‘The Walking Dead’ Recap: ‘Twice as Far’ Proves No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

the walking dead recap denise dies
Courtesy of AMC

Spoiler warning: Do not read on unless you’ve seen “The Walking Dead” Season 6, Episode 14, titled “Twice as Far.” This post also contains spoilers for “The 100” Season 3, Episode 7, titled “Thirteen.”

Another one bites the dust. It’s been a while since the show has fallen back on the familiar format of spending an episode getting to know an underdeveloped character only to kill them off in the final third (RIP Noah and Bob, we hardly knew ye), but Denise’s demise seemed fairly well telegraphed from the moment the mousy doctor asked Daryl to accompany her on a supply run specifically so he could prevent her from dying. (There’s nothing the writers of “The Walking Dead” love more than situational irony!)

The tragedy of the senseless act was only exacerbated by the fact that moments before, Denise admitted to Daryl and Rosita that she had chickened out of telling Tara she loved her before her partner went off on a potentially deadly supply run, and therefore felt motivated to go out and make herself useful by recovering medicine in order to prove that she could handle her s–t. Clearly, that backfired pretty spectacularly.

The “problem” (if one can call it that) with “The Walking Dead” having one of the most diverse casts on TV, is that inevitably, it provides more opportunities for minorities to become casualties. After Season 5 killed three black male regulars in fairly quick succession (colorblind casting or not, that was a disturbing optic that could’ve easily been avoided) along with a female series regular in Beth, the grim reaper has swung its attention to a succession of women, since the show has recently dispatched Deanna, Jessie and now Denise, who also happened to be a lesbian. The show may not have punished her for her sexuality, but in killing her, the series still took away a rare TV character who identified as lesbian and was involved in a seemingly functional relationship with another woman.

With the proliferation of straight white dudes currently on the show (most notably Eugene and Abraham, who have felt increasingly expendable all season), it still chafes when the show opts to kill off underrepresented demographics. Lesbians and bisexual women are having a particularly rough time on TV of late, since The CW’s own post-apocalyptic drama, “The 100,” recently incensed its fanbase by killing off one half of a lesbian couple following a shortlived moment of happiness and sexual fulfillment between the pair. (Ironically, the character in question, Lexa, was played by “Fear the Walking Dead’s” Alycia Debnam-Carey, who had to leave “The 100” because of her obligations to “The Walking Dead’s” sister show.)

As my colleague Mo Ryan pointed out after “The 100” episode aired, “Lexa’s death following right on the heels of her sleeping with Clarke … does stray dangerously close to the pop-culture trope of lesbians on TV frequently dying, especially if they’ve had some kind of personal epiphany or moment of happiness. For some viewers, Lexa’s death at that moment did indeed cross the line and became another instance of that trope playing itself out, and for many, it hurt all the more because the show had held itself out as a beacon of positive LGBTQ representation.”

Denise, too, was literally in the midst of a personal epiphany when she was shot through the eye with Daryl’s crossbow bolt, and to add insult to injury, Dwight then admitted he wasn’t even aiming for Denise, but instead at Daryl in revenge for their previous encounter, making her death seem even more incidental and yet another example of a woman dying to serve as an emotional catalyst for a male character, rather than in service of her own story.

While no character should be untouchable because of race, gender, sexuality or any other characteristic, pop culture doesn’t exist in a vacuum, and positive representations of minorities that manage to buck stereotypes and harmful tropes are still depressingly few and far between. (Don’t believe that this is an issue? Here’s a list of 145 dead lesbian and bisexual female characters on TV, including the often excessively cruel ways they’ve been killed.)

Do I think “The 100” or “The Walking Dead” are homophobic or sexist? No. Perhaps the writers felt like Denise had outlived her usefulness to the plot (or perhaps she was too useful, given that Alexandria will certainly need a doctor once Negan comes calling), but I would argue that there’s far more narrative value in exploring a realistic lesbian relationship in a zombie apocalypse than tossing another dead homosexual character onto TV’s growing pile, especially given that the show has completely sidelined Aaron and his boyfriend Eric this season. (New character Jesus is also gay, but this show isn’t a nightclub that needs a “one in, one out” rule. There’s no maximum capacity for diverse characters, even if “TWD” sometimes seems to believe otherwise.)

This is as much a criticism of “The Walking Dead’s” gargantuan cast — which makes it impossible to service all of its main characters on a weekly basis, let alone its supporting roster (which is why we probably got more character development for Rosita this week than we’ve had in all the episodes since she joined the cast) — as it is of the storytelling tropes that mainstream media often falls back on without stopping to consider the consequences.

As the invaluable TV Tropes wiki puts it in a category called “Bury Your Gays“: “Regardless of the overall death toll of a show, the death of a gay character nevertheless has different cultural context & emotional weight, as there are unlikely to be many other gay characters in the piece of media. Killing one, two, or even a handful of straight characters to show Anyone Can Die does not remove the entirety of the representation of straight people in a piece of media, but often there is genuinely only one gay couple or character in a piece of media, or very few of any real prominence in the narrative such as a main or supporting character & not just a bit part. So when they die, gay audience members are generally left with no one else to relate to, or only the grieving partner of the dead gay. Additionally, when one can count on one hand the number of gay main characters in ALL of the media they consume, the loss of any one of those is generally more keenly felt.”

