So, let’s talk Walking Dead, shall we?

Posted: March 5, 2012 in Television, The Hardline According to Ren

As you may or may not know, I love this show.  A lot.  Now, it seems out there, everywhere from blog world to itself, people have a lot of opinions on the show.  Some love it, some love and hate it, some love to hate it, some hate to love it, and some just hate it (and to them I really kinda wanna say, if ya hate the dang show, why watch it?).  As I type season two is drawing to a close, two episodes left, and they promise to be…intense, and we as viewers have learned that in this show?  No one is safe.  Thus far into season two, they have killed off two main cast characters, one a young girl (Sophia) and one an older man (Dale) who more or less functioned as the (often over protective) voice of humanity amid the remaining group of survivors.

And while in Season One the story was more about the group of survivors defending themselves from the Walkers (zombies!), in this season they really went where I was hoping they would go and have started to really dig into some good stuff- the fact that other humans, other survivors, just might be (and probably are) more dangerous to the group than the zombies are.  Oh hell yeah…because that shit right there?  That’s the good shit…and when the Zombie Apocalypse Comes, I reckon it’s not me and my Zombie legions you’re gonna have to worry about…okay, I lie, yes you will have to worry about the Zombie Legions….but the bigger, meaner, nastier, more horrifying threat and danger would undoubtedly be…Other People.  After all, a Zombie is just going to make you a zombie or eat you if it can get to you, other humans? Especially desperate ones running around looking for supplies, shelter, and god only knows what else after the collapse of civilization?  Oh boy…far more creative, driven, and dangerous…and they can think, plot and plan, unlike a zombie!  So yes, I personally am thrilled that in Season Two, that threat is being addressed, and promises to provide plot and tension as the show goes on…after all, the Title of the Show (and comic), the Walking Dead?  It doesn’t refer to the zombies, it refers to the survivors…

I also know a lot of folk have been disappointed in the lack of action this season.  You know what?  While I love action and guns and zombie carnage and all that stuff as much as the next person…I also like the plot and character development and interaction between the characters.  Yes, some of it has gotten old for me, like Andrea and Dale’s angst, or the Shane, Laurie, Rick love triangle…but other stuff?  Like how Carol is an actual character now, and the Glenn/ Maggie story line, or the conversations between Group Leader Rick and Farm Owner/Man of God Hershel?  Or the night and day personality swings of Daryl?  Good Stuff IMHO.  Heck, the knock down drag out fight between Shane and Rick in S2E11 and the argument about roles between Laurie and Andrea in the same episode?  Good stuff!  And Karl?  Holy crap…Karl, son of Rick and Laurie, the young boy who nearly dies early on in  the season, who Otis got sacfricied to save, who Shane, Rick and everyone are so heavily influenced by, what, with keeping him safe and tending to his well  being?  Oh man that kid is state of crisis boy, and has now learned that fucking up and acting…like a kid…in zombie world?  That shit gets people killed!  This is good stuff!  The group being torn about What to Do with Randal is good stuff (though I will admit that after he admitted to Daryl what the group he was coming from was like –i.e. scary humans- I wanted Daryl to beat him to death with his bare hands- and I for one think Randal participated just like everyone else in his crew and tried to lie to Daryl so as not to get beaten to death), but yeah, this is good plot IMHO.  This, as much as the action and guns and zombie carnage makes the show good, and its important to the show in order to make it good.

