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Rick Grimes is back
March 31, 2014 9:48 AM   Subscribe

Th 4th season The Walking Dead ended last night and reviewers are weighing in on its shocking and brutal finale.

Geekosystem recap of the finale
posted by Brandon Blatcher (219 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
Did somebody actually get paid to write that Geekosystem recap?
posted by entropicamericana at 9:53 AM on March 31 [6 favorites]


The unbiten hath become the biters.
posted by planetesimal at 9:59 AM on March 31 [2 favorites]


I mean, "shocking and brutal" maybe in that one scene with Rick, but after "The Grove", my bar for "shocking and brutal" is really, really high. I was left feeling a little meh after this one. Had there been more of a cliffhanging reveal of What's Really Going On At Terminus (and I've seen the rumors based on what they think Terminus is representing from the comic books), I might be more onboard with "shocking and brutal."
posted by olinerd at 10:03 AM on March 31 [2 favorites]


entropicamericana: “Did somebody actually get paid to write that Geekosystem recap?”

Did somebody actually get paid to edit the io9 piece?
posted by koeselitz at 10:04 AM on March 31 [2 favorites]


The whole "recap" scene is really depressing to me. It's feels like closed-captioning for people who think they are clever writers.
posted by lattiboy at 10:06 AM on March 31 [13 favorites]


My take on it.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:07 AM on March 31 [9 favorites]


Had there been more of a cliffhanging reveal of What's Really Going On At Terminus

It was fairly clear to me (I have not read the comics) that the residents of Terminus are cannibals, but I kind of liked that it was just left to implication and inference and not pointedly explicitly spelled out. Watching the crew run through the rooms of Terminus and trying to piece together, just from the contents of the rooms, what exactly goes on in Terminus and how it came to be what it is, reminded me of doing the same kind of thing in Fallout 3, in the best possible way.
posted by mstokes650 at 10:18 AM on March 31 [9 favorites]


We watch the Walking Dead but sheesh, between the bad writing and the often wooden acting, it gets to be a lot of work. I'm ready for Game of Thrones to begin and I don't think I'm the only one.
posted by Ber at 10:21 AM on March 31 [3 favorites]


They're kind of like double cannibals, because they feed their human meat other humans (that introductory plate of BBQ has to be long pig).
posted by planetesimal at 10:21 AM on March 31 [1 favorite]


When the gang was being herded into the trap near the end of the show, I thought they heard someone crying for help in a cargo container along the way. Did I just imagine that, or are there other prisoners at Terminus? We still don't know what happened to Beth after she abandoned Daryl.
posted by Thoughtcrime at 10:21 AM on March 31 [4 favorites]


When the gang was being herded into the trap near the end of the show, I thought they heard someone crying for help in a cargo container along the way. Did I just imagine that,

Yeah I definitely heard that two. In those two stacked boxcars, right?
posted by olinerd at 10:22 AM on March 31


> I thought they heard someone crying for help in a cargo container along the way

I heard it also, and I think Rick silently acknowledged it by pushing the group along.
posted by planetesimal at 10:22 AM on March 31


Did I just imagine that,

Nope.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:22 AM on March 31


It was fairly clear to me (I have not read the comics) that the residents of Terminus are cannibals, but I kind of liked that it was just left to implication and inference and not pointedly explicitly spelled out.

True, if it had just ended on "AND THEY'RE CANNIBALS" that would have been no good, but revealing that, for example, the welcome plate was Beth, medium rare, well, that would have been shocking and brutal. The powerful impact of Walking Dead episodes, when they manage it, are the sort of moments of hopelessness and loss, not just "oh wow, fucked up people."

I dunno. Still just hung up on the Lizzie episode I guess.
posted by olinerd at 10:24 AM on March 31 [1 favorite]


Isn't The Walking Dead a play on dead man walking? The focus has always been on how the non-walkers cope with the situation, some of them knowing they are all infected. Rick doing what he did strengthens that focus.

As for shocking and brutal, is that even really applicable given the nature of the show?
posted by juiceCake at 10:29 AM on March 31 [1 favorite]


Comics-to-TV-translation-spoiler:

After the group adds Abraham and Eugene, they run into a group called the Hunters, who are cannibals. They haven't set a trap like Terminus, though -- I forget whether they're generally roving, but they have an unfortified house they're using as their base when they find the group. Rick has his "They fucked with the wrong people" line in this story, so that's probably where the Terminus=Cannibals speculation is coming from. I wonder whether the writers intentionally left it unspoken so as to have a big S5E1 reveal or maybe even just because they aren't sure they actually want to go in that direction -- right after the Hunters storyline, the group does find an actual settlement that's trying to be civilized.

Also, just because I have to say it: showrunner Scott Gimple and worked on our college paper together, and I have a signed copy of his first comic book credit (What If Galactus Became an Elvis Impersonator).
posted by Etrigan at 10:35 AM on March 31 [4 favorites]


For folks who don't know the comics, the "Rick bites out a man's throat and then viciously carves up a guy who was going to rape Carl" scene was a key moment in the development of the series and character relationships; it's right out of issue 57 (see #4 here for the close-up of Carl watching the slaughter).
posted by mediareport at 10:38 AM on March 31 [1 favorite]


What I don't get (along with gasoline still being available and working so many months (years?) after the shit hit the fan) is why they have to resort to cannibalism. There should be deer everywhere you look - deer can easily outrun zombies, and traffic, their number one predator, has just undergone a massive extinction event.

I know, I know, I can't help it. It's the little things that bug me, not so much the central concept.
posted by longdaysjourney at 10:41 AM on March 31 [23 favorites]


The Geekosystem recap definitely sounds like it was written by someone who just got a bachelor's degree in creative writing; it has a specific lolspeak slant that seems to be the exclusive parlance of Terrifyingly Young People. But I gotta hand it to 'em for this bit:
Rape threats against women and young boys are really, agonizingly old at this point, because they kind of happen to actual real people a lot — and you're not exactly writing Law and Order: Special Victims Unit here, so you don't have to use them. You can find something else to prove that these are bad people we're dealing with.

Either way, White Guy saves the day by.... doing something. I can't even actually tell how he managed to get the gun away from his head because of the stupid close-up on his dumb face, but he does. And then when King Biker tries to subdue him in a bear hug, he sinks his teeth right into the guy’s neck and pulls away with a huge blood-spurting chunk of it. See, that's new kinds of fucked up! Isn't that so much better than trying to rape a lady, guys? Now I feel gross in a way that won’t make me afraid to walk alone at night!
Whenever a TV show tries to get across the point that a character is Really Bad, they make that character a rapist. When they want to get across the point that a character is Really, Really Bad, they make them a child rapist. It felt gross and derivative and exploitative and totally unnecessary, especially considering this particular "we're so bad, we're gonna rape the lady AND the kid" scene was a) uncomfortably drawn-out and b) included in a show that's set in an ongoing zombie apocalypse. Like Rick wouldn't have ripped the dude's throat out to prevent anything other than the rape of his son? If Carl was just being threatened with a standard-issue death, free of sexual violence, that alone wouldn't have been heinous enough to make Rick get all slaughter-y? I dunno. I'm just weary with rape being used as a fallback plot device meant to convey Real True Awfulness.

Otherwise, I was totally not expecting Terminus to involve cute floppy-haired hipster cannibals, but I figured the aw-shucks BBQ had to be hu-meat as soon as they lingered on the sizzling of the grill -- and the group didn't eat any of it, right, even though they'd made a big deal of how they were omg-so-totally-starving earlier in the episode? The old school supernatural horror fan in me is seriously digging on the new occult aspects: the ol' Peoplemeat 'n' Bones scrap discarding area, a timeless spooky candle room, and a set of requisite creepy mantras painted on the wall.

My two biggest questions: What's with the nicknames (ringleader, samurai, etc.)? And is there any known significance to the letter "A," other than that it was painted beside each door/passageway that Daryl, Michonne, Carl, and Rick ran through before they wound up in the boxcar? Were they following the "A" doors on purpose, were the snipers herding them there, or were we supposed to think their path was chosen at random?
posted by divined by radio at 10:42 AM on March 31 [14 favorites]


Remember Rick's line about not naming the pigs?

And the A, in my opinion, is a meat grade. Remember when they frisked them and promptly returned the weapons? The emaciated or wounded probably would have been handled differently.
posted by entropicamericana at 10:47 AM on March 31 [10 favorites]


were the snipers herding them there, or were we supposed to think their path was chosen at random

given the exposition that Rick gave regarding the rabbit snare to Michonne and Carl earlier in the episode, I think it was herding.
posted by Dr. Twist at 10:47 AM on March 31 [8 favorites]


I will say I'm more excited for the spin-off show which has been rumored to be set during the whole going to hell in a handbasket phase, than for the Walking Dead at this point. I don't really see life changing a lot for Rick and Co. (meet a community, realize they're run by psychos or psychos are attacking them, community fails, rinse and repeat). At least the spin off will be something new.

Also, I hope the characters are a lot smarter than Rick and his group. The only reason they're still alive now is because the showrunners need them to be alive.
posted by longdaysjourney at 10:49 AM on March 31


If you're inclined to do a detailed rewatch with pausing and so forth, during the scene where Rick and company are being herded through Terminus with well aimed gunshots, there is a shot of a pile of picked clean bones. To me, they read as human bones and it was at that point that both my husband and I shouted "CANNIBALS!!"

I loved all the bits about this episode, foreshadowing of cannibals, reminding us over and over again that people other than our core team can't be trusted, and showing that all the survivors, even the "good" guys have done some really horrible shit and will never be the people they were before the walkers.

Carl's big fear was not that his dad was a monster, it's that his dad will see what a monster Carl is. That moment with Michonne was lovely and I'm glad that we got to see that.
posted by teleri025 at 10:53 AM on March 31 [3 favorites]


longdaysjourney: "why they have to resort to cannibalism"

If I remember, in the comics the group is called the 'hunters'. The irony is they suck at hunting real animals so bad that in order to survive they hunt the only prey they can actually catch - other survivors. I expect this will go similarly - it was actually easier for them to herd people like cattle to some imagined sanctuary than it was to track flighty woodland creatures.
posted by TheFlamingoKing at 10:56 AM on March 31 [4 favorites]


The rape scene existed because it was from the comic. And it highlights the true horror human do inflict on each other, and will in the absence of any structure. Frankly, I find it strange and sad that people are happy to watch a post-apocalyptic show with its foundation being built around trauma; but will then criticize it for including a potential-rape and (heavens forbid) a *ugh* white man saving the day.

They should stop using murder and violence as plot devices too, and just show people glaring at each other. Zombies also seem to be a rather banal plot device. I really would just rather see everyone dealing with relationships and coming-of-age issues in NYC.

Just don't watch it if you can't deal with that stuff.
posted by jjmoney at 11:05 AM on March 31 [13 favorites]


I'm behind on the tv show (I hear it got better?). But a central theme (if not THE central theme) of the comics is that "the walking dead" doesn't refer to the zombies; it's the living human survivors. All of the worst things that have happened to the group have been done by other humans.
posted by lovecrafty at 11:07 AM on March 31 [1 favorite]


I feel like at some point during the run up to the series premiere of The Walking Dead, I must have said something to the effect of, "Serialized cable adaptation of a comic I love featuring zombies and post-apocalyptic chaos? Nothing could keep me from loving this!" And somehow, dark forces heard me speak these words and I unleashed a terrible curse. Because damned if the show, to this point, isn't (for me) a four season long response to my dare in which it is proven conclusively: yes, we CAN find a way to make this suck.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:13 AM on March 31 [5 favorites]


The rape scene existed because it was from the comic.