“The Walking Dead” is not immune to these criticisms just because it makes efforts to be inclusive in its casting — while it’s laudable to hire diverse actors for characters who appeared in the comics as Caucasian, or add homosexual characters who were previously heterosexual (in the comics, Denise had once dated Heath), when one dies, that choice arguably lends additional weight to their deaths, given that representation is being added only to be snatched away later.

Otherwise, the episode was generally another excuse for scene-setting, with most of the action confined to the final 15 minutes, with the denouement feeling decidedly rushed. Eugene and Abraham got a chance to bury the hatchet after Eugene’s earlier betrayal and Abraham’s explosive reaction to it, while simultaneously uncovering a means for the Alexandrians to manufacture ammunition, which will no doubt be needed in the upcoming confrontation with Negan. Eugene got to prove his usefulness (which sadly doesn’t make him any more interesting as a character, no matter how many crotches he bites) and Abraham finally made progress with Sasha, which would’ve been far more satisfying if A: he hadn’t emotionally destroyed Rosita in order to accomplish it, and B: there was an iota of chemistry between Sasha and Abraham as characters, because I still don’t buy their attraction for a second. While the parallels between Eugene’s journey and Denise’s were obvious on paper, the writing and editing of the episode made the two storylines feel disjointed – like writer Matt Negrete didn’t trust Denise’s story to hold our interest, or wanted to shoehorn in an opportunity for Eugene to stop being so worthless before the finale but wasn’t sure where to put it.

In a recurring theme this season, Daryl’s good deed in choosing to spare Dwight and his companions back in “Always Accountable” came back to bite him again this week (as if losing his bike and crossbow wasn’t insulting enough), with a newly scarred Dwight clearly back in Negan’s thrall and gunning for Alexandria. The problem with following two such morally ambiguous and well-executed episodes was that “Twice as Far” couldn’t help but feel broad and shallow in comparison, especially in its portrayal of the Saviors. Paula and her group may have been loathsome, but their actions were justifiable and their characterization was nuanced; not so with Dwight and his gang this week, who might as well have had mustaches to twirl as they menaced our group.

The most compelling aspect of “Twice as Far” was sadly in what we didn’t see — Carol’s decision to leave Alexandria after realizing that she’s unwilling to take another human life. While that decision was obviously precipitated by the events of last week’s powerful episode, “The Same Boat,” I wish we’d been able to explore it further, given that Carol — who is generally one of the most practical members of the group — made an undeniably impractical decision in choosing to leave alone. Yes, she’s proven herself to be more than capable of protecting herself on her own, but given the number of rival groups they’re currently aware of — from the Saviors to the Wolves to Hilltop and who knows how many other rivals — the decision to leave seems suicidal. Why is she unable to stay and simply refuse to kill if they’re attacked, like Morgan, given how useful her skills are? (And, for that matter, why bother manufacturing a romance with Tobin out of nowhere if the show planned to immediately discard it?)

Instead of choosing to remove herself from the temptation of killing, I’m interpreting her decision to leave as part of another, grander scheme: given Daryl, Rosita, Eugene and Abraham’s run-in with Dwight and yet another band of Saviors on the road, it seems safe for our group to assume that Negan is still alive, or that enough of his followers remain to pose a threat, and I wonder if Carol might be aiming to infiltrate the group and kill Negan from the inside. Perhaps her obsessive focus on her rosary isn’t a gesture of faith so much as a reminder of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice, dying on the cross to absolve others of sin. By taking matters into her own hands, it might prevent others who struggle with killing, like Daryl, Maggie and Glenn, from having to bloody theirs. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see Carol pop up among Negan’s Saviors in the season finale — which could put her in Negan’s crosshairs, if he doesn’t turn on Maggie or Daryl to punish her. We only have two episodes to wait to find out for sure.

“The Walking Dead” airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on AMC.


What did you think of “Twice as Far”? Will you miss Denise? Weigh in below.

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 118

Leave a Reply

118 Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. jj19871 says:

    “While no character should be untouchable because of race, gender, sexuality” LMAO! That’s exactly what your dumba$$ is saying, idiot!

  2. Blech says:

    “While no character should be untouchable because of race, gender, sexuality or any other characteristic, pop culture doesn’t exist in a vacuum, and positive representations of minorities that manage to buck stereotypes and harmful tropes are still depressingly few and far between. (Don’t believe that this is an issue? Here’s a list of 145 dead lesbian and bisexual female characters on TV, including the often excessively cruel ways they’ve been killed.)”

    How many white, straight men die on tv? Oh yeah, that’s right, no one cares because there are too many of them! Maybe you should stop caring about what colors skin someone has or their sexual orientation, Laura.

  3. knowonesbeans says:

    OMG! it came in a sudden … WOW! never expected that …. ouch!

  4. variety is shit says:

    …shut the duck up about this lesbian, gender, race shit. For one, Carol, who in the comics dies early on, is now one of the fierces and respective female characters on the show. The show goes upon popularity, and Denise wasn’t popular. But another thing, Carl is with negan, and began kill glenn, but God forgive, it’s a minority character that’s going to die…fucking retard of an article. People like you need to stop bitching over random things in a show and just enjoy it.

  5. I am convinced that none of the SJW posting here, (or the writer of this article), would survive the first few hours of a zombie apocalypse. Gays and Lesbians would definitely survive, but they would most likely have been members of the NRA and voted Libertarian or Republican before the apocalypse. Unfortunately for the SJW types, I do not think that many of the concepts y’all seem to consider valuable would help anyone of you survive a real disaster that would lead to a breakdown in the social fabric depicted in TWD. So if you are going to offer criticism, you should simply say that YOUR idea of “social justice” is not depicted on TWD by ANY of the human characters on the show. Why? Well, all of the SJW are walkers. You did not survive the first week.

