Television dramas are their best when they are metaphors for our current daily lives. You may wonder what the correlation may be between real life and a zombie apocalypse, especially when it’s not particularly high on anyone’s list of things to do on the weekend, but seriously – don’t you sometimes feel like that’s exactly what living life in the grind is like? Don’t you fear that there are elements all around you that are threatening to consume you body and soul the minute you become complacent and comfortable?
Sure the tale that’s unraveling on the hit AMC series The Walking Dead is an extreme fantasy horror. Based on the popular graphic novel series, its heroes are forced to move nomadically across the country avoiding hordes of the hungry undead. Not the most idyllic situation.
|Friend or foe...it's survival of the fittest!|
In the series second season, now available on Blu-ray, our survivors may have found some respite at least for a hot minute. Their two youngest members of the group have not faired so well. A young boy was shot and a young girl, Sophia has gone missing. Our group is lead by Rick Grimes, at one-time a man of the law, and his deputy, Shane Walsh (played by Jon Bernthal) have two very different ideas of how to now endure in these difficult times.
With his son having recently been accidentally and fatally wounded, Rick had to stay by Carl’s side, while Shane retrieved the supplies necessary to save his life. To which Shane sacrificed a fellow survivor to a horde of walkers in order to escape a terrible predicament. At what personal cost? The act begins to change Shane into someone else – someone that perhaps threatens the wavering stability of the group, which is settling into life on Hershel’s farm.
When the group discovers that Hershel is actually harboring walkers, his infected family and neighbors in the barn on the grounds, it pushes Shane overboard who doesn’t think Rick is doing enough to protect the group or his now pregnant wife.
Taking matters into his own hands, Shane opens the barn unleashing the walkers inside. The group massacres the hungry mob, and Hershel and his children are helpless to watch their friends and family fall again. As penance for the insensitive act, one more walker stumbles out of the shadows and into the light. It’s the group’s missing girl and Carol’s (played by Mellissa McBride) daughter Sophia. Stunned by the discover, the gun-happy group takes pause...and as the threat of the hungry walker, Sophia or not, gets closer to them, he takes matters into his own hands and shoots the creature in the head.
The group is left to mourn again. Which in the world of The Walking Dead happens quite often. The survivors are faced with mourning their dead, question their restraint on the morality that kept them civilized, and relinquish all instincts but the ones to survive, because in this world, tomorrow is not guaranteed.
And no one is safe, even in numbers. The writers are constantly pushing that thread and boundary of right and wrong. The characters must make base decisions on a daily: do we eat today, or save for tomorrow? Do we kill or be kill? And in Season 2 they all experience contemplative moments where the mirror is raised and they must ask themselves where do they stand...where will they stand.
Certainly none of us will ever be faced with these dire circumstances (we hope and pray) but The Walking Dead does force one to reflect on exactly what you are – will you eat or be eaten? We are talking after all about survival of the fittest.
JC Alvarez is the Nightlife Editor for EDGE On The Net and a pop-culture columnist covering celebrity and entertainment. He is the voice behind the nationally syndicated Internet radio show “Out Loud & Live!” that broadcasts every Friday @ 9pm EST on www.modernworldradio.com.