The Walking Dead, getting back into it

I’ve been trying to get back into The Walking Dead. I stepped away from it last season when it devolved into hostage-of-the-week storylines. But, I’ve read the comics so I have a general idea how things go. I’ve been catching up and things are moving back towards layered stories that suggest the writers have decided to make some effort.

If you recall, when the show first started there wasn’t an M4 to be had. It was all pump shotguns and bolt rifles. Then the AR’s and Ak’s started making gradual appearances. Now we have awesome high-end suppressed rifles and pistols (and one white trash dude with a crossbow). I like that. I think that’s fairly representative of how things would go. Like a first person shooter video game….you upgrade your weapons as you come across them. The Internet Movie Firearms Database (IMFDB) covers the guns of the show season by season, so if you’re really curious about what exactly that was someone used to remove the head of that other guy….there you go.

While much of the acting on the show is pretty one-dimensional, I think Melissa McBride is way overdue for some professional awards. For the first few seasons her character was background filler and not very compelling. In the last several seasons she has easily become the most nuanced and deep character on the show. A lot of the time I watch the episodes just to see how her character will react to a situation, but it’s also entertaining to see how McBride conveys that characters turmoil and pathos.

Of course, the backdrop of the end of the world has a tremendous appeal to me as well. I can think of no television drama that has portrayed an apocalypse as stark as this. ‘Jericho’ had to work within the constraints of network television, but still managed to eke out a winning episode or two (and, hey, Lennie James is still killing people after the apocalypse!) There’s no mincing words – the end of the world is going to be all sorts of ugly rolled up into a big ball of suckage….all-Somalia, all-the-time. But, it is, for me, loads of fun to war game. “What would I do in that situation?” or “what if I had this piece of gear?”…I like the intellectual challenge of imagining alternative courses of action.

I won’t tell you to go watch TWD because at this point you either are, or you have no interest in it. But, as a survivalist, I do find it a fascinating thought experiment. Interestingly, the companion show, Fear The Walking Dead, seems a tad more ‘realistic’ since it takes place in the early days of the zombie apocalypse when normalcy bias is still strong.

So..yup, I’m back to watching.
10/22 mags are still available. Don’t go into the zombie apocalypse without.

27 thoughts on “The Walking Dead, getting back into it

  1. I gave this show up when they started glorifying homosexuality. I’m a Christian and abomination is abomination. If you’all have a problem with that, read the words in the first amendment to the US Constitution. You don’t get to even address my beliefs. At all. Ever. If you have a problem with that, you have a problem. So What.

    • I’m a Christian too, and while I agree that homosexual activity is a sin, I have absolutely no idea where you’re coming from with the “You don’t get to even address my beliefs. At all. Ever” stuff. That’s ridiculous.

      This is America, and the First Amendment prevents the government from (almost) any interference with your rights to free religious practice. But free speech is also protected. Anyone can challenge your beliefs, or live out their own conflicting beliefs, so long as they do so within the boundaries of the law. People can criticize your beliefs, just as you can criticize theirs.

      By all means, feel free to avoid entertainment that doesn’t conform to your belief system. But if your faith can’t hold up to a bit of challenging discourse or criticism, and your response to that is to shut down the discourse, you may be more comfortable in another country where religious conformity is more strictly enforced. Like Iran.

      • I’m a Christian as well and don’t believe they are glorifying homosexuality. The fact there will be individuals who survive that practice the homosexual lifestyle is factual though. Unlike you while I disagree with their choices, I’m not going to be throwing them from roof tops in the name of Jesus!!!!

        Like Peter said we can challenge your beliefs all day long, because we also have a first amendment to do, so get over yourself!!!

        With that said I watch it and enjoy the different social experiments going on from The Kingdom, Hilltop, Alexandria, and of course Negan. These are all real possibilities in any full on collapse.

    • So what flavor was your kool-aid? What cult has its hooks in you?

      Lay aside the issue of being gay. It could be any thing you don’t like. Let’s address this idea you have here.

      “You don’t get to even address my beliefs. At all. Ever. If you have a problem with that, you have a problem.”

      That’s what cults do. They suck people in and then stifle any disagreement or discourse from what the cult leadership says. And you can’t hardly ever leave.

      Dude, I’d be asking for sealed bottle water if I were you…..and looking for a way out.

      “You can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave…”

  2. My wife used to do a gaming/geek television video podcast. For the Halloween episode she wanted themed cocktails. I made up a layered martini I called The Carol. It was sweet on the top, but each layer got less sweet and the bottom layer was espresso. I told her that Carol looks sweet on top but is bitter deep inside. She loved it.