  6. Stop watching if you don’t like it. There is this thingy called “artistic license” so please just deal with it.

  7. Your problem is that you don’t see people as people. You see people as their skin color, or their genitals, or their sexual orientation. Moreover, you categorize and judge the importance of characters based on their skin pigmentation and genitals instead of their personality. You lament the death of a character not because of their personality, what they were as a person, or their role in the story. You lament it because of how dark their skin was. Or what they had between their legs. You place more importance on those things than the content of their character. You consider some of the characters more important than others due to those things.

    There are two adjectives used to describe this kind of attitude. I don’t think I need to explicitly say what those adjectives are. You are a smart person, I think you can figure it out. A bit of self-reflection could be in place.

  8. negan salvio says:

    I agree with the author very much I am a fan of the comic series and this scene happened except it was Abraham who got the arrow through his eye. As a white male I felt offended because Kirkman could of let anyone died but why a white guy?? Cause white lives dont matter to him. For him doing this to me and my people we are gonna go loot from our neighborhood stores and burn our neighbors cars. That will show them we wont take this anymore. While kirkman is sitting in his huge house on a stack of cash for a chair he will feel the wrath when we destroy our own things!!!! POUND SIGN Whitelivesmatter

  9. kyle says:

    I don’t think you used to word “trope” enough. I came to this site to get your opinion on the episode, not your social commentary on one of the most inclusive shows in television history. This article is garbage.

  10. Cat says:

    To the author of this article, if you bothered to watch TWD on a regular basis & perhaps the comic as well, you’d know that the doctor of Alexandria had to die in order for a main character to have to be relocated. But of course you haven’t so you find fault that a non-main character is killed off because she is lesbian. Grow up & smell the zombie guts. This is not a show where only white straight people survive. More white straight ppl have died than gay, black ppl. Try watching this show in it’s entirety before insulting it.

  11. Half of the comments: “why should lgbt characters get special treatment?”

    Since when is “not constantly dying” considered “special treatment”???

  12. Josh says:

    How do you even leave your house every day?

    If you are going to be offended by The Walking Dead killing off a LGBT character, then I would imagine that you are offended by 90% of everything else that happens. TWD has 3-4 (if you count Jesus) LGBT people on the show right now. They spent some time developing Aaron when we first met him and Tara is one of the main characters and gets a TON of screen time.

    You are honestly worse than religious people. You think you are being “progressive” and insighting a “change” in thinking, but you are really just trying to find a way to offended. Grow up.

  13. Morgan says:

    People need to actually “read” the article. It’s not about some gay person dying. It’s about the lesbian gay trope. That once they confirm their gayness it turns into a tragedy. This confirmation normally occurs if they consummate their relationship or express their love.

    In this case, Denise was about to tell Tara she loved her. So she gets a shot to the eye. Two weeks before on another show called The 100, two gay girls had a love scene. Five minutes later one of them gets shot. On Orphan Black’sast episode the only gay girl love interest gets shot going to her car. And over 10 years ago on Buffy, Willow’s love interest gets shot after an intimate moment. Hence the trope. The little representation they do get normally ends badly. Reinforcing the old Hollywood ideat that gay is bad.

    By the way, these LGBT characters are like decoration. They’re mostly background characters that are there for the sake of “diversity”. TWD has too many characters that even Morgan is left around brooding and twirling his stick. Like what’s the point?

  14. Jared says:

    The Walking Dead has been one of the most inclusive shows ever on TV… There are characters in the show right now who are gay that you aren’t even aware of yet. Honestly, it’s incredibly lazy what you’ve written here. Shameful.

  15. Kyou says:

    The massive whine about black people dying is fucking ridiculous. It’s a survival show, people die, I’m sure somewhere down the line three white people have died in a row.

    Stop making everything about race you pathetic excuse of a writer, if you have to cause divide simply to get a few clicks you need to get a new job as you obviously show little to no talent in this one.

  16. Brian spark says:

    Thanks for the 100 spoilers ….. could have warned people before they read the article.

  17. John says:

    I’ll miss Denise. She was so nice.

  18. This was a terrible episode but the reviewer chooses to focus on the fact that the character that died was a lesbian? Is that what we’ve come to? Looking at the tote board and marking off the characters according to their race, gender and sexual preference?

    Should we hope like hell that they never introduce a transgender character because we know they certainly can never die unless another transgender appears on the scene?

    This is madness.

    • Lily says:

      If a transgender character was introduced & was then killed off right after they came out, or right after they realized they were transgender, or right after some significant step forward in their gender identity, that would indeed be an example of the trope of rewarding LGBT characters with death right after they do something too ~queer~ for the audience, thereby linking LGBT issues with death in order to maintain the ‘proper’ morality for its viewers (this trope dates from the 1950s).

      If, however, the transgender character died because their kids fell down a well & a zombie bit them during the rescue, that would be sad bc there aren’t many transgender characters on TV but it wouldn’t be a straightforward example of the trope, it’d be more of an indictment of the rest of television for not having a statistically representative number of transgender characters on screen.

      You can argue about whether or not Denise’s death was a straightforward example of the trope but frankly nobody would be making a fuss about the trope if other shows showed lesbian characters in the same frequency that they exist in real life.

