Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Walking Dead

In 2010 a new television program appeared on the network AMC.  The Walking Dead - originally a comic book series - made its way to the big screen.

The comic book and show focuses on a group of survivors in a zombie apocalyptic world.  A virus is spreading around causing dead corpses to reanimate and feed off living things.  Because of this, the series presents a lot of violence of gore.  However, the show also has many philosophical themes within its story line.

In the first season,  the main character Rick Grimes finds himself in a world where zombies have taken over.  After being shot while performing his duties as a law enforcement officer.  Grimes is hospitalized and is in a  coma of sort.  He wakes from the coma only to see the hospital and neighborhood look like a war zone.   He then encounters his first zombie or "walker" in the form of a half torso dragging itself on a park.  Horrified and confused, he goes to his home to find that everyone had left.  He then finds a man and his son who cares for him.  As the story line moves forward, he eventually finds his wife and son as well as a group of survivors.  His best friend Shane is there and apparently lied to his wife saying that Rick was dead in order to begin a sexual relationship with her.  Shane and Rick's wife have an affair during this time.  Throughout this season we see the theme of survival, suicide as a means to escape life's troubles.

As the group tries to survive, a horde attacks them killing some.  They move on and head to the CDC in hopes of finding help.  They instead find a scientist who lost hope in finding a cure.  He was the only one left and saw his attempt to find a cure futile.  At first he is reluctant in letting Rick's group enter but then lets them in only to hold them there as the CDC's anti-contamination system which causes the entire compound to explode begins counting down after fuel runs low.  The scientists offers this death as an easy way out.  Instead of living out in the world where zombies can attack, he offered a form of "mercy killing."

In the second season, we see Philosophical and Moral issues presented such as what makes a human person or living soul.  Abortion and contraception are also presented.  Despite the character Lori bearing a child that is probably Shane's and at first wanting to abort it, she keeps the child.  This is interesting because if the world has literally ended as the characters knew it, why have more kids?

God is also questioned.  Rick wonders why God would allow the world to succumb to "the Walking Dead."  Hershel, a veterinarian and farmer who is deeply Christian attempts to explain God's mystery, but eventually he himself begins to doubt later on in the season.

As the second season develops, we see characters begin to lose their humanity.  Shane, Rick's best friend becomes this maniac who only thinks of survival.  Eventually, Rick goes survival mode as well, but retains his right conscience.  He ends up killing Shane after Shane led him into the woods to kill him.  The farm in which they have been living in is over run by "walkers" and they have to flee.  Two of the group are killed, one is lost and the others run for their lives.  Rick, his son and Herhsel return to the highway where the second season began and wait to see if the others return to the same stop.  Hershel makes an interesting but funny comment:

"I can't profess to understand God's plan, Christ promised the resurrection of the dead. I just thought he had something a little different in mind."

The group eventually reunites and wander in the forest.  The one who was lost, Andrea, comes across a mysterious lady named Michonne who has 2 arm less and jaw less walkers and a katana sword.  They become friends and in the third season come across a barricaded small town called "Woodbury" after being captured by Merle, who was in the first season as the brother of Daryl and who was left cuffed to a pipe.  He had to amputate his own hand in order to free himself.  This town is headed by a man who goes by the title "governor."

Meanwhile, Rick and his group come across a prison.  They begin to clear it out, but Hershel is bitten and Rick amputates his lower leg in order to prevent the acceleration of the infection.  While in the forest, Rick informs the group that the doctor at the CDC told him that every one has the infection.  They are the "Walking Dead," so to speak.  People will turn into zombies when they die even if they never came into contact with a zombie.

As the third season moves forward, T-dogg is bitten on the shoulder and risks his life to save Carol.  He is devoured by two zombies in a corridor of the prison.  Lori, Rick's wife goes into labor and is about to die.  Carl, her son shoots her in order to prevent her from becoming a walker upon death.  Rick learns of this and loses his mental faculties.  He begins to take his anger out on zombies and other members.  Rick goes to the basement to view Lori's body and to his surprise finds that a walker devoured her remains.  He then begins to hallucinate by hearing a dead phone ring.  He answers and hears the voices of members of the group who have died, including Shane and Lori.

Towards the end of the season, Glenn and his girl friend Maggie are captured by Merle.  Glenn is severely beaten and left to fight a walker with his arms restrained.  He defeats the walker and tries to escape only to run into the group from the small town.  During this time, Andrea begins a love affair with the governor.  Michonne is suspicious of him and leaves.  She sees the kidnapping of Glenn and Maggie and finds the prison and tells Rick and the rest of the group.  Rick plans a rescue plan.  He attacks the town and rescues Glenn and Maggie.  Daryl gets capture eventually after trying to find his brother Merle.

The Walking Dead is a great program, not meant for children, but good for teens and adults.  It presents a whole array of issues dealing with Philosophy, Religion and Morality.      

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