Surviving The Walkers


I really do enjoy The Walking Dead series on AMC. It's not so much the gore and zombie special effects, though that is definitely a great part of the package for someone like me who loves all things zombie. No, I like the show for the relationship and leadership dynamics. OK, sure, they stay at the farm and at the prison too much...big deal. The show is an examination of decision making, coalition building, and how serious skills and serious deficiencies can exonerate you or incriminate you in a world gone to kitten. Zombies don't discriminate, they just want fresh flesh.

I have always joked this season that I thought The Walking Dead airs on Sunday nights, not Sundays at noon, and boy it seems like the Texans world has definitely gone to hell in a hurry. No real time to prepare, and no real plan except to scrounge and scurry away from NFL opponents who are everywhere and hungry for Texans flesh.

Which brings me to some spoiler alerts. Yeah, this is where if you have been holding out to watch the entire TWD series all at once after next week's finale, then please stop reading or you're going to see spoilers. In fact, if you haven't viewed the past few weeks of episodes, get on your horse and trot back to Atlanta. Here we go...

Rick is pretty much witnessing everyone around him growing more competent each day, and I don't buy the idea that Tyrese would have killed Carol once he found out it was Carol who had snuffed out a few sickly soon-to-be zombies. No, the only rational thing I can think is that Rick doesn't deal well with free thinkers. He can stand at his podium and say that everyone has a vote, everyone has a say, and blah blah blah. Where was the vote on Carol's expulsion? And why is she to blame for taking rational, well-reasoned proactive action on a situation that was obviously spiraling out of control? Do we have leadership envy by Rick here? Rick has always been an avoidance personality, and Shane (R.I.P.) was the proactive guy who just lost his way. Carol was not Shane, and she was very valuable in the sense that she knew things only Herschel knows, ya' know...the things you should know when dealing with health issues that are going to be necessary for everyone's survival. Carol did her job(s), and then she was sent packing.

The Governor is basically the Colts personified. Looks good on the outside, but pretty damn ruthless when it comes to taking an opening and exploiting it to its fullest. Rick should know that you can't let The Governor off the hook, because you're just asking for an ongoing feud that you're probably going to lose in the end. The Governor is rotten, but he has street smarts and savvy, and the willingness to slaughter an entire roster, err...I mean town ensure his own future plans of staying on top. Rick is a steady-as-she-goes leader, let's just sit down and take votes and shore up the prison fence...and farm. What could go wrong?

I used to like Rick a lot. I thought he was the best guy for keeping the group from going bonkers, and his law enforcement skill set was critical to the team's early success. But as the losses piled up, and as I see more curious decision making made by Rick, I grow weary of the way he operates. He has a son, and his main focus has been on keeping Carl on the right path to manhood. While Rick and Carl are out eating peas in the improvised prison yard farm, Herschel and Glenn are in there cleaning up soon-to-be-walker puke and eye blood off the faces of Rick's people. Yes, let's shore up a woeful fence that's coming down soon...instead of planning a retreat out of the prison and onto the road. The Governor rolled with the punches, found opportunity, and rode it to the bank of Back In The Gamesville. Fortune favors the bold, and the desperately bold.

Which leads me to believe that it would have been better for Rick and Carl, and the little baby girl, to strike out on their own rather than kicking out valuable contributors like Carol for doing what any normal person would have done in that position. The guy who says everyone's vote counts, it's not a dictatorship, and he's not their governor (Rick's famous speech as they found sanctuary in the prison long ago) has seemingly swerved into being the opposite of what he intended. It would be best if Rick and Carl, and little Joe Marciano, sort of found their own path out there. It's time.

And lastly, let us not forget the show's most popular character, Daryl. Daryl just hung out under a tree away from the camp...he'd kill some varmints and skin them, he'd fluidly move in and out of herds of walkers and even regain his arrows after plunking walkers in the head at short range or from a distance, whatever the situation called for. He says cool stuff, he goes with the flow and tries hard to be loyal to Rick. And if Daryl dies, as the popular Internet meme goes, WE RIOT.

Does the show crumble if it loses Rick? Is the show less fun to watch without Daryl? And is there any cure for the wretchedness that the people find themselves a slave to each waking day?

No matter the ways we debate shows like TWD, we have to appreciate that each character has his or her own plot lines, and each character is operating from a core belief system that guides their own thinking and actions. It doesn't necessarily mean one character is better or worse than another, but it is entertaining to debate the outcomes as it relates to each person's internal makeup.

Rick is not bad for clinging to a shred of hope that a normal life is to be found at the farm or at the prison or whatever next sanctuary they stumble upon. And maybe Carol was foolish for trying to assume leadership roles that were not hers to take. But one thing we can agree upon is that bleach hasn't been scientifically ruled out as a preventative medicine against turning into a zombie, so pour yourself a shot and drink up.

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