And I know folk, me included, sometimes get honestly frustrated at some of the stupid shit the characters do on the show- making poor decisions that leave them in danger, not handling things that left unhandled end up biting them in the ass (I suspect not handling Randal will be one such decision), not being on guard and ready for full out assault  (from zombies and other people) at all times….and yeah, this frustrates me too.  There are times I find myself yelling at the characters while I am watching.  “Just leave him there, Rick!”, “Dale, what the hell are you doing walking out there all alone?”  “Glenn, get outta the well!”, “Hershel, barn full of walkers is a bad thing!”  But all that said, and something I think I ponder when watching this show that I guess others who watch do not is…well, well, these characters?  They are humans.  They make mistakes.  They, even in the Zombie Apocalypse, have some morals and hard decisions? Well, hard decisions are hard.  They also are dealing with high stress issues, like, oh, your kid getting shot, or turned into a zombie, the deaths of their families, lack of food, sleep, and other shit we all take for granted.  Even the hard asses like Shane and Daryl have these issues.  Shane did not want to shoot Otis, he had too.  Rick, Glenn and Hershel did not what to kill those guys at the bar, they had too.  Daryl was holding out hope Sophia was alive and went out and nearly died trying to find her.  For us watching its easy to say what they are doing right and what they are doing wrong…thankfully none of us are in places like they are where it might not be so clear as to what makes sense.  I think people also forget that the majority of the characters were in no way prepared for this.  Sure, Rick and Shane are cops…from a small town Georgia Sheriff’s Dept.  Daryl Dixon- who does on almost all levels seem to be the most capable character, has a ton of hunting and survival skills (and apparently interrogation skills as well), but he is a rather poorly socialized, awkward occasional drug user as well.  The others?  Let’s see, housewives, a lawyer, a kid, a pizza delivery guy, a vet, some farmers, a retired guy, and well, they’ve never said what T-Dog did for a living, so…not military guys and gals, not doctors, not engineers, not Doomsday Prepper sorts…just….people.  Hell, they are lucky in that they have two guys who are good with guns (Rick & Shane), a guy who is fast and sneaky (Glenn), an almost doctor (Hershel), a guy who is an ass kicker with survival skills (Daryl), a skilled horsewoman who ain’t to shabby with a baseball bat (Maggie) and a place with food and water (the farm).  Oh yeah, and they just lost their second mechanic (Dale).  And they have people who do want to learn to survive better!  Such as Andrea, Karl, Maggie, Glenn, so on.  To me, this actually makes the show better.  I mean, if I wanna see folk who are like “oh, zombie apocalypse, we’re good and know how to handle everything”, well, I can play/watch “Resident Evil” or laugh my ass off to “Zombieland”.

So yeah, I do love this show, even when the characters are idiots.  Because the show is about the people, not the Zombies…and people fuck up and do dumb shit sometimes.  I’m just real glad Andrea didn’t kill Daryl, and Glenn made it out of the well alive!  And, okay, Shane may be a dick, but maybe people should listen to him on occasion…

*I also like Talking Dead, the talk show on after Walking Dead…its fun when they have the cast members on…funny stuff IMHO.

(And check out this picture of Hershel…I also love this show visually, look at the signs on the bar wall there framing him while he is holding the gun…see, I notice shit like that…)



  1. xena says:

    How did I know this would be up? I just watched Episode 11 on our infuriatingly tiny, twitchy download in its little 3″x3″ square. It was still a tear-jerker. I know, I’m a bit of a softie when it comes to watching things like Liberty Dying. I cried like a little girl over Edward Scissorhands, too. Yeah, keeping Randy the Rapist around would be the wrong thing to do in my Zombie Apocalypse, but the guy who spoke up for democracy was the one who got disemboweled. :’-( Isn’t that how it usually happens? The meek inherit the dirt *sigh*

    And what was up with that? That was an entirely new foreshadowing trick. (I actually like the way the ‘Dead crew do that–just obvious enough without looking too contrived–er, usually. I loved how they made the deer look backward just before Otis shot Karl. I found myself throwing my crackers at the tv. “Run, you dumb kid! Something spooked that deer!!”) The zombies in this world don’t disembowel people just for fun. They lunge and chew whatever they land on. Why was that zombie’s face nowhere near Dale’s innards? It couldn’t have been just for the sake of showcasing the “shoot or don’t shoot” question again. Maybe the zombies are mutating?

    Davy Crocket Daryl’s my favourite. He started out a racist asshole hillbilly like his brother, but redeemed himself for the little girl. Love that nasty trophy collection, and the speech about getting lost in the woods when he was 9, and his drunk dad didn’t even miss him. He’s an all around Huck Finn, that guy. I hope he’s the one who will turn from shits-n-grits into the guy who will unload a pile of buried treasure on the group or something.

