seraphcelene: (shit be crazy)
[personal profile] seraphcelene
With Season 5 of The Walking Dead due to premiere in two weeks, I thought a re-watch of the most awesome season ever would be apropos! There's lots to see and point at on re-watch. Loads of tells and foreshadowing for how the season plays out, but I'm gonna pretend like this is the first time all over again. I will, at least, try.

30 Days Without an Accident is a study in parallels. Everything in the episode gets laid out in pairs to demonstrate different ways of being, of coping, of living, of dying. Funny that only a season ago, Andrea was dying and we watched the Governor's civilized facade erode. It's been a long haul for the group. They've taken in the surviving Woodbury people, Rick has become a farmer, Carl has grown up a little more, and Daryl is a bit of a hero. Rick with his headphones on is a great example of how they've dug in and, at least to some small degree, began to learn how to ignore the word beyond the gates. They feel safe. As Maggie later frames it, at the possibility of having a life. But, we know how these things go and I don't like the idea of speaking all that positivity into the air. Just call me superstitious.


- We get pairing, also, right from jump street. Rick warns Carl not to name the pigs. "They're not piglets anymore, they're food." They can't afford to create an emotional bond with their food source. The animals are their function for humans because pets are a luxury they cannot afford. That warning gets reflected back at us through Carl and his admonishment to Lizzie and the Get Along Gang by the fence not to name the Walkers. They're not pets or people. They're dead, walking, eating machines. The comparison between Walkers and pigs sets up what I've been saying since the show started, Walkers are just another kind of animal now. They are a threat, but the biggest threat in the world of The Walking Dead are the living people. The show is, after all, about people who are surviving after the world has ended. It's not really about the zombies. So, we maintain distance, don't name them, don't try to domesticate them. As we will see, it will destroy you or drive you mad to try.

And can I just point out the clueless with Lizzie and their just different spiel. The Woodbury people locked up in a town that didn't really deal with the apocalypse that happened winds me up with people like Lizzie and a little like Patrick, too, because he probably would not have survived. This scene foreshadows all kinds of interesting things and it also highlights the real threat that exists in this world: people not walkers.

- The second set of pairs are couples. Tyreese and Karen have become a couple, and Tyrese goes to see her where she is helping to "clear" Walkers off the fence. Basically, she's impaling them in the brain to keep the herds down. Tyreese, who doesn't care for the systematic culling at the fence, has volunteered to go on a supply run and has come to tell Karen (in not quite so many words) goodbye. In sharp contrast, Beth and Zach's goodbye (our other couple) is anything but, because Beth refuses to say goodbye. She's actually very blase about the whole thing. Zach who is going on the supply run because he wants to start pulling his weight in the camp seems a little naive and wet behind the ears as he hints to Beth how dangerous it is outside the fence. That gave me a laugh because Beth knows about life beyond the fence far better than Zach does.

- Now, meanwhile, Rick (still in Farmer Grimes mode) has headed out to check snares. He's becomes so stationary, so willing to step away and be a different person for fear of becoming like the Governor. A council has grown up in the vacuum headed by Daryl, Sasha, Carol, Glenn, and Herschel. That's a good group, if I do say so myself. Out in the woods, Rick comes upon a woman who looks like a Walker, but who isn't and the majority of episode gets devoted to a competing visions of life during the Fall. This woman who is barely surviving and barely hanging on, alone except for her husband, dirty, starving, desperate. The group that has gone on the supply run (Bob, Sasha, Daryl, Zach, Tyreese, Glenn, and Michonne) are a stronger representation of what life can be like. They are together, they are searching, stockpiling, surviving, anything but desperate as they carefully sweep a Big Lots stand in that they've mostly cleared of walkers as some point in the past. They've PLANNED the raid, it's as safe as it's going to get. The Irish woman and Rick, walking back to her camp, are in an odd sort of quiet moment as they discuss the things that you have to do to stay alive and whether or not you get to come back from the horrific things that you do in the name of survival.

