Archive for March, 2016

The Walking Dead gets humanized

March 15, 2016

I love this latest episode of The Walking Dead,” number 13, “The Same Boat.”  Instead of making the viewers cope with the loss of one or more beloved main characters, as the main dramatic device driving the plot so far, it allows the characters to survive, but raises the level of compassion and awareness of the sanctity of life as a way to deepen the drama.  In this way, we also are spared becoming less human, and in fact pushed in the direction of being more human, because we gain a new appreciation for the struggle our characters endure, and the contrast with the values they find in the people who inhabit the world around them and the way they are living their own lives as much as possible.

Maggie is having a baby.  This is unique to women, at least as an intimate experience, and the episode focuses on five main women involved, and how they are coping with survival in this world.  And ultimately the women who die are the ones who choose less than normal human values, or allow themselves to be pushed into that box by men, or just don’t have the vision to see that there is another choice.  Or perhaps they have been broken down such that it’s just not possible for them to make that leap at this point.  Maggie tells Paula she’s making a choice by having a baby.  Paula answers yeah, she’s making a choice, she’s dead.  Vision/no vision.  Inspiration/no inspiration.

Also when Maggie squares off with another captor who is supposed to be extracting information from her, she tells her she doesn’t plan to die that day.  The other woman says she doesn’t either, but one of them is wrong.  Maggie and Carol are trying to tell them if they deal with Rick and their group honestly and in good faith, they will live.  But they don’t see that, because they plan, or know their coworkers plan to kill Rick’s group if not killed first, trade or no trade.  In other words, the woman talking to Maggie can’t conceive of how they can both not die that day.  It’s just not in her psyche.

But Maggie, Carol and the other members of their group can see that happening, and are willing to at least take a calculated risk, and they survive.  This episode affirms the enduring power of doing what’s right, maybe backed up by might because of the evil one can confront in life, but still it’s those values that ultimately keep you alive.  Because you know in your heart you have done what’s right and you have to survive for the good of your people and the world as a whole.  You have a mission, and a vision, that is bigger than you.  These people and their struggles mirror our own because we are all kept safe by people who lay down their lives for us in conflicts.  History is filled with that heroism.  And with the endurance of societies that hold higher human experiences dear, and the reason for the fight.