    And what about his missing handless brother? Sure, he’s just a dream right now, too many other sub-plots on the go. But he was such an ass, I’d like to see them bring him back. Maybe just to get rid of Shane.

    I disagree with you about Shane. The guy’s a fucking mercenary. I know women who married cops who turned like him. There’s no redeeming him. Otis offered to sacrifice himself earlier in the Zombie School episode, when they were still stuck in the gym. He would have given the pack to Shane. There was no need to stab him and leave him to the walkers. Nope. Shane thinks with his dick and other phallic symbols. In RL, I wouldn’t let my son talk to somebody like that. But I must commend the actor on his performance. He’s really making me believe the subtleties of the character’s cognitive dissonance. I’m impressed.

    As for Randy the Rapist, I’d convince the group to get a couple of volunteers–Glenn&Maggie, maybe? to drive him down to the coast. It wouldn’t be too implausible to find a little rowboat, and leave him to drift. Leave him with a few days worth of food&water, and a good gator gun, of course.
    He could wash up in Cuba 😀 Actually, of all the people who could survive and create a workable regime during an Undead Crisis, Castro might be the one, if he’s anything like the other Castro. Fidel Castro survived something like 680 assassination attempts, most of them by the CIA. One of my favourite ironies in life is that his trademark cigars are what finally killed him. He died an old, old man, in his cozy bed, with cancer. It wouldn’t surprise me if he used his last breath to puff another one.

    Yeah, I’d love to see Walkers in Cuba 🙂

    • Ren says:

      Daryl is my favorite as well, for obvious reasons. Glenn is a close second.

      The Walking Dead Rumor mill is all a twitter with the theory that Daryl;s brother (Merle) just might be in or the leader of the group Randal came from. Course nothing says he IS, but that could be interesting…

      Shane is infinately pracitcal. Humane? No.

      • xena says:

        WHOO HOO! That would be the action everybody’s looking for. Are y’all ready for a war?

        • Ren says:

          hells yes. Question will be, who does Daryl fight for if that happens!

          • xena says:

            Everybody who piles on Andrea to make her a ‘good little woman’ is going to have to STFU and let Daryl take her spot on top of the camper as Walker Sentry, so he doesn’t figure out what’s up. Andrea can fight instead of him.

            She crosses lines sometimes, but she’s not as mercenary as Shane. Yet. A war against Randy’s Rape Gang is about the only situation I can think of where that guy could be useful. He’s even letting his stupid grudges get in the way of his own and others’ effectiveness at blasting Walkers. I’d like to see where the writers might send Andrea’s mental state after an Epic Battle. RL battles can send people with dispositions similar to hers in either direction.

            Another reason for putting Daryl on Zombie Duty would be the fact that they would need all their good marksmen and brawlers–and their dwindling supply of ammo–to take out the Scary Humans. Daryl’s the only one in the group who’s good enough with a bow to take out large numbers of Dead, and the only one who’s level-headed enough to not let Shane’s BS get to him. Daryl can be the Cavalry if the rest of the group start getting their butts whupped.

            • Ren says:

              for some reason I dont see Daryl sitting back and letting OTHER people fight

              • xena says:

                He’d still be fighting. Appeal to his vanity by telling him he’s the best zombie killer. All those shots and hollers would surely attract a big herd of Dead. 30 Scary Humans on 12 are only fair odds, when you consider the swarm of zombies that could still flank the group. I think Daryl would appreciate that. He’s much better at bareknuckles than Andrea would be, but she’s a pretty good shot. And it wouldn’t be bullshitting to tell him he’s the best bowman, now that the group’s running low on bullets. Strategy, my dear StoryTeller 🙂

                • Ren says:

                  The man has an EAR COLLECTION…I am not sure reasoning with him would work…besides, he is sort of in “the group is broken, fuck all of you” mode at the moment anyway,,,

                  Now, I WOULD try and talk him into setting up some killer old school traps and spear pits and things like that though,,,,

                  • xena says:

                    🙂 Better still. The point is to distract him until all the Scary Humans are gone, and leave him to deal with Merle at the last minute, when the family drama won’t muddle everybody else’s heads. I guess he’d still be within hollering distance if the others need him. He’d have to start wiring traps early to cover the exposed flanks where Dead could sneak in. Better to keep him occupied, I guess.

