The season premiere of The Walking Dead has given fans their AMC fix. Since Breaking Bad finished, and let’s face it we can only deconstruct that show so many times before it becomes tedious, AMC’s undead series was just what the doctor ordered. The first thing that we learned by the episodes finish was that it looks like evolution has begun and it is a b*tch.
Before heading down that Darwinian road, (Just a quick thought, can a theory that applies to living creature’s survival be applied to undead walkers? We think so and if you don’t agree send your arguments on a postcard, please, with a 500 word essay attached) let us look at some of the things that events at the end of season three left us with.
In a very brief encapsulation, we have lost some favorite characters and have gained some new ones. The loss of Andrea (played ever so well by Laurie Holden) will never be erased by the introduction of new characters from the comic book. The fact that Andrea made it through all the first three seasons and that her reward was having to self destruct after being bitten hurts.
Alex, Oscar and Merle all left as well. But at least Merle’s ending was a tad ironic, since Daryl had to kill his new “zombie-fied” brother. But let’s face it both Alex and Oscar were recent arrivals to the show, so the audience did not have too much invested in them. Their loss was not as scarring.
But character’s being lost and new ones being brought in are all part and parcel of this show. So let’s talk about something else that is being introduced in this season. It looks like evolution is rearing its Darwinian head and the feeling is, it will be a b*tch.
In terms of character evolution, we have Rick. Our reluctant leader has evolved in his own way. Realizing that his son is turning into a potential sociopath by being surrounded by death and destruction (not to mention walkers) he turns to “tilling the soil” as a farmer. The irony lies in his farming behind the prison fences that are surrounded by ever increasing numbers of infected and the discovery of a rusty gun while digging.
That the infected numbers are rising is shown not only by the amount gathering at the prison fence, but at the discovery of an entire roof-full of the undead. At one point while gathering supplies, it literally rains walkers on the survivors in the store.
Rick, however is not the only character to evolve. Daryl Dixon has also evolved into a “local” hero/celebrity for his work in gathering food, aka hunting. Perhaps having to kill Merle gave him perspective.
The other thing that appears to be evolving is the infection itself. Having already learned that all the survivors have the virus back at the end of season two, our little gang of survivors now know that when they die they will automatically come back as walkers. But the infection seems to be changing its course.
A lot of camera time was spent on a walker with eyes that bled. Toward the end of the episode, Patrick goes into the showers and he dies turning immediately into a walker…with bleeding eyes. The infection is evolving for sure, it is even cross contaminating. Animals are getting the disease as well.
But the big question is this: if the walkers with the bleeding eyes don’t have to be killed to become walkers, are the eyes a sign that the infection now kills them first and then turns them into zombies? Does this mean a change to the whole walker ball game?
This evolution in The Walking Dead looks to be a real b*tch. It has always been a sort of foregone conclusion that the show only has one direction to go. With no cure, increased numbers of walkers and now this disturbing new direction that the virus is taking things look to even bleaker than before. One thing that has not evolved, at least not that we know of, is The Governor. He has yet to reappear. But until he does, the word is that season four is all about danger from within. We believe it is also about evolution, the bad kind.
By Michael Smith