The Walking Dead: Has there actually been an increase in violence?

Negan and the Saviors. The Walking Dead. AMC.
Negan and the Saviors. The Walking Dead. AMC. /

There has been a lot of talk about violence being toned down in The Walking Dead’s Season 7B. But it should be noted that the violence is no worse now than before.

After six and a half seasons of The Walking Dead, anyone who watches the show should be able to tell me the answer to this question. I’ll make it easy and give you a multiple choice question:

How do you kill Walkers?

  1. Silver bullet in the heart
  2. Wooden stake in the heart
  3. Destroying the brain
  4. Playing “Easy Street” on repeat until their heads explode

So technically there are two answers, but the most correct answer is C) Destroying the brain.

Over those six and a half seasons, how many Walkers have been killed? How many Walkers have been dispatched by some variation of brain bashing, whether it be being shot with a gun, shot with an arrow, brains smashed to smithereens with blunt objects, kicked in the head, or by having the heads forcibly separated from their bodies?

You get my point. Whatever the answer is, it’s a lot. So we know that tons and tons of Walkers have died on the show, and their brains must be destroyed. But no one has cried foul over killing Walkers. Not even Sophia’s death caused an uproar; rather her death was met with sympathy for Carol and the group. Killing Walkers is something that must be done.

Humans haven’t fared so well either. We’ve seen humans shot, hit with blunt objects before having their throats slit prior to being carved up like turkeys (i.e. Terminus), dismembered in every imaginable way, faces burned with irons, hanged, bludgeoned with a baseball bat and, most recently, gutted like a fish.

Why does this matter? I keep reading about toning down the violence in The Walking Dead, but what puzzles me is why this is such a big deal now.

When  wrote a piece about how the FCC received complaints about the Season 7 premiere’s violent scenes between Negan, Abraham and Glenn, most people who commented on the post agreed that if you don’t like the violence, don’t watch. What’s interesting is how some of the people who complained about the violence compared those scenes to watching videos of ISIS.

Here’s my question: Where were those people when Hershel was beheaded by the Governor? Where have those people been as countless Walkers have their heads bashed in on a weekly basis. Who cried foul when Robin Lord Taylor of Gotham fame was knocked out prior to having his throat slit ahead of being butchered at Terminus? (In fairness, we only saw Taylor knocked out and his throat slit…but we did see the Butchers of Terminus working on another guy)

I respect everyone’s right to have an opinion about the level of violence about the show, and I’m truly grateful that we have such a wonderful group of producers who care enough about the fans to make changes to the show. However, I have to wonder why things came to such a boiling point now when other horrible things have happened before. What Negan did was awful, but what the Governor did to Hershel was arguably just as bad and just as graphic.

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I’m not suggesting there is an actual answer to that question and I don’t want to speculate, rather it’s something to think about. It’s important to note, however, that The Walking Dead hasn’t gotten gorier. It has continued a trend that has been going for six and a half seasons now.