A lot of things have happened in the comic that didn't happen in the show, and vice versa (e.g., Daryl).

Frankly, I find it strange and sad that people are happy to watch a post-apocalyptic show with its foundation being built around trauma; but will then criticize it for including a potential-rape and (heavens forbid) a *ugh* white man saving the day.

The problem is that it's just so lazy a way to up the ante. It wasn't bad enough that the Claimers were going to kill Rick (and, presumably, Michonne and Carl). No, they had to taunt them with the threat of rape. No, that wasn't good enough -- they have to taunt them with child rape. I only wish they'd had a refrigerator handy, to really drive the point home.
posted by Etrigan at 11:23 AM on March 31 [9 favorites]


All of the worst things that have happened to the group have been done by other humans.

Yes, the zombies are basically just there as an excuse to throw the humans into what the show creators seem to see as their natural state of lawlessness and violence.

This is the central thesis of the show: community at any scale larger than the family unit is a disastrous proposition. Strangers will always either be weaker than you, draining resources and exposing you and yours to danger, or stronger than you, in which case the only possible reason they might have for welcoming you into their community is to exploit you in some monstrous way. Of course, this is simply the worldview of the Tea Partiers of the world, who see themselves as being squeezed between parasitical hordes of welfare recipients and nebulous but all-powerful elites. The show really feels like just ludicrously heavy-handed propaganda to me and I am kind of amazed that anyone is still able to take it seriously.
posted by enn at 11:26 AM on March 31 [28 favorites]


It was fairly clear to me (I have not read the comics) that the residents of Terminus are cannibals, but I kind of liked that it was just left to implication and inference and not pointedly explicitly spelled out.

I knew about it because I had been spoiled, but I 100% would NOT have guessed it just from watching the show.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:26 AM on March 31


This is the central thesis of the show: community at any scale larger than the family unit is a disastrous proposition.

If Lori were still around, I might agree with you, but the show has always featured strangers being welcomed into the group and becoming valuable members -- the Greenes, Michonne, Tyreese... plenty of new characters have been introduced and familiar/familial characters killed off.
posted by Etrigan at 11:35 AM on March 31 [3 favorites]


Cannibals doesn't make much sense to me as there are seemingly so many people in Terminus. That's a lot of mouths to feed and lot of potential for turning on each other.

"Haven't caught meat in a while. I don't like Pete, so I'm guessing its dinner time."
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:37 AM on March 31 [1 favorite]


The return of the Governor and what happens to Carol and Co. were some of the more devastating TV I remember seeing.

And the finale was choppy -- but the herding of the protagonists into A was pretty awesome, in terms of directing. The "A"s that mark the trap, which the characters don't notice because they are frantically trying to get out. The tiny tiny shot of the killing lot with stripped human bones. The people calling for help. You want the characters to go go go and they go, further into the trap.

And all that grilling meat. Yeah. Bad. Bad in a good way.

One internet person said they spotted one of the cannibals wearing Beth's sweater.
posted by angrycat at 11:45 AM on March 31 [2 favorites]


Cannibals doesn't make much sense to me as there are seemingly so many people in Terminus. That's a lot of mouths to feed and lot of potential for turning on each other.

We don't know how long they've been pulling the Venus Flytrap scam, or how many people they have penned up as a result.

Not that I disagree with your point that cannibalism isn't a viable model, but that may well factor into the resolution of the Terminus storyline, which wasn't really enough in the comics to push a whole season.
posted by Etrigan at 11:47 AM on March 31


Yes, the zombies are basically just there as an excuse to throw the humans into what the show creators seem to see as their natural state of lawlessness and violence.

See for other people it's the violence or rape or predictable encounters with zombies or lack of deer that ruin the show, but for me it's this. I don't think people's natural state is this kind of violent savagery, and I don't think slow, braindead zombies are the kind of threat where everyone needs to run around raping and pillaging each other. I know this is the theme of the show, and we're supposed to believe that even the well fortified prisons and military bases were overrun by the horde, but the everyone-even-us-is-a-psycho-monster as plot device gets old to me.

So I guess in my version of the show, there would be a lot of co op meetings broken up by light hearted street fighting.
posted by bradbane at 11:49 AM on March 31 [27 favorites]


Metafilter is one of the few places around where I can feel like a rare minority for liking an incredibly popular show.

The Walking Dead does some basic character development, but none of it is super profound, and if that's what you are looking for, then it is probably going to disappoint. Rick, in particular, is not a compelling character, but he's also a lot less central than he used to be. Daryl is interesting; Carol certainly can be; and so can Michonne and Tyreese, but ultimately this isn't a character-driven show, and in a lot of episodes you can switch around who is doing what and it would be about the same.

What I think TWD does reasonably well is (1) world building and (2) setting up ethical dilemmas. I am genuinely curious about what is going on in the larger world and about the various ways that people are adapting. Vicious roving gangs like the Claimers seem like a plausible response; living is isolated denial like Herschel in most of season 2 is also plausible. (He, Lizzy, and the Governor all refuse to believe that the people who become zombies are really gone, and it's been interesting to see that play out in various ways.) I am still curious about what caused this whole thing, what (if anything) is happening in Washington, and how far the plague has spread. Eugene seems to have some of those answers, and I'd like to know more. Overall TWD feeds my curiosity enough and provides enough satisfying answers to keep me hanging around.

And I do love the ethical dilemmas that crop up. What do you do with a young psychopath when there are no safe places to try to treat them? How much effort do you expend to try to save someone who is weaker? (Not much, at this point, unless it's one of your own people.) The foundational question of the series at this point seems to be "is it possible to be good anymore, the way good was once defined, or does everyone have to be brutal?" I think that question still has some juice. The difference between Joe and Rick is one of degree, not kind. Would Rick viciously avenge a friend's death? Would he demand strict obedience to his rules? Would he punish someone who violated them? Yes, yes, and yes.

I often find myself wishing I was teaching introduction to ethics just so I could pull scenarios from this show and make students wrestle with them. Is the show as good as it could or ought to be? No. Is it still doing reasonably interesting things that no other show is? Absolutely yes. I'm still definitely along for the ride.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 11:54 AM on March 31 [34 favorites]


As much as no one wants to see it, I'm glad the show hints at and directly shows at least the threat of rape and sexual violence, because in this scenario, there would be so. much. of that.
posted by agregoli at 11:56 AM on March 31 [5 favorites]


Cannibals doesn't make much sense to me as there are seemingly so many people in Terminus.

Huh. I thought the extreme emptiness of Terminus was a big clue that something was seriously wrong with the place. One of the residents said that Terminus had been there basically since the beginning; and we know that they have been advertising with signs and on the radio. The place ought to be bustling, unless Very Bad Things are happening to the people who keep showing up.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 11:57 AM on March 31 [9 favorites]


Let us all sing the praises of Melissa McBride (Atlanta represent yay!). With the writers she has taken Carol Peletier from the pitiful flat character of the comics to a woman whose capacity for maternal compassion and ruthless pragmatism make her among the most complex on the show.

I'm not worried about our trapped boxcar friends. Carol and Tyreese are going to get to Terminus, fight filthy dirty, and help everyone get themselves out.

Beth, on the other hand, makes me very nervous on her behalf. I don't want her dead, but I don't want her better-off-dead either.
posted by nicebookrack at 12:05 PM on March 31 [8 favorites]


One thing a coworker noticed (or found on the internet) was that the subject of the defaced painting that Michonne found in that house a few episodes ago bears a striking resemblance to the Tasha Yar/Grillmaster lady at Terminus. Down to the large braid on one side and her outfit.

They haven't really gone back to that scene at all so it may not be anything, but when he posted the painting and a still of the Terminus Lady, it was pretty convincing.

Oh, here is a link that includes the side by side image.
posted by history_denier at 12:05 PM on March 31 [12 favorites]


I guess there are inherent problems with farming? You could do it within the walls of the prison, but on a larger scale? I too don't understand why there aren't deer, 'cause a deer would beat a zombie in a race. But how could you farm, e.g., cattle w/o prison walls? Fields of say, soy might be a protein option. Yeah, and beans.
posted by angrycat at 12:07 PM on March 31


The return of the Governor and what happens to Carol and Co. were some of the more devastating TV I remember seeing.

Hershel's death was physically painful. It was like a punch in the gut.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:09 PM on March 31 [3 favorites]


Tasha Yar/Grillmaster lady

:-O Mary is played by Denise Crosby? THAT'S the season finale shocker I needed. Hooray Yar!
posted by olinerd at 12:10 PM on March 31 [3 favorites]


Maybe they are eating walkers? Everyone is already infected, anyway.
posted by studentbaker at 12:11 PM on March 31


One internet person said they spotted one of the cannibals wearing Beth's sweater

ugh, waiting for that shoe to drop is just agonizing. having her whisked away in the trunk of a car for who knows what god-awful end. I was hoping to have some inkling of what became of her before the finale, but rumors of her sweater are all I'm going to get I guess.
posted by Dr. Twist at 12:13 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]


As much as no one wants to see it, I'm glad the show hints at and directly shows at least the threat of rape and sexual violence, because in this scenario, there would be so. much. of that.

The threats of sexual violence this episode to Michonne and especially Carl were very well done, in conveying more horror through the characters' reactions and what wasn't shown. Rick's neck-biting antics were more gruesome but hardly less terrifying.

At the same time, I'm happy that the show drops most of the comic's sexual violence, in particular the violent sexual assault of a major female character that happened relatively early in the series. It veered into rape porn and made me drop the comic entirely.
posted by nicebookrack at 12:15 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]


The difference between Joe and Rick is one of degree, not kind. Would Rick viciously avenge a friend's death? Would he demand strict obedience to his rules? Would he punish someone who violated them? Yes, yes, and yes.

I was fascinated by the whole arc of The Governor as Rick's tragic double - the man he might have easily become but for one or two small decisions made differently, a couple of circumstances going down the other way, the living embodiment of "There, but for the grace of God, go I." Even at the end, it looked the the Gov might have found a path back to sanity, but as soon as he found himself responsible for other people, he instantly fell back into the same madness. IIRC, it was becoming responsible for other people again that helped Rick find himself.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:16 PM on March 31 [3 favorites]


They haven't really gone back to that scene at all so it may not be anything, but when he posted the painting and a still of the Terminus Lady, it was pretty convincing.

The reasoning at the end of that piece as to how those well-kept, well-stocked homes led to Beth's abduction is pretty interesting to think about for six months.
posted by gladly at 12:16 PM on March 31 [2 favorites]


If only Gareth had been wearing an Admiral Ackbar t-shirt.
posted by studentbaker at 12:19 PM on March 31 [4 favorites]


You can't watch The Walking Dead looking for logic or story structure. You have to take it moment my moment and not think too hard. The entire show is built on a suspension of disbelief. People turn left when they should turn right, they trust when they shouldn't, and they go off alone when they should stay together - pretty much the plot devices of most horror.

