Walking Dead Open Discussion Thread

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Mike Dwyer

Mike Dwyer is a former writer and contributor at Ordinary Times.

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  1. Avatar Fish
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    They’ve been teasing the farm getting overrun for ages, and it looks like it’s finally going to happen.  And what’s going on with the walkers?  My friend and I are speculating that the virus has mutated, and that everyone is infected but it doesn’t kick in until you’re dead.Report

    • Avatar Sam in reply to Fish
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      If the virus has “mutated,” that is arguably the dumbest trick of convenience for the show’s writing staff, who simply could be bothered to figure out a way to turn Shane into a zombie by any other means. If the show’s grounding is going to be so fungible, then nothing we’re seeing really matters.Report

      • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Sam
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        Sam – Remember when they were going to drop Randall off a couple of weeks ago and Shane noticed that the two security guards they killed didn’t have bite marks? Remember how quickly Rick dismissed his concerns? This isn’t really a spoiler but if you remember from last season, just before they left the CDC in Atlanta the doctor there whispered something in Rick’s ear. Now we know what he told him.

        It adds a very interesting layer to the story IMO. The world is going to seem more hopeless. People may begin to think of the walkers as more like them (imagine if we all had HIV and how we might be more sympathetic to people with fullblown AIDS). I would also think it has potential ramifications for Lori’s baby. And I also assume everyone is going to be pissed at Rick for a while for not telling them.

        I also heard this was in the comic book so it’s not just a TV thing.Report

        • Avatar Fish in reply to Mike Dwyer
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          Holy cow, I’d completely forgotten about the CDC guy whispering to Rick.  And after all, viruses DO mutate, so why should this one be any different?

          I’ve only seen the “dead rising without being bitten” gimmick used once before, and that was in David Wellington’s “Monster” series.  A mutating virus is much better than what he used.Report

          • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Fish
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            What I am wondering is how far they will take it. In Max Brook’s Zombie Survival Guide he says that people already dead cannot reanimate if infected, meaning you won’t have corpses crawling out of the ground a la Thriller. I assume they will retain that logic.Report

        • Avatar Sam in reply to Mike Dwyer
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          An excellent point. Kudos to you. But honestly, there’s absolutely nothing enticing about a show that documents a zombie virus that’s airborne. There are virus shows that might be interesting, there are zombie shows that might be interesting, but an airborne zombie show would simply infect characters at random in yet another manipulative way to create drama that can’t be created via any other means (like acting or plotting or sensible decision making).

          I had assumed they might explain away Shane’s sudden change via blood exposure decision to repeatedly cut himself while fighting zombies in the bus.Report

          • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Sam
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            You are misunderstanding how it works. In this show everyone is a carrier but it doesn’t randomly go active. You don’t actually become a zombie until you die. That means if someone could avoid an unnatural death they could live to old age. You would just need to put a round in their brain before you put them in the ground. (*spolier alert*) That’s also why Shane become a walker last night. Rick had already killed him.

            The other way to get infected on this show is to be bitten by a zombie which causes death in short order and then reanimation.Report

            • Avatar Sam in reply to Mike Dwyer
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              I’m getting weird messages when I try to reply to you. Needless to say, if your explanation is THE show’s explanation, I will simply say that it has done a bad job of setting that up as the mechanism of infection. I will also observe that there were dead bodies scattered around the CDC who didn’t appear to have been headshot and didn’t appear to have been re-animated.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Sam
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                I’m guessing that it is a mutation beyond the original virus. OG zombies were bites only. Now zombies are anyone that dies of any cause.

                Weird that Rick didn’t think of that after he took out Shane. Or maybe it was just because Shane reanimated so fast.Report

              • Avatar Sam in reply to Mike Dwyer
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                If Rick didn’t think of it, it seems at least reasonable to wonder if this is the actual explanation, rather than one that simply conveniences the show’s writers.Report

            • Avatar Fish in reply to Mike Dwyer
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              I always understood the virus to be a bodily-fluid-borne pathogen, which is why bites are lethal.  Under this scenario, I’d think ANY death–natural or otherwise–not involving destruction of the brain would result in  the recently dead rising.

