I thought this weeks’ episode of The Walking Dead showed how far away from a Zombie television series this show has gotten. It’s more a series with zombies in it and I’m not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing. I used to enjoy seeing what the zombies would add to the story, what the next gruesome walker would look like, or whether we’d ever find out more about the virus. Now the series seems adamant to hammer home to far that this show is concerned about people. Living people specifically -although as this episode demonstrated- not always acting human, but surviving nonetheless.
This episode ‘The Same Boat’ is entitled presumably from an exchange between Carol and one of her Saviour captors, Molly, who it turns out is dying, and to prove it she coughs up a rather unbelievable amount of blood. Basically the point was that whether it be cancer, the virus, or simply the ‘way the world is’ now – both the women are, so to speak, dead-men-walking. Maggie too was brought into this debate by another exchange in which she was told she was “choosing death” by bringing a child into this world; and it seems women have only one path to choose in this series; a killer, a captive, a mother, all are dead women, deadly choices.
This usually female-centric episode introduced, and quickly dispatched, Paula, who I found to be one of the most interesting characters we’ve been introduced to this season. She defiantly stands in the face of trauma and declares how she lost everything but now she is stronger, in the world of the walking dead: “I am alive”.
I’m still mulling over what it means to live in Rick’s world, what women in this new world have come to reflect.
Carol started this series as an abused wife, a mother, and now we see her childless, a killer, an actress. Of all the characters on the show, Carol is the most prolific trickster, she blends into walkers with blood and guts on her clothes, wears chinos and cardigans to fool a community into thinking she is merely a housewife, and steals dead man’s clothes to pass as a ‘Wolf’ and massacre attackers. This week she hyperventilates over a crucifix and is chastised by her captors for her apparent weakness, of which Paula eventually deuces the depth of Carol’s act: “nervous little bird, you were her”. The nervous little bird is the one disguise that really wounds Carol, because it is not an act but a past self, returning, reviving. Paula asks why she was so afraid when she and Maggie have effectively killed their captors, and Carol simply replies she was “afraid of this”, and aims her gun.
I think I’m afraid too.