Skip to content

Thank you very much, The Walking Dead

March 6, 2012

Week after week you provide a television show that goes beyond simply being a television show about zombies. You don’t take the easy road and allow the show to sink into sensationalism. Instead, you entertain us, along with amazingly cool zombies and thrilling sensationalistic violence, with thought-provoking plotlines and scenarios. Forget that the characters are kind of one-dimensional cardboard cutouts – that’s a blog for another day – the real attraction to your show, along with the zombies and violence, is the way you draw us into the story by raising questions, some intentional and some not, in our mind about what we’d do if we were in a similar end-of-the-world type situation and then having the respect to let us come to our own conclusions.

This past Sunday’s episode, Judge, Jury, Executioner is a great example of what I’m talking about. For those who don’t know, our survivors are a small group of 10. They’re currently living and sharing a working arrangement with a local landowner and his family of four. So we have 15 survivors living in a hostile world trying to survive not only against zombies, but against other survivors. Now we have this new character added to the mix, his name is Randall, and he travelled with another band of survivors but was left to die and was subsequently rescued by our heroes because heroes don’t leave people to die. Randall presents a touchy problem because the group he traveled with is a particularly violent group and he’s from the area and he knows the family our survivors are living with. The thought is if Randall is released to fend for himself, given a chance to live or die on his own, there’s a chance he may reunite with his old group and bring them back to the farm which makes our survivors vulnerable and leaves them with two big choices: take the chance that Randall is sincere, or kill another living human being.

The thought of killing Randall seems to be the simplest choice, but no group of post-apocalyptic survivors would be complete without at least one morally-minded individual and The Walking Dead gives us morally-minded Dale Horvath. An older man who lost his family, Dale is the moral compass of the group. Dale believes that murdering an innocent person because of what he might do in the future is wrong and he argues with the others to spare Randall’s life. An idealist, Dale believes that life can again be restored to what it was and should the group make the decision to kill another human then they’re no better than animals and condemned. On the other side of the issue is Shane Walsh. Reactionary and violent, Shane is also a realist and is unwilling to accept a solution that doesn’t protect the group.

What do you do?

I’m a pretty left-leaning progressive and I found the argument over Randall’s death or salvation interesting. Normally I’d agree with Dale without pause, but there’s nothing normal about living in a zombie apocalypse, and assuming that keeping the newcomer around where you can keep an eye on him isn’t an option – which it isn’t – then how can you put your life, your wife’s life, your child’s life and the lives of the people you’ve agreed to protect – while maintaining your own humanity – at risk? In this alternate-reality world, I’m not sure you can. So while I agreed in principle with Dale, I sided with Shane which finally gets me to where I started and that’s thank you very much, The Walking Dead. Thank you for giving me a situation so emotional and powerful and for making me examine how I feel about one hot button issue.

I can’t really thank you for the ironic twist of fate holy-shit-did-I-really-just-see-that ending to the show because I’m sort of mad about it! Did you really have to do that? Really? I mean, I’m kind of glad you did, but really?

5 Comments leave one →
  1. March 6, 2012 5:01 pm

    I haven’t seen this show and, even though several people have mentioned it, your description here gives me enough information to know I now have to see it!


    • Michael Fishman permalink
      March 7, 2012 7:00 am

      It’s a very good show but just remember that it is very violent at times.


  2. March 7, 2012 10:11 am

    Such a great show – I loved last week’s episode for just the reasons you shared. We actually ist and talk about what we would do/what they should do/what WILL they do???

    Great post! 🙂


  3. jenkakio permalink
    March 21, 2012 7:23 pm

    I’m ADDICTED to this show. I haven’t read the graphic novels, but I heard a lot goes down in the Jail. Anyway, I don’t want to continue if you didn’t see the ending yet. My mind exploded during the season finale. OMG, I’m still recovering. LOL


    • Michael Fishman permalink
      March 22, 2012 6:07 am

      The season finale blew me away too as did the one before that with the confrontation between Rick and Shane. I haven’t read the graphic novels either so I don’t know what’s in store for the group, but I can’t wait to see it in the fall!


If you leave me a comment I'll give you a cookie!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: