1. Welcome to Tell It to the Dead. We're a discussion forum for AMC's The Walking Dead. Please don't hesitate to ping staff with any questions or concerns. Have fun and watch out for walkers!
    Dismiss Notice

Discussion/Meta Thoughts On Bottle Episodes

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by candi18z, Nov 10, 2016.

  1. candi18z

    candi18z Awaiting Job from Deanna

    Joined:
    May 2, 2016
    Messages:
    622
    Likes Received:
    2,020
    Walker Pets:
    93
    After reading the posts in the thread about episode 7x3 The Cell's ratings-it got me thinking about TWD bottle episodes in general. In my opinion TWD bottle episodes don't do well because the audience wants to see TF instead of newbies, red shirts and minor supporting characters. With the exception of episodes Clear, Here's Not Here and The Same Boat Gimple's bottle episodes are failures. The other bottle episodes are failures because they focus on the wrong characters (Slabtown), do nothing to move the current storyline further (Still), or feature a character the GA does not care for or is not interested in (Governor episodes).


    The bottle episodes that worked-worked because they served a purpose and were done right.

    Clear: Clear worked because it featured three of the show's main characters. The episode also moved the plot along and by the end of the episode the dynamic between the 3 characters changed. A lot happened in that one episode.

    Here's Not Here: This episode shouldn't work because it doesn't move the plot along and features one main character but it does. It works because it features a character that has been on and off the canvas since season 1 and it fills the GA in on what has happened with this character while he was off screen.

    The Same Boat:This episode works because it was a continuation of the previous episode and all of TF was featured. The episode featured two main characters, but the rest of TF also played a part in the episode.

    If Gimple must do bottle episodes, he should do about one a season and it should feature at least two main characters and it should move the plot along.
     
  2. richonneromance

    richonneromance Caressing Eugene's Mullet

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2016
    Messages:
    255
    Likes Received:
    1,152
    Walker Pets:
    93
    Location:
    Australia
    I was thinking about bottle eps too and tbh it's probably the fandom's fault. In S3 when Clear aired it got rave reviews from everywhere and Gimple probably thought that's the style of TWD we enjoy. And Clear IS a good episode, overall. But enough is enough. At that point in S3 a bottle episode felt necessary. Michonne needed to establish herself with Rick and Carl, and Rick finding Morgan again allowed him some perspective on himself. It may not have served Morgan as well (he's kinda a plot device) but it's not like he's unenjoyable to watch (I always enjoy his scenes, personally, I think it's the way Lennie James handles dialogue).

    But even Clear had its moments. I remember at the time not really understanding it or what it was trying to do. There were bizarre moments like Michonne supposedly climbing up a wall within a few seconds, similiar to the weird way she instantly grabs the photo and the cat at the end (despite all the walkers) and, as I said, the decision to randomly insert Morgan back into the story (not to mention the sheer convenience that Rick has run into this guy TWICE in the apocalypse). Also Duane's erasure.

    So the bottle episode in S3 felt good because it was the only one (or would Walk With Me count as one too?) but now they're overused and Gimple's usual writing cliches make them a bit ridiculous too.
     
  3. candi18z

    candi18z Awaiting Job from Deanna

    Joined:
    May 2, 2016
    Messages:
    622
    Likes Received:
    2,020
    Walker Pets:
    93
    I love Clear too, but there were scenes in that episode that were strange. Michonne grabbing the photo and the cat in two minutes with no explanation of how she did it, or Rick getting stabbed in the chest patching his wound up and walking around as if nothing happened.
     
  4. Dregel

    Dregel Watchtower Sniper

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2016
    Messages:
    147
    Likes Received:
    446
    Walker Pets:
    63
    The biggest problem I have with bottle episodes, besides Rick almost never being in them, is that they come in such stupid times. Like, who wanted a character centered episode straight after "Thank you"? Despite how good it was? I surely didn´t. Or who didn´t want to see the aftermath of Glenn and Abes Death right after the 7:1 premiere? It is wasted episodes. Instead if interesting they get annoying just because it just feels they want to drag things out forever.
    Don´t get me wrong, there are people I would like to learn more about and I am all for character development and I have been a fan of some of the bottle episodes, but the dragging out bit just after an episode where you just want to know what happens, is something they really need to stop doing.
     
