Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Walking In Their Shoes, a "Walking Dead" Analysis

Caution: This entry contains spoilers
I feel like doing something a tad different today, because lately I feel like I've lost my knack for writing probably because I've been doing plenty of translation work over the past couple of months. Not an excuse, just something I've been pondering about. Luckily I can always go back to movies and they never cease to give me something to keep my mind busy.

The Walking Dead has been doing an excellent job in tiding me over until the second season of Game of Thrones which will see release in April. Or at least that's what I thought it was going to be, just something to tide me over. As I've said months ago I got into it fairly late. That was a mistake.

To start things off, a minor spoiler that has nothing to do with the storyline whatsoever, but a cool fact regardless. Now, I consider myself a fan of the show, just like many of you out there. But I'm probably the last among you to learn about this; The actor who plays Rick Grimes, Andrew Lincoln is British. You see, I got so into the series I never bothered to find out anything about it other than the story. So yeah, I thought that he's a full-blooded Southerner for the past two seasons.

Sure, in retrospect, it shouldn't come as that much of a surprise for anyone because he's not even close to being the first to pull it off. Heck, much of the buzz surrounding House, M.D when it debuted revolved around the fact that Hugh Laurie is an established English actor unknown to the mainstream until he put on an American accent.

Like I said, it's not important, but I think it's cool anyway that he can switch between that thick Southern accent to this;

Alright, now on with the things that actually matters.

Of all things that happened in Season Two, one thing stood out to me the most, the one thing that bummed me out more than anything else in the series; The death (and zombification) of Shane Walsh. Quite frankly, it was one thing I never thought the writers would dare do because Shane provided much of the conflicts that were integral to the progression of the plot. So much, that it became easy to just hate the guy.

Not me. I'm one of those people who was drawn to the guy because he was really just misunderstood, and he never had a sympathetic ear. Not to mention he was badass (Even though Daryl is head and shoulders above everyone else when it comes to the badass department). Still, he had always been there for everyone. He kept everyone safe and his tactical reasoning was sound. He even beat up an abusive husband and father to a pulp back in Season One. In fact, the group was much better off when he was the leader, until Rick came along.

I don't blame Rick, and I certainly don't hate the character. I am in no way suggesting that it was his fault. In fact, it was nobody's fault. But the fact remains that it was when he came back did Shane begin to spiral out of control, slowly but surely. In this post-zombie-apocalyptic world, it's hard to make sense of things the way we do it now, and credits to the writers for selling that experience to us really really well. In a world like that, it's only a matter of time before the things you hold on to become your ultimate undoing.

That's exactly what happened to Shane. Take some time to walk in his shoes and he might come off as sympathetic. Rick said it himself, he wasn't a bad person. It's just that he was his own worst enemy and I do feel sorry for him. He carried the burden of thinking he left his best friend to die, then he took in Lori and Carl under his care (probably out of guilt too). But then he grew fond of them both, only to lose them altogether when Rick came back. The way I see it, Lori and Carl were probably the last thing that connected him to the life he once knew.

All of a sudden nothing makes sense to him anymore, which caused him to finally break down and exclaimed, "It ain't like it was before!" Still, it doesn't justify going on a murder spree and getting rid of Rick to regain control of the group. Which is why by the time he was stabbed, I buried my face in my hands and said with a heavy heart, "You deserve it, bro."

What's in store for the upcoming seasons?
That little speech Rick made at the end of the Season Two finale? That is not to be taken lightly. Well, it's not like he was being subtle, he flatly said that "Democracy is no more", or something to that effect, before the camera panned to an establishment that looked suspiciously like a prison, foreshadowing on what's to come. Wink wink, nudge nudge. It was a hell of a lot more than just Rick being in a bad mood.

What this means for the story is difficult to say at this point. From what I understand, the series (thus far) had deviated rather far away from its source material. So we can all be sure that the writers won't be afraid to experiment and continue on this route they're taking. The Walking Dead, though it features an ensemble cast, the central figure is still Rick. Now that he's on the brink of treading the same path as Shane, what does it mean for the story?

My guess?

I've never read a page of the comic books, and I bear in mind that the writers are keeping their options open. So this is pure guesswork. It's fairly simple and unimpressive, but for now I'm gonna say despite all that has happened, we've only just left the Exposition part of the overall story. We saw Rick take the route to darkness, and it's gonna get a lot worse before it gets better. But eventually he will redeem himself somehow and bring his character arc to a full circle.

Typical? Yeap. Which is why I seriously doubt that they'll be doing just that.


Az said...

True, Season 1 and 2 were built on Shane and Rick conflict. But don't worry, even though Shane is no longer in the picture, Rick and the group will face more and more problematic characters that will make the show more interesting! (based on the comic) However, Shane is already missed. Shame the season ended so quickly though. 13 episodes?! Such a tease!

Mamü Vies said...

Oh, you're familiar with the comic book version? Wahaha... Good for you ;) But hey, I think you're right. That character who saved Andrea looked super badass!

A tease indeed, especially with that mid-season hiatus! LOL.

Az said...

Oh, and about Rick @ Andrew Lincoln - British are always better/talented actors than American, especially at mimicking accents. Ian McKellen, Anthony Hopkins, Tim Roth, Cillian Murphy, Ralph Fiennes. Oh, there's also another British actor in The Walking Dead, Morgan Jones aka Lennie James.

Mamü Vies said...

And according to that interview, Lauren Cohan (Maggie) too!

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