                  • I wouldn’t try manipulating him. Just ask him. And then let his conscience go to work.

  2. xena says:

    Unfortunately, I haven’t seen Talking Dead since they showed the outtakes from the woodchuck scene, where they had to gut the zombie to see if he’d eaten Sophia. LMAO. That must have been fun for the actors. Nice job the actors did, staying in character when RL was so frikkin hilarious. On the small screen, the scene turned out pretty suspenseful, despite the gut-flinging “I made a cow like Billy Crystal, maybe we should name him Norman” moment.

    Those outtakes made me go EEEWW!! Furry rodent constipation!! Which gave rise to a question I’ve been meaning to ask on a zombie forum sometime: How much chuck can a dead fuck suck till the dead fuck gets bunged up?

    Do zombies poop?

  3. MMMMMM Daryl.

    Shane may be a mercenary dick, but he’s a mercenary dick I’d want on MY team.

    Dale frustrated me. He was overly concerned with how things worked in the civilized world. Yeah, you need to keep some humanity, but not to the point you get everyone and yourself killed. Had Dale STFU in the first place, gang rapist Randall would be dead, and Dale would still be alive.

    In fact, had they just had the presence of mind to shoot him mercifully in the head when he was impaled on the fence, none of it would have happened.

    • Ren says:

      Heheheh, yahhhh Daryl!

      Dale annoyed me too-often- but what a way to go….

    • xena says:

      True about Randal. I was leaning toward that decision myself when he was still impaled. He wasn’t the one who got Dale killed, tho. Karl was the fuckin dummy who got Dale killed. You don’t throw rocks at something that wants to eat you. You fucking kill it quick and find somebody big enough to deal with the carcass, if you’re too small to get rid of it yourself. If you don’t, it’ll find you and eat you later.

      That is precisely why I still disagree about Shane. You sound like you’ve had enough experience with your own Lord of the Flies shit. But in your world, the badasses were actually on your side. Shane is on nobody’s side but Shane’s side. He tried to kill his best friend with a wrench! Guys like that don’t even stay loyal to pussy for very long. Guys like that kill because they’ve learned to enjoy it. The scene at the Atlanta CDC showed us that he’s also capable of beating down a woman and raping her, if she can’t fight back. Of course, Rick’s wife can fight back.

      I like the way they set up the botched execution scene in the barn. Karl had enough of Shane’s mercenary influence that Rick was starting to worry about the man Karl might become, and that’s the main issue. I might not be able to kill some legless kid in front of my son, either, unless the asshole were actually in the process of raping me. *Might* bring a gang of buddies who refer to women as kooze *might* not be good enough to subject a child to watching me kill a cripple in cold blood. Then again, who knows? I’m not actually in that situation. I’ve seen some shit, but I’m thankful I’ve never had to kill anybody. And I’m thankful I’ve never had to hurt anybody in front of my son. My daughter, yes. I’ve spent many hours trying to give my daughter a solid moral center, despite the occasional need to use violence to defend myself against the assholes who constantly attack us. Believe me, shit like that really messes with a child’s moral reasoning. Protecting a child from the headfuckery that the Shanes in this world put on them is a hard thing to have to do.

      I still like Dale. His voice of reason was always just enough to allow for sober second thought, unlike Hershell’s delusional bleeding heart bullshit. If they’re thinking of replacing him, I can’t see any of the characters they’ve introduced so far being up to the task. Maybe the black dude and his son, the people Rick left behind in the last season. Otherwise, they might be moving toward a totally Hobbesian backdrop.

  4. xena says:

    One last thing. I’m a little torn about some of the discussions among the women on the show. Do y’all think they’re worth the discussion time? Has this blog been troll-free long enough that we probably won’t have to worry about some idiot de-railer? I’m hoping the idiots that are eating Hugo’s blogspace alive are all the MRAs in troll-land. Maybe they’re distracted enough by feeding on Hugo’s poor bleeding carcass that they’ll leave Ren’s feminist discussions alone for awhile? 😉

  5. “He tried to kill his best friend with a wrench! ”

    Rick started the fight. You start a fight, you agree that consequences may not turn out in your favor.