At the heart is the most implausible plot device of all, the infection itself. No disease or other ailment of any kind could reanimate partial corpses as shown, so you have at the heart of the show the supernatural. What lets me down is that for the last several seasons they ignore this problem entirely instead of debating it. In fact, now we have some guy that supposedly knows what is happening, but not once does anyone sit down and say, "So, what's the deal?"

Instead, the show focuses on micro issues of philosophy and human nature slathered in dirt (seriously, even when near water, nobody seems to like to bathe). When it is good, it's good - otherwise it gets boring.

My biggest fear for next season is that Terminus will become Prison 2.0, locking people in a static background for cost savings.

I miss the first season or two where no character was safe, no location was on screen more than a part of an episode, and nobody knew what the hell was going on or what to do. I say start offing the main characters and introducing new folks. Push the plot of the world along. Take us somewhere beyond Rick's inner turmoil.
posted by Muddler at 12:24 PM on March 31 [4 favorites]


Our food supply has been artificially stable for over half a century, since the Green Revolution due to the scientific and technological advances and economic kerjiggery that our infrastructure has been able to provide. Without that infrastructure, I don't see any reason why food security wouldn't start return to pre-industrial levels. Sure, there are pre-apocalyptic stores left to scavenge, but we've been shown over and over that they can't be counted on and they're labor-intensive and high-risk to obtain.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:27 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]


but as soon as he found himself responsible for other people, he instantly fell back into the same madness

Yeah, he seemed tragically aware of what path he was going down.
posted by history_denier at 12:27 PM on March 31


This is the central thesis of the show: community at any scale larger than the family unit is a disastrous proposition.

I don't get that at all. EVERYTHING in this show is a disastrous proposition. Alone, in a family-sized unit, or in a larger community, the zombies fuck everything up. When more than 1 person is involved, there is infighting.

Of course, this is simply the worldview of the Tea Partiers of the world, who see themselves as being squeezed between parasitical hordes of welfare recipients and nebulous but all-powerful elites. The show really feels like just ludicrously heavy-handed propaganda to me and I am kind of amazed that anyone is still able to take it seriously.

Who are the "hordes" in your example? In the show it's zombies, not people in need of help. There aren't many people left, period, and usually it hasn't been people looking for help so much as just nasty encounters with other groups, or people that actually do help their group.

Also I still don't understand why people find the writing and the characters' actions so unbelievable a lot of the time. These are people that are constantly traumatized and in shock. Pretty much everyone in this world has seen shit worse than anyone on earth today. They act scared and desperate, sometimes indifferent to whether they live or die and other times a bit overly hopeful that they've finally found a place where they can be safe. The show doesn't get everything right but I don't find it hard to understand the behaviour of the characters within the world.
posted by Hoopo at 12:30 PM on March 31 [11 favorites]


My biggest plot-hole beef this season was that NONE of these hard-assed survivors who spent time going out on runs (and I would assume had knowledge of the surrounding area) had a plan on where to meet up if things went pear shaped at the prison.
posted by history_denier at 12:30 PM on March 31 [17 favorites]


I'm going to confess to being the dummy here because I haven't read the books and I did not immediately understand that the Termites were cannibals until reading this thread. I was processing the pocket watch and the SHIT WENT DOWN, and I couldn't figure out why the snipers had the worst aim ever until my husband pointed out they were being directed by the gunfire. If they specifically mentioned cannibalism on Talking Dead afterwards, I must have been in the bathroom.

Imma go sit in the rail car with a dunce cap now.
posted by Dr. Zira at 12:32 PM on March 31


My question about the finale is this: why did the Terminus people not lock Our Heroes into the rail car straight away when they had them disarmed? Do they feed people long pig, tell them what it is, gauge their reactions, decide whether or not to let them join Cannibal Crew, and then choose to put them in a rail car if the answer is "No"?

Or did the producers just need a way to streee-e-e-e-tch the last few minutes with some action?

Also the revelation that Grill Lady Mary is played by Denise Crosby answers so much about why I disliked her on sight.
posted by komara at 12:35 PM on March 31 [2 favorites]


In fact, now we have some guy that supposedly knows what is happening, but not once does anyone sit down and say, "So, what's the deal?"

"It's classified."

Which is one of the dumbest rationals ever, but they at least halfheartedly addressed it.

I like the idea of the mystery of Beth's disappearance never being solved.

My question about the finale is this: why did the Terminus people not lock Our Heroes into the rail car straight away when they had them disarmed?

These the questions you're supposed to ponder and speculate over until Season 5. Cheers!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:37 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]


I say start offing the main characters and introducing new folks.

The trouble with this is, at some point, there are just too many survivors. This is going to be a bigger problem for my suspension of disbelief the longer this show goes on. At a certain point it just starts to seem like there are too many damn people still alive all over the place to justify civilization having collapsed.

I already found the moment in the season finale where they come across random dude in a field, getting eaten by zombies, and Rick stops Carl from trying pointlessly to save the guy, to be a really jarring thing, because part of my brain is just like, "Wait, what the hell? It is way too deep into the zombie apocalypse for there still be random lone humans, with no apparent survival strategy worked out, just cropping up in random locations getting eaten." I think that scene was the biggest false note in the whole episode for me, just jarringly out-of-place and kind of unnecessary IMO.

Also I still don't understand why people find the writing and the characters' actions so unbelievable a lot of the time. These are people that are constantly traumatized and in shock. Pretty much everyone in this world has seen shit worse than anyone on earth today. They act scared and desperate, sometimes indifferent to whether they live or die and other times a bit overly hopeful that they've finally found a place where they can be safe. The show doesn't get everything right but I don't find it hard to understand the behaviour of the characters within the world.

Yeah, I also see a lot of people criticize it for "wooden acting" and I think it's a similar thing - there's a difference between "wooden acting" and "acting wooden", and some people just don't seem to be able to tell the difference between the two; portraying someone who is basically numbed by constant horror, exhaustion, hunger and stress - people who will barely react to anything that doesn't register to them as a crisis, but who have no emotional reserves left to deal with anything that is a crisis - is not an easy task and for my part I think the cast of the show does a pretty solid job.
posted by mstokes650 at 12:39 PM on March 31 [4 favorites]


why did the Terminus people not lock Our Heroes into the rail car straight away when they had them disarmed?

Just off the top of my head, the Termites (thank you, Dr. Zira) didn't know whether Our Heroes had any other friends waiting on the outside -- if they did, then they can lure those people in by making it really look like Terminus was a safe place. They only resorted to Plan B (get the hostage out of harm's way (which they failed), then herd the rest toward the trap) when Our Heroes realized something was wrong.
posted by Etrigan at 12:41 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]


I already found the moment in the season finale where they come across random dude in a field, getting eaten by zombies, and Rick stops Carl from trying pointlessly to save the guy, to be a really jarring thing, because part of my brain is just like, "Wait, what the hell? It is way too deep into the zombie apocalypse for there still be random lone humans, with no apparent survival strategy worked out, just cropping up in random locations getting eaten."

Last survivor of another group that was heading toward Terminus, perhaps.
posted by Etrigan at 12:42 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]


Cannibals doesn't make much sense to me as there are seemingly so many people in Terminus. That's a lot of mouths to feed and lot of potential for turning on each other.

The suggestion by one of the people I was watching it with is that they have turned on their own group when necessary and eaten them too. Hence the candles and toys and names in the shrine room our Heroes ran through on the way to the boxcars, honouring those who became dinner.

Or maybe they catch the odd deer/rabbit and eat a lot of salad too.

I don't think they kidnapped Beth though. They must have a steady stream of people coming by, and meet a lot when they put their signs up.
posted by jamesonandwater at 12:44 PM on March 31


Pretty much everyone in this world has seen shit worse than anyone on earth today.

Whuh!? Do you really want to compare reality to a ... fictional TV show? Especially, you know, there are still people alive who have survived the atrocities in World War II ( which start with the Holocaust but also include firebombing, atom bombing, sexual violence, live human experimentation, and just plain total war?) and then went on to live through any number of smaller civil or regional conflicts, Communist upheavals, right-wing coups, ethnic/religious cleansing, and post-colonial revolutions that's happened in the last 60 years?

I'm trying not to be graphic and link to this stuff, but I pretty much know that history is by comparison worse, because the show has to have some semblance of narrative and good taste or else it won't be on TV for four seasons.
posted by FJT at 12:45 PM on March 31 [3 favorites]


I lived through a an actual riot, and have never had to shoot my own mother in the head so that she doesn't eat her own newly born child.

There may be people who have seen worse, but that's got to be up there.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:46 PM on March 31 [8 favorites]


EVERYTHING in this show is a disastrous proposition. Alone, in a family-sized unit, or in a larger community, the zombies fuck everything up. When more than 1 person is involved, there is infighting.

It's also misleading the declare the democratic-council prison community a failed experiment, because it was working fine until the Governor deliberately set out to destroy it in a suicidal attack created through lies, intimidation, and murder.

I don't want to lean too heavily on real-world metaphors, but the prison survivors could no more reliably plan against rare dangerous outliers like the Governor than we could plan with 100% success against suicide bombers or serial killers. The answer isn't to declare civilization a failure. It's to learn as a civilization to recognize outliers and conflict early enough to intervene (like with Lizzie) or to reach them with competing nonviolent ideology (like Tara the defector from the Governor's army).
posted by nicebookrack at 12:48 PM on March 31 [7 favorites]


> This is the central thesis of the show: community at any scale larger than the family unit is a disastrous proposition. Strangers will always either be weaker than you, draining resources and exposing you and yours to danger, or stronger than you, in which case the only possible reason they might have for welcoming you into their community is to exploit you in some monstrous way. Of course, this is simply the worldview of the Tea Partiers of the world, who see themselves as being squeezed between parasitical hordes of welfare recipients and nebulous but all-powerful elites.

The argument has been made before--probably even here on MetaFilter--that zombie apocalypses and the like are a twisted, modern version of the American Dream Based on the Protestant Work Ethic. The glaring inequality and lack of meritocracy in society is washed away by an Act of God. Survival is then based purely on individual effort, and family structure, morality, and religion play much more central roles in daily lives.

I find that I can't complain about this show and comic book without spoiling things for explanation, but suffice it to say that Pater Aletheias's analysis highlights the exact reasons why I don't like the series' direction. I find that they ask for too much from the audience in terms of suspensions of disbelief, and some of the character behaviors are just plain unrealistic, even when considering the extreme trauma and circumstances. Spoilers ahead, but the big deal is supposed to be that "The Walking Dead" refers to the people and not the zombies. How can it not be a character-driven show in that regard? I agree that it's not, but it absolutely should be. As for the world-building, Robert Kirkman himself still doesn't have an idea or explanation for the infection, and all probability indicates he might leave it as a deus ex machina until the very end of the series. If you're waiting for some truly cohesive world-building, don't hold your breath, as Eugene really acts as a red herring (at least in the comics) regarding what he knows about the outbreak. That's really the end of the spoilers, but I'm going to keep typing some words so people who do glance at this block of text will have to look at the middle parts and do a little reading to be spoiled about the series. Alright. I think that's enough words.
posted by Johann Georg Faust at 12:48 PM on March 31 [9 favorites]


Yeah, though there still do seem to be folk music montages, I'm going to go out on a limb and say zombie apocalypse is probably worse than most things.
posted by dobie at 12:48 PM on March 31


Or dig through a guy's stomach in hopes of finding your wife's wedding ring...

