Walking Dead Season Finale: Open Thread (Spoiler Alert)

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Mike Dwyer

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

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  1. Avatar North
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    My own thoughts from the episode:

    -The synchronized turn by every member of the zombie herd at the sound of the gun shot was awsome in terms of drama but viscerally terrifying and providing a useful insight into how “walkers” operate in this world.

    Walkers operate according to their last provided stimulus. It seems a walker who see’s a human running west will shamble west until they either encounter an immovable obstacle or until provided an alternative stimulus. walkers do have a very low level of cognition: they can distinguish between other walkers and humans (by scent) and will eat the latter but not the former. They also will react to information communicated by other walkers actions: if a walker sees another walker headed purposefully in a direction they will, lacking other stimulus, follow. This creates herds and also an interesting searching dynamic. In the comics it’s indicated that a walker may see another walker stumble against a door and misinterpret this as an indication that there’s food inside and thus will begin to batter the door. Other walkers will see this battering and join in. This results in a lot of buildings being entered essentially randomly.

    – I’m very sad to see the end of the golden sunlight drenched farm. I suspect they will be a long time finding another sanctuary as idyllic and beautiful as this one. But the way the farm fell also demonstrates how spoiled even the veterans had become by its false security. There was no thoughtful co-ordinated defense. There were no escape routes planned and there were no fall back positions established. Having lost the farm the group is essentially back to square one.

    -Jimmy is clearly too stupid to live having failed both to lock the RV’s door and also apparently being unfamiliar with the idea of driving in reverse. What on earth was he thinking when he jumped up from the drivers seat?

    -I didn’t think I was capable of hating Lori more until this evening. Yes Rick was abrasive and rough but getting indignante becase Shane is dead? Were you not Lady Macbething on the very subject of killing Shane all of two or three episodes ago?

    -I noticed a prison in the pan out at the ending. An interesting contrast there, a facility that was designed in the old world to keep dangerous elements contained away from the outside world could now serve in the new world as a means of keeping the dangerous outside world away from the survivors.

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    • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to North
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      North,

      I would disagree with most of this:

      There was no thoughtful co-ordinated defense. There were no escape routes planned and there were no fall back positions established. Having lost the farm the group is essentially back to square one.

      I actually thought they handled it pretty well. When they moved into the house Rick had them park all the cars close by and facing towards the road. The fact that most of the crew made it out seems to be confirmation this worked. They also all seemed to know (maybe just an educated guess) that they would rally at the freeway. They also had planned on defending the house but Darryl waved that off when he saw the size of the herd.

      I agree about Lori. Talk about bi-polar. The look on Rick’s face after she walked away portrayed exactly what I was thinking (“What a b*tch!)

      And the prison was shown for a reason – that’s their next home. The more I think about it the more perfect it seems as a defensible position – though one would think it would be crawling with infected prisoners.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Mike Dwyer
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        Maybe so Mike, perhaps the show was just playing up the dramatic tension with Rick and Hershel’s uncertainty about waiting and how Lori and the others had to be convinced they should head for the highway (which was essentially the only off-farm site they all had been to mind, so it was pretty much the only logical guess for a place to find the others). But they also have no food except what they left for Sophia, no extra fuel, no really anything. You’d think they’d at least have prepared some bugger out packs. I still think the whole evacuation was pretty much 90% ad-hoc.

        Yeah here here on Lori.

        I’ve read the comics so I was just trying not to be too spoiler-riffic. The prison could indeed be riddled with undead prisoners but that is assuming that the guards wouldn’t have released the prisoners when everything started falling apart. I’d think that the last few prison guards at their posts would still have enough humanity to unlock the doors before fleeing to try and save their families. If not then a locked down prison would be a very inhospitable environment for the walker plague: all the humans are sequestered from each other. Then again, we’ve learned,  once they starved to death they’d have risen anyhow so perhaps you’re right.Report

        • Avatar ThatPirateGuy in reply to North
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          yes but a walker in metal jail cell is really easy to dispatch. Not much to worry about there. Heck body disposal would be the biggest worry once you cleared out a  cell block.Report

          • Avatar North in reply to ThatPirateGuy
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            True that, though I have a feeling that when the power cuts out the cells unlock? Anyone know off the top of their heads?

