“The Walking Dead” is no longer a clever moniker for the Walkers that unexpectedly terrorize every nook of life Rick and his gang encounter; no longer does it solely explain how those same Walkers torment the line between sleep and awake to the point where they have become the same, because what is an insomniac but a zombie, anyway? Instead, it has become a euphemism for those that wander the desolate landscape of the past in search of the life they used to enjoy. In search of anything resembling normal or familiar, let alone comfortable.
Of course it’s always been a double-entendre, but it used to speak to the point that those still alive could be dead at any moment, and not that they’ve actually already died and now are only eating away at a hollow shell of their former selves.
I’ve honestly always had the same problems with the show since its inception: I think the overall acting is subpar, though it has gotten infinity better with each episode and season (unlike, say, How I Met Your Mother, which at this point is walking dead itself); I think it borderlines grotesque purely because it features walking dead people, so it can; That being said, there’s never enough Walkers; And, there can be too many Walkers.
( I realize that’s contradictory—just like I know this will sound pompous—but it also makes complete sense to people who watch the show. People of the Show, if you will. )
Yet, even though I’ve harbored the same qualms with the show, there is also a list of the same aspects that continually intrigue me as well: people’s innate inability to get along with one another and swallow their own pride for the betterment of the group; the conversely important highlighting of how paramount it is to need someone else to, well, walk with you along your journey.
And that’s where this week spent most of its time. Seemingly every character was exhausted from their own plight and wished for their structure back, yearning for what, or who, makes them feel the complete.
Because when chaos ensues, normalcy is necessary. The Walking Dead gives credibility to the idea of comfort, pointing out that people need their own existence to mean something and that if it doesn’t, they will need a familiar place to become grounded again in what it is they want their life to mean.
Rick, obviously the leader of the group, has started to wander from the group do to his recent visions of his wife, Lori. He obviously misses her because he loves her, but more importantly he misses what she provided for him: He needs someone to tell him that the decisions his is making are the right ones in order to maintain his sanity. Everyone does.
The show is making sure to plod us along with his plight and forces us to wonder how we would deal with the death of a loved one when everything else is crumbling around us. Would we be able to keep it together and force ourselves to remain strong for those that need us, or would we take the more predictable path and fill ourselves with pressure and lament our loss? We feel for Rick the most because his loss is real. It’s not manufactured out of hubris or a glaring character flaw, which is something of an anomaly in comparison to the other strong personalities on the show. Rick has always been the one we want to sympathize with because we’d like to think we would act like him in such a dire situation.
Though as much as we feel for his troubles, Rick’s spiral of sanity will be tested very quickly now that Merle and Darryl are back with legitimate reasons to join their crew, even though Glenn spent the last episode on a crusade to find and kill Merle himself. And if there’s one thing this show has proven, it’s that people are unequivocally sympathetic until we’re not, and then we expect everyone else to be better than we currently are.
More importantly, by making Rick fall apart when they have, the show has set up, presumably, an opportunity for him to claim a triumphant victory by the end of the season. Both of his sanity and over the Governor and his colony.
The Walking Dead has always been, at its heart, a show about humanity and what the problems are with how we interact with others in an effort to gain power and control over any given situation. And as civilized as we’d like to think we are, often people will give up to their savage instincts in order to survive.
You’ll often see memes like this if you look for anything on The Walking Dead, and it’s not far from true. In fact, if you put the “Talking” and “People Killing Other People” together, you’d get a larger category and realistically a better understanding of what the show is about: People’s insatiable appetite for the “savage” is overbearing in comparison for their being continually forced into living a “civilized” existence.
The Walking Dead , and this episode specifically, have done everything it can to emphasize the savagery within us all, while still grasping at the grains of humanity in hopes to make us believe, in the end, everything will work out how we want it to. How it’s supposed to.
Because no one wants to believe that they are simply part of the walking dead.
Dustin O’Donnell – @halfzippdhoodie