    One thing that I’ve wanted to see in a post apocalypse show or movie is a significant, fundamental change in behavior. I think people would no longer speak at normal volume or close doors normally (like submarine sailors being hunted). All their actions would be more purposeful.

    But I agree, war gaming it is a lot of fun.

  3. We are hooked here, the girls more so than me. It is just a great ‘what if’ drama. I know some people who say’ ” I can’t do gore”, it is so much more. Each character is filling a niche. Every show, book, blog,…gets the mind thinking.

    Phred, get over it man. You lost me at glorify, but you are right, 1st amendment and all that. What ever you do, don’t watch ‘Humans’, sex with androids. Yes I would.

    • Yep, I agree with Pineslayer…

      “You don’t get to even address my beliefs. At all. Ever.”

      That’s not how this works, that’s not how any of this works.

      Phred, the 1st absolutely innumerates your right to have and express your beliefs(as archaic as you like), it also innumerates anyone elses’ right to express their disagreement with the same.

  4. The show is bugging the hell out of me right now. I agree with you about Melissa McBride. She is by far the most compelling character to me. But, this whole business about being in Alexandria, Virginia is stupid. It’s across the Potomac from D.C. for shit’s sake! About as urbanized as it gets. But they’re still wandering around in the woods and fields on dirt roads? Give me a friggin’ break.
    Northern Virginia has military installations. When I was a kid, I lived on Quantico, the headquarters of the Marine Corps. Also the location of the FBI Academy.

    Check this list:
    27 bases.

    If the collapse due to the zombie outbreak happened as fast as the show made out, there would be plenty of guns laying around. Just go to a base. Hell, the NRA Firearms Museum is in Fairfax. You can see it from the highway.
    Finding guns would not be an issue. Finding gas that hadn’t gone bad would be the bigger issue. But that never seems to be a problem.
    And why don’t they just ambush Negan’s convoys? They have more than enough people. There has to be more than one good guy with military experience. Gotta be some Claymores around. The Governor had a tank. Hell, there are probably motor pools full of M1 tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles.
    Abraham was totally underutilized and died because their leader seems to have zero tactical sense. Glen was the only one I ever saw that bothered to armor up. And that didn’t last long. I miss that guy.
    After all of these years, they just don’t seem to have learned much.

  5. I don’t watch the show. I read the comic for quite some time, way before the show. I quit the comic when Carl somehow miraculously survived a through-and-through gunshot to the face. Honestly, you could see daylight through it.

    Here’s the pic, for those who haven’t seen it:

    Anyhow, I don’t watch the show, but I did spend a few minutes scrolling through the IMFDB page. That’s a really impressive collection of guns!

    Have they addressed where the ammunition is coming from, this far into the apocalypse? To me, that would be the real limiting factor in such a scenario. Guns would be plentiful, but sooner or later, the ammo has to run dry–especially when you’re living a nomadic lifestyle. You can only carry so much with you before it weighs you down and rules out necessary evasive tactics as an option.

    • They have started to address it in the sense that one of the characters finding a facility to do some reloading, and his having that knowledge, has become a plot point.

    • We manufacture on average 10 billion rounds of ammunition annually in this country. That does not included the billions squirrelled away by gun owners. I bet there about 20 to 50 billion round squirrelled away in closets and ammo can just from the Obama years. With the onset of the virus being so quick, a lot probable was not even touched in the early days.

      • Corrections:
        We manufacture on average 10 billion rounds of ammunition annually in this country. That does not included the billions squirrelled away by gun owners. I bet there’s about 20 to 50 billion round squirrelled away in closets and ammo cans just from the Obama years. With the onset of the virus being so quick, a lot of it probable was not even touched in the early days.

        • ” I bet there’s about 20 to 50 billion round squirrelled away in closets and ammo cans just from the Obama years.”

          I personally only account for 1 or two million of those…

    • That wound (in the drawing you linked to) is quite survivable. At least in the present day, when the victim would have access to a surgeon and antibiotics.

      There’s a lot of “unnecessary” stuff in the human head. The zygomatic bone and the zygomatic process of the temporal bone are not necessary to remain alive — a shot through the eye could destroy those bones and the eye itself, without ever penetrating the cranium and causing injury to the brain. The damage would be ugly, and it would almost certainly become seriously (fatally) infected. But it would be infection, not the wound, that lead to death.

      If you have a strong stomach, google “shotgun suicide” for some images of just how much damage the human head can survive.