              As to the “Thriller” tie-in, we could assume that the buried dead encased in coffins have decayed beyond the point of animation, or are safely locked away from exposure to the virus, or simply can’t get out of their coffins…Report

        • Avatar North in reply to Mike Dwyer
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          Mike, yes it was a comic book thing and I always thought a clever one. Essentially they discover that the living will rise if they die in a manner that allows them to do so (intact brain in essence). The main character, shaken, exclaims “We are the walking dead.”Report

      • Avatar ThatPirateGuy in reply to Sam
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        Given how easy walkers are to dispatch this really helps make it believable that they could tear down the modern world. There would be no where to hide.Report

        • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to ThatPirateGuy
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          Speaking of dispatching Walkers – I thought about doing a post a while back about how to kill them (choice of ammo, silent weapons, etc). Any interest from anyone in that topic? I thought it would be fun to hear everyone’s input.Report

          • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Mike Dwyer
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            I have a post like that around somewhere in my head.  If you write yours, I’ll write mine…Report

            • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Patrick Cahalan
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              Patrick – tag team? What were you planning on covering?Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Mike Dwyer
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                I don’t know exactly, it’s still floating around in my head.  If you write yours, it might give me an anchor.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Patrick Cahalan
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                Well my area of expertise would probably be weapons.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Mike Dwyer
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                I know a lot about guns on paper (I ate up Military Small Arms of the 20th Century in high school), but bufkus about actually using them.

                As far as weapons go, my guesses would be to take a shotgun (as it’s usable as a hunting weapon as well) and a 9mm because it’s currently the most common non-.22 caliber.  Although, to be honest, it’s always bothered me that no zombie movie has ever covered the ammunition question properly.  If all you need to do is damage the brain, why isn’t a .22 the caliber of choice in a zombie apocalypse?  Little recoil, easy to bap off a bunch of rounds in a short period of time, the ammo is light, and they typically go fast enough to get in a skull but not fast enough to come out the other end, so they bounce around inside and would (presumably) be good anti-brain weapons.  For melee weapons… well, there you can get creative, I suppose.  A flail is probably the best possible anti-zombie weapon as it’s unlikely to get stuck (unlike all of those pointy things) and they’re pretty much *designed* to crush skulls, but using one is not for the novice.Report

              • Avatar Plinko in reply to Patrick Cahalan
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                Such a post would be awesome comment-fodder.

                About .22’s, I remember a Jay Leno headline (“Man, Shot in Head, Gets Mad”) about a guy who got shot in the head with a .22 pistol, the bullet lodged in his skull but didn’t even poke through. I believe the front of the cranium is thickest so the concern on failing to actually get through could be valid for a zombie coming right at you.

                I always wonder about the real logistics of how long such an outbreak could last – how long before they all starve or freeze to death? Or completely rotted away without an operating immune system?Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Patrick Cahalan
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                Field & Stream addressed that topic around Halloween. They also recommened the .22 for exactly the same reasons.

                For melee weapons it’s tricky. You don’t want zombie blood spraying everywhere. So, as much as I like the idea of a sword or my trusty SOG Tactical Tomahawk, I think you’re on the right track with some sort of club. Three items come to mind:

                – baseball bat

                this

                thisReport

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Patrick Cahalan
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                It appears the .22 will get the job done.

                Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Patrick Cahalan
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                I saw a documentary once that tested different weapons on zombies.

                Baseball bats and shovels worked pretty well; old LP records didn’t.

                Also, if you’re going to use a shotgun, it helps to have somebody with experience.

                Oh, and apparently pubs aren’t actually a safe haven. Drat that.Report

              • Avatar Plinko in reply to Patrick Cahalan
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                I think I saw that documentary, but I’ll be darned if I’m going to think keeping one as a pet is going to happen.Report

              • Avatar Sam in reply to Patrick Cahalan
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                The .22 was used to great affect in George Romero’s Land of the Dead. The group’s main-sharpshooter used a simple .22. Let’s not ignore our shared history on this topic.

                 Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Patrick Cahalan
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                I totally forgot about that, Sam.Report

              • Avatar Sam in reply to Patrick Cahalan
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                If you think I’ll forgive this oversight, you’re mistaken.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Patrick Cahalan
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                This presupposes that blood spatter itself is a pathogen (which is a good assume, but isn’t wildly supported in the genre).  If it’s not, I’m a big fan of these:

                http://www.coldsteel.com/gukupl.html

                But if it is, a 3 lb sledge would be serviceable.  Small, a lot lighter than that monster warhammer, and you can actually use it in grappling scenarios.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Patrick Cahalan
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                The war hammer is only 2.5 pounds.

                The Kukri worries me because you have to get so close. If blood spatter isn’t a problem then I’m definitely going the sword route.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Patrick Cahalan
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                Heh; that’s funny, you’re thinking “you have to get so close”, whereas I was thinking, “if it’s not close, I’m going to shoot it or run away…  and if it’s too close for either of those, I’m probably going to have to grapple with the thing whether I want to or not.”

                Shootwrestling classes in college makes me very cognizant of range differentials and how hard it is to do anything with an object when you’re trying to keep someone from taking you to the ground.

