If you’re a fan of AMC’s The Walking Dead, you’ll know that with each episode comes an extremely stressful (but completely worth it) struggle of emotions. Some episodes can actually leave you sat there feeling vulnerable and numb as if you’ve just experienced a messy break-up – Highly dramatic considering this would involve a break-up saturated with bloodshed and murder but, there you go, that’s just something we’re expected to deal with. A lesser version of myself would abandon the series and declare that I simply can’t handle one more death; Being the masochist that I am, however, I crawl back wounded week after week along with millions of other fans. Here are the 5 stages of watching The Walking Dead:
- Anticipation – An unhealthy amount of your day has been spent thinking about the upcoming episode, scaring even yourself with your excitement to see another gory Walker death. You’ve taken it upon yourself to tell people who don’t watch The Walking Dead about The Walking Dead. Your eagerness scares them but you persist in telling them that you’ll have so much more to talk about if they man up and watch at least 3 seasons before you next see them. The episode begins and you feel like you’re heading out on a first date with all the butterflies the opening sequence music is giving you. You have to remind yourself that this is a TV Series and not a relationship despite the fact that you’ve proudly introduced it to all your friends and relatives far more quickly than any potential partner.
- Fear – You’d almost forgotten how it feels to watch Daryl Dixon in such a sticky situation. You are constantly questioning how the writers somehow continue to relentlessly put the group into situations a thousand times worse than the previous one. You’re scanning frantically for clues that a favorite character is about to die and your trust levels have hit rock bottom because you know now to expect only the most ruthless of killings. If you’re watching on catch up you quite often have to just pause the episode and take a moment to gather yourself because you don’t feel emotionally stable enough to take on whatever’s coming next.
- Savagery – The action has consumed and inspired you and for a brief moment you feel like you could adeptly handle the apocalypse yourself. This is usually bought on by any Carol scenes from seasons 4 onwards. You’re feeling absolutely brutal and accept any harsh decisions the group makes to survive because you just get it. Feelings of savagery and brutality are the safest zones to be in because you’ll just grit your teeth and handle it like a Michonne in the making. If you were to pause the episode at this stage and leave the house you’d probably make some questionable decisions, especially if you were to come across anybody with grazes or surface wounds. You’re tough and you’ve got your shit together and you almost feel like you want a zombie outbreak to occur just so you can test out the skills you’ve inevitably picked up from the show.
- Denial – A beloved character has died, the episode is coming to an end and you refuse to accept any of it. You’re moping before it’s even over because you can’t fathom how something you value so much could be so cruel to you – Yes, your love has betrayed you. You feel genuine worry over how the group will handle things and whether they’ll stick together, stay strong or even survive. You begrudge yourself these feelings and feel silly for ever letting yourself feel comfortable after the last time when deep down you always knew it would end this way. You try to coax yourself into feeling grateful that at least Daryl, Rick and Carol will still be there next time…Hopefully.
- Withdrawal – As satisfying as it is to have watched a brand new episode there’s always the little twinge of unfulfillment at the end. You don’t know where you stand yet again. It’s similar to moping around waiting for a text after the first date. Secretly you’re pretty sure it will come but you don’t know when, or what it will say. Walker Withdrawal is a very frustrating phase which makes you bitterly jealous of those late-starters who have only just jumped on TWD bandwagon and are currently drifting around contentedly somewhere in Season 2, unaware of the hardships they face. A week seems like such a long time to wait when somebody’s life is hanging in the balance but, as always, you promise to come back for more in 7 days time because you’re absolutely sick in the head and enjoy torturing yourself with the brutal but beautiful story.