  19. Tim says:

    “While no character should be untouchable because of race, gender, sexuality or any other characteristic” The article proceeds to explain why they believe that characters should be untouchable if they are not straight white males. The author just seems to be a bit upset that side characters are not main characters due to their LGBT+ Status.

    • Lily says:

      Thanks for the article! It was nice to see Denise’s death put into context- and I LOVE the fact that the 100 has become the new benchmark for queerbaiting, which given the behavior of the CW network & showrunner Jason Rothenburg is well deserved.

      *Shot by accident* is the new lesbian marker on TV, forget flannel shirts and undercuts.

  20. Whatajokeshopreview says:

    What a terrible article. Honestly, just review the shows plot and performance instead of fabricating some poorly constructed rant about gender, race and sexualality inequalities hidden between the lines.

  21. Joe says:

    Such an idiotic, misinformed SJW point of view. There are currently three remaining LGBT characters remaining in the show. Aaron, Eric, and Tara. If you count Paul Rovia (Jesus) who is later revealed to be homosexual in the comics, there are four. In a group of about 30-50 people, which is about how many survivors there are in Alexandria, do you really think 4-5 of them being members of the LGBT community is “underrepresented”? Get off your pseudo-progressive high-horse. It’s fine not to like an episode of a TV show but when you try, and flounder, at making it about your sociocultural rhetoric you just sound like a pretentious, try-hard community college liberal arts major who is trying to take a stance because they think “that’s what adults are supposed to do”. Like a naive 17 year old who just got off their parent’s leash and thinks they have world-experience for it even though they still have their parents paying for their apartment’s rent and schooling.

    That is my review of your review.

  22. Mary says:

    I didn’t even finish the article because you lost me when you pulled the RACE & GENDER card. Are you serious Variety? Write about entertainment, that’s what you do. I don’t need you to be a my “moral compass”. I have the local News and CNN for that. Please, for the love of god, just talk about the show. Don’t preach. I got it. It’s shoved down my throat on a daily basis. .

    • J says:

      Do you get it though? Do you get how important these issues are and how they impact our society? The trope they bring up here is a direct consequence of people trying to put LGBT people in the ‘proper moral context’. Which means gay people are bad and people need to see how they are punished for how bad they are.

      Young LBGT teens have no example of happy endings and hope. The way LGBT characters are treated have a big impact on the way society views them, it causes bullying and oppression. Those lead to suicides and depression. The way those characters are portrayed affect real life people. I cannot blame Variety for shedding a light on that. Variety talks about media, CNN talks about the news, they are not the same.

    • Colleen says:

      Same here

      • Sandy says:

        In response to J -if you are looking for “happy endings” for LGBT or anyone else, why are you watching TWD ? Been watching it since episode 1 and feel they treat everyone equal, death is the norm on this show.

  23. Great article! As always Variety has shown to be one of the only media outlets capable of talking about this issues as they should be. That said. The level of self rightiousness and ignorance in the comment section is just scary. More than half of the people commenting here have the same mentality that makes the “bury your gays” trope a reality. It’s sad really…

  24. Catm Beretta says:

    Why, why, why every time a black or gay character get waked the race card or gay card gets pulled out. This lady that was killed with the arrow was a good actress who left her mark on the show and will use this series for some movie or series down the road. Don’t downplay thereally part in the series. I still remember t-dog and his role on this series. Not all leave there mark on the show.

  25. Omar says:

    Is the author of this piece still in high school? Take your SJW agenda back to twitter.

  26. Riley says:

    Pretty simple. The accidental death is lazy and lost its “shock” decades ago. The fact showrunners still use this prove they aren’t capable to even try to do something else says a lot. Adding minorities, sexual & racial isn’t groundbreaking or whatever word people use so showrunners can pat themselves on the back when you have them around just to kill them later in stupid or accidental ways. The fact it was an accident just proves more laziness from the writers & yet another instance of the trope but not nearly to the same degree the article makes it sound with the 100 comparison.

    • Glenn Rauch says:

      How is this “lazy writing”?

      The writers of the Walking Dead try harder than most to develop interesting and unique characters who evolve over time in response to the world around them. People like you who yell “lazy writing” every time they make a decision that you personally disagree with are fools.

      Denise’s death was no accident. Dwight shot to kill. He told Daryl that “I wasn’t even aiming for her” because he wanted to twist the knife. The entire reason Dwight’s group approached Daryl and Sasha at all was so he could show them that The Saviors are superior.

      The subtext behind Dwight’s claim: “We can kill your people like it’s nothing. And we will. We will crush you unless you submit to us, and it’ll be no more difficult than crushing a bug. It’s so easy, I killed her without even trying.”

      The fact that you take the words of a proven liar, thief, coward, and murderer at face value is laziness on YOUR part, not the writers.

  27. Alex says:

    This is a very good read. It’s awesome that this article highlights that a straigh white character dying has almost no impact compared to a black or lgbt+ character. Shows are not made or consumed in a vaccum. There’s always relevant social context to take into account when writing stories, because you can cause serious damage.

    Take for example the impact Jaws had in sharks becoming an endangered species. What people watch or read can have influence on their views.

    In this case, having characters that represent oppressed groups of people gives them visibility and can shape the way people think about them, and also the way they feel about themselves. Having a lesbian character in a happy fulfilling relationship with a woman she loves brings hope to wlw all around the world, especially those who come from countries in which their sexuality is punishable by death. It tells them “You are valid and real. You deserve to be happy”. And that’s a message a lot of us need right now, when faced with the dangers of living in a society were homophobia is rampant.