            Oh… interesting secondary thought… if the cell doors work that way then prisons probably have a backup power supply. It may be out of diesel but if that’s true then they could have electricity in the prison as soon as they scavenge some fuel.Report

            • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to North
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              I was thinking independent power supply as well.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Mike Dwyer
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                Great minds.. the only real practical problem then would be a question of water and septic disposal… what do you think; Georgian prison somewhat rural though not immensly far from Atlanta. Think they have their own wells or would they be on a municipal water supply? Same question for septic.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to North
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                I’m thinking city water. It’s interesting though that you really don’t hear a whole lot about food and water on the show.  Maybe there’s still plenty to be scavenged. Security seems to be their primary concern.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Mike Dwyer
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                Yeah the scavenging should be pretty good for a while. But eventually things are gonna run out and go bad. Even non perishable items will suffer and spoil under freeze thaw cycles and when attacked by rodents and other critters. That’s always what’s frightened me about the zombie apocalypse: you can theoretically build yourself a castle and be impervious to the horde but sooner or later you have to reclaim the fields or else you die. But how do you reclaim the fields without whiping out every zombie on the continent?Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to North
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                I think a fenced-in prison yard could probably feed about a dozen people (hint, hint). The next question is where you get the seeds.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to North
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                I think water and septic would become a problem too; if the facility was on city utilities then with the plants down there’d be no water running in and no sewage running out. In theory maybe they could pump water out of the water main? I’m not certain… they could rig some means of collecting it from a local source but then there’s their sewage. If they don’t dispose of it right they’d poison their own water. Cholera and diahrea won’t kill you outright like a zombie bite will but I’ve heard that essentially crapping yourself to death is not a good way to go.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to North
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                Seeds? Not too much challenge I’d think. Hershel is a farmer (or is he only a cattle man?) so he’d know what they need and where to scavenge it. Seeds are pretty compact stuff, fill a car with it and you’re pretty much set yes? How well would prison fences stand up to zombie mobs though?Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to North
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                I believe The Prison has three fences. I assume they are pretty strong.Report

            • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to North
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              True that, though I have a feeling that when the power cuts out the cells unlock?

              Nope.  Fail closed, typically.  In fact, this is kind of an issue since losing power in some facilities means you *can’t* open the cells without cutting equipment in some places.  It depends upon what sort of prisoners you hold, as well.  Maximum security facilities are different from minimum ones.

              Prisons usually have both backup generators and batteries, and my understanding is that they are often off-grid when it comes to sewage and water.Report

      • Avatar Fish in reply to Mike Dwyer
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        I interpreted the look on Lori’s face as one of, “Oh sh#t, I backed the wrong horse.”  I know this can’t be right, but that’s what struck me when she backed away from Rick after he told her what he’d done to Shane.

        I also felt bad for Andrea.  She acted as the hero in saving Carol but then gets left behind and is forced to run for her life through the woods.  But Oh!  I can’t wait to learn about the “ninja with armless zombies on leashes” who saves her (er…spoiler alert?).

        The episode seemed like a bit of a shambles, yeah, but I think that was the point.  And hey!  T-Dogg sighting!!!Report

        • Avatar North in reply to Fish
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          Fish, in fairness to the others in the group, they did see Andrea go down under a walker. It was dark and it would have been difficult to realize that the walker was dead when it landed on her so assuming she was lost was an eminantly definsible conclusion to draw.

