Last night, in the throes of a sinus medication induced wildness, I posted my predictions for The Walking Dead, episode 6, which will air next week on AMC. I wasn’t the only one with predictions. After the show and its partner, Talking Dead, were over, message boards went crazy with fans opining that both Lori and Carol are alive.
First of all, do I think that Lori is alive? Do I think that Carl didn’t shoot her and Carol saved her? Hell, yes, to all of those. And the path I took to reach to those conclusions is ridiculous.
The group of survivors we follow on The Walking Dead have survived the walker apocalypse for nearly a year. They are experienced, they are united, they have become family. They never give up on each other. They chopped Hershel’s leg off to keep the virus from taking him. They searched the woods for Sophia long after it became clear that they weren’t going to find her. Suddenly, they find Carol’s scarf on the floor and eh, she’s dead. The next week, they are digging Carol’s grave.
Maybe they think that Carol’s remains were mashed up with the remains of the eaten T-Dog. That would kind of fit, actually, since even Rick seems to suddenly be SO STUPID that he thinks a single walker ate Lori. Every bit of Lori, bones and clothes and all. Nom nom nom.
This is where Talking Dead comes into play. There were weird moments on the show, last night. Director Greg Nicotero was forced to explain to us that it wasn’t Lori’s wedding ring that Rick found on the floor beside the puddle of her blood. It was the bullet that Carl shot into her head to keep her from becoming a walker. Oooooohhhh. Thank you for explaining, Greg. That was kind of embarrassing for all of us, but especially YOU. It’s crappy television making when you are so caught up in what you know about the scene as director (Rick is picking up a bullet) that it doesn’t occur to you that the people you are trying to entertain won’t be able to see what you are showing them. To me, it’s a clue that the show has stopped giving a particular damn about being coherent entertainment.
After that, the talk on Talking Dead got kind of high pitched and unnatural, and it climaxed with host Chris Hardwick making a comment about empty graves that left everyone else strangely quiet, considering it’s a talk show.
So, what gives? If it’s simply that Lori and Carol are alive, the show has grown clumsy. I don’t think that most of us guessed that Sophia was in the barn until the last moment. I do think that most of us think that at least Carol is alive. If Lori is alive, Carol is a helluva doctor, saving a life with nothing at her disposal, not even her scarf. Did the survivors bury two bodies? Three bodies? Any bodies at all? Did Carol chop off T-Dog’s head and somehow save HIM? I’m confused as hell, and it’s not fair that we don’t know how many bodies there are. Right there, The Walking Dead is cheating the viewers by withholding information that most stories would have given us so we could be informed participants in the fun.
If they aren’t alive, if the team at The Walking Dead just wants to make viewers think that Lori and Carol are alive, The Walking Dead has stopped being a drama and started being a magic show. What was appealing about the show in the first place was that you had to suspend your disbelief long enough to believe in the zombie apocalypse, and that was it. It didn’t need to jerk us around with Talking Dead as its lovely assistant. These are adults watching this show, not a bunch of kids at a birthday party.
I hope that the show treads carefully next week. Very carefully. What happens in that episode could very well determine not only the fate of Lori and Carol, but maybe the fate of the show itself.