    So I’m really grateful that articles like this are being written. That the media are starting to pay attention.

    • DEM says:

      Indeed this was a good piece. Those who don’t want this spoken of have plenty of options if a character they like dies on a show. Even within the show there are more that can fill the void. When certain characters such as a lesbian are such a rarity, the impact of their death creates a much larger shockwave. We can’t just change the channel and find another character to appeal to us.

      And it’s true that most die tragically, stupidly, accidentally or just plain not in keeping with the weight of their value to a narrative. They are as expendable as the red-shirted guy on the original Star Trek series. The fact that within the show the 100, almost everyone was certain Lexa was going to die, even when the showrunner promised and teased otherwise, speaks volumes. She died 70 seconds after finally finding love that fans had waited a year to see. And at the hands of her father figure. The stuff nightmares are made of for gay teens, a targeted part of the audience.

      The optics of TWD featuring yet again another dead lesbian by of all things, a crossbow bolt to the eye, just adds heaping insult to injury. It so seems like this all comes from some sort of showrunner’s playbook. And this is stuff that hurts real people. Anyone wanting to see what I mean just has to watch real-time reaction videos of fans watching “Thirteen” as it aired live. In a word painful.

      TWD just solidifies the feeling for me. I have been watching tv and movies for over 50 years and have yet to see a happy lesbian couple as mains or even in supporting roles on a quality show-ones that didn’t die or just separate in some other way. I can count on one hand the quasi-happy endings for lesbians in the movies. Carol is a rare exception but for many the un-played out happiness just wasn’t satisfying.

      As one the 100 fan put it in a video, “I am tired.” We are so sick of just being represented by dead bodies, serial killers, predators, and the mentally ill or those going through a phase as characters on tv. When it’s more commonplace that lesbians can find love and happiness, then I’ll accept that they should die JUST AS OFTEN as their straight counterparts. But then tv will need to find some other group for fodder.

  28. james engler says:

    How can Denise be so fat during a food shortage? I think she was stealing food! If she was stealing food she deserved to die! You don’t get hat big munching on carpet!

  29. Dana says:

    It’s people and outlets like you that perpetuate the racism and hatred that is so out of control in America today. Just like danpaine says, this was just a platform for you to push your own agenda. Last time I read anything from Variety.

  30. Danpaine says:

    Not for nothing, but aside from your personal observations as to a supposed lack of political correctness and diversity within the WD universe, I see very little actual ‘review’ here, but only a platform by which you can push your own agenda. Which is sad, because I seek out Variety solely for the quality of it’s reviews. Not this time. I’ll go find a proper review someplace else.

  31. Kelsey says:

    I really liked Denise. And I felt like her character was just making a name for herself. I was completely shocked on how she died. Eugene becoming a bad @ss was completely unexpected. But it’s about time he started becoming more of a man and less boring character. Carol seems to be becoming weak. The whole group in general is changing. Becoming murderous and blood thirsty. Wasn’t always how the gang was. Sahsha & Abraham, no sparks there. Not a good romantic combination. This season seems to have a lot of twist & turns.

  32. Melissa says:

    What makes me sad Is that to you Denise was only a lesbian. The reason she needed to die was because she was the doctor. The reason for that is one that comic book readers can put together fairly easily as now a certain cast member will need to relocate because Denise is gone. It’s right there for anyone to read. At least give the story a chance to unfold before you go embarrassing yourself by making these incorrect suppositions. I’m sad that you are the one who thinks she is only defined by her sexuality. I guess that makes you the very thing you are speaking out against.

  33. jaywashington says:

    Maybe somebody needs to say this but ummmmm…IT’S A FICTIONAL TV SHOW BASED ON A FICTIONAL GRAPHIC NOVEL. All the extras about why she was killed off or why hasn’t more been developed with another character is QUITE HONESTLY UNNECESSARY. It’s not a biopic, it’s not a direct account,it’s fake and the show can be written however it wants. Yeah there’s been a ongoing joke they rotate black men,but again IT’S FICTION.

  34. Zoe Vickers says:

    You said everything I was thinking in this article. Thank you!!!!!!!

  35. Sammantha Anderson says:

    So they can’t kill any minorities off the show form the record more white people have died on the show than minorities. The character you were talking about was not an important one you tel because she hasn’t had much of a story line. Stop being whining about everything. The black cast members that died only one of them was a major character and they did it to push another black character to change and have something to deal with instead of being stagnate.

    • Erika says:

      The writer of this article has a point though, killing a person of minority is different than when you kill a white person, because it carries a bigger weight. Tell me, how often do you see a lesbian or bi character in a TV show who doesn’t die tragically? It’s extremely rare to see a character who represents either of these sexualities living a happy life. In the case of the Walking Dead, I somewhat understand and forgive them for killing of characters of minority, because no one is immune to death in a world filled with zombies, but I think it’s a little too ridiculous that they’ve killed off almost ALL OF the characters who’re part of a minority.

      • Elena says:

        Dana
        Nobody is saying a minority’s life is more important. But it does carry more weight. I’ll give you an example. Imagine you have a box full of cookies, so many you can’t count them but let’s say there are 100 cookies. Next to you is a girl who also has a box of cookies, bur hers has only four. If somebody takes away two of your cookies, you are sad but you still have 98 left! That’s a lot!!! If somebody takes away two of the other girls cookies, she’s only left with two. So obviously she’s sad. She already had so fewer cookies compared to you and she has even less now. So even though you both lost two cookies, it’s not the same thing at all.
        I hope this shows you why it has more weight when an lgbt character dies. There’s so few of them already.