I doubt anyone wants to downplay real-life atrocities, but this shiz is f-ed up!
posted by history_denier at 12:49 PM on March 31 [3 favorites]


Whuh!? Do you really want to compare reality to a ... fictional TV show?

Yup. I would be comfortable saying that if what happened on The Walking Dead happened in reality, it would be the single worst thing ever to happen to humanity by quite a large margin.

The answer isn't to declare civilization a failure.

Thing is, I don't think the show has declared civilization a failure. Merely that civilization has been destroyed by zombies.
posted by Hoopo at 12:50 PM on March 31 [4 favorites]


"It's classified."

Which is one of the dumbest rationals ever, but they at least halfheartedly addressed it.


My fanwank for that is that Glenn, like me, doesn't believe that Dr. Mullet really knows anything important, and is just humoring him.

Last survivor of another group that was heading toward Terminus, perhaps.

"Man, I KNEW I shouldn't have stayed in the bathroom so long back at Woodbury!"
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:51 PM on March 31


Yeah, it was my husband who figured out cannibals first. It was big steaks on a grill and no livestock in sight that first tipped him off and then the gunfire that clearly wasn't meant to hit anyone but drive them to a certain area instead. I saw the human bones and...yeah. Really, in retrospect I kind of feel like they hit us over the head with it. The more-than-usual focus on hunger/food-scarcity, the rabbit-in-a-trap foreshadowing, the lack of people in Terminus, the way the camera pans down to grill-lady's not-so-small belly, and the herding people into rail cars (I can't see one without thinking 'cattle-car'). Husband is super-tuned to any crumbs thrown for plot-end guessing and I'm not. I don't think it's much fun watching stories that way. But yeah, looking at it I now feel mad that they made it so obvious.
posted by kitcat at 12:54 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]


I'd love to see a zombie apocalypse in socialist Europe with everyone cooperating and helping each other. No guns really. Just people riding past zombies on bikes on their way to a light breakfast. Zombies all tripping on cobblestones and falling into canals. Kooky Dutch neighbour all shrugging and saying something you don't understand but nod at knowingly anyway.
posted by dobie at 12:54 PM on March 31 [28 favorites]


It was big steaks on a grill and no livestock in sight that first tipped him off

I figured they had shot a deer like Carol was in the process of doing a couple of episodes ago.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:56 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]


I figured they had shot a little girl like Carol was in the process of doing a couple of episodes ago.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:57 PM on March 31 [17 favorites]


Whatever the case, clearly Carol is a trendsetter on the show.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:58 PM on March 31 [6 favorites]


Just look at the people steaks, Lizzie.
posted by Dr. Zira at 1:00 PM on March 31 [7 favorites]


I have a real problem with guessing based on context clues on a show like TWD. I saw the meat on the grill last week, and my immediate reaction was "That's way too much meat to just have casually grilling". But then I thought, well, the writers have decided food scarcity is only a problem when they want it to be a problem, so maybe the grill was just supposed to be a sign of casual abundance.

So just like when I see a car being used part of me thinks "oh, they must have some kind of special fuel source, like they came from a military base with a refinery or something", then realizes that gas is only limited when it is conducive to the plot, I didn't make too much of the grilling meat. Not because I didn't want to, but I don't think they're tight enough with their world-building to make reasonable inferences as to what is going on.
posted by skewed at 1:01 PM on March 31 [3 favorites]


isn't also a little soon for cannibalism? i mean this is year four, wouldn't there still be peanut butter around? cans of beans? I mean, it's narratively interesting but it's hard to imagine a largeish group of people being so completely cool with welcoming people with plates of people and then herding them off.
posted by angrycat at 1:03 PM on March 31


Yup. I would be comfortable saying that if what happened on The Walking Dead happened in reality, it would be the single worst thing ever to happen to humanity by quite a large margin.

I think what you're saying is fairly ignorant and making me a little uncomfortable, but I feel that any more specific comparisons to what "anyone on earth "suffered and what goes on in a TV show would also be disrespectful and show an even more lacking of perspective and self-awareness. So, I'm just going to step away.
posted by FJT at 1:04 PM on March 31 [2 favorites]


I have a real problem with guessing based on context clues on a show like TWD. I saw the meat on the grill last week, and my immediate reaction was "That's way too much meat to just have casually grilling".

Well, then there's the context clue that when the Termites were herding Rick et al. toward the boxcar, they ran past a fenced area full of meatless skeletons.

And the Termites don't have Beth. They let their prey come to them. The person who was living in the mortuary/cemetery (all the dusted cans) has Beth, and I'm pretty sure I know who it is.
posted by FelliniBlank at 1:05 PM on March 31


How would the undead coming back to life to eat the living (your family and friends trying to EAT you) NOT be the single most horrifying mindfuck of all of humanity's history? Add in to that our weird cultural and religious beliefs about death and dead bodies and yeah, I think the Walking Dead's Wacky Walker World wins, dude.
posted by agregoli at 1:10 PM on March 31 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I am as confident as everyone else that they're supposed to be cannibals, I'm just saying that because they are careless with the details of scarcity. Half the time food, water, gas, medicine, ammo are incredibly valuable and you can't waste at all, other times it's not big deal to drive around eating beans straight from the can and walkers on the side of the road.
posted by skewed at 1:11 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]


i mean this is year four

It's Season 4 of the show, but it's only about maybe just under 2 years into the zombie apocalypse, because Baby Judith isn't a year old yet.
posted by FelliniBlank at 1:11 PM on March 31 [4 favorites]


isn't also a little soon for cannibalism?

It's a little gauche before the second amuse, but, really, any time before the intermezzo course is allowable.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 1:13 PM on March 31 [25 favorites]


I feel that any more specific comparisons to what "anyone on earth "suffered and what goes on in a TV show would also be disrespectful and show an even more lacking of perspective and self-awareness.

Okey dokey then. Is there some difficulty here separating fiction from reality?
posted by Hoopo at 1:14 PM on March 31 [2 favorites]


Not to get too MeTa here, but a fellow human being has requested that we not derail the discussion with disaster oneupsmanship. I, for one, agree.
posted by Etrigan at 1:16 PM on March 31 [3 favorites]


Also, my immediate reaction to seeing the candle shrine was "ZOMG how can they keep a room full of candles going all day?" Just their weird use of resources makes me uncomfortable guessing what is supposed to make sense and what doesn't. Even if the candles end up being made from human fat, it seems like it would take a lot of manpower to keep a shrine like that going.
posted by skewed at 1:18 PM on March 31 [8 favorites]


... wouldn't there still be peanut butter around? cans of beans?

Sometimes, you just want a hunk of meat.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:20 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]


We are Our Heroes, sitting in the cattle car of the off season, pondering all these questions about our tormentors.
posted by history_denier at 1:25 PM on March 31 [5 favorites]


I just wanted the final scene to go on for another twenty seconds.

*awkward silence, shuffling feet.*

"That's...okay, that's super, Rick. Uh, is there an actual plan, then, or...?"

"We're just gonna wait. I've inadvertently wiped out every settlement I've come across so far, I got no reason to think this one will be any different."
posted by Karlos the Jackal at 1:26 PM on March 31 [49 favorites]


Well, then there's the context clue that when the Termites were herding Rick et al. toward the boxcar, they ran past a fenced area full of meatless skeletons.

I guess at this point I'm just used to signs of human death and don't feel that it's reasonable to be expected to read any special significance into them.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 1:27 PM on March 31


Oh, relax, kids, I've got a gut feeling Uter is around here somewhere. [chuckles] After all, isn't there a little Uter in all of us?
posted by entropicamericana at 1:27 PM on March 31 [12 favorites]


The powerful impact of Walking Dead episodes, when they manage it, are the sort of moments of hopelessness and loss

Same here. One thing I consistently like about the show, despite the missteps, is that it's being presented as a kind of inexorable extinction event. No rag-tag bunch of whoevers is going to turn this thing around or re-establish any sort of equilibrium.
posted by FelliniBlank at 1:28 PM on March 31


I had a similar reaction to Karlos the Jackal, I actually thought it would be funny/stupid if Rick had said "They picked the wrong dude to fuck with!", but then they actually had him say basically that.
posted by skewed at 1:30 PM on March 31


My special pet name for Rick when he's in the mood to talk on telephones with nobody on the other end or go on stabbing for a while as we segue into the commercial is "Cuckoobananapants Rick." He's the Foley Artist's Best Friend.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 1:31 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]


They're kind of like double cannibals

Recursive cannibalism.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 1:31 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]


I am weird because I think the zombie apocalypse is both a horror responsible for destroying civilization AND a comprehensible problem that civilization is capable of successfully adapting to over time. I'm not interested in the characters finding a cure—and don't think they ever will.

Less than 200 years ago, doctors didn't wash their hands before/after tending patients, which led to countless deaths. At the same time, people had/have taboos about dead bodies being unclean, in part to stop the spread of disease. I can easily imagine a world in which destroying a corpse's brain immediately after death is common practice. Death via walker would still happen, but it would be accidental or a public health problem, not a horror movie.
posted by nicebookrack at 1:36 PM on March 31 [7 favorites]


As they cut to each person's face I was thinking, "Oh God, what out of character one-liner are they going to have Rick spout?" Then they had to use a euphemism which made it even lamer, haha.
posted by history_denier at 1:38 PM on March 31


I would spout that one-liner if I had torn out a dude's throat with my teeth earlier that morning. I mean, w/o the euphemism.
posted by angrycat at 1:40 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]


I would have said "I can be SUCH A PAIN IN THE NECK!"

But, then, I'm basically James Bond as scripted by Jerry Lewis.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 1:42 PM on March 31 [9 favorites]


I'm not sure that the typical canned beans lining our supermarket shelves would still be good after four years. Two years is probably OK. I'd probably raid the storerooms of local LDS temples for better canned goods.

I'm surprised a few people in this thread seem to have so much optimism in the human race. Looking at our past (and in many places in the present), the complete abandonment of modern ethics when there's no enforcement seems completely realistic to me.

I was also thinking this entire time that Beth drove away on her own. Didn't realize she was kidnapped. She's such a sympathetic character, holding on to her morality so strongly she convinces Daryl it's possible to stay a good person even in their fallen world, that I can't imagine they would kill her off offscreen. I think we'll see her again.
posted by Thoughtcrime at 1:45 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]


a comprehensible problem that civilization is capable of successfully adapting to over time.

I wonder though; it would be pretty tough. You'd basically have to take attendance everyday, have everyone check in constantly. Or maybe a situation like Logan's Run, where once someone is at a certain age and too high-risk they get "put to sleep". Because as long as everyone is infected, if anyone passed away in their sleep or went suicidal without letting people know, you always have the risk of a random zombie outbreak, which, in the Walking Dead Universe, seem to have snowballed and gotten out of control once or twice.
posted by Hoopo at 1:45 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]


No rag-tag bunch of whoevers is going to turn this thing around or re-establish any sort of equilibrium.
That's basically what Norman Reedus (Daryl) said during Talking Dead last night. Essentially, the characters are never coming back to who they were before, the people they were before are as dead as the walkers. The things they've all had to do to survive makes it basically impossible to be "normal" people again.
posted by teleri025 at 1:48 PM on March 31


The person who was living in the mortuary/cemetery (all the dusted cans) has Beth, and I'm pretty sure I know who it is.

