Friday, September 12, 2014

Dead Again

I recently caught up with the first three seasons of The Walking Dead on Netflix.  Since then, thanks to On Demand, I've seen the fourth season, with a month to spare before season five starts.  Spoilers ahead.

It struck me as more of the same.  Zombies are fun, and people fighting each other while also worrying about zombies can make for decent action. But the characters are pretty thin and the plot stretched out--what took them 16 episodes could probably have been accomplished in half as many  It's also getting a bit repetitive, since you can only be surrounded by zombies in so many ways.

In fact, I had plenty of time to think about unanswered question during the many slow moments.  First, just how did the zombies take over?  They're deadly and relentless, but they're brainless and not that fast.  Sure, the early shock would give them the edge, but once the problem becomes clear, it seems to me a decent army division, properly equipped and trained, could take out millions.  But let's say no one was paying attention and right now the undead outnumber the living a hundred to one. No big deal.  Everyone's got a quota--try to kill two or three a day, shouldn't be that hard, and before you know it no more zombies. After all, the enemy doesn't strategize and doesn't reproduce.  Heck, just kill one a day and in three or four months you're safe.  Another question--does becoming a zombie makes your bones go soft, because it sure is easy to slice of their heads, or stab them through the skull.  One more thing. In the first season, people took great care not to get even the slightest amount of zombie blood on them.  Now they get splattered with the stuff. Okay, they've learned it's no big deal, even if they're all infected and will go zombie when they die, but it's still pretty odd.  I mean, if a zombie bites you, you die and turn into one, but zombie blood and other parts on your skin (especially on open sores, which there seem to be plenty of in this violent world) and sometimes in your mouth or eyes does nothing?

I was a bit surprised by the first episode of season four, since we're still in the prison from the third season, and not going anywhere.  Previously, each season started with a move to a new location. Instead, we spend half the season stuck in what was destroyed, I thought, in season three.  There are new characters, and some die--mostly the newbies. There's also an outbreak of flu.  Really?  We've already got everyone turning into zombies, and that's not enough? 

We also meet up with the Governor again, who should have been dealt with last season.  He attacks the prison...didn't he do that last season as well?  At least Hershel dies.  I was hoping that guy wouldn't make it past season two, so this was a long time coming.  Alas, pretty much all the other regulars make it to the end, including Glenn, who used to be fun but is insufferable now that he's in love with Maggie, and Rick's tiresome teenage son Carl.

The team is forced out of the prison.  Everyone thinks everyone else is dead, but they all make it one way or another.  The various escapees get their own episodes with their own adventures--sort of a break in the format.  Then most of them meet in Terminus, a place that says it offers sanctuary but is much more sinister.  So we know where we're going to start season five, and it's not a bad place, since we've got new and interesting bad guys, and the good guys are reunited and have their backs against the wall.  I expect I'll be watching it along with the millions of others who have made it TV's biggest phenomenon, but it won't be high priority.

One good thing about the show--it's got a positive message. All it will take to get the races living together in harmony is a zombie apocalypse.


Anonymous Denver Guy said...

I think you have to understand Glenn as an asian nerdy type, who before the apocalypse could never have gotten a girl as hot as Maggie. So he struggles with his inner gratitude that most of the world turned into zombies made him a catch.

More seriously, I actually like the series most when they aren't fighting roving bands of zombies. I am interested in how rational humans survive a break down of society. I liked when they were trying to build a stable life, first at the farm, and then at the prison. I like the show questioning whether the Governor's approach perhaps wasn't the right one (autocratic as it was) vs. Rick's model at the prison.

I empathized with Angela (I think that was her name) trying to pick which new society to stay with. I wish they hadn't made the Gov. quite such a nut-case. His support of the semi-scientist trying to see if any humanity remained in a zombie was interesting.

I also really like following Carol's exploits. She seems to be the character guaranteed to make a bad choice every other week (she was introduced to us that way as the wife of an abusive man).

Anyway, the zombies are just a force of nature - this story could be set on an Island that constantly gets hit by hurricanes. I'm a little disappointed like you that roving hoards seem to show up out of no where just to serve a story purpose.

And it does no good to consider the logic behind mass zombies. 1) Zombies seem to be rotting away - wouldn't they lose all muscle mass in a month or two? 2) In the north, wouldn't one good freezing night be the end of all the zombies there? This next season we should get to Washington D.C. and they will have to answer that question.

9:19 AM, September 12, 2014  
Blogger LAGuy said...

Glenn may be lucky (though even with the little competition left I wonder if he'd get the girl), but now that he's turned into a maniac who only cares about reuniting with his one true and very boring love, he's dragging the show down.

The woman's name is Andrea. The kind of place the Governor built would, I think, be pretty common, and would be the place to stay, if he weren't crazy.

We've been told that the zombies are starving, just very slowly. Can't the humans just wait them out?

The show threaten to go to Washington to get answers, but will they? (In fact, they'd be there now if Glenn wasn't such a jerk). The show is such a big hit do they want to supply any answers until they have to? Anyway, they went to the Center for Disease Control in the first season, and discovered how things work. Unfortunately, the CDC was run about as well as the Governor's town, and blew itself up.

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