      • Sum Ti Wong says:

        WTF!? You’re a bigot!

      • Dana says:

        Are you serious?? Can you please explain to me how, fictional or not, killing a person of minority is different from killing a “white person” and how that carried a bigger weight?? That sounds to me like you are saying a minority’s life is more valuable that a “white person”s life! And frankly sounds pretty darn racist, too!

  36. Bob Smith says:

    Oh my god, get off your high horse. The show kills and vilifies people of all walks of life. Why don’t you write an article about how each and every ‘big bad’ the show has had has been a straight, white male? Shane, The Governor, The Claimed Gang, The Terminus Cannibals, Porch-Dick, Negan… Did you just decide not to talk about all of the non-minorities to die? Great job mentioning Deanna, but failing to mention her husband and two sons who died.

    I bet you already have an article ready for the first time a minority is the villain and how stereotypical it is to put a minority in the role of a bad guy. ‘Blah blah, KKK, blah, racist, blah blah, homophobic, blah blah, hate crime’. Let’s hope for humanity’s sake that never happens.

    • Cat says:

      Agree! Not to mention Jessie’s 2 sons died as we’ll & they were white!!! AND Carol’s husband was villainous too as he was a wife beater & he died pretty early on!

  37. Lindsey says:

    Thanks for writing this article! Although it is true anyone can die on this show, the context surround this death is definitely troubling, especially since this is the 8th Queer woman who had died on TV in 2016, just 80 days alone, and the 4th in the last four weeks.

    Yes, this is a show where anyone can die, but the fact that she died during a personal epiphany and by an arrow meant for someone else makes this especially troubling. Adding to the fact that this appears to have been entirely for shock value and to motivate Daryl, this is definitely concerning in the larger context of LGBT representation on TV.

    Glad this is an ongoing conversation in the media, as it is something that needs to be addressed. No, I do not think The Walking Dead did this because she is a lesbian, but it’s a pattern that exists in Queer Female relationships on TV and is no longer surprising to the Lesbian community. It’s been a rough few weeks and its time we addressed the larger social implications that TV shows and characters can have, especially on vulnerable minorities that are desperate for any form of representation.

  38. KenB says:

    So will we get #DeniseDeservedBetter? Come Lexa fans, drag this poorly written show.

  39. Well that’s unfortunate. I was just gearing up to catch back up w/the show and part of that excitement was that I’d heard about Denise’s character.

    Enjoyed the analysis of tv tropes/minority rep that went into this recap. Great read.

  40. Moody says:

    I love how the comment section is full of straight TWD fanboys who are unable to see beyond the fact that they like the show and it must not be criticised (or if it is, it must be on their terms and only for shit they can identify with/understand).

    You don’t think it was part of a trope? Well, i am sorry, but your opinion is really irrelevant in this discussion. The article brought actual evidence, and yet you come here and disregard it, because you personally didn’t feel like it was offensive.

    What you fail to see that this doesn’t mean the show is not amazing. If we compare it with the 100, and Lexa’s death, the difference is obvious, because with Lexa gone, that show is a piece of shit at the moment, and probably done for, while TWD is an actually good show, still with a lot of potential. But that doesn’t mean it’s not problematic. It doesn’t mean that it should not aim to do better. And it sure as hell doesn’t mean it’s your job to decide whether it was peoblematic or not if the issue doesn’t actually conrern you

  41. Pat says:

    Nope, no loss there. Now Carol, that’s a whole different story. Hmmmmmm……….

  42. Hooter Horton says:

    How stupid to to even imply that there is a race/sex issue involved in the series. It’s this kind of mind numbingly political correctness crap that feeds the ignorance which is destroying this country. That a potentially good article is brought down to this level shows the childish mentality, and destroys the credibility of the author and your magazine.

    • maryanne says:

      Basically “As a privileged person minority stuff doesn’t effect me so I don’t really care and f**k all of you who do.”

      Glad that racism/sexism/homophobia is ‘childish’, After the death of Lexa on the 100 young girls the writers were rebloging self harm/suicide hotlines and an actor did a perisocpe asking young girls not to hurt themselves. You invaliding their real feelings because you have never experienced oppression in this way is honestly kind of disgusting.

      I’d wager this is a Donald trump supporter?.

    • J says:

      Explain to me how pointing out a harmful event to minorities is political correctness? I honestly don’t get it. From what I saw there are lot of people hurting from seeing themselves die over and over again.

  43. R Savage says:

    “Denise” didn’t even get an appearance on The Talking Dead. That’s how much her character mattered.

    In your face, snowflakes! BURN! OOooh Yah!

  44. Why bring politics into it? If you’re noticing the race, sex, and sexual orientation of WD victims, that’s a you problem. It’s 2016 – get over yourself, Social Justice Warriors.

    • Matt says:

      I understand that in the context of the show, these things may not matter. However in the grand scheme of television, there have already been 8 wlw deaths in 2016. We are 80 days into 2016, meaning that there has been a lesbian/bisexual/other wlw character every TEN days. I don’t think it’s crazy to react strongly to this considering the lack of representation they have in general. People like me and you, we can turn on the television or watch a movie and see a million other straight characters we can relate to (and everything else, really). Admittedly I find it less jarring coming from TWD. However, the 100… That one was downright TERRIBLE.