Go on...
posted by Aizkolari at 1:58 PM on March 31 [7 favorites]


For those objecting to the desolate direction this particular world seems to be heading, the book (not the movie) of World War Z, despite being slightly tongue-in-cheek, described a truly life-affirming world where zombies were a crisis, then a pandemic, then a threat, then a nuisance humanity adapted to and managed to deal with gracefully. It was a great read if you want to think through the ways even broken, warped bureaucracies could step up in a crisis.
posted by abulafa at 2:02 PM on March 31 [2 favorites]


Eh, in WWZ, it depends on where you are. Russia turned more radically theological as I recall. And the movie was also life-affirming.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:05 PM on March 31


As someone who has read literally every issue of the comic series (up to issue 124!) I'm starting to get really annoyed with the TV version of The Walking Dead.

Ironically, it was the TV series that made me want to start reading the comic. I enjoyed the first season enough to decide that I wanted to delve further into this universe. As is often the case, the book is better than the show/movie. The show has made so many missteps along the way.

Spoilers from the TV Show and comic are coming, so if you dont want to be spoiled, look away now.

First of, I have no idea why Darabont decided not to include Tyreese straight away. His relationship is crucial to Rick in the early days (he's basically Darryl) so I find it weird that they didn't include such an important character. I mean, they had a black guy... T-Dog, so why not just get rid of the "-Dog" bit and make him Tyreese?

The way the TV series destroyed the character of Andrea should be an arrestable offence. Seriously, how did they screw up her character so bad when the template for an awesome female character is right there in the comics?

The Governor. Oh man, the frickin' Governor. The show took the first truly evil human character the comic presents us with and wussed him up in every way. Then they botched the third season finale by having him just "disappear" for a bit and ending without a cliffhanger. And when he does come back, first they try to redeem him, and then make him out to be even more of a wuss.

The fact that Judith is still breathing and Rick still has both hands is a continuing source of disappointment for me. Judith's death (along with Lori) in the comic was the first true "Holy fuck!" moment in the comic for me; even more than when Rick lost his hand. I get why these things haven't happened in the show. Rick losing a hand = expensive CGI and Judith's death would likely have seen advertisers leave the show in droves, but still.

At this point, I'm scared that when they meet Negan, the guy will talk like a British butler and just give Glen a big ol' hug.

I'm still sort of enjoying the show. But I'm quickly losing interest. I get that not every show or movie needs to be (or can be) a literal interpretation of the source material, but when they fuck up their own deviations so badly, you can't help but wonder if AMC has really hired the most competent people to make their show... and why Kirkman himself isn't insisting on stronger standards (I'm guessing money but still).
posted by Effigy2000 at 2:06 PM on March 31


In another post-apocalyptic zombie universe (Rot & Ruin, a series of YA novels), everyone sleeps alone and locks themselves into their bedrooms at night to avoid the accidental overnight zombification issue. That wouldn't take care of the odd heart attack during the day or what have you, but at least you wouldn't wake up to your spouse eating you.

I think the current state of humanity in the Walking Dead universe has more to do with the fact that civilization has collapsed than what caused it. The zombies can be a threat, surely, but lack of a reliable food supply, transportation, and medicine are the real issues. In that sense I don't think it's unrealistic that humans would fall into being naturally combative when resources are both very, very scarce and dangerous to get ahold of.

Humans are also spread very thin, with no effective communication over distance. That would make it pretty hard to trust others when they show up out of nowhere. Where did this guy come from? Where has he been all this time? What's he been up to the last 2 years? What does he want? Et cetera.
posted by something something at 2:07 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]


but when they fuck up their own deviations so badly, you can't help but wonder if AMC has really hired the most competent people to make their show..

It's the most highly rated show on cable tv, so AMC hasn't fucked up anything.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:08 PM on March 31 [5 favorites]


The person who was living in the mortuary/cemetery (all the dusted cans) has Beth, and I'm pretty sure I know who it is.

Go on...


I'm betting it's Gabriel Stokes or a version of same.
posted by FelliniBlank at 2:09 PM on March 31


It is way too deep into the zombie apocalypse for there still be random lone humans, with no apparent survival strategy worked out, just cropping up in random locations getting eaten.

Yeah, that seemed weird to me too. I didn't see any signs of a leg injury on that guy, yet he was standing still in the middle of an open field full of zombies and yelling "HELP!" at the top of his lungs instead of running. The fact that he was still alive with survival skills of that caliber makes me wonder if he wasn't some kind of freshly-thawed cryonics test subject.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 2:10 PM on March 31 [3 favorites]


It's the most highly rated show on cable tv, so AMC hasn't fucked up anything.

The two conditions are not mutually exclusive.
posted by mordax at 2:11 PM on March 31 [8 favorites]


The fact that he was still alive makes me wonder if he wasn't some kind of freshly-thawed cryonics test subject.

Probably a lone survivor of a group that used to care for him. Maybe he was the only one who knew how to mix a proper martini.
posted by hat_eater at 2:13 PM on March 31 [2 favorites]


Probably a lone survivor of a group that used to care for him. Maybe he was the only one who knew how to mix a proper martini.

So you're saying he's The Whelk??
posted by Kitteh at 2:14 PM on March 31 [8 favorites]


> The fact that Judith is still breathing and Rick still has both hands is a continuing source of disappointment for me.

Well, Kirkman has said on multiple occasions that he really regrets chopping Rick's hand off from a writer's perspective, so I'm not surprised at that change.

I am really surprised that the baby is still living. That moment was just so stunning in the comic. The return of the Governor--the now one-armed, one-eyed, dickless Governor--the attack on the prison, and then Lori and the baby just... getting caught in the crossfire. No walkers. Just senseless violence from another group of human survivors. I definitely remember thinking, "He'll never kill the baby!"
posted by lovecrafty at 2:18 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]


> So you're saying he's The Whelk?
Unless you've stuffed my valet into a clamshell, no. Although God knows there's no end of "long pig" anecdotes he's willing to share once he's doped up.
posted by Malory Archer at 2:27 PM on March 31


I'm amazed at how seriously many of you guys take this show. I was hoping to find a laugh-fest in this thread! Literally, I cannot get through one episode without busting out in laughter at least once. And shaking my head at least a dozen times.

The attempts at character development alternate between the deathly dull and the cringe-inducing. Rick's meandering internal psychological war would be great, if only the producers had given it a consistent arc and hired an actor capable of pulling it off. This show has neither, so it ends up being laughable.

The zombies are a ludicrously transparent device to change plot lines (and I use that term loosely) at any given point. Large crowds of zombies just show up out of nowhere. They can easily be outrun, and yet they always seem to be right behind.

I'm plenty willing to engage in some suspension of disbelief, but the filmmaker has to do his/her part. Realistic dialog, quality acting, and a minimal amount of effort to make things not-over-the-top-cheesy are essential ingredients in that endeavor. All this is MIA in this show.

Add in the constant commercials, and the show adds up to a giant, frustrating disappointment for me.

Sorry for the negative rant; I'll check out now!
posted by mikeand1 at 2:36 PM on March 31 [12 favorites]


The attempts at character-development alternate between the deathly dull and the cringe-inducing.

It really is a faithful adaptation of the comic book, isn't it?
posted by entropicamericana at 2:37 PM on March 31 [5 favorites]


Thanks for stopping by, mikeand1, sheesh.
posted by agregoli at 2:57 PM on March 31 [4 favorites]


Sorry for the negative rant

Apology not accepted!

:P
posted by history_denier at 3:00 PM on March 31


Slightly spoilery, but: There is nothing in Washington. Rick and co made it to the cdc in Atlanta in...season one? And the lone survivor there reported everything had fallen. "The french held out the longest..."
posted by vrakatar at 3:15 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]


At what point is someone going to just get a boat?
posted by Kafkaesque at 3:17 PM on March 31 [3 favorites]


Ok then, one more! Here's what made me LOL this episode:

Rick bites into guy's neck. Tears out giant hunk of flesh. Blood spurts everywhere, guy dies instantly.

Have you all ever tried to bite someone to death?? That is NOT how it goes down.

Even Mike Tyson could only get the tip of an ear off!
posted by mikeand1 at 3:21 PM on March 31 [3 favorites]


It is way too deep into the zombie apocalypse for there still be random lone humans, with no apparent survival strategy worked out, just cropping up in random locations getting eaten.

Ehhhhh ... I get the complaint, but the show's certainly set a precedent that random loners were largely part of groups which dissolved or were torn apart. This is the entire conceit of the season segment that just finished and has been addressed directly by characters numerous times.
posted by pokermonk at 3:21 PM on March 31 [3 favorites]


Have you all ever tried to bite someone to death?? That is NOT how it goes down.

/kinda laughing nervously at the implication you have tried this
posted by Hoopo at 3:27 PM on March 31 [8 favorites]



The way the TV series destroyed the character of Andrea should be an arrestable offence. Seriously, how did they screw up her character so bad when the template for an awesome female character is right there in the comics?


I can forgive the TV series for this because the writers and Melissa McBride have managed to make Carol into such a badass character. I hope Carol and Tyreese save the day in October and that she hands over Judith to Rick with a little knowing smile on her lips.
posted by longdaysjourney at 3:29 PM on March 31 [4 favorites]


Have you all ever tried to bite someone to death?? That is NOT how it goes down.

He learned it from zombies, alright? HE LEARNED IT BY WATCHING ZOMBIES
posted by Karlos the Jackal at 3:31 PM on March 31 [33 favorites]


I actually think humans could manage a lot worse than a zombie pandemic, when you look at horrifying parts of history and how society has adapted and struggled on; diseases, war, sieges, etc.

But the total collapse of society is a sort of necessary trope for the stories TWD is trying to tell, even though I think in the genre it's overused -- the more interesting apocalyptic fiction I think subverts this. For example, I'd like to see a sort of post-plague/Decameron-esque take on a Zombie pandemic.

Do they feed people long pig, tell them what it is, gauge their reactions, decide whether or not to let them join Cannibal Crew, and then choose to put them in a rail car if the answer is "No"?

This is sort of what I assumed. Some sort of culty-brainwashing aspect.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 3:32 PM on March 31 [2 favorites]


MetaFilter: Has bitten people to death.
posted by mikeand1 at 3:32 PM on March 31 [3 favorites]


At what point is someone going to just get a boat?

I think I've said this on here before, but I've always assumed that there are a crapton of people on boats, but due to the high population density along the coast (which would now be a high population density of zombies) they just never come ashore, so the people on boats have their own basically Waterworld thing going on.

the show's certainly set a precedent that random loners were largely part of groups which dissolved or were torn apart

Yeah, but it's not just that the guy was a loner, it was that the guy was a loner who, judging by what we saw of his behavior/competence level, should have died in the first week. Sure you can imagine he was taken care of a now-no-longer existing group of more capable survivors, but then you have to construct a scenario where they all died and he survived, just so that he could stand perfectly still in a field surrounded by zombies, shouting "HELP" as though attracting survivors that would help you was legitimately more likely than attracting more zombies. Even Beth isn't that dumb/naively optimistic.