          As to our “Ninja” I’m looking forward to seeing how her actress portrays her and also how the relationships go since the character she played off in the comic books has been left out of the show (so far at least). I also flat out don’t remember why she kept those walkers on leashes…Report

  2. Avatar Scott
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    Sorry I thought the episode was awful. I didn’t believe the writing. No plan to defend the farm, everyone is running around without a common plan, the idea that anyone is going to make head shots from a car at night. The idea that they would abandon the farm without so much as an attempt to re-occupy it. It just wasn’t believable.Report

    • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Scott
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      Scott – the dialogue last night made it pretty clear that they all realized the farm wasn’t definisble and they had been fooling themselves. And they are short on ammo. Why try to re-take it? I’ll admit that it would be hard to resist going back for supplies but I also think Rick had the cars all filled with provisions when they moved into the house.Report

    • Avatar sally in reply to Scott
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      Believable? it’s a zombie show. if you want something believable, watch CNN.Report

  3. Avatar BlaiseP
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    The only believable zombies are the writers of this POS.Report

    • Avatar North in reply to BlaiseP
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      The screen writers aren’t covering themselves in glory BlaiseP, agreed, but I’d urge charity. Walking Dead’s one of the better television or even movie submissions in the genre (a low bar I know) so I’d like to see it do well.Report

      • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to North
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        They also got a new showrunner mid-season and most people feel like the second half of the season was much better. That guy will be running all of next season.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to North
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        The whole Zombie Thang is rotting faster than the zombies themselves.   I sometimes think America’s on this Zombie meme for the same reason the Japanese went crazy for Godzilla and Mothra and the like:  it’s a reflection of a recent historical apocalypse, just like the first zombie stories which emerged from Haiti’s legacy of slavery.

        America got sold down the river into Vodoun Town and we know it.   Katrina washed ashore and we saw America’s rotten veneer peel up, exposing a nightmare we always sorta feared was there.    Those poor bastards looking up at the news helos and Preznit Bush the Dumber looking down on that waterlogged world:  neither could do anything about their plight and neither could go on believing in their polite little fictions.

        And then came the Wall Street implosion.   All those clever guys on Wall Street fished up the world economy so bad nobody could even see straight.   All those foreclosures, all those evictions, oh we’ve seen a whole lotta zombies wandering the streets lately.

        The old-style zombies had masters who enlisted the help of some gris-gris pharmacology to keep the zombie working on some drudgery, requiring periodic maintenance and re-administration of the zombie potion, with some possibility of returning to a normal life.   Not today’s zombies, nossir.   It’s a one way trip.   You might even have to put a round through your zombie wife’s head.Report

        • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to BlaiseP
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          I think people find zombie stuff interesting because it’s easier to picture yourself in those scenarios. Since the zombies are mindless the story becomes more about the survivors. It also dovetails nicely with a growing prepper culture in the U.S.Report

          • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Mike Dwyer
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            I suppose alienation is always frightening.   It’s been a consistent theme in horror.   From what I know about human beings reduced by war and disease, they adapt quite readily to these situations.   We’d adapt to the zombies and they to us.   All this nonsense about being prepared for an emergency — there’s no preparing for emergencies.   Those poor saps at Fukushima built a huge bulwark against a tsunami but they didn’t build it high enough.    Just how prepared can anyone be for the unforeseen?Report

            • Avatar Sam in reply to BlaiseP
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              I don’t know if it is alienation so much as the relentless nature of the zombie ghoul. Unlike other traditional movie monsters, zombies are a seemingly endless attacker, always with more in reserve, always difficult to stop, and always just undefined enough to allow for tweaking of the ghoul’s rules along the way. There is a certain desperation in all of that which doesn’t exist when the topic is vampires or Frankensteins or mummies or whatever else.Report

            • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to BlaiseP
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              Tell that to every person who has ever survived a tornado in a storm shelter, put out a fire with a fire extinguisher or kept someone alive with CPR. People survive emergencies every day. Sometimes it’s dumb luck but most often it’s prepardness. The Boy Scouts have always had that right.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Mike Dwyer
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                That sort of problem lies in the domain of the Foreseen.    Our stoves and automobiles are capable of burning therefore we buy fire extinguishers.   Adherence to residential codes obliges us to install fire alarms.