      • Adam says:

        What the hell did I just read? At no point in that episode was I thinking oh my god they killed off one of the 5 gay characters!! My first thought was oh man Tara is gonna flip when she gets back from her run because that’s her girlfriend and that’s it! This is starting to sound like the damn oscars all the sudden and I can’t believe that this article was even written like this! Grow the hell up and stop asking for equality of you can’t even let a character get killed on a show without going up in arms about their color/sexuality! You want them to kill a straigh character instead because it’s wrong to kill a gay character??? Your a walking contradiction and it’s hysterical! The problem isn’t the writers of these shows it’s the people who come up with this bs and trash comments

  45. Michael G says:

    The actress that played Denise was an extremely good actress and has had a lot bigger parts on other shows such as “Nurse Jackie”. Just like the one actress was killed off of “The 100” so she could play a leading role on “Fear the Walking Dead, maybe the Denise character was killed off because she received a bigger and better offer from another show or movie. Maybe WAY too much is being made of this and it was as simple as that? Or it’s a giant conspiracy against Lesbian characters whichever one seems more likely.

    • J says:

      I get what you are saying I really do however if you take into account the media as a whole and where this trope comes from it might give more perspective. After the second world war censorship on the media began to loosen and suddenly lesbians could be shown on TV, however it had to be in proper moral context. Which meant it had to be shown as a negative trait, so lesbian characters were either killed or shown to go insane the moment they acted on their feelings. It was a punishment.

      Now if you look at the lists auto straddle released, a list of dead lesbian characters (142) and lesbian characters with a happy ending (29), that should raise some eyebrows. In 2016 alone 8 lesbian characters have died which 50% of the lesbian characters on TV. These statistics are shocking to say the least.

  46. some people said Denise’s death was a shock, i actually guessed she was going to die way back a episode or so ago when she said she would say i love u to tara when she came back. Me and my sister have a running bet on who’s going to die next on the walking dead so this was the one occasion where the dead lesbian trope worked for me.

    • Bob Smith says:

      50% of the lesbian characters??? I can name 8 lesbian characters that are on the three Shondaland shows on ABC Thursdays. So… maybe, like the author, you are being a tad (and by a tad I mean VERY) myopic about the point you’re trying to make.

      • maryanne says:

        Ok, Look at it this way. We will use an analogy for simplicity. I have this huge box and its literally overflowing with candy. Candy spilling out the sides and on the ground. I have so much I could never really eat it all or even organize it. But you get a box too. But your box has about 30 pieces of candy in it. Most of those you don’t even like cause they taste bad (poorly written, sexualized, etc…) So I have thousands of peices of candy (some I like some I don’t) and you have about 30 and only likes around 15.

        Now someone comes and steals 50% of our candy. I don’t really care. I have a shit ton left. But you, you have about 7 pieces left. Less than 5 that you actually like.

        You say “thats not fair”

        but I say I don’t care because I still have candy. So much candy. And they took 50% from both of us so it was fair. So shut up and me grateful for what you have.

        Honestly, straight people never understand stuff like this. They claim to be allies but then decide if something is homophobic even though they’ve never experienced homophobia. Then they get mad at LGBT community and don’t support us because as a straight person they don’t see something as homophobic.

        If you’re an ally of the LGBT community but argue with us about homophobia/queerbaiting/ etc you’re not an ally. You’re a problem. Just like the ‘All lives matter” and “Not all men” people.

  47. PBlue says:

    I don’t watch the Walking Dead, so I have no idea how Denise was portrayed and if her relationship with Tara was a big thing in their promo strategy. But the reason why Lexa’s death on The 100 sparked the ‘internet meltdown of 2016’ was two-fold. On one had, she was THE fan favorite character on that show (think Mr. Spock and Khaleesi rolled into one), so killing her off was like the most moronic move from the writers and was always going to cause mayor fandom-scale fury. But above all, it was the hardcore queerbaiting the show did to court LGBT viewers to promote the show for the entire hiatus with the Lexa-Clarke relationship, and their self-adulation for being SO progressive and bringing this relationship avoiding tropes, going as far as regularly tweeting tongue-in-cheek BTS pics of Lexa’s bed where ‘it would happen’, saying they’d even get their own clexa theme song and so much touting and bs…when all along the sole purpose for bringing the actress/character back was to kill her. And guess what, they did do the do in said bed…at the tune of said theme song…and exactly 1:45 min later (the commercial break) she’d was dying on said bed…at the tune of the same theme song. I mean, why kinda of sick people are they?
    Like at the height of people’s fears about her being killed off (the fear that always accompanies queer female characters) Jason was running off this mouth saying he had ‘friends in high places at AMC’ which had allowed him to secure Alycia and ensure she could do both shows…then he backtracks and says he killed her off because she couldn’t do two shows?! The man is a pathological liar and baiter. THAT is why the outrage was so massive. It was a multitude of factors.
    And yes, ANOTHER dead lesbian on TV (8 dead in total in 2016 alone, which that brings us close to 50% of all lesbian characters on network/cable…by March!)…sighs..

  48. Carolyn Rickyl says:

    I have no comment on the lesbian issue but what I do want to say is if you are going to review a show, please know what tf you are talking about. The Wolves are dead and Hilltop is not a rival, they are an ally! Carol is in danger (we will see that played out in the finale) but it has nothing g to do with the mythical rival groups you mentioned.