                But I do like me the warhammer.Report

              • Avatar Plinko in reply to Patrick Cahalan
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                Assuming braining them is mandatory, not sure why edge weapons would be preferred, won’t you constantly run the risk of getting a blade stuck in bone? I’d lean heavily toward bashing weapons – the mace sounds good to me! They wouldn’t have to be that heavy, as long as they are strong enough to hold up.

                 Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Patrick Cahalan
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                Plinko, I’d prefer bladed weapons because removing the head means the threat ends. Bashing might take multiple shots. Aiming for the neck would be less likely to get stuck than trying to spear them or something similar.Report

              • Avatar Plinko in reply to Patrick Cahalan
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                Good point, I’m thinking of best bets for dealing with several at once, but despite what the shows tell us, in those cases it’s probably just smarter to flee.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Mike Dwyer
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                This might be a good compromise. Little more range but same cutting power.

                http://www.coldsteel.com/two-handed-kukri-machete.html

                I agree on the range thing so it’s tricky. That’s why I like the longer reach. Keep them from getting their hands on you.Report

          • Avatar Sam in reply to Mike Dwyer
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            Step 1: go to the second floor.

            Step 2: block the stairs.

            Step 3: use long pointy sticks to brain zombies at a safe distance.Report

  2. Avatar Erik Kain
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    Mike, you need to insert pictures using the new formatting guidelines. Please email me if you have questions.Report

    • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Erik Kain
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      Eric –  There has got to be an easier way to do this. If I understand the new guidelines correctly (clearly I probably don’t) then EVERY picture we post has to be downloaded onto our PCs and resized…correct? And then I don’t follow why they can’t be inserted in the normal way. I’ve been using WordPress for years and never had this much trouble.

      After I posted the front page also looked just fine on my home PC and my phone.Report

      • Avatar Erik Kain in reply to Mike Dwyer
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        It’s actually very simple Mike. It’s also not really a matter for debate.Report

        • Avatar Erik Kain in reply to Erik Kain
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          Sorry if I was too short. But seriously it is very simple. Try it. It really isn’t hard once you’ve done it one or two times.Report

        • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Erik Kain
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          #1 You didn’t answer my question about the sizing.

          #2 When you first mentioned the image inserting you said, “If anyone has a problem with this, of course, it’s not a huge deal.” but your response here makes it sound like it kind of is.

          #3 You really seem to have a short fuse lately Erik (I spelled your name right this time). Try counting to 10 next time.Report

  3. Avatar Patrick Cahalan
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    I’m torn in a love/hate relationship with this show.

    I hate it because people keep doing things that just don’t make no damn sense.  Why would you walk off into a field by yourself in the dark?  Every episode something happens that makes me say, “Oh, come *on*, how did this guy/gal get this far?”

    However, as bad as the writers are at writing zombie lore, they’re doing an interesting job of keeping the characters in tension; good dilemmas, battles of principles, etc.

    I’m a week behind (Kitty wants to watch but needs breaks between episodes), so I don’t know yet what happened tonight, we just watched last week’s episode.

     Report

    • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Patrick Cahalan
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      Pat – you are exactly right. I coined a phrase last fall to address that very plot point. It’s called ‘Zombie in the well’.  Tell your friends. It’s gonna be a thing.Report

      • Avatar Sam in reply to Mike Dwyer
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        I recommend you try reading the recaps at VideoGum (I won’t link to third party sites, in case that’s a bad thing around here). Those recaps constantly recoil at how utterly stupid the show’s plotting and the characters’s decision making ends up being.

        The show’s driving force seems to be the creation of drama, so whatever we watch isn’t necessarily the result of it naturally occurring via a recognizable environment but instead the show’s creators going, “QUICK WE NEED DRAMA, NOW WHAT?” Shockingly, that doesn’t create drama so much as a desperate desire to scream at the television.Report

  4. Avatar North
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    The hubby and I had been discussing, for several weeks now, the farms odd sort of refuge status vis a vis the country full of zombies. Our theory had been that the forest, the ridge, the swamp, the lake and the creek formed a natural barrier between the farm and the zombie epicenter (Atlanta). Hershel mentioned the swamp and creek were drying up this episode and with zombies diffusing out more evenly it looks like the refuge is at an end.

    That said I found the way they portrayed the farm for much of series down right eden like. Drenched in golden sunlight, the bugs whirring, the wind blowing. It was really a beautiful reprieve from the first seasons’ grim quarry and nightmarish Atlanta.Report

    • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to North
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      If they stay with the plot from the comic book the next location seems to me to be the most ideal in terms of security. I guess we’ll find out next season.Report

      • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Mike Dwyer
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        Island?Report

        • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Patrick Cahalan
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          Prison.