And you know, maybe they'll prove me wrong - it would not be at all unlike the writers to later leave little clues indicating who this guy was and who he was with and what happened to them all, for us to later put together. But with none of that to go on at the moment and just this one guy's appearance, he just seemed completely random and out of place. By contrast, I had no difficulty whatsoever believing that Abraham would randomly be out there surviving and even managing to carry some dead weight (Eugene), because he has "survival skills" written all over him.
posted by mstokes650 at 3:35 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]


Have you all ever tried to bite someone to death?? That is NOT how it goes down.

You're aware that the series is not a documentary right?
posted by juiceCake at 3:36 PM on March 31


To be fair I once tried to bite a guy to La petite mort, and that's not how it went down at all
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 3:37 PM on March 31 [3 favorites]


You're aware that the series is not a documentary right?

I was curious so I googled "human bite" (DON'T, OK?) and based on that I actually think you could probably kill someone with a well-placed bite. Maybe not exactly as portrayed, but the point is the things people pick out of this show as being laughably unbelievable are just weird. I mean, it's a show about dead people that can run around and want to eat you, is that not enough of a stretch already? We gotta be all "Psssh like you'd ever ride a motorcycle down the highway, right?"
posted by Hoopo at 3:46 PM on March 31 [5 favorites]


Sure you can imagine he was taken care of a now-no-longer existing group of more capable survivors, but then you have to construct a scenario where they all died and he survived, just so that he could stand perfectly still in a field surrounded by zombies, shouting "HELP" as though attracting survivors that would help you was legitimately more likely than attracting more zombies.

I think there were more zombies eating someone on the tracks right nearby that Rick & co. ran into when they fled, right? I figure there was a group heading to Terminus that got split up and those were two of the last of them, and guy-in-field was yelling for meat-on-tracks.
posted by Karlos the Jackal at 3:46 PM on March 31 [4 favorites]


Slightly spoilery, but: There is nothing in Washington. Rick and co made it to the cdc in Atlanta in...season one? And the lone survivor there reported everything had fallen. "The french held out the longest..."

Agreed. Slightly spoilery proof:

{ Eugene: "Looking at the fossil record, knowing what I know about this infection, you cannot say for certain it isn't what killed off the dinosaurs. Do I believe that’s what happened? No...but it's enjoyable as hell to think about an undead ankylosaur going after a diplodocus!" }

Ankylosaurus and diplodocus lived millions of years apart. Eugene is a SCIENTIST OF LIES!
posted by nicebookrack at 3:52 PM on March 31 [22 favorites]


Have you all ever tried to bite someone to death?? That is NOT how it goes down.

Well no, you chase them down and tire them out first.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:54 PM on March 31 [2 favorites]


I think there were more zombies eating someone on the tracks right nearby that Rick & co. ran into when they fled, right? I figure there was a group heading to Terminus that got split up and those were two of the last of them, and guy-in-field was yelling for meat-on-tracks.

Meat on Tracks was Zombie Dylan's worst album.
posted by Etrigan at 4:09 PM on March 31 [6 favorites]


"...but the point is the things people pick out of this show as being laughably unbelievable are just weird. I mean, it's a show about dead people that can run around and want to eat you, is that not enough of a stretch already?"

There are many good films and TV shows that start with a totally unrealistic premise, but which nonetheless get you to suspend your disbelief by creating an environment that is realistic and believable, and seeding it with convincing acting and dialog.

The Exorcist. The Shining. Even the zombie thing can be made to appear somewhat convincing (e.g. 28 Days Later).
posted by mikeand1 at 4:10 PM on March 31 [4 favorites]


I watch the show largely for Georgia scenery porn (Atlanta, I miss you!), so in my version of zombie apocalypse realism, the survivors would have never left the city. They would also face exciting challenges like:
- in winter, you and the zombies are covered in ice and mud; in spring, the zombies and you are covered in pollen and mildew; in all seasons, you are both squashed by trees
- unmowed lawns as far as the eye can see
- a wild, hybrid coyote-pitbull pack has taken over Piedmont Park
- violent radical women-only bunkers barricaded at Agnes Scott and Spelman
- the tense chase of walkers and humans round & round & round the Hartsfield-Jackson airport terminals
- trying to cook this dried food thing you found in a non-English box in the ruins of the DeKalb Farmer's Market
- KUDZU APOCALYPSE

I may have thought about this a lot.
posted by nicebookrack at 4:12 PM on March 31 [23 favorites]


Also, in my headcanon the Termite cannibals are all upper-middle-class refugees from ITP like Decatur and Virginia Highlands. Here's your organic, free-range red meat, hipster citizens!!

(I mock because I love, Decatur & VaHi)
posted by nicebookrack at 4:28 PM on March 31 [4 favorites]


Regarding the deer question, you have to think about the practical situation of the zombie apocalypse. Everyone not infected is going to flee to remote, wilderness areas--or as near to that as they're capable of finding, i.e. where deer are usually found. Then they will kill and eat those deer when possible, otherwise they will drive those deer out of wilderness/wooded areas into regions with denser populations of zombies who then will kill and eat the deer, whose superior speed won't save them from the massive crowds of dead people wandering around.

Just think, the crew can't walk a day without running into a few zombies. Imagine what trying to avoid those groups would be like for a deer. No matter what, we're talking about the most massive habitat disruption faced by native deer since white people showed up in 1492. And the show is now a couple of years after the collapse, so that's a couple years of disrupted breeding. Hardly surprising the population is low.

Then there's the fact that hunting isn't easy, most people who are still alive are suburbanites with no survivalist or farming skills, holding sufficient land to farm is impossible, and stored food stocks are rapidly dwindling/expiring --> cannibalism. Plus I'm willing to bet there's some messed up cultic/religious explanation for the cannibalism (remember the crazy candle room?). Maybe based on imitating the Walkers or something along those lines.
posted by NapAdvocacy at 4:34 PM on March 31


I read the comic until after they encounter the cannibals living in the suburb. Pretty fucking nihilistic and twisted. What is the point of this show? I don't get why it is so popular - seems like torture porn lite.

This is a serious question. On the other hand, if we are talking about societal breakdown and human depravity, I would pay to watch a miniseries about the 30 Years War.

But Walking Dead is so depressing for no good reason really.
posted by KokuRyu at 4:34 PM on March 31 [2 favorites]


Yeah they seemed a bit hipster-corperate. They think they found a system, and as long as they stick with the system they'll be okay. Much brainwashing. The show is going through the options: farm (Hershel and Rick in flashback) or hunt (the claimers/Terminus)? The prison was the happy medium, Hershel's farm the failed prototype.
posted by vrakatar at 4:35 PM on March 31


Deer are plentiful! Knowing how to properly prepare that deer is a whole other thing most modern Americans can't do, and is unpleasant and labor intensive. Getting all the food value (and bone/hide/sinew value) out of that deer is a very rare skill even before a Z-day event.
posted by vrakatar at 4:37 PM on March 31


What is the point of this show? I don't get why it is so popular - seems like torture porn lite. This is a serious question.

Do you like jazz? I don't. Hate it. Listened to it my whole life up until I just gave the fuck up in my 20s, because I just don't like it. There's no reason for that; I just don't. And so, when jazz comes up on MetaFilter, I just don't click on those articles. It's not actually required for me to do so. When it comes up in real-life conversation, I just say, "Meh, not my thing," and I go to the bar for another round or whatever. Some people are like that about magicians, or baseball, or any of the many other things that I really like. I don't think there's anything wrong with them, they just don't like things that I like.

So, what's the point of this show? People like watching it. Just like every other show that's out there, up to and including Cosmos.
posted by Etrigan at 4:50 PM on March 31 [8 favorites]


... it was that the guy was a loner who, judging by what we saw of his behavior/competence level, should have died in the first week ...

Well, it's just that there's precedent throughout the show for this: People have found codependency as a working form of survival without being adept at [zombie] wilderness survival. Maybe they have an endearing quality (like the now-deceased girls or Beth) or they've proven themselves valuable for other reasons (like Eugene) or they simply stumbled into a strong group early on (like many Woodbury survivors), but plenty of people are still alive that wouldn't have survived a week in the wilderness otherwise.

While I agree that you and I might write scenarios a bit differently, I do think this is a perfectly reasonable approach.

I feel like maybe the problem is not that the show's peddling impossible scenarios, but that it's not peddling them convincingly ... or that there are enough moments where the storytelling is genuinely careless that it's easier to be incredulous about the things that very well may be well thought out.
posted by pokermonk at 4:51 PM on March 31 [3 favorites]


Deer are plentiful! Knowing how to properly prepare that deer is a whole other thing most modern Americans can't do, and is unpleasant and labor intensive. Getting all the food value (and bone/hide/sinew value) out of that deer is a very rare skill even before a Z-day event.

Same goes for people meat!
posted by planetesimal at 5:00 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]


That pile of human remains at Terminus was disgraceful. There was still plenty of flesh visible on those carcasses! You could boil the bones for marrow and soup stock!
posted by nicebookrack at 5:03 PM on March 31 [7 favorites]


Same goes for people meat!

Yeah, I wonder sometimes about post-apoc stories where the survivors just go, "Well, I guess we'd better eat people!" I mean... butchering a pig is no small task. You start off by hanging it up (alive) and bleeding it out. Not easy with a big hog, but now imagine that hog has opposable thumbs. Then there's the rest--just as complex as butchering a deer--which has to be done quickly so things don't spoil.

...maybe I've spent too much time refreshing the Hannibal thread.
posted by lovecrafty at 5:12 PM on March 31 [2 favorites]


I have a pal that has a small farm near here, with birds, sheep, hogs, a few bovines..he's also an avid sportsman and has built himself a tiny, cooled, powered slaughterhouse. Even with that and ample bourbon and help (yours truly) it is a smelly, gross, potentially boring task.
posted by vrakatar at 5:17 PM on March 31 [2 favorites]


there's precedent throughout the show for this: People have found codependency as a working form of survival without being adept at [zombie] wilderness survival. Maybe they have an endearing quality (like the now-deceased girls or Beth) or they've proven themselves valuable for other reasons (like Eugene) or they simply stumbled into a strong group early on (like many Woodbury survivors), but plenty of people are still alive that wouldn't have survived a week in the wilderness otherwise.

I'd argue that's one of the main themes of the show, especially this season: people stay alive together because they can't make it alone. Alone, it's just survival without really living. TWD is full of badasses who could easily survive alone without deadweight people dragging them down. But the truly lone survivors have either gone mad from the isolation (Morgan) or were mad to start with (the Governor). The longest-surviving badasses still on the show (Rick, Michonne, Daryl, arguably Carol and Tyreese) are also the ones who are hurt most by being alone, who've chosen to seek out human contact and build a found family.

