms (or brains) than they close hope to capture our attention and hold it while they run off and make more stories that will tie up the loose threads generated by all that hanging off cliffs.
And so my wife and I drifted off to sleep with more questions than answers, including this one: Why do I do this to myself? We were so very clever, a few years back, to wait until Breaking Bad was coming down the home stretch before we began a binge-watch that caught us up with all the nefarious doings of Walter White before he went to that big meth lab in the sky. We didn't sweat the unresolved bits, we just rolled on into the next episode and found our answers there. Pure viewing satisfaction.
The trouble with zombies is that they just keep shambling on. They don't have the good taste and cleverness to simply lay down and allow for a story arc to pass over them. Of course, this particular operation is hampered somewhat by stubborn survivors of this particular apocalypse. My wife and I have become invested in the lives of these characters with whom we have been spending Sunday evenings with for the past six seasons. We have watched this band of misfits and fighters band together only to be torn apart, literally and figuratively, time and time again. This past Sunday night, it happened again. The fact that someone pushed the big reset button should come as no surprise, since this is the way the machine keeps churning. If everyone is safe and happy and all the bad guys have been vanquished along with the shambling corpses, you might as well be living on an estate in turn of the century England.
I told you I would get there.