It's an interesting parallel because the group has also struggled with this concept and been victim to other people's ideas of the concept (The Governor, the Prison inmates, Shane!). Still, it's a loaded question and with the world being the way that it is, can the question ever truly be answered? Herschel says yes, and I am inclined to agree. We've seen the character arcs for Rick, Carl, Michonne, and Daryl, and they are all indicative how you can come back from the animal you (even if, as in Daryl's case, it may be the place where you started).

The thing that got me the most about these scenarios are the moments where death occurs. The Irish woman kills herself, stabbing herself in the belly; Zach dies via walker bite, dragged under a shelf of broken alcohol bottles and devoured alive. There is a complacent death and an active one. The woman has given up, she's lost sight of the light and hope and a way to move forward and exist in the world as it is. Zach dies fighting, struggling to save Bob, who is previously pinned under the shelf, reaching and scrabbling for more life. Neither one of them survives and they are both left behind to turn.

- The final parallel that I saw came in the closing moments between Tyreese and Karen and Beth and Daryl. Tyreese is very obviously upset by Zach's death and he returns to the prison to be consoled by Karen. Beth, however, takes it as just another thing that happens, because sometimes these things do. She's been keeping count, and after a month, they've had their first death. She sign that gives the episode it's name is propped on a wall in her cell and as she removes the little three from board she tells Daryl, who watches her closely, "I don't cry anymore." It's a sad reality that adaptation in this world may mean the loss of sentimentality, but the reality, I think, is that Beth has closed herself off to protect herself. She is the opposite of Maggie. Beth is afraid of living, she is afraid of loving and loss and she's distanced herself from impact. In a twist, she ends up comforting a very startled Daryl. I think I have a new OTP being born!!

Other Things:

- I loved Michonne and her relationship with Carl and Rick. Hello, can I get another hell yeah for a OTP.

- Carol calling Daryl "pookie" and reminding him that she liked him first. They are such buddies in that scene that it kills me.

- Carol teaching the kids about knives. Incredibly valuable, considering, and appropriate for Carol in light of Sophia, but it also saddens me that she has to hide it. The skills are necessary for the world that they live in where, even though they hope they are and they work towards being, no one is ever safe. However, we've seen what could be parent reaction. Rick tells Carl to go read comics and go to story time, to go be a kid. Unfortunately, childhood in this brave new world is completely unlike anything Rick has known and it's an irresponsible response to the situation. Kids are going to be kids, they're going to play and be silly, but the best thing that you can do for them is to teach them to be self-reliant. Teach them how to survive in their environment. Otherwise they may never make it to adulthood.

- BOB! OH, GOD! BOB! What are you doing? I get it. But, stupid, Bob. Stupid.

- Sasha and Tyreese: Was there ever a time when you weren't the boss of me? And then her smirk, "you had a few years before I was born." Ha Ha! Sasha is such a bad ass. Love Her!

- Hershel's speech at the end nailed everything for me. There is a way back and there is a way forward, you just have to take hold of it and not give into despair. Hershel is so our moral compass. Since the farm, he points True North more often than not. Never thought I'd love him so much considering how delusional he was in the beginning. Ha! I could also say the same thing about Daryl. WTH?! Who knew I'd fall in love with a once-racist, redneck, hick thug. gods! Daryl Dixon for the win.

If this is where we start, this episode that lines up ways to see the world, ways that still end in death, regardless of what you do, how do we anticipate the remainder of the season. Because this episode alone tells us that we are never safe (Patrick at the end of the episode). There are threats that we will never see coming (who knew she would come at Rick with a machete to feed her walker husband in a box AND the sudden pathogen). We can never prepare enough, all we can do is participate and try to be good to each other. Try to look out for each other, try to remember what it is to be human. When Rick tells the Irish woman that she has more to lose, I don't think he means just her life, he means herself. Her soul, her sense of right, however you choose to define it.
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August 2016


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