Aside from the constant death and suffering, it's really quite heartwarming.
posted by nicebookrack at 5:25 PM on March 31 [10 favorites]


I thought the fact that they're cannibals at Terminus was pounded home with a sledgehammer in this episode (especially if you've read or seen The Road, where basically the exact same idea and set-up appear), and it was obvious the writers were having fun with it when one of the Termites, during the initial stand-off at the barbecue grill, says something like, "People come here, we take them in, and they become a part of us."
posted by newmoistness at 5:32 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: Aside from the constant death and suffering, it's really quite heartwarming.
posted by planetesimal at 5:42 PM on March 31 [4 favorites]


So, what's the point of this show? People like watching it.

Yeah, I get this is sort of a modern take on "Friends" or "Seinfeld", where you get to join and interact viscerally with a group of people, with the added twist that someone in the group will be killed off each show.

But my question is *why is this prime time entertainment?*

I realize I am being all "your favourite tv show sucks", but it's not my point. It is a compelling story.

However, there is a lot of rape, dismemberment, brutal and extreme violence (including extreme and brutal violence against women), and torture. The show also lacks any of the nuance and dark, ironic humour of the George A. Romero movies.

It's really extreme, and I wonder what the success of the show says about American culture.
posted by KokuRyu at 6:11 PM on March 31


I wonder what the success of the show says about American culture.

That some of them like gross zombie television? Otherwise this might be a question better suited for AskMe so it doesn't seem like you're just yourfavoritetvsucksing it up here.
posted by jessamyn at 6:17 PM on March 31 [5 favorites]


Zombie movies and this show are popular because they make one wonder what one would do. They grew in popularity with the cold war and the nagging threat of atomic war. I also enjoy reruns of Fantasy Island.
posted by vrakatar at 6:19 PM on March 31 [2 favorites]


"I wonder what the success of the show says about American culture."


Whatever it is, it's not good! :)
posted by mikeand1 at 6:47 PM on March 31


I realize I am being all "your favourite tv show sucks", but it's not my point. It is a compelling story.

I'm not sure which bothers me more: the people who clearly don't watch the show declaring they know exactly why it sucks, or the people who have clearly faithfully watched every episode for four years who declare they know exactly why it sucks. Both have certainly been well-represented in this thread, though.
posted by mstokes650 at 6:57 PM on March 31 [5 favorites]


For one thing, it's kinda nice to see a cast of Southern/rural people (Southern women! the occasional POC!)—even if half are secretly English—who have a wide range of personalities and backgrounds and who aren't all comic relief idiots and/or wildly racist rednecks. Not ALL of them, anyway.

It also helps that the cast is gorgeous, runs around sweatily in tight clothing, and angsts while beautifully lit.
posted by nicebookrack at 7:04 PM on March 31 [7 favorites]


I'm not sure which bothers me more: the people who clearly don't watch the show declaring they know exactly why it sucks, or the people who have clearly faithfully watched every episode for four years who declare they know exactly why it sucks.

I really wish I could remember who said it, but the essential difference between Star Wars fans and Star Trek fans is that Star Wars fans love the Star Wars in their heads much more than they love the Star Wars on the screen, while Star Trek fans love the Star Trek in their heads and the Star Trek on the screen more or less equally. The Walking Dead fandom is full of Star Wars fans.
posted by Etrigan at 7:06 PM on March 31 [7 favorites]


Unless they're Star Trek Voyager fans. But mostly yes.
posted by nicebookrack at 7:10 PM on March 31


Both have certainly been well-represented in this thread, though.

I had a serious question - why is a show about rape and cannibalism the new Seinfeld? However, if you don't want to talk about that and live vicariously through the cast members, that's fine too.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:11 PM on March 31


Otherwise this might be a question better suited for AskMe...

That would have to be a very carefully constructed question to avoid being Chatfilter ;)
posted by COD at 7:15 PM on March 31


why is a show about rape and cannibalism

Its a show about zombies that to date has had no canibalism that we're aware of. It's is not "about" rape and canibalism.
posted by Hoopo at 7:20 PM on March 31 [4 favorites]


Has anyone actually been raped on "The Walking Dead" show? (Not the comic.) There are threats of sexual violence; can we compile those? Is there a higher rape-porn ratio than a basic network police drama like Law & Order SVU or Criminal Minds? Are Walking Dead fans more or less psychologically disturbed than Hannibal fans?
posted by nicebookrack at 7:20 PM on March 31 [2 favorites]


I had a serious question - why is a show about rape and cannibalism the new Seinfeld?

Maybe you never saw Seinfeld but it was a comedy about four people who are incredibly terrible people and never learn any lessons and destroy the lives of everyone around them and it is played for laughs and it was immensely popular
posted by shakespeherian at 7:44 PM on March 31 [16 favorites]


I had a serious question - why is a show about rape and cannibalism the new Seinfeld?

Answering completely seriously: it's actually a spinoff of Seinfeld. In season 3, episode 4, George says "Jerry I am goign to eat people in zombie times" and jerry's like "oh geez"
posted by Greg Nog at 7:45 PM on March 31 [8 favorites]


Believe it or not
George is eating people
posted by shakespeherian at 7:46 PM on March 31 [3 favorites]


why is a show about rape and cannibalism the new Seinfeld?

Your question is based on a faulty premise that comes from not actually having watched the show, in case you were wondering which category you fell into. This is not a show "about" rape and cannibalism, as everyone who actually does watch it is telling you.

Now, we could discuss why a show about the breakdown of society and civilization is hugely popular, and I think if you look back at this thread you'll find a number of people touching on that very subject. But maybe, as they generally say in threads about more serious subjects around here, if you're walking into a thread on a subject you know nothing about, you should maybe do less making the conversation all about what you want to talk about, and more listening?

on preview: scratch all that, I like Greg Nog's answer better.
posted by mstokes650 at 7:53 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]


'These corpses are making me thirsty!'
posted by shakespeherian at 7:57 PM on March 31 [12 favorites]


I had a serious question - why is a show about rape and cannibalism the new Seinfeld?

I know I can be rather out of touch with what the "kids" are into these days but what show is that and how is it "about" rape and cannibalism? Does it take place in the U.S. Army?
posted by juiceCake at 7:57 PM on March 31


I had a serious question - why is a show about rape and cannibalism the new Seinfeld?

"New Seinfeld" show about rape and cannibalism is neither the new Seinfield, nor about rape and cannibalism. Discuss.
posted by jessamyn at 8:05 PM on March 31 [8 favorites]


"George, we're trying to have a civilization here."
The transition is actually seamless.
posted by Iris Gambol at 8:16 PM on March 31 [8 favorites]


The spin-off is all about George, Jerry, Kramer, and Elaine making a bet to see who can go the longest without getting eaten by a walker. Season ending bombshell: Kramer teams up with Newman and wins the bet.
posted by lovecrafty at 8:32 PM on March 31


Spoiler: Bania is revealed to be a zombie and Jerry finds him more tolerable to be around.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:35 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]


I had a serious question - why is a show about rape and cannibalism the new Seinfeld?

This is the world that Newman wants.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:50 PM on March 31


Jerry Seinfeld would probably not survive a zombie apocalypse ... neither would Jennifer Aniston or even Bill Cosby ... this according to "Walking Dead" star Norman Reedus.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 8:53 PM on March 31


To be fair, Norman Reedus would also probably not survive a zombie apocalypse, according to "Walking Dead" star Norman Reedus. Unless he had his fuzzy bunny slippers.
posted by nicebookrack at 9:28 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]


I just wanted to note here that it was pretty amazing to me how much of this final season took its playbook from The Last of Us, not only in plot points, but it tone and cinemetography. If you didn't notice it prior (and you've played the game), I recommend watching it again with the parallels in mind.

I recognized it from the getgo at the beginning of this run. In the beginning, the way that they went through the houses and found artifacts of a previous time was reminiscent of the way that you search buildings of bygone days in TLoU. The childlike wonder of Carl finding pudding in a bitter world was reminiscent of Ellie. Carl taking care of his sick father and having to fend for himself was reminiscent of Ellie taking care of Joel when he was wounded.

Rick killing one of the bandits while navigating a number of pitfalls in a previously empty house harkens back to pretty much the entire game. Having it come back to haunt him when it's discovered by other members of the same gang, well... if you've played the game, you know. Rick protecting his son in the same desperate way that Joel protected Ellie.

Having the episodes focused on finding a distant salvation that is supposed to provide answers and solutions, with plenty of plot twists to disappoint expectations. CANNIBALS, for crying out loud.

Even some of the set pieces, like the gym at the end of the final episode, reminded you of set pieces in the game. Additionally, when they were in Terminus and fighting the bad guys, there were crates set around the yard exactly like every scene in TLoU where you knew there was going to be a gunfight.

I actually really liked seeing the parallels, as I think it helped me enjoy a number of elements this season that were marred by what I thought was some subpar acting in places. It also reminds me of the serious impact of The Last of Us not only on the world of video games, but in how it transcended other forms of media, as well.
posted by SpacemanStix at 9:30 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]


CANNIBALS, for crying out loud.

I should also note that even before this became obvious in the show, I guessed it before they arrived. You sort of knew that they were stepping into something not quite right, and I knew that it had to be that they were cannibals luring people in, because I'd already played the video game.
posted by SpacemanStix at 9:42 PM on March 31


I had a serious question - why is a show about rape and cannibalism the new Seinfeld?

Wow. Not even wrong.
posted by tzikeh at 9:45 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]


Is this stuff unique to the show and not in the comic book? Are you sure The Last Of Us isn't taking cues from the Walking Dead?
posted by Hoopo at 9:50 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]


I would rather be chained The Defiant Ones-style to Merle Dixon than to any cast character of Seinfeld during the zombie apocalypse. Even high on meth, Merle would be preferable. I'd even take the Governor over Seinfeldian company if I could fake being an adorable tween girl for long enough to live.
posted by nicebookrack at 9:54 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]


Is this stuff unique to the show and not in the comic book? Are you sure The Last Of Us isn't taking cues from the Walking Dead?

That's an interesting question. I'm not familiar with all of the comic books, but I thought that they were starting to deviate from the story line in the comics. The more obvious parallels seem relegated to the second half of the season, after the popularity of the game peaked. And some of the parallels have to do more with subtle nuances of character and set design.
posted by SpacemanStix at 9:58 PM on March 31


I just remembered another cannibal connection!

Clara, the woman in the woods in the season premiere, tried to lure Rick through the woods so she could feed him to her husband's zombified head. Then she killed herself because "You don't get to come back from things."

Apparently in TWD, killing someone to eat them or feed them to someone else is the line of killing you can't "come back" over once you've crossed it.

Also thematically appropriate, Clara had gone mad and stayed with her husband's head because she couldn't stand being alone.

IT'S ALL CONNECTEEEEEED *waggles fingers*


p.s. RE connections—zombified Herschel head :( :( :(
posted by nicebookrack at 10:15 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]


I enjoy these end of season threads, helpful to recap on what has transpired to get to this stage and people's interesting thoughts and analysis. I have not had to watch any of the big budget series for years. Thanks for putting in the hours everyone!
posted by asok at 5:46 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]


"I wonder what the success of the show says about American culture."

The only two shows we've been watching lately are TWD and Keeping Up Appearances. So... analyze THAT!

