Tuesday, November 17, 2015

John, Glenn and Kevin

In drama, death is good.  It gives a sense of finality, and means the stakes are high.  But in TV (and movies), threatening popular characters but keeping them alive is good business.  Thus we have several cases of seeming death in TV drama these days where fans wonder if it's final.

I think it goes without saying there'll be spoilers ahead, but if you watch these shows you know already, and if you don't watch them, it shouldn't matter.

The biggest name is probably Jon Snow in Game Of Thrones, who when last seen at the end of Season 5 was bleeding out after being turned on by his Brothers.  But is this the end?  Aparently the books don't offer an answer, but the show often doesn't follow the books so they wouldn't help anyway.

It would seem impossible--if the show has a linchpin, it's Snow, and for five years they've been teasing about his illustrious birth. If he dies, all that mystery and future die with him. What good is a song of Ice and Fire without the Ice?  But, as has been noted, there's magic on this show, and people have been known to come back to life--in fact, those who die up North come back in unpleasant ways--so few people think we've seen the last of Snow.

The Walking Dead is also magical, in a way, with zombies walking the Earth, but the rules are consistent (if ridiculous).  Glenn, a regular since the first season, was last seen several episodes ago in a dead end surrounded by hundreds of zombies.  It seems unlikely he has survived.  It would be fine with me if he died, since I'm not heavily invested in the show, and think he's one of the weaker characters as it is, but he has lots of fans who want him alive (though I hear he's died in the comic books).

But the real problem with the show is why anyone dies?  How did these zombies kill anyone after the surprise factor wore off?  They're slow and stupid, yet practically every episode some zombie--who are usually loud and obnoxious--comes out of nowhere to chomp down on someone's arm.  A properly organized force could march through any area and leave behind thousands and thousands of lifeless zombies without a single casualty.  Instead, Walking Dead characters keep ending up surrounded by zombies with no way out.

Finally, you've got a far less popular drama, but a more "real" one--I use quotation marks because it's a show about the aftermath when 140 million people vanish from the planet.  So magical things can happen, but the characters are otherwise grounded in fairly honest psychology.

The central character, if there is one, would be Kevin Garvey, former cop who has moved with his new family to a new city this season.  This being The Leftovers, nothing ever goes well. In the first season, we see the Garveys were pretty miserable even before the vanishing.  This year, things seem to be even worse, and Kevin is haunted by a women he saw die.  The rational explanation (and the one I buy) is he's having a psychotic break, not unlike what his father suffered.  But Kevin wants to get rid of this vision so much that he drinks poison which will allegedly lead to a cure.

So he seems to die at the end of the episode, and the man who promised to revive Kevin shoots himself. But then Kevin is led away, so perhaps he'll survive--we were never clear on how deadly that drink was, after all.  (And the posters show him swimming to the surface of some water, a scene they haven't had yet.)

The show without Kevin would be very different, and I hope he survives.  Still, everyone is so miserable on it, he'd probably be better off if he didn't come back.


Anonymous Denver Guy said...

No respect for the zombie hoards! I agree it gets a little lame when a zombie sneaks up on someone, since they don't normally seem to be able to stop growling. But a hoard of thousands of zombies is more daunting, especially since firing a gun draws more to you. Using a knife is safer, except it means close contact and once in a while the knife breaks (better to use a sword and carry two). Remember, no injury besides a head shot will save you, unless you are carrying a bakooka. And you have to reload sometimes.

This is how I suspend disbelief.

12:57 PM, November 17, 2015  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Notice how no one ever has a machine gun? Seems to me that would take care of as many zombies as were around, as long as you've got enough bullets and no jamming.

1:46 PM, November 17, 2015  
Blogger ColumbusGuy said...

Machine guns are dangerous and illegal.

5:24 PM, November 17, 2015  
Blogger New England Guy said...

Of course the zombification of the dead has apparently turned their heads into eggshells which can be easily penetrated by a knife and on a couple of occasions, squished by a stomping boot. Also even though a completely dead object can be completely animated by the zombie bug, apparently one little shot to the brain area can immediately and permanently shut the thing down. No post-death throes.

I never saw season 1- do they explain it there?

Max Brooks' book (World War Z) explained why advanced weaponry and systems weren't so good with zombies but I can't say I recall it

7:46 AM, November 18, 2015  
Anonymous Denver Guy said...

The explanation for why the heads are so easy to squish is the bodies are decaying, and most zombies have been zombies for 2 or 3 years now. That doesn't explain why they can still walk, however. But when you see a fresh zombie, the show generally shows them being stabbed through the eye or maybe the top of the head.

8:03 AM, November 18, 2015  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The rules changed along the way. At first, it was thought any contamination would turn you into a zombie, now you can bathe in their blood and it's fine as long as they don't bite you. Also, it's now known when you die, no matter what, you turn into a zombie, bite or no bite.

8:12 AM, November 18, 2015  

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