How to Understand The Walking Dead
Subtitle: This is the best show on TV. Hand's down.
Because it's about us.
A day late, but thanks to the marvels of DVR technology, I was able to watch the season premiere this morning over breakfast.
Oh. My. Athena.
Warning: Spoilers, so just stop reading now if you don't wanna be spoiled.
To recap, briefly, we left our band of heroes last season in a train car, prisoners to a colony of cannibals, presumably to be eaten. Rick declared as the season closed that "They don't know who they're messing with," and they don't, I mean, how did those poor innocent cannibals know that they were imprisoning the series leads?
Anyway, we open with Rick, Daryl, Glen and Bob getting reading to be "put down" ala cattle and be strung up for eatin'. We watch this happen to four other men, graphically, when an explosion sounds, right about the time Glen is gonna be slugged in the head with a bat (Lucille anyone?) for a second time, bammo!! explosion and we flash to Carol and Tyrese. Some talking and Carol badassery later we determine that Carol, single handedly, has caused the explosion and allowed her friends times to escape.
It was bea - YOU - ti - ful.
So let's get through the popular things first.
1. Carol + Daryl: I don't "ship", in fact I QUIT shows that become all about "shipping", but this is just SHEER perfection. I could go into the reasons why, but that would be another blog. ;)
2. Baby Judith and Grimes Family Reunion: How to make Rick human again in SECONDS...
3. MORGAN!!!! (If you are lost, please rewatch season 1)
But there is something hidden, a quick line spoken in an action packed scene, a line that is essentially the ENTIRE reason we watch the show, cry for the characters and cheered as they were all reunited last night:
"But that's who we still are."
This line, spoken by Glen as Rick started to escape, leaving the others in train cars to their fate, is the reason, really, even if we don't realize, that we all keep watching.
Who ARE they still?
The good guys.
We've seen people in the show turn to murder, rape, cannibalism, looting, torture and if the comics are any indication as to what is coming who knows?? But despite EVERYTHING that has happened to them, everything, they are STILL the ones trying to hold on to some semblance of morality.
And, I think this will be the theme of this season.
Think about the dialog between Tyrese and the one cannibal. Tyrese has been struggling for a while, he's not a killer, he's a GOOD man, and this episode really called on him to question what was right and was what wrong. Think about what the cannibal leader said to Carol as she was pleading for her life; that they WERE the good guys once and lost their way. Think about Rick wanting to exterminate all of the cannibals, the group's insistence that they just leave, and what happened as a result.
The thing about this show that makes me tune in week to week and scream and yell isn't the action or the love. It's the fact that using the backdrop of zombies, which at first might seem silly, the writer's of The Walking Dead are asking us to question right and wrong, week in and week out.
Who decides who lives and dies?
Who has that right?
What IS family?
Who can you trust?
And so on. Laugh at me for taking this out of a zombie show, but the things you are asked to think about as a viewer of The Walking Dead are FAR more complex than ANYTHING on "reality" TV.
And the feeling afterwards, of excitement, emptiness and confusion are all there to make you question your own morality and when all of the odds are stacked against you, what would be your choice?
That being said, BRAVO actors, writers, directors of The Walking Dead and I cannot WAIT until next week!!