                I was a Boy Scout, back in the day.  My Dad would decide the grass was greener on the other side of the planet every year or so and I didn’t stay in Troop 21 very long.   But I do remember my scoutmaster, John Robb, saying there was no preparation for the unforeseen.   We would only have each other in such circumstances and the first reaction to disaster was to locate the survivors, establish communications and send out patrols for like-minded groups, for the individual would never make it on his own.   I’ve had occasion to thank him for that bit of wisdom.

                We will only have each other.   When things get tough and the world seems full of mindless zombies,  no wall will be high enough or moat deep enough.Report

            • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to BlaiseP
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              Well, if you look at Japan’s recent woes, with their preparation level, you can make all sorts of assessments about how prepared you can be for the unforeseen.

              They were prepared with the set S = {X, X’, X”, … Xn}

              Stuff happens.

              If X”’, X”” had not been included in the set of preparations, {these other things would have occurred}

              Since X”””” *was* included in the set of preparations, {this thing that might not have occurred did occur}

              Generally speaking, the Japanese did very well considering this was a triple whammy, and most of that is because they are pretty prepared.  There were a couple of things that they found they needed to revisit (such as the evac points for high ground markers), but they certainly did much better than, say, Bangladesh would have done under a similar confluence of circumstance.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Patrick Cahalan
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                The Japanese acquitted themselves reasonably well at ground level but enough people died when they went back for their things for me to conclude that part of a tsunami drill was deficient.   The Japanese government didn’t handle this terribly well and was in denial for a good long while.Report

  4. Avatar Sam
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    With the exception of the samurai’s introduction, the show was garbage, not because it wasn’t believable, but because it was stupid. From the impossible jumps in time to Hershel’s endless shotgunning to the military precision of the human shooters to the introduction of the “We’re all infected!” storyline to the rest of it, none of it was done well. That’s the objection.Report

    • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Sam
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      Scott – the only complaint I would agree with is Herschel’s shotgunning. I think I counted 12 shots without a visible reload.Report

      • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Mike Dwyer
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        The driving and shooting bit knocked me out of my suspension of disbelief quite a bit.  Given that they started actually preparing earlier that day, they did aiight, but any cop is going to start off any disaster plan with “here’s how we get back together if we have to split up”, and that’s been the one thing that has driven me batshit crazy about this show from minute one.

        It’s stupidly obvious that you need to stay together to maximize your survival possibilities.  They still don’t even have freakin’ walkie-talkies, for crying out loud.Report

        • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Patrick Cahalan
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          I’ve also been impressed at how long the tote bag of firearms has lasted.Report

          • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Mike Dwyer
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            Firearms technical accuracy in cinema has long been a matter of freedom for the sake of story telling.

            I don’t know why “holy cow these people have had a couple of lessons in shooting and they can headshot zombies from a moving car” makes me nuts while I’m only slightly bothered by other aspects, like when it comes to carrying ammunition… and then I *am* bothered by those aspects at other times, like Hershel’s Magic Shotgun of Shooting.

            I will say this: I bet younger folk who’s major intersection with the zombie genre has been the Resident Evil series before they watched all the Romero movies… they’re probably trucking along just fine with their suspension of disbelief when it comes to the guns.  Expectation setting.Report

        • Avatar Plinko in reply to Patrick Cahalan
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          This. The one thing they’ve had plenty of over the last few weeks is time to plan, it seems clear now that not only did they not do any; the writers elected to have everyone show up where they wanted them anyway all at the same time.Report

    • Avatar ThatPirateGuy in reply to Sam
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      I don’t see how a bite spread infection takes down the country or the world. One that turns everyone who dies makes the fall much more likely as you can’t rely on quarantine. Every suicide or natural death creates a new crisis for those in the area.

      Makes one much more wary of grandpa doesn’t it.Report

  5. Avatar Jaybird
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    PEYTON MANNING IS COMING TO DENVERReport

  6. Avatar Patman9063
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    Question- why were’nt the walkers Michonne had in shackles trying to attack her? Or attack Andrea? Why were they so obidient- halting a short distance behind Michonne when she stopped to dispatch the walker on top of Andrea? I think in the comic they were her boyfriend and his friend, but still, walkers are pretty indescriminate once they’ve turned…Report

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