Hi, all!

Good gracious this week sucked giant butt in terms of the ol’ busy-ness. Sorry about that, friends.

So what’d you think about the season 2 premiere of Walking Dead? The show has different writers than last year, but I was glad to see some character consistencies. However, I do have to say that the commercials on AMC really interrupted the flow of the program and decreased its length from “90 minutes” to probably about 60. WTF? Season 1’s premiere, if I recall correctly, ran 2 hours, with minimal commercial invasion. Sigh.

Read on for deeper analysis!

Anyway, a couple of things I noticed. Apparently, zombie blood in this series does not endanger anyone. If it gets on your face, don’t worry about it, I guess is the message. In the season 2 premiere, one of the characters — Andrea — is in the Winnebago and she has to stab a walker in the eye with a screwdriver not once, but a few times and his blood gets all over her face and neck. So…if that zombie blood gets in your mouth/nose/eyes, you’re okay? I guess that’s what the show is trying to tell us, but for your own safety, people, be very careful about zombie blood. In this instance, I realize Andrea didn’t have much choice, but perhaps she could have shown a bit of concern about her exposure to the nasty blood and wonder whether it got in her eyes/mouth/nose.

source: AMC

I’m also intrigued by this notion of a “zombie herd” (as opposed to a zombie horde). In the season premiere, the group of survivors decides to make a try for a different locale, and they head out on the freeway, only to come upon a pile-up of abandoned vehicles and, of course, car trouble with the Winnebago. First things first, they need to scavenge car parts and food/beverages. Good thinking.

Enter the zombie herd. Quick thinking, and they hide under the vehicles (or on top of the Winnebago) as the herd shambles by. Quicker thinking saves a couple more lives, as Daryl dispatches a zombie quietly and puts it on top of T-Dog. He then grabs a dead dude out of a car and puts that on top of him, to mask the scent of the living. I’ve decided that Daryl is probably my current fave character. I liked him in the first season, too. And did any of you catch the chopper he was riding in the season 2 premiere, with the Nazi insignia on the gas tank? Daryl’s brother, if you recall, is a white supremacist (and Daryl might be, as well), but Daryl is a more pragmatic guy than his brother and he recognizes that in a crisis like this, every able-bodied person can be an asset, so he helps T-Dog out, who is black.

source: AMC

I like how external circumstances can work on people’s viewpoints, and how they can enhance or change some of those views. Daryl — we don’t know for sure — may or may not have agreed with his brother’s racist views, but at the very least, he has shown himself to be more practical about what’s happening than his brother did, who spouted off epithets and general asshattery in the first episode of the first season.

Anyway, I’ve lived in the South, and Daryl is a lot like some of the guys I knew in Tennessee and Alabama. Really good woodsmen, hunters, and just sort of quietly bad-ass about a lot of things, but also sort of standoffish perhaps because of internal insecurity. I’ve noticed that though he’s a little prickly at first, he seems to be slowly starting to appreciate that he plays a role in the survivors’ group, and that they appreciate him. In a way, he’s coming of age as a result of the apocalypse, and that’s a really interesting thing to do with a character. I’m interested to see what the writers do with him.

And speaking about how external circumstances can enhance or diminish people’s earlier perceptions and beliefs, Carol undergoes intense stress in the season 2 premiere. Her daughter, Sophia, runs away (chased by zombies) and though Rick catches up to her and hides her and draws the walkers away, Sophie leaves the hiding place and disappears. So in one scene, when the searchers come across a church and dispatch the 3 walkers therein, Carol has a talk with the image of Christ, and asks forgiveness for whatever bad things she did if it’ll bring Sophia back.

source: AMC

That scene was sort of macabre for one big reason: the three walkers our survivors dispatched were all seated quietly in the church in the pews, staring straight ahead. Docile, like they were waiting for the service to start. I wondered how they got in there. Did they reanimate in the church and they just stayed there? The doors were closed, after all. I suspect one of them was infected and then, of course, all three ended up that way. But what was fascinating to me was how they were all just sitting there in the pews, like a bit of their past lives remained and that’s all they knew to do.

I also found it interesting how some people fall back on religion when the s*** hits the fan. It’s like this weird automatic response. See an image of Jesus, ask for something. I grew up largely secular, so the last thing I’d be doing is asking an image for help in a post-apocalyptic world. I understand wanting to have a few minutes of peace and a reminder of what life used to be (and for some, church may have played a big role in that) — hell, everybody should take five minutes of chill time if possible in a situation like that. But if you think about it, what good did religion do for Carol?

Remember, she was an abused wife (and apparently, her dead husband seems to have had an icky interest in their daughter). Religion didn’t help her with that relationship. And she still believes that somehow, she must’ve done something wrong with regard to that because she asks the image of Jesus to “forgive her.” That’s fascinating how in the world in which they live, she’s managed to graft on to her character this old idea she had that somehow, she deserved all the bad things that happened to her, and could the Lord please find it in his heart to forgive her for whatever she did.

And that’s what’s so interesting about this show — what happens to people in the middle of horrific and horribly stressful conditions. What each of them does to survive or at least to cope. Carol’s in coping strategy now, because her daughter’s missing and everything is shot to hell. Fascinating, how old tropes are re-triggered in her, and how old ways of thinking still remain.

Anyway, those are my thoughts, and it’s something to think about in any survival situation, whether zombie-ridden or not. How will you manage the psychological stress, and how will you deal with people you might not even know, who you’d probably dislike intensely prior to the freak-out, in these new circumstances? Because survival isn’t just about weaponry and keeping yourself physically strong and healthy. It’s also about the psychological assault of dealing with a world that is completely out of control, and negotiating new boundaries under the new circumstances.

Fascinating stuff, and excellent fodder for writers. 😀

All right, all. Happy Saturday!

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