  5. Michroolz

    Michroolz Awaiting Job from Deanna

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2016
    Messages:
    600
    Likes Received:
    2,153
    Walker Pets:
    93
    Location:
    Not so united kingdom
    Under Gimple's tenure as showrunner, bottle episodes = filler. That wasn't the case before then, Clear and arguably, Days Gone By and 18 Miles Out were outstanding episodes that had character development and progressed the plot along.
     
  6. richonneromance

    richonneromance Caressing Eugene's Mullet

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2016
    Messages:
    255
    Likes Received:
    1,152
    Walker Pets:
    93
    Location:
    Australia
    Ah yes! That was the other weird moment. I remember thinking "They just killed Rick!" but he walked it off. Classic Gimple, now I see..
     
    Carribean_Queen and smittynoah like this.
  7. Flower1petals

    Flower1petals Awaiting Job from Deanna
    Patron Bunker Resident

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2016
    Messages:
    610
    Likes Received:
    1,403
    Walker Pets:
    93
    I think they are done for budget reasons. One or two locations, 1-3 main actors. I think they get paid per ep. It saves them money to not have everyone in every ep. Plus I think I allows them time for set changes and everything for the next ep, especially if it's going to be a big one.

    But also because the show lacks really great writers, and can't handle it. The first season of 6 ep was too short but I wish they cut back to maybe 12 to allow for better ones.
     
  8. Armte

    Armte Schadenfreude is my Aesthetic
    Staff Member Moderator Patron

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2016
    Messages:
    3,347
    Likes Received:
    18,977
    Walker Pets:
    113
    Location:
    Outskirts Atlanta hunting down 712 Director's Cut
    Custom Banner
    I hate most bottle episodes especially if they don't focus on team family and in particular Grimes 2.0. :dale:

    I dont like watching entire episodes about new characters with just one obligatory team family member in it. Kingdom worked for me because they had Morgan and Carol in it and the new characters were interesting. Plus Kingdom's episode introduced a major character Ezekiel. The cell reminded me of the Grady episode, it repeated the same storyline over and over with unlikeable characters. There really was no character development.
     
  9. Canuckgirl

    Canuckgirl Ricktator

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2016
    Messages:
    1,835
    Likes Received:
    4,233
    Walker Pets:
    113
    Well, if I use your definition, the two latest bottle episodes did serve a purpose. It helped introduce the Kingdom, fleshing out Ezekiel prior to his meeting with Rick, while 7.03 helped flesh out Dwight prior to him helping out the Survivors (if they follow the comics).
     
    smittynoah and Tisha Grimes like this.
  10. KatanaQueen

    KatanaQueen Nestled in Rick's Beard

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2016
    Messages:
    370
    Likes Received:
    2,175
    Walker Pets:
    93
  11. ReeciePiecey

    ReeciePiecey Nestled in Rick's Beard
    Patron

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2016
    Messages:
    379
    Likes Received:
    1,897
    Walker Pets:
    93
    I like them when they are used well but I think they often time them poorly and focus on the wrong characters.

    Sometimes I feel like Gimple is the neighborhood kid that had all the best toys but everyone hated to play with because he only let you play the way he wanted too and you had to follow all his rules and be the characters he wanted you to be and do things exactly how he thought they should be done.

    I feel like that is how he uses bottle episodes. Instead of showing us the story lines together in an episode and we get the story as a whole, he breaks it up because he wants us to focus solely on the story that he is trying to tell, how he is trying to tell it. In normal shows when there is a plot a and a plot b and c, people generally attend to whoever they like the most and focus on those characters but Gimple wants your total attention on whoever he values in the moment.

    I think it has the opposite effect of what he wants because people will just skip the whole episode. Like if he spliced Dwight's and Daryls story with Rick and Michonne I'll watch and eventually start to get to know and maybe care about Dwight and the whole rebellion against the saviours but these boring stand alones don't maintain my interest.
     
  12. Philly Girl

    Philly Girl Ricktator

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2016
    Messages:
    1,041
    Likes Received:
    3,600
    Walker Pets:
    113
    I hate Dwight even more than I did before he got fleshed out.
     
