“Take Rick to the up-up-up.”
With just one line, Jadis cemented herself as the weirdest Walking Dead character in the show’s history. It’s not that Jadis and her band of junkyard dwellers weren’t strange before that line during their introduction in “New Best Friends.” The longer Jadis appeared, the weirder the whole thing became until the characters were just goofy. The Walking Dead is a show with zombies, but Jadis and her people might be too strange to exist in the show’s world.
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Going Too Far
The Walking Dead could definitely do with some more humor and weirdness. One of the biggest ongoing mistakes for the series is it often takes itself far too seriously. The Walking Dead should remain a drama and a grounded one. The walkers should never become more than they already are, the consequence of some disease. It wouldn’t hurt, though, for The Walking Dead to embrace the incredible circumstances of the show and become a little surreal. It could even break up the heaviness of the series’ tone.
It feels like Jadis and her trash people were meant to pull this off. But in creating Jadis The Walking Dead veered too harshly into weirdness and things became outright wacky. Jadis really threatens to break the suspension of disbelief on the show.
The Walking Dead has always been a little bit vague about how much time has passed since season 1 until season 7. It’s clearly been a matter of years — Chandler Riggs going from rosy-cheeked little boy to full-grown teenager confirms that fact. It definitely hasn’t been more than a handful of years however. This is why it makes no sense that Jadis and her clan are knock-off Mad Max characters with their own (moronic) way of speaking and otherworldly culture. Jadis and her people would be believable, if a little over-the-top, if The Walking Dead was a couple generations of human beings into the apocalypse. There is nothing to explain their “civilization” coming into being in the time that it took Carl Grimes to go through puberty.
The Walking Dead has introduced communities that differ from the relatively normal gang of Alexandrians before Jadis’ crew. They have even been a little outlandish. However no matter how strange a new community might seem The Walking Dead has been able to base those eccentricities in a grounded reality. Terminus turned to cannibalism as a matter of survival. Ezekiel and The Kingdom are a consequence of some very committed playacting for a sense of normalcy. There is no explanation imaginable that would describe why Jadis called a large mound of trash “the up-up-up.”
A Sign of Things to Come?
The singular focus of Jadis’ people wasn’t that bad. The idea of purely militaristic, consumer-based society makes sense in The Walking Dead. It also fits with the season’s big plot of this all-out war looming against the Saviors. The Walking Dead has built the Saviors up as a massive threat. Rick needs help to defeat them and even if The Kingdom eventually joins the Alexandrians, Jadis will be an asset.
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It is when thinking about Jadis and her junkyard gang in relation to King Ezekiel and The Kingdom that things get worrisome. After focusing for so long on just Rick’s group and the people they meet, The Walking Dead has rapidly expanded the world. The show is turning more and more into a post-apocalyptic Game of Thrones with all the factions and cultures introduced. While this isn’t a bad thing per se, if Jadis and her people are a sign of things and people to come, there is cause for concern.
The Kingdom is the only community that has approached the depth of Alexandria on the show. Hilltop is essentially a smaller Alexandria with a disgusting leader in charge in the form of Gregory. The Saviors are just a gang of antagonists with just as much characterization as the average TV thug. Jadis and her followers are certainly the most different group of people we have ever seen on The Walking Dead. They are also one of the strangest and seemingly biggest mistakes the show has ever created.
Unless The Walking Dead reveals that the strangeness of Jadis is just like The Kingdom, an act, there is no real reason to care about them. They are unbelievably strange and not remotely human. They feel like they walked out of a comic book in the worst way possible. This is especially telling too because Jadis, as of now, is a complete creation of the show. The character and her people aren’t really based on anyone from the comics. If Rick is going to meet and recruit more people like Jadis and her group it might be best to skip The Walking Dead until the actual war with Negan starts up.
But what did you make of Jadis? Did you find her and her people interestingly strange or just too bizarre? Do you think there is more going on with them? Do you hope to see them again?
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(Images courtesy of AMC)