Survival is a theme this season, and each member of the Tribe has proven to be brave, cunning, downright ruthless or all of the above. The group headed to Washington D.C. is used to being on the ground, traveling on foot, not settling down and they are moving with a purpose, which gives them vigor and the hopefulness necessary to keep one foot in front of the other, even through zombie hordes and exploding buses. Still, when purpose shifts in meaning and complications arise, individuals must rediscover their reasons for moving forward, realign expectations, and determine how to best reconnect with like-minded groups. In a post-apocalyptic world without easy means of communication or travel, options are limited and the paths are few.
Each tribe we have encountered so far has had an established hierarchy and Slabtown is no different. The law enforcement and lone doctor at Slabtown, the hospital Beth wakes up in after her mysterious disappearance/kidnapping, utilize a system of checks and balances that don’t necessarily even out for everyone. If civilization has become a system of governing laws like those ruling Terminus, Woodbury and Slabtown, can the human race ever really “come back” from the post-apocalyptic societies we have created in the meantime?
With 3 missing members and enemies surrounding the proverbial gates, tensions are high within the Tribe. While the Tribe has settled their interpersonal issues, connections with the living continue to be fraught with suspicion and violence. Once again, our group is underestimated in what they are willing to do to survive, pushing the boundaries of sanity and morality. With the general mistrust of Gabriel, the imminent threat of the Terminus tribe, Abraham’s desire to get to D.C., the members of Tribe are pushed to a breaking point. To remain safe and strong, Rick and the group will have to not only figure out what they want out of their own future, but what they are capable of doing to make it happen.
As the narrative of the Tribe moves forward, we begin to understand the depth of fear and mistrust that is built into these individuals, who have lost so much yet continue to move forward. To survive in the post-apocalyptic society, one is forced to make decisions against others quickly and without mercy, which is why Rick Grimes began to implement his “3 questions” routine with strangers.
How many walkers have you killed?
How many people have you killed?
The significance of these questions is not in any right or wrong answer. The importance stems from the honesty behind the answers, because dishonesty holds distinct ramification of not being allowed to join the tribe. The consequences, positive or negative, come from how an individual navigates the answers and reasons behind the question.Each member of the Tribe has had to kill at one time, including the living and/or dead. By contemplating these 3 points, an individual is forced to look inward. What is she capable of? What is she not strong enough to do? And, of course, why?
The Tribe has come to Terminus and encountered the basest of humankind. The Terminus tribe have lied, connived and taken advantage of as many ears as their broadcast has reached. No one at Terminus has been forced to abuse their fellow man; these are the choices of their tribe. Still, the question becomes, what happened to Terminus that made these people engage in such vicious activities? Is this a case of a good group gone bad because of circumstance or is the Terminus tribe inherently evil? If evil is inherent or learned through experience, what does that mean our Tribe has the potential to become?
Yes, after a summer off from reccing fanfic, I have returned to you, my faithful followers of my fleet of ships. I hope you enjoyed the Collectiva Diva’s recs over the past ten weeks or so, but no fear, I’ve been doing my reading and I have a lovely list of fics to rec to you over the next few months. Let me also draw your attention to the lovely header that my dear Collected Mutineer has created for Fanfic Wednesday. Swoon away.
Now, before I jump into my review of this week’s fic, let me explain the need for my hiatus from reccing. I took on a big task this summer: I participated in not one but two Big Bang fanfic challenges and I needed the time to write. However, from this mighty task came several fanfics to rec! My first BB extravaganza was the After Camlann challenge, which is for the BBC Merlin fandom. The requirements for this challenge were to create a story with a length of at least 25,000 words, from which the artist you were paired with would draw inspiration for their works. The best part about participating in this challenge was reading the other participants’ fics and swooning over the art, and one of the first I read also happens to be my favourite. Allow me to introduce you to the Merlin/Warm Bodies fusion.
Season 4 of The Walking Dead took character development and metanarrative to an unsurpassed level. This television show, while one of the most gory and violent on television, is also the most honest and thoughtful examination of morality, human nature versus nurture and the choices individuals make that keep us moving forward. I have really enjoyed writing about the show, especially after taking the UC Irvine Zombie course online back in fall 2013. Thinking about events of living in a post-apocalyptic world in an immersive way has forced me to acknowledge the spectrum of morality in us all, reviewed spectacularly in a television show that is not all about killing zombies, but about discovering the core of humanity. The fall premiere and season 5 seem so far away! I know that our tribe will rally together, and seriously? These Terminus fuckers have no idea who they are messing with.
I hope you’ve enjoyed our time exploring the Walking Dead universe together. Don’t forget–aim for the brain and always pack a second weapon.
Gauging morality on a few superficial interactions or first impressions is impossible. Humankind is made up of layers of emotional, spiritual and physical purpose, and so only time and experience can really show a person’s true essence. In a post-apocalyptic world, the good guys have to do bad things and, occasionally, bad guys turn good; there is a lot of gray area. For the tribe members–who have spent time together, cultivated relationships with one another, experienced shit storms and life affirming moments together–the camaraderie they feel toward each other is built on a foundation of trust. Faction members have fought side by out in the Georgia woods, traveling toward a common goal–Terminus–where there is “sanctuary” for all. But, if the factions have learned anything since the prison, it is to fear the living. The idea of a utopian sanctuary away from the frights of the zombie apocalypse is really, really nice, but, as with any group,the question of how invested individuals must be at a site to become accepted looms over the factions as they begin to trickle in to Terminus. What must they give up for this utopian sanctuary and will they have a choice in the matter?
Within survivors of the disease that created the walkers, there are people of varying polarities of age, race, morality, honor, bravery, sense of self. Sympathy and hope lie with the innocent, but the realities of post-apocalyptic life reveal a harsh truth. Many of those who make it past the initial chaos are suspicious, ruthless, battle-seasoned and hard hearted people. Even Sheriff Rick, who started as a hero trying to save everyone he could, has since revealed in himself a gray scale when it comes to helping/hurting others, based on his experiences and those around him. Everyone has a past and each member of the former prison tribe has made mistakes on the path to Terminus. For Daryl and Glen, this path includes determining where on the humanity scale they lie. What choices must be made to maintain status as part of a tribe? What needs to be done to keep one’s humanity in the face of violence and anarchy? What type of person wields the most power and influence in a dystopic universe and what must take place to hold on to a position of power? What is the end game and when is the mission over? As the different factions travel closer to Terminus, one must take into consideration all these elements as part of the BIG question–what has humanity become?