Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Walking Dead: You'll Be Torn Apart by Teeth or Bullets

I've been wanting to write about the last couple of episodes of The Walking Dead because I thought they were both excellent, but things like Google Reader ending has delayed it!

First of all the episode where Rick, Carl, and Michonne went looking for weapons back in Rick's home town was an almost perfect episode. Which is good news because it was written by Scott Gimple, the new showrunner and according to an interview with Robert Kirkman, he's the one responsible for all the touches like the sign to Erin and the later showing the zombie with the named bracelet "Erin". I love that kind of stuff because it makes the world feel full and alive--it's like it's own tragic story within the larger scope of the episode and it was just a few seconds. If the world feels that real to him, the show is hopefully in good hands.

But the entire episode served as an anchor for the season. The quote in my subject line came from Morgan but it's easily the thesis of this Walking Dead world--especially this season. The zombies are an ever present threat but the survivors are, too. What exactly are they surviving for? The world has gone to hell and that includes everyone left. This is the realization Morgan lives with day in and day out but this complete and utter despair is not a place Rick is willing to go to yet.

Even so as they're in the car on the way to gather weapons, a man is yelling by the side of the road. He's begging for their help, but they ignore him. They just no longer have the time or the patience or the empathy or the resources to care about anyone but who is in their group. They have grown hard in survival mode and this scene showcases that. When they return, we see the man has been slaughtered by zombies and they stop to pick up his pack. That is who they are now. This before and after is beautifully executed since this whole episode is an "after" to the Rick who was once saved by Morgan in the newly zombiefied world. Now Morgan has lost his mind and Rick is on the verge of losing his. They've both lost their wives, but Rick still has more to lose. This confrontation with what he could eventually become hits him hard.

The other two key things that happen in this episode are Carl and Michonne bonding and Carl shooting Morgan without a second thought. That's who he is now.

The Carl and Michonne bonding is so important because of what happens in the next episode. I have to admit when the Governor first demanded Michonne and Rick was actually considering it, I was very sad. But the truth is that it's an excellent dilemma in the progression of Rick to becoming like Shane. Michonne doesn't deserve it as Hershel pointed out. She's saved many of them, given them valuable intel. And it's so sad, because Michonne knew she was all alone after Andrea's betrayal and she was really trying to find a new group of people with them, a home. :( But...remember how Otis volunteered to take Shane to look for the supplies they needed for Carl and then Shane left him for the zombies in order to get out of there? This is even worse because it's not a heat of the moment survival question, it's a calculated decision.

But now that we're at this place, this hard place of survival all they care about are the ones they are closest to which reminded me of one of my favorite quotes from Battle Royale: "Shogo calmly continued, "I'm sure you must know this Shuya...but loving someone always requires you to not love others."

Anyways, the other thing I loved about this episode was how while Rick and the Governor were talking their minions were out forming tentative connections. Ugh I loved this, it's so war. When you know/realize the enemy is human and you have this calm moment where you respect them for who they are. Next day the bullets are flying but in this moment they are all just people. Milton and Hershel were absolutely PRESH.

Danielle and I were chatting the other night and she told me the Governor reminds her of the Mayor in Chaos Walking and I can totally see that!

Anyway, I can totally see war breaking out + zombie invasion in the finale, so I think very tough times are ahead for our group. :(


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