'The Walking Dead': Despite strong homage to the comics, Princess is done a huge disservice on the show
Spoilers for 'The Walking Dead' Season 10 Episode 15 'The Tower'
Last episode of 'The Walking Dead' introduced Princess (Paola Lazaro) to the long-running zombie survival series. She was every bit the character who first appeared in 'The Walking Dead' #171 comic, from the wild hair to the pink jacket and her post-apocalyptic goggles. Even the episode's opening scene is lifted almost verbatim from the comic. Unfortunately, 'The Walking Dead' has decided to up the eccentric aspects of her personality, and in doing so to a very entertaining character into more of a bumbling joke.
Princess' character in the comics was a bonafide badass. Every bit as good with her spear as Michonne (Danai Gurira) is with her sword, Princess was just as competent a character as you would expect for someone who's survived alone for as many years as she has. While not a big player in the final arc of 'The Walking Dead,' she was nonetheless an intriguing and welcome member of the cast, whose story readers quickly grew invested in despite its tangential nature.
In 'The Tower,' however, Princess is painted as more of a clumsy, eccentric joke. The firing of her gun at zombies, first shown as an effective way of taking care of some stray zombies, is instead shown as a major gaffe with scares the survivors' horses away. Princess continues to mess up in silly ways - leading the team through a minefield just so the team can think more highly of her, misleading the team with the promise of "wheels" that turn out to be just bicycles and carelessness that is nearly the death of them all.
It's not the fault of the performance - Lazaro brings a lot of charm, gusto, and pathos to the character, whose obvious concerns with mental illness are what ultimately get the group on her side. The writing is what's responsible for the major dissonance between the Princess of the show and her comic book counterpart. It's an important shift, because Princess is a humorous character in a show not known for its light-heartedness. Written well, Princess is just balanced enough of a character to refresh a show that's too long mired in grimness. The Princess we see on TV, however, leans more silly than intriguing, in ways that make the show feels like it's running out of ways to feel fresh.
The next episode of 'The Walking Dead' has been delayed indefinitely due to coronavirus concerns.