  6. It seems to me in a grid down situation like TWD those big Rand McNally atlases and a copy of the yellow pages for the local area would be like gold. Most of the survivors seem to spend all their time driving up and down country roads looking for a shack that might have a couple cans of creamed corn in a cupboard. Me? I’m going to the nearest Sysco or Walmart distribution center.

    I also have to believe that there’s a lot more ammo laying around than the show supposes. Once again, target every sporting goods store and distribution center.

    • Its about three years into the zombie apocalypse at this point, I would think every Walmart and Cabela’s was stripped bare in the first month or so. And I suspect the reason theyre driving up and down the the coutry roads is because, as we saw in the first two seasons, going into the cities is a seriously bad idea since thats where the previous population is milling about in crowds measured by the thousands.

  7. I could be WAYYY off, but my take on the show has always been, “it’s about tribalism”. All the rest, impossible zombies, impossibly fresh gas, etc is just window dressing.

    • The guy who wrote the series basically said that. The show is about people and how they deal with each other in a crisis, the zombies are just the background event to make the crisis possible. It could as easily have been nuclear war, an asteroid strike, pandemic, or space aliens…the conflicts and interpersonal dynamics would be relatively the same. This is what I was curious about when ‘Jericho’ was on TV, but they never really explored the social dynamic as deeply as I would have liked.

      • I still really enjoyed Jericho, though.

        On a related note, have you read “Tribe” by Sebastian Junger? If you enjoy the social dynamics of post-apocalyptic fiction, you will really enjoy this non-fiction book. It also helps put a lot of the current left/right, conservative/liberal divide in America into context. It’s written by the guy who wrote “The Perfect Storm” and made the incredible (and highly recommended) war documentary Restrepo. The book is only 120 or so pages–a super quick read.

        You know what, I’m just going to send you a copy.

  8. I can take it or leave it when it comes to TWD… It’s soap opera with zombies, for the most part, and there are very few “practical takeaways” to be had. But every so often I’ll have some time to kill, so I’ll binge-watch a few episodes to stay somewhat up to date.

    My biggest nit to pick is the constant refusal to “compartmentalize” — time and again the good guys end up being overwhelmed by hordes of shuffling corpses because it never occurred to them that having more than one fence was a good idea.

    Why in the hell — in a world where dead people are getting up and chasing down the living to eat them — would anyone NOT have multiple fences and air-lock/sally-port gates with simple mechanical latches that required the intelligence of at least a smart dog or a dumb child to operate?

    Nor to wear protective gear when “outside the green zone”? Sure, it’s the American South, thus hotter than hell for too much of the year, and too humid almost all the time. But heat rash or ringworm is a easy trade-off to being eaten alive by a rotting corpse… Why no leather jackets, welding gloves and motorcycle helmets when outside the wire? Motorcycles for patrolling, rather than a jeep “up-armored” with wire mesh fence panels?

    The real value of this show — even more than its prompting people to think about preparing for emergencies and disasters — is its repeated demonstration of the danger of gun control.

    Time after time, the good guys turn over their guns to an authority figure, and every single time they suffer for it. All the tired old tropes of “reasonable commonsense gun control” are trotted out and demonstrated to be a bad idea: a central secure armory to “safely” keep Alexandrians’ personally-owned guns, a ban on carrying guns in Alexandria because they have a security patrol to keep them safe, a gun registry that lets the bad guys know who owns what guns, and where to go to find them…

    If that lesson gets through the skulls of some trusting Millennials, then suspending belief about walking cannibal corpses and putting up with cardboard characters is a small price to pay.

  9. Shouldn’t almost all the corpses have rotted by now? Presumably, zombies still need their major muscle groups in order to be animate–it’s not like they’re magically-moving skeletons. A corpse outdoors (especially in a humid southern climate) will decompose quickly. Insects will consume 60% of all tissue within seven days. In a northern climate, most zombies would be rendered ineffective after the first freeze, due to ice crystals destroying the walls of their cells.

    Three years into the zombie apocalypse, there should not be many zombies left.

    • Your assumption is that all the zombies encountered are zombies that were there from Day One. What about someone who was turned into a zombie a month ago? There is no static amount of zombies…their population increases over time as they ‘turn’ others.

    • It took me only a short time to realize (and start yelling at the tv) that Kirkman was relying on perpetual motion inasmuch as the walkers jaws kept moving even when decapitated and underwater. No energy input and no O2? Jeezus, way to make suspension of disbelief impossible. What got me hooked was Kirkman’s intro in the graphic novels that the story is about how external circumstances beyond our control change who we are. Zombies are just background.

      • O2 is necessary for ‘life as we know it’, but there hasn’t been anything to establish that the zombies have oxygen needs similar to living humans.

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