October 11, 2015, cannot come fast enough for me. You would feel the same way too if you watched The Walking Dead. Those of us who are obsessed with the show are dying (no pun intended) to see what happens in Alexandria. Things are about to get intense as each individual takes sides: Rick’s way or Morgan’s way.
The funny thing is I don’t usually like horror or lots of gore. Zombies don’t really do it for me. But these are not reasons why I’m obsessed with the show. Of course, there is tons of gore. There are flesh-eating zombies and grotesque ways to die in the zombie apocalypse. I’ve come to accept those must-haves in this riveting series.
I’m obsessed with The Walking Dead because of the characters, or more specifically the character arcs. This is the transformation, or inner journey, of what happens to a character over the course of a story and no other show I’ve watched (except Breaking Bad and Mad Men) does this better than The Walking Dead. It seems that AMC has a monopoly on this facet of storytelling, and I say, “Rock on, AMC.”
If you’ve watched the show from the beginning like I have, you might agree with me when I say that the two characters who have gone through the most transformation are Rick and Carol. Then you might argue with me that other characters like Glen, Carl, or even Michonne have also done their fair share of inner evolution but to me, it’s Rick and Carol. Hands down.
For the three people (because I think everyone else is watching it) who have not watched the show and plan on doing so, SPOILER ALERT! Do not read anything below this line!
Before the zombie apocalypse, Rick Grimmes was a respectable sheriff; the all-American boy next door who always did the right thing, no matter how hard it was. He was a good husband, doting father, and an upstanding member of society. When he wakes up from his surgery to treat a gunshot wound, the zombies have already taken over. He goes into sheriff-mode trying to save the walking dead until he realizes they cannot be saved. When he meets up with a bunch of refugees fleeing Atlanta, he steps up to lead them to a safe location. He takes on the role of protector, but he still has the morals and values of the society that has just fallen: compassion, trust, and faith in mankind. As it becomes clear that the world he once knew is gone, he begins to question himself and his leadership position. He loses his former partner, wife, and trusted members of his group. Encounters with other survivors who seem worse than the zombies turn his optimistic views on humanity into vengeance and hatred. He does what he has to in order to keep his son, newborn baby daughter, and the people he cares about alive, and it sometimes is immoral. His fears about the goodness of humans are confirmed when the group runs into a band of cannibals. Rick and members of his group almost are murdered by the cannibals, but Carol comes to the rescue (see below). When we left Rick at the end of Season 5, he had just killed Peter who he saw as a potential threat changing everything in Alexandria.
Carol Peletier was married to her abusive husband, Ed, during the initial outbreak. She was a frail-looking, timid woman who tried to protect her only daughter, Sophia. When the Peletier’s met up with Rick and the others, Ed wanted to go out on their own but Carol urged him to stay with the group. Luckily, Ed got eaten by the zombies. Carol and Sophia kept to themselves until they arrived at Hershel’s farm and Sophia went missing. The worried Carol took solace from Daryl, one of the series most bad-ass characters. Unfortunately, Sophia became a zombie which completely changed Carol. Instead of becoming a weepy widow mother, she transformed into a no non-sense survivor. Carol schools herself and the children under her care in the prison on the art of weaponry and zombie combat. After the group gets blown out of the jail by the Governor, Carol heads out alone with Tyreese, the two young girls, and Rick’s baby. She makes a difficult choice to kill Lizzie who clearly has a distorted view of life (Lizzie kills her sister Mika thinking she’ll come back to life). This further transforms Carol into a survivor who has to do whatever it takes but unlike Rick, she is unemotional and common sense. Rick finds out Carol killed Tyreese’s lover and kicks her out of the group. We don’t see it, but we know she survives because she comes back to save Rick and the others from the cannibals. At the end of Season 5, Carol appears to conform to the utopian life in Alexandria, complete with floral sweaters but see that she still has her warrior mode on high when she threatens Peter and a young boy who catches her stealing from the gun supply.
I’m looking forward to see how these and other characters deal with the challenges ahead. I’ll be blogging about them weekly, but I’m curious to hear from you: why are you obsessed with The Walking Dead?
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