The Walking Dead has condemned itself for all time

Last week on The Walking Dead, it appeared that the show had taken a step in a bold new direction. Press releases had announced that series star Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) would depart the series well ahead of the expected midseason finale send-off. And then it looked as if new showrunner Angela Kang had opted to kill Rick off even before the announced date. It was quick, clean, and surprising — a stark contrast to the show’s tradition of milking key dramatic moments to the point of audience fatigue. The episode’s ending seemed in line with Kang’s vision for a reimagined Walking Dead. It seemed too good to be true.

It was.

Last night’s episode, “What Comes After,” not only undid that invigorating switcheroo, but it subverted the entire…

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