Five Things I Realized While Watching The Walking Dead New Year’s Marathon

Carl, Carol, Daryl, T-Dog, Rick, Glenn, Andrea, The Governor, Penny - The Walking Dead

We have 5 long weeks to wait for the premiere of the second half of season 5 of The Walking Dead. In the meantime, AMC threw the fans a bone by showing a marathon of all the episodes from the beginning, starting Dec. 30, 2014 and running to January 2, 2015. While I was not able to catch every episode during the marathon, I did watch a substantial number of them. It helped that they did not seem to show new content in the overnight hours, so I could at least sleep…

I do not own the DVDs of this program, so while the more recent episodes are pretty familiar to me, the early ones from seasons 1 and 2 are less so. Therefore, it was nice to be able to see some of those first outings and to become reacquainted with how some of the characters were introduced. During the time I was watching the marathon, I made a few observations which I will discuss below.

Puppies and Kittens
 

Andrea, Glenn, Rick - The Walking Dead

In the second episode of season 1, “Guts,” Rick and Glenn use a helpful but disgusting ruse to pass safely among the Walkers. It seems the Walkers are attracted to noise, light, and the fact that we smell differently than other Walkers. Yes, it is eau de life that clues them in dinner is walking by.

So, after Rick hacked up a captured and put down Walker, he and Glenn smeared the insides all over raincoats they had donned. During the process of hacking the Walker up and smearing the insides all over themselves, Glenn and actually everyone else there, were on the verge of tossing their cookies. Rick, in his non nonsense way, told Glenn to “think about something else – puppies and kittens” to get through the gross out.

So, what does this have to do with anything, you ask? Well, the premiere episode of Z Nation, that other zombie show airing on Syfy, was titled “Puppies and Kittens.” I’m sure that some of you made the connection immediately upon seeing the title, but it just took me a bit longer. I have to admit that I live for these types of connections!

T-Dog and the Geeks
 

T-Dog - The Walking Dead

T-Dog was a character from the early seasons – he died heroically in season 3, episode 4 “Killer Within.” After being bitten, he saved Carol’s life by holding off the Walkers so that she could escape.

I liked T-Dog – he was a good guy! However, I noticed that in season 1 he did not use the term everyone else uses for the zombies. He called them Geeks. Now, while I like T-Dog, I can’t help but take some umbrage at that term, since I count myself among the geeks and nerds of this world. I’m just sayin’…

Carl
 

Carl - The Walking Dead

One interesting thing about TV shows that feature children is that you cannot hide the fact they age. For an adult, 5 years of a program is nothing – and with good makeup, it is relatively easy to cover any changes in appearance even for a show that airs for 10 years if that is desired.

For a child actor, however, that is not possible. While according to some internet sources Carl has only aged two years in the 5 seasons of the show, looking at pictures of him from first to fifth seasons shows the reality of how much the actor, Chandler Riggs, has grown.

Children
 

The Governor and Penny - The Walking Dead

Children, with the exception of Carl and Judith, do not seem to last very long on this show. This is logical, since as the apocalypse goes on, the weaker members of the survivors will naturally become easy prey unless constantly protected by the others.

While Carl has become a force to reckon with on the program, and Judith seems to be the rallying point for the group, other children have not been so lucky. Not even considering the many children who were not around long enough to receive names, consider these whose names we do know:

Summer – in the first episode of the series, the first Walker Rick sees and kills is this little girl who had been in the camp with Shane, Lori, etc.
Sophia – Carol’s daughter who ends up a Walker and is found emerging from Hershel’s barn
Penny – the governor’s daughter, kept by him chained up in a closet in the hope she could be cured eventually
Meghan – the daughter of the governor’s love interest, bitten by a Walker and shot in the head by the governor
Noah – pressed into service in the governor’s maniacal attempt to take the prison, then slaughtered by the governor along with a host of others for giving up and retreating
Patrick – killed by the flu in the prison, his reanimated corpse was shot by Daryl
Mika – murdered by her sister Lizzie to try and prove that Walkers were “just different”
Lizzie – killed by Carol because mentally Lizzie was too far gone and a danger to everyone

Character Growth
 

Carol and Daryl - The Walking Dead

On The Walking Dead, changes are most noticeable for characters that have been around for more than one season. Beyond the daily grittiness of the program – even the Walkers are showing signs of the decay expected as the world slowly falls apart – the characters are showing the expected emotional wear resulting from day after day of trauma. As Rick said in a recent episode, “no place is safe.”

Despite that, the long term characters have shown considerable growth. Carol went from being a victim not in control of her life to a take charge survivor and leader who can be relied on in a fight. Glenn went from being a sarcastic pizza delivery boy to a compassionate but tough as nails fighter. Daryl went from being his brother Merle’s shadow to a strong leader with a clear sense of justice and compassion.

 

Did you watch The Walking Dead marathon this New Year? Do you have any observations that I missed to add to my list? Please let me know in the comments section below!