          High fences, lots of bars, watch towers. A big yard for growing food. Perfect really.Report

          • Avatar North in reply to Mike Dwyer
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            Don’t forget riot gear. If you could get your whole body covered in Kevlar and have a faceplate helmet on the zombies would have a miserable hard time biting you.Report

            • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to North
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              True dat although I would be worried about mobility with riot gear.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Mike Dwyer
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                It’s been kind of astonishing to me that nobody wears *any* sort of protective gear, at all.

                I can see passing on anything heavy enough to make you slow enough that you can’t outrun a couple of walkers, but for cryin’ out loud, a motorcycle jacket and some heavy gloves would save you from a lot of bite danger.Report

              • Avatar Sam in reply to Patrick Cahalan
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                I’d be easier for me to make a list of things about this show that DON’T astonish me.

                 Report

              • Avatar ThatPirateGuy in reply to Patrick Cahalan
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                at the very least a plastic shield to keep zombie blood from splattering your face.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Mike Dwyer
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                Definitly a concern but I’d think you could custom it up to get the protection without much loss of mobility. Riot gear’s heavier elements are designed to protect against improvised weapons, blows and the like. All of those are non-concerns versus zombies. A layer of simple kevlar that’s impossible to bite through connected together seamlessly, some extra padding on the shoulders and about the neck (the sweet spot for zombie chomping) and a helmet and the walkers would have to dog pile you to have any shot of getting at you. None of that’d require much loss of mobility.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to North
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                We are making assumptions about zombie strength (typically less than or equal to your average out of shape adult human’s).  This is across the spectrum, in zombie media.  You have your “rend your limbs off” zombies as well.

                A zombie that can pull off someone’s arm is probably going to be plenty dangerous even if you’re in riot gear.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Patrick Cahalan
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                True that, but the Walking Dead’s zombies have demonstrated generally little more than average human strength (augmented by implacablility and an indifference to pain or fatigue). Walkers can (And have) be wrestled with (with the human winning), it has taken large mobs of them consderable time to bash through a glass door storefront. The only ripping we’ve seen from them was when the one walker got Dale and it only tore open his guts, a feat that any human could accomplish if they were in the same state of mind as a Walker.Report

  5. Avatar Sam
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    I missed the threads earlier this season, but was the show’s alluded to zombie cannibalism ever discussed?Report

  6. Avatar Patman9063
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    I have spent the entire day wondering how the group will deal with the oncoming zombie horde. It looked to be in the 50-100 range. Even if Rick and Carl run back to the farm, will they have enough time to scramble everyone out of their beds and on line with weapons loaded? Do they even have the weaponry to deal with a crowd that size? Its going to take more than a few pistols and a shotgun.Report

    • Avatar North in reply to Patman9063
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      If it follows the comic at all this arrival represents the end of the farms sanctuary status. They’ll probably have to decamp for a more defensible location.Report

      • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to North
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        On the “things that make me nuts about this show” has been the farm’s utter lack of defensive fortifications up to this point.  All those ground floor windows make no sense, particularly when zombies have been known to make it as far as the well.

        Shoot, if that was my farmhouse the first floor would be accessible from the front door, which would have three or four four by six bars on the inside and be reinforced into an inch of its life, and everything else would be boarded up to hell and gone.Report

  7. Avatar Kate
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    Question… I was thinking about season one when Rick was taken in by that man and his son. Morgan and Duane Jones. At that point the were hold up in a house and a swarm of walkers just aimlessly strolled the streets. They would even shoot out the windows and the walkers wouldn’t attack the house. Do you think that the virus is mutating because now it appears that farm zombie horde is purposefully heading together to the farm. It’s like they are getting more aggressive and directed.Report

    • Avatar Sam in reply to Kate
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      In a word, no. Not because your observation isn’t technically correct, but because there are too many examples throughout the show of its producers just absolutely winging it when it comes to their world’s rules. Here are two quick ones:

      1. Zombies are only occasionally attracted by noise, something that the characters are only occasionally concerned about. They’ve been shooting at the farm for “practice” every so often but zombies haven’t come pouring out of the woods. It was only after last week’s final shot that the walkers were attracted to the farm in the woods? And not all of the earlier shots, like Andrea shooting Darryl, or the target practice sessions, or anything else?

      2. Much earlier in the second season, we were introduced to the possibility that zombies cannibalize each other. While out searching for Sofia, Andrea and Darryl found a zombie hanging in a tree. It was somebody who had hung themselves out of desperation. But his legs were eaten away at. Presumably he didn’t hang himself while surrounded by walkers.

      I think we think too highly of the show when we consider that it is going to have observable rules. Instead, it has whatever the show’s producers need to create drama and/or a cool bit of special effects at that very moment.Report

  8. Avatar OnlyHalfPepper
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    Anyone beside me getting tired of Lori? I feel like no matter what, she is unhappy or complaining.Report

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