"IT'S PRONOUNCED BOUQUET!"
posted by history_denier at 5:58 AM on April 1 [4 favorites]


I like the show but why the fuck don't they call them zombies? "Walkers"??? Everybody walks, how did that become the preferred nomenclature?
posted by mrbigmuscles at 9:35 AM on April 1


In the TWD world, they haven't heard of zombies. There are no zombie movies, for instance.
posted by FelliniBlank at 10:15 AM on April 1 [3 favorites]


"IT'S PRONOUNCED BOUQUET!"

"It's my sister, Violet. You know, the one with the crossbow, barbed wire fence, petrol tank, and room for a pony. You met her at my last candlelight supper. Well, I suppose they're all candlelight suppers now, aren't they? Ahahahahaha!"

"RICHARD! I told you to put on a tie! I WILL not have you eaten alive looking like some sort of football hooligan - what would Mrs. Councillor Nugent think? Oh, it's Mrs. Councillor Nugent trying to eat you alive? Well, she always did have a healthy appetite. She played hockey at Rodean, you know."
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:32 AM on April 1 [5 favorites]


I like the show but why the fuck don't they call them zombies? "Walkers"??? Everybody walks, how did that become the preferred nomenclature?

In the TWD world, they haven't heard of zombies. There are no zombie movies, for instance.


As in all zombie movies that aren't comedies that are predicated on "See, this is what I would do if I were in a zombie movie."

However, in the comic, the characters classify the dead as Walkers (going toward something), Roamers (just walking for no apparent reason) or Lurkers (staying in one place). They seem to have not bothered with this on the TV show.
posted by Etrigan at 10:34 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]


I'm trying to imagine how things would have gone down if Rick hadn't gone all crazy with the "WHERE'D YOU GET THE WATCH???" The termites must have some sort of processing for arrivals ---> grillins'.
posted by Big_B at 10:44 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]


"Just to be safe, we quarantine new people for the first couple of nights in these train cars."

or

They're given some kind of drugged drink with their hambethers.
posted by Etrigan at 10:48 AM on April 1 [2 favorites]


I'm curious why the Termites took some of the group's possessions, like the much-traveled orange backpack and the iconic Daryl poncho, but let them keep others, like their clothes and shoes. If you're a cannibal, do you care about your victims' modesty, or their ability to run away through the woods without badly cutting their feet?
posted by nicebookrack at 11:39 AM on April 1


The answer to all questions is that it's a TV show about reanimated corpses who magically infect you by biting even when their blood and guts are already spilled all over your face.
posted by planetesimal at 11:42 AM on April 1 [2 favorites]


I'm trying to imagine how things would have gone down if Rick hadn't gone all crazy with the "WHERE'D YOU GET THE WATCH???"

I wondered the same thing. Maybe if he had noticed it but let things play out a bit more he could have gotten into a better position to do something... Like when they weren't surrounded on all sides by gunmen with the high ground...

Oh well, it was a pretty tense situation already and Rick is back to being a Man of Action and all.
posted by history_denier at 12:03 PM on April 1


one nice thing the show does is it doesn't show anybody eating the grilled meat, you're just left to imagine Glenn eating a big plate and then figuring things out when they're herded and oh boy that would be difficult, digestion wise.
posted by angrycat at 12:30 PM on April 1


one nice thing the show does is it doesn't show anybody eating the grilled meat, you're just left to imagine Glenn eating a big plate and then figuring things out when they're herded and oh boy that would be difficult, digestion wise.

Three seconds after the end of the episode: "Yeah, that's right, Rick. We're gonna fuck them up. Oh... and you don't want to go to that other end of the car. It's basically... um... all the vomit."
posted by Etrigan at 12:32 PM on April 1 [1 favorite]


I'm curious why the Termites took some of the group's possessions, like the much-traveled orange backpack and the iconic Daryl poncho, but let them keep others, like their clothes and shoes.

I imagine there's some sort of point at which the "cool and useful" line intersects with the "soaked with stinky sweat from being pressed against this filthy stranger's skin for who knows how long" line that makes it not worth the effort of holding the prisoners down and stripping them them of their inner layers of clothing.

Their outerwear and accessories wouldn't take as much effort to collect premortem, and if the Termites already have basic garments they don't have as much demand for the rest.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 1:13 PM on April 1


Yeah, those 0 DR shirts and pants wouldn't be worth many caps anyway.
posted by history_denier at 2:15 PM on April 1 [1 favorite]


In the TWD world, they haven't heard of zombies. There are no zombie movies, for instance.
posted by FelliniBlank at 10:15 AM on April 1 [1 favorite +] [!]


I just started watching a few weeks ago, early on, there is a scene where Rick & Co. are beating the hell out of a zombie, and Daryl comes along and headshots it. He then says "You go for the head, everybody knows that." If they haven't heard of zombies, then how did he know that?
posted by mrbigmuscles at 2:19 PM on April 1


I think that by the time we see Daryl the outbreak had been well underway.
posted by planetesimal at 2:24 PM on April 1 [2 favorites]


Perhaps the spinoff will show how word gets out on the proper way to put them down.
posted by planetesimal at 2:25 PM on April 1


Remember that we start the series with Rick waking up well after the outbreak had turned into an apocalypse. Daryl had presumably taken a more proactive stance and taken out a few rather than running away like much of the rest of them.
posted by Etrigan at 2:30 PM on April 1


I kinda wonder if characters in zombie series haven't heard of zombie movies or if they've just already used all the zombie joke-references to the point of exhaustion. "YES WE GET IT WE KNOW ALREADY."
posted by nicebookrack at 3:03 PM on April 1


Also IIRC the episode with Daryl going "shoot the head, everyone knows that!" was his first episode and I think his first scene. Looking back it's pretty entertaining how much of an obnoxious little weedy jerkface Daryl was then and how much he was already stealing every scene he was in. "CHOKEHOLD'S ILLEGAL!"
posted by nicebookrack at 3:15 PM on April 1 [1 favorite]


I'm not familiar with all of the comic books, but I thought that they were starting to deviate from the story line in the comics.

The relationship between the comics and the TV show is more complex than that. While the show started deviating seriously from the comic with the "Let's visit the CDC and have a countdown to a massive explosion!" nonsense in episode 6, it's regularly incorporated major events from the comics in roughly the order they happen in the comics - Carl shooting Shane, the killing of Lori (though not the baby), Rick ripping out the throat of Carl's attempted rapist - while continuing to "deviate" from the original.

The show seems to be avoiding permanent physical harm to Rick (he still has both hands) and Carl (he still has both eyes), but I'd be very surprised if it didn't continue to draw heavily from events in the comic series.
posted by mediareport at 8:25 PM on April 1 [1 favorite]


It's really extreme, and I wonder what the success of the show says about American culture.

That's a strange sentence coming from someone who lived for years in Japan, a country that seems to have long ago cornered the market on extremely nihilistic pop culture garbage.
posted by mediareport at 9:10 PM on April 1


Wow, I had no idea they were making a spinoff show. That's the story i've wanted to see since the very beginning. I hope it covers the people in boats(it seems like a cruise ship somewhere like puget sound would be an AWESOME place to shack up. just go to shore occasionally for supplies after you run out of what's on the ship), and what things are like in the rest of the world. Are there islands where there aren't really zombies? is this worldwide, or is it like in jericho where only north america is fucked up?

I'm gonna be really disappointed if the spin off is just like... also in georgia/atlanta. That would be a really cheap lazy way to go.

As it is, it feels like the main show has painted itself into a corner a bit though and is just looping the same thing. "They find a colony of people... and then XYZ zany thing goes wrong!" is a little "rob schneider is... a lamp!" to me. I also hope it has NONE of the same characters. Because who really wants to watch that? IMO they've already shown enough with say, the flashbacks to michonnes previous life and such.
posted by emptythought at 12:24 AM on April 2


The big room near the end of the Yakkety Sax scene looked like the cannibals had a little respect for the dead by giving each a little memorial.
posted by Monkey0nCrack at 8:44 AM on April 2


Well yeah, they're not savages. They'll kill and eat you with respect.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:01 AM on April 2 [1 favorite]


Hmm, Terminus might be a lottery type situation, where only a few are randomly chosen at certain intervals, so everything is above board. That would account for the depressed and creepy atmosphere among most, because they know they're not in imminent danger, but there's always a chance at X time and X days.

Naturally Gareth and his art group might plainly above the lottery or pulling strings so there names never come up. Which would explain why they're more cheerful and in art classes.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:07 AM on April 2


it seems like a cruise ship somewhere like puget sound would be an AWESOME place to shack up. just go to shore occasionally for supplies after you run out of what's on the ship), and what things are like in the rest of the world.

If there's one thing we've learned about TWD universe from the show, it's that a hidey-hole can easily become a trap under the right circumstances.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:37 PM on April 2


it seems like a cruise ship somewhere like puget sound would be an AWESOME place to shack up. just go to shore occasionally for supplies after you run out of what's on the ship), and what things are like in the rest of the world.

If there's one thing we've learned about TWD universe from the show, it's that a hidey-hole can easily become a trap under the right circumstances.


Have we seen in TWD (comic or show) whether zombies need to breathe? That was a thing in World War Z, where even island nations had to keep patrolling for zombies just walking out of the ocean because they aren't even killed by pressure.

Also, in re hidey-holes to traps: One of Murphy's Laws of Combat is "If they can't get in, you can't get out."
posted by Etrigan at 12:44 PM on April 2 [1 favorite]


> Have we seen in TWD (comic or show) whether zombies need to breathe?

Wasn't there a scene where someone had been drowned at a dock by a chain/weights and later was seen turned into a walker, growling from underwater? I think it was someone that Shane killed while he was going insane. If not TWD know I saw this somewhere, whether or not it was a dream...
posted by planetesimal at 3:33 PM on April 2


Ah, whoops, it was the governor.
posted by planetesimal at 3:35 PM on April 2


I'm gonna be really disappointed if the spin off is just like... also in georgia/atlanta. That would be a really cheap lazy way to go.

I think it's supposed to be a "companion" show: totally different set of characters in a whole different place experiencing the same general circumstances, possibly in the same or somewhat different time frame.
posted by FelliniBlank at 5:26 PM on April 2


One of my favorite bits in that last episode was how Rick unknowingly echoed one of the Rules that the bad guys had: after Rick, Michonne, and Daryl had killed all the guys except the one holding the knife to Carl's throat, Michonne had her gun on him. Rick say "he's mine" before killing him. He "claimed" him. That was a nice touch.
posted by nushustu at 11:13 AM on April 3 [1 favorite]


And the Termites don't have Beth. They let their prey come to them. The person who was living in the mortuary/cemetery (all the dusted cans) has Beth, and I'm pretty sure I know who it is.

It could be that. My only other theory is that the Termites (yay!) took Beth for some sort of baby farm. Because babies are tasty. But that seems silly, isn't in the comic, and was done by BSG (without the cannibalism).

But the show does like to press buttons, and doing that to poor sweet Beth just seems like one of those nasty things they might consider for shock value.
posted by Mezentian at 6:54 AM on April 4


The person who was living in the mortuary/cemetery (all the dusted cans) has Beth

Certainly possible. I was thinking that the cross on the windshield was either a depiction of a crossroads or the letter "T," both potential symbols for Terminus. But it might have been a religious symbol or a depiction of a tombstone.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:38 AM on April 4


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