  13. MamaGrimes

    MamaGrimes 100% Certified Shipper Trash
    Staff Member Moderator Patron

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2016
    Messages:
    3,821
    Likes Received:
    24,932
    Walker Pets:
    113
    Location:
    Nevertheless, she persisted
    Custom Banner
    I LOVE this post! You speak the truth. Gimple likes to think he uses bottle episodes to do deep dives on characters but that isn't translating to the viewers. Instead, the viewers see them as weeks they can skip watching live or miss altogether because they're not about the characters they care about. If Gimple would just learn to find BALANCE and back away from his bottle crutch, he would create a much more consistent and enjoyable product for his viewers.

    Imagine the major plot points of 7x2 and 7x3 combined into one episode with a three minute scene in the beginning and end showing Maggie's arrival with Sasha at the Hilltop and Michonne, Carl and Rick arriving back home, exhausted and grieving. We could have EVERYONE in one episode with tighter writing, better use of music and STILL get the character development the viewers crave. It CAN be done and MANY television shows do it and do it well.

    Bottle episodes are a crutch and a showrunner's indulgence. I agree with Reecie....Gimple is telling the story HE wants to tell, HOW he wants to tell it. And, as showrunner, that's his prerogative. But as a viewer and a fan, it's also MY prerogative to find it frustrating and disjointed storytelling.

    Look, as a fic writer, I'd be happy as a pig in mud creating a one shot that ONLY focuses on a conversation between Michonne and Carl on some porch steps as I love their dynamic and writing them brings me joy. HOWEVER, I write for the Richonne fandom so I place my Carchonne scenes in stories that center around Richonne. I'm happy and my readers are happy. It's very very easy to find that balance if you truly want to.

    Gimple, you can do better.
     
  14. Clutterbuck

    Clutterbuck Finding Bigfoot™
    Staff Member Moderator Patron

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2016
    Messages:
    5,941
    Likes Received:
    33,114
    Walker Pets:
    113
    Location:
    Andy's Pocket
    Custom Banner
    It has always ground my gears when people say "The bottle episodes will be find when you're rewatching. They'll flow better." The number of times I heard this during 4B while I was a raging dragon over how heinous the pacing was. Yeah, you're probably right, if I can move directly to the next episode it's probably much less of an issue. Except I can't do that while it's airing. If TWD was on Netflix it'd probably be a lot less irritating, sure you can still comment on how the pace is disrupted but you can immediately move on to the next episode. But on regular television it causes nothing but grief. We go weeks without seeing some characters, we go weeks without picking storylines back up and it just doesn't work.


    I know there are likely budgeting reasons and all that jazz and that's on AMC but having good examples of bottle episodes shows that it IS possible and thus Gimple needs to up his game. Getting better writers would my first step....


    Also, please stop giving Daryl episodes that focus on him for the love of god NR couldn't lead a starving man to a buffet.
     
  15. Valerie

    Valerie Professional procrastinator....
    Patron Bunker Resident

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2016
    Messages:
    620
    Likes Received:
    2,367
    Walker Pets:
    93
    Location:
    Rich Coast
    Custom Banner
    I don't like them at all, I don't care if it's because of the budget. I don't like bottle episodes with characters that I don't really care for....if they're gonna do bottle eps better be with TF or Grimes 2.0.
     
  16. msbold1

    msbold1 Babysitting Judith

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2016
    Messages:
    78
    Likes Received:
    566
    Walker Pets:
    83
    Some great points here, I agree one or maybe 2 bottle episodes on main characters isn't horrible. But it shouldn't be damn near half the episodes of a season. I've literally skipped almost half of season 5 and 6 because of the bottle episode mess they do now. I think season 3 was the best when it came to not only bottle episodes but character introduction. I think we got maybe one episode with Michonne and Andrea, and that episode introduced us to the Governor, and Woodbury. After that they didn't JUST focus on one or the other they went back and forth between both the prison and Woodbury in the same episode, so you never felt like you were missing characters you liked or what TF was up to and how they were feeling. Season 4 introduced more bottle eps, and especially after the prison fell. And I gotta tell you I didn't like it. To go whole weeks without seeing the leads or characters that you might like was really annoying. And that's when I started skipping episodes, up to that point I hadn't.

    The bottle eps now are more filler than ever and that's to try to hide the cracks in the writing but it's not working. Either make the cast smaller (because that's another gripe, they introduce new people and then they damn near disappear for the entire season) or get some better writers. The current team that TWD has now does not do well with a large cast. Gimple has tunnel vision and it effects the show negatively in my opinion, he has no balance when it comes to characters. It's always 90% for his faves and everybody else gets what's left and it really shows.
     
