Those who made it thus far during the zombie apocalypse continue to work toward survival as well as some sort of unification with other, friendly tribes. In a world in which the dead walk the earth and the living are vicious and unkind, individual survivors are at a disadvantage, to say the least. In this world, a lone survivor is one who, not only becomes an easy target for the masses of undead walkers and violent living, but also has experienced devastating loss. In previous posts, we have discussed the mental health issues that accompany a post-apocalyptic society; exploring the murderous tendencies of the Governor and Carol’s sociopathic break, but we have yet to see the weight of the world explained through the eyes of the good-hearted survivor.  As time and circumstance wear down on these individuals, sometimes even the strong ones break.

image property of AMC
image property of AMC

Episode S04xE12 “Still”

The zombie apocalypse must be a lonely, tired experience. After a time, watching friends, strangers, children and lovers die would take it’s toll on any person, and we see the solitude of dystopia as very real in the distinctly solitary tales of the broken prison-tribe. We begin this episode with Beth and Daryl fleeing a horde of walkers, with Beth narrating the scene by reading pages from the diary we watched her keep at the prison in season 3. She talks about hope, home and family, and it is depressing as shit. There is no home, not for Beth and Daryl. They are alone and on the run, constantly forced to move so as to escape the threat that lurks at their heels. There is no hope. Beth is desperate and Daryl is resigned. They track the living and continuously come up short. It is a lesson in futility. There is no family. The group is splintered and no one knows who is alive and who is dead. This episode, we see the former prison-tribe moving towards one another (we hope). It seems that the group is slowly coming together, in parts, but it may take a few more episodes for the entire tribe to be reunited. In the meantime, each small faction of the former prison tribe has their own challenges and victories, which will hopefully climax in some awesome zombie ass kicking by the end of the season.

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Episode S04xE10 “Inmates”

The mid-season premiere of The Walking Dead debuted this week and boy, was this one a doozy. The intense character development of Carl and Michonne reminded viewers how much the zombie apocalypse has changed those who are living through it.  Carl has traded in the modern comforts of video games, flat screen televisions and chocolate pudding for a hand gun and dry cereal. He spent much of the previous season by his father’s side and only now has begun to break away and question Rick’s abilities and judgement. Carl is becoming a man with his own thoughts and views and it is terrifying. For Michonne, the waste land of post-apocalyptic America has turned her into a zombie-killing machine; she is good with a sword and never hesitates when it comes to slicing off the head of a walker. She is a loner with nothing to lose because she lost everyone she loved long ago.

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Episode: S04xE09 “Walkabouts”

The Walking Dead holds a dear place in my heart because I’ve enjoyed it since the beginning, week by week, for the past 4 years. After my last post, obviously this is a big deal. I’m also a huge zombie film fan. One of the first posts I ever wrote for this blog was a list of my favorite zombie movies, that I pretty much live by. Never before this show has this strange passion of mine been so well represented on the small screen. The Walking Dead has really revolutionized the way audiences view the undead and the post-apocalyptic world that deals with the phenomenon. In the past 4 years, classes on zombies have popped up at respectable universities, Long Beach and other cities host annual zombie walks, and TWD has had a prominent place at San Diego Comic-Con, including a 2013 arena-wide zombie fest at Petco Park that gave fans the chance to experience getting chased by walkers, Daryl Dixon style.

Writing about this series has been intense. Diligently, if not a week or so behind the rest of the class, I have been listening to lectures in my UC Irvine course, “Society, Science and Survival: Lessons from AMC’s The Walking Dead” and trying to incorporate what I’m learning into my weekly discussion on the show. Writing this way has helped me process this fairly intense season, while objectively watching my beloved characters slowly spiral into a very bleak situation. Because, while this series has instilled in audiences a healthy fear of how to deal with the undead, interacting with the living has always been a truly frightening notion.

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Episode: S04xE08 “Too Far Gone”

As the prison-tribe begins to establish concrete roles in terms of leaders, nurturers and warriors, we see individuals strengthened by the choices they make. The expectations of life pre-apocalypse do not exist. Hershel is not just a veterinarian, but the group healer, with the patience and skills to help those in need; Maggie is not only the farmer’s daughter, but a warrior woman who protects the camp bravely and efficiently; Carl is not just a dumb kid mindlessly following around his mother, he is a savvy soldier who follows his father’s orders (much better than he ever followed Lori’s). Since the beginning of the show, audiences have watched racial, gender and ageist stereotypes shift as individuals in the group prove themselves able to accomplish more than pre-apocalyptic archetypes allow.

The Prison-Tribe (and the Gov).
Prison-tribe selfie (plus, the Gov).

Episode: S04xE05 “Internment”

So, a new threat in the form of the oldest threat to humankind: disease. There is an aggressive flu strain that is killing seemingly healthy members of the jail-tribe almost instantly. With no way to fight against simple viruses or infection, the group has to resort to Dark Age methods of guessing who will be next and then separating the infected from the group. This plot point reminds audiences that in the zombie apocalypse, health care is pretty much nonexistent and, while tribe members have been lucky not to get sick (except Andrea in S03E01) lack of proper medicine, vaccines and sterilization can be deadly.

Poor Patrick didn't get much on-screen time without blood covering his face.
Poor Patrick didn’t get much on-screen time without blood covering his face.

Episode:

S04xE02 “Infected”

There comes a time in a girl’s life when she realizes that the zombie apocalypse could happen any day, and there’s no way she wants to spend her life amongst the undead without a bit of style. (Just because I’m dead and decomposing, darling, doesn’t I have to look like People of Walmart.)

Some of these looks are inspired by The Walking Dead–Daryl Dixon has become a redneck zombie-killing fashion icon–but others are just disgustingly awesome. I’ve included the websites and prices…just in case you want to get zombified.

First off, if you want to blend in with the zombie horde, but don’t particularly want to rub blood and intestines all over yourself, consider purchasing this hoodie.

 

thinkgeek.com $44.99

For the person concerned about surviving the apocalypse, this tee should help you remember the motto of apocalypse survivors everywhere: What Would Daryl Do

hottopic.com $20.50

And for the zombie who likes footsie pajamas. Remember that as a member of the undead, you poor circulation and are quite likely to get cold.

thinkgeek.com $29.99