  6. xena says:

    That’s an interesting point about “manipulating” Daryl, Pheeno. You may yet convince me that it would be manipulative to keep Merle’s presence from him, but right now, I don’t think it’s manipulative to keep 2 loose cannons away from each other when the survival of the group depends on Daryl’s abilities.

    Seeing what Daryl did to Randal when he admitted to running with rapehounds, I don’t believe he’d run off and fight with those assholes, just because Merle is with them. I would, however, be worried that Daryl would lose it on Merle, giving Merle the opportunity to mess up one of the group’s best fighters before the game even begins. Merle is a big, burly, vicious, unscrupulous motherfucker.
    I wouldn’t fight him without a gun in my hand. Change that. Even with a gun, as a character in that world, with what? 3 months of firearms training, I might not be a good enough shot to take him down. Nope. Merle is a fucking scary guy. It might be close, but he could possibly be a better scrapper than Daryl, missing hand or not.

    Better to let one of the other good–but honourable–fighters try to maim him, and let Daryl finish him if that’s what he wants to do. Even if Daryl could keep his temper, Merle could make the first move and still mess him up.

    Of course, this all comes from my vantage point as somebody watching these people on tv. Manipulating or not manipulating Daryl may be a moot point. Odds are good that if&when the rapegang does decide to ambush the farm, they’ll take them by surprise, in the middle of the night. Daryl is likely to be the first or second person to know about the ambush, and Merle bc he’s camping outside.

    There’s also a good chance that Randal is full of shit about going to school with Maggie. The rape gang may have been spying on them all along, planning a good time to attack. If Merle is with them, and already knows where Daryl is, the story could turn a dozen different ways.

    I’m going to watch Shane and Rick scrap it out again. I’m leaning toward Rick didn’t hit first. He tried to block Shane’s shooting hand, and Shane started the pounding, but I’ll see in about half an hour.

  7. I think we’re going to see Daryl have to choose. It was kinda hinted at when Daryl had his hallucination episode. Yes, they’re brothers but there’s some…not bad blood really, but there are issues. Almost like father/son issues. And I think Daryl is going to be confronted with them, and ultimately will have to choose to be his own man and decide to turn his back on Merle for doing the types of things Daryl doesn’t approve of, even though up to this point, Daryl has gone along with Merle. Daryl is going to understand that Merle is part of that gang rape group. Things he probably knew about his brother deep down (but never examined) are going to be impossible to ignore now.

    At this point, the best bet would simply be to ask Daryl to stand with them, and allow him to make his own decision. He’s not stupid and would see through flattery attempts and manipulation….which could backfire.

    When he’s not having to posture or put on a manly front, Daryl has shown real depths of kindness and morality. Unlike Dale, Daryl doesn’t seek to force or manipulate others into sharing his view. And unlike Dale, Daryl has had few opportunities to show kindness or morality without looking weak in front of his brother.

  8. xena says:

    Yeah, they’ll probably set it up that way, just so we can all have our chance to throw popcorn at these dummies and say “NO! Don’t do it! Asshole!”

    I wonder how long it’ll be before people start having Walking Dead parties where everybody shows up in costume and sits around saying silly shit to the characters… “Maggie’s the hottest baked potato in Denton” or Georgia or whatever? At least nobody’s come up with Redneck Zombies The Musical. I hope.

    Dale only tried to force his view on somebody once–the Andrea thing. The rest of the time he was right to give people a chance to be democratic. Otherwise, the group turns into the Shane the Mercenary and the One Guy Who Can Whup Him Show.

    But we agree that Daryl’s sexy.

  9. xena says:

    Btw, my kids deleted our frikkin download and for some reason my sister says she can’t get another one. I think she was just tired and pissy. She works nights and hates doing anything at 9:30 am that might keep her awake.The debate about whether Rick or Shane started the fight with the rockin wrench throw might have to wait a few days.

  10. xena says:

    Just saw this week’s episode. I knew It! The zombies are mutating! I’m so excited I could piddle on somebody’s shoes 🙂

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