    #16 msbold1, Nov 10, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2016
  17. ALDGRichonneLover

    ALDGRichonneLover "I wanted it to be ours, me and you"
    Patron Bunker Resident

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2016
    Messages:
    2,574
    Likes Received:
    11,838
    Walker Pets:
    113
    Location:
    Nestled in Ricks' murder coat and Michonnes' jeans
    Custom Banner
    Rarely do bottle eposodes actually ever move a character or plot along. Clear, Here's Not Here, The Same Boat, Days Gone By, and 18 Miles Out, are just a few good examples that actually worked because they focused on characters that we cared about. In Clear and Here's Not Here, that was Morgan, and he had not been seen for sometime. I loved Clear because, Morgan was back and I had often wondered about him and what he was up to after he and Ruck parted ways in Days Gone By. He did save Rick's life and the first person he met when the world went to hell. So he was an important character to me. In addition, you were able to see his mindset after losing Duane, which juxtaposed Rick's relationship with Carl. You saw how perhaps Rick COULD have become Morgan after losing Lori and Carl. Next, it really solidified the beginnings of Grimes 2.0 as well. So character and.plot were established and moved foward with this episode.

    The same with Here's Not Here. Once again, finding out about Morgan, his new philosophy with not killing and how that relates to Rick and TF once he arrives at AZ. Important character movement for Morgan who is NOT A redshirt or some minor character. He is a strong character unto himself due to LJs fabulous acting.

    However, when you do bottles featuring characters that are minor (Really? Beth in Slabtown?! ) or ones showcasing weaker actors (Still) which showed no character development, nor plot movement what so ever, but used as filler, I get annoyed by the idea of bottle episodes. Add to it, many are just cringe inducing fan service episodes that lead to no where and plot points forgotten and buried. At least with the Kingdom episode, Morgan and Carol were there and the Kingdom characters were introduced properly and we're interesting. However, what would have been better was to add a focus on TF to juxtapose their new harsh reality after the LV at AZ/Hilltop with that of Carol and Morgan at the Kingdom and their new reality. This way all of TF is represented and moved the plot and characters along.

    But instead we get a freaking time jump with 7.04 where we can't even see TF grieve Glenn/Abe, because now we had another bottle episode directly after the Kingdom episide, one showcasing Daryl and characters I really DGAF about and not all that interesting IMO. By the time we get to TF, we have no idea what has been going on with them during the time jump which does a disservice to the MAIN characters and the plot, IMO. The LVs were a HUGE plot and characterization that affected every TF in that clearing. How you could NOT show them for two weeks while focusing just on those who were not in the clearing, or some random third tiered characters, annoys me to no end. But it's Gimple and his love of bottle eposodes. :dale:

    Gimple definitely uses bottle episodes as a crutch and he needs to learn how to manage his cast and write for everyone. Not solely focus on his faves or minor characters that fans are not that invested in because they aren't TF.
     
    #17 ALDGRichonneLover, Nov 10, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2016
  18. Armte

    Armte Schadenfreude is my Aesthetic
    Staff Member Moderator Patron

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2016
    Messages:
    3,347
    Likes Received:
    18,977
    Walker Pets:
    113
    Location:
    Outskirts Atlanta hunting down 712 Director's Cut
    Custom Banner
    Lets be honest, these bottle episodes are not done for character development. They are done so AMC can have more episodes per a season and keep the actor episode count down so they don't have to pay them more money. #Neverforget AMC is cheap as hell and all about the money!
     
  19. tuswig

    tuswig Bitch Slayer

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2016
    Messages:
    1,443
    Likes Received:
    5,089
    Walker Pets:
    113
    Bottle episodes serve two purposes

    1) They save $$$$

    2) Filler to help meet the network's mandate of 16 episodes. I really do believe that TWD would be a much better show if the seasons were perhaps 10-13 episodes.
     
    #19 tuswig, Nov 10, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2016
  20. Tisha Grimes

    Tisha Grimes Stay Strong
    Patron

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2016
    Messages:
    2,843
    Likes Received:
    6,122
    Walker Pets:
    113
    Custom Banner
    Yep sometimes BE are needed like episode 2 and 3 were needed to move the story along.
     
    smittynoah and Canuckgirl like this.