  49. TP47 says:

    “another example of a woman dying to serve as an emotional catalyst for a male character, rather than in service of her own story”

    Give it a rest! This was her story! She realized she was too fearful to enjoy life. She couldn’t even tell her girlfriend I love you. Stepping out of the safety of the compound was her facing her fears. Getting that stupid ice chest and nearly dying for it was her pushing her own development along.

    Denise died feeling braver and more alive, and was trying to tell Rosita and Daryl to face their own fears. That she died at that moment is horrible. It’s a trope: character has moment of massive self realization and then dies. Male,female, gay — has nothing to do with it.

    It is insulting that she wasn’t the intended victim. That’s salt in the wound for us as well as Daryl. It’s another trope: adding guilt onto a hero’s already overloaded plate.

    Try watching and enjoying instead of dividing the characters into little boxes.

    • Alex says:

      Thanks for providing examples of your tropes and then ignoring the actual trope this article refers to. Bury your gays is old and has a long history in Hollywood. Basically, gay = bad. No happy ending for you. It normally happens right before a moment of confirmation. Like consummating your relationship or wanting to express your love. Bad gay! We aren’t having it!

      This was a dumb death anyway. Why risk your only medically trained member? We know her value because she saved Carl from a shot to the eye. Too bad she couldn’t survive the shot to her own eye.

  50. John says:

    This article does a very good job of ignoring the fact that Denise was the very first out-as-gay character to be killed on the entire show’s history. It also does a great job of ignoring that there are still at least 4 more alive. And of course, it ignores the countless white, straight people who are killed all the bloody time. Remember a few episodes ago, when they offed an entire white family in less than two minutes?

    I do.

    By the way, were I homosexual myself, I imagine I would be rather insulted by the insinuation that killing a homosexual character (or even ALL of them) would leave me “no one to relate to.” Last I checked, most people like to be defined by a bit more than who they want to lay.

    • maryanne says:

      This whole comment is so polluted with straight privilege that it is kinda hard to stomach.

      “whole white family killed” -flip the channel. Up or down. I promise you will find another white family to identify with.

      “I i were a homosexual”- your tring to be a ally. I kinda see that. But your job as ally is to listen to our opinions and support our ideas. You dont get to say “As a straight dude I dont find this homopobic” Not your job. Youhavent lived with opression so you wont understand.

      And as for myeself, an actual lesbian, I don’t identify much with girls fawning over the same type of dude. I like badass chicks whose dialouge passes the bechdel test but I identify more with characters when their gay. Cause I’m gay. So I hate when I see myself die for the 8th time this year. I hate seeing myself never be happy.

    • J says:

      The thing is there are only a hand full of lesbian (or LGBT for that matter) characters. The impact of killing of a white straight character can not be compared to it. There are two cookie jars, one filled with cookies the other has one cookie. Does taking one cookie from both jars have the same impact? It does not.

      Also this show is not made in a bubble, context matters and a president set by other shows has to be taken into account. When there are lists comparing the amount of dead lesbians (142) to the one that got happy endings (29) you can see the harmful context. The thing is in history movies and shows killed of lesbian characters to show them in their proper moral context (lesbian = bad and deserve punishment). This is harmful and had a harmful past to the community and that is what being pointed out.

      • John says:

        It’s fine to criticize a trope. But it is not fine to say, “Lesbians having unhappy endings is a trope. Two lesbians have an unhappy ending. Therefore, this is an instance of a trope, and should be criticized.”

        Unless you can show why this death fits into the “lesbian = bad” trope, the criticism falls flat. I certainly don’t see it. VERY few characters have ended up with successful relationships in TWD.

        Carol’s husband was eaten by walkers. Rick lost Lori when Judith was born. A few episodes ago, he lost Jessie. Beth’s filler character boyfriend was eaten way back when on the farm. Rosita was just gutted by Abraham. Tobin and Carol were (apparently) becoming close, and now she’s left him, and Alexandria. Michonne’s story started with her boyfriend being killed (along with another friend and her child). Do I need to go on?

        Everyone has gone through good and bad moments in their relationships in this show. You don’t get to just hone in on the bad for this one character, and call it an affront to the LGBT crowd, and expect agreement.

        Yes, Denise’s death had little purpose. But the same was true for T-Dog, Tyreese, Noah*, Andrea, Beth, countless extras over the years, Dale, Jessie, Ron, Sam, that Wolf with the long hair, and on and on and on. Not every death is met with honor.

        *The article mentions black characters’ deaths as well; all I have to say to that is that there are currently five named black characters in the show that I can think of, and four of them–Gabriel, Morgan, Michonne, Sasha–have been appearing almost every episode for the last half-dozen or so. TWD does not have a black character problem. If you want to ask for more racial diversity at all, ask for some Asians, Indians, Hispanics, etc.

    • Alex says:

      John do you really watch this show? What was Tara’s first girlfriend who died? Straight? What about Aaron’s husband? He must’ve been straight too. You know Aaron, right? I know he hardly gets screen time but he’s the gay man. So no she is not the very first gay character to die on this show.

      This wasn’t about some random character dying. It was about the little representation the LGBT community gets and they get killed off for shock value. If you read the article you would have seen it.

      • John says:

        Whoops. You are right about Tara’s girlfriend; she slipped my memory. Eric is not dead though; he just hasn’t been on the show in a while.

More TV News from Variety

Loading