Trust and the Zombie Apocalypse

The Walking Dead

Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” Lt. Cdr. Montgomery Scott, Star Trek, The Original Series episode “Friday’s Child.”

Trust: such a small word expressing a very complex idea. Trust is part and parcel of our lives today. When you drive down the highway, you trust that the car next to you will not come over into your lane. When you turn on the tap, you trust that water will be delivered to your sink. You trust your spouse to not betray you, your children to not lie to you, your friends to not gossip your secrets to others. Oh, sure, some people will abuse your trust, but usually it is not a life and death situation!

But what about in an apocalypse? In order to survive must trust be one of the first things to go out the window? Where do you draw the line when it comes to trust? And, once trust is abandoned, can it ever be regained? Pointedly, is it possible to have the luxury of trust during the zombie apocalypse?

Our favorite band of intrepid zombie apocalypse survivors has been burned so many times that their leader, Rick, is having a crisis of trust. As in, he’s having a hard time finding any inside himself. This is a problem, because they may finally have found a safe haven, a place where Rick can raise his kids without constant deprivation of food, water and most of all, constant fear of Walker attacks.

And yet, we have seen trust employed at various times and by various people through the run of The Walking Dead. In fact, without it, our current group would not even exist! Let’s take a look at the times trust was important to our characters.

The Original Group

Shane, Dale, Lori, Carl - The Walking Dead

We did not really witness the formation of the original group, which included Carl and Lori, Shane, Dale, Carol and her family, Daryl and Merle, and many others that have been lost along the way. However, this initial group was formed in the early days of the apocalypse, when there were many more people to choose from, trust was still a commodity that did not have a downside, and the weaker members of society had not yet begun to be killed. Still, it was a group formed from mostly strangers who trusted each other.


Morgan, Duane, Rick - The Walking Dead

If it were not for Morgan, Rick would have died in the pilot. Morgan did not immediately trust Rick, but once he verified that Rick had not been bitten, he took him in and helped him learn what was happening. Certainly his trust in Rick, and of course vice versa, were vital to the beginning of the show!

Hershel’s Farm

Rick and Hershel - The Walking Dead

Hershel was not always the warm accepting person we came to know and love. When Rick and company first arrived at his farm, he was actually pretty inhospitable based on a lack of trust. If it were not for the fact that Carl had been accidentally shot by Otis, the whole group would have probably been turned away at the gate. And yet, that lack of trust turned into the formation of a family of sorts as the farm inhabitants joined with Rick’s group when the farm was destroyed.

Rosita, Abraham and Eugene

Sgt. Abraham Ford, Rosita Espinosa, and Dr. Eugene Porter - The Walking Dead

This group came across Tara and Glenn during a bad moment for the two, but they at least had an opportunity to see what fighting skills Glenn and Tara possessed. So, trust was not likely a large part of why they took them in. Most likely, it was more a case of Abraham feeling secure in his fighting skills and not feeling threatened by Glenn and Tara. Rather Abraham took them in when he saw their fighting skills as important to help their mission.

Bob, Tara, Sasha, Tyreese, Michonne, Gabriel, Noah

Tyreese, Michonne, Sasha, Bob. Noah, Gabriel, Tara - The Walking Dead

And then we have the various people picked up along the way that were allowed to join the group. Rick and company have their infamous three questions. While I understand the importance of the questions, it still required a certain level of trust to believe that the person being questioned is telling the truth. Rick was partially fooled by the woman in the woods who nearly led him to his death as dinner for her Walker husband’s head. Not to mention that trusting Tara was probably the most difficult from this list since she had fallen for the Governor’s line and had almost participated in the destruction of the prison.

The Governor’s Followers

The Governor and followers - The Walking Dead

Woodbury seemed idyllic. It seemed like the perfect place to be safe and happy. Of course, we know it was not. Michonne was the first person to suspect not all was puppies and kittens, but the Governor was a master of gaining the trust of others. All the inhabitants of Woodbury, with the possible exception of Tyreese, bought what he was selling and most ended up dead. Then we had his new family, Tara, Lilly and Meghan, who along with Martinez and his new group all fell under the Governor’s influence and trusted too easily, leading to most of them dying.

The Termites (Residents of Terminus)

Shrine at Terminus - The Walking Dead

As we saw, the residents of Terminus started out as a welcoming, trusting group of people, who let anyone in. The problem was they had no vetting process and a group of murderers and rapists came in and took over, and by the time the original inhabitants were able to finally get free, the Termites were different people devoid of trust.


This brings us to the crossroads where we now find Rick and the gang. Is Alexandria all it is cracked up to be? Can Rick trust Deanne? Heck, after his final words in the episode “Remember” can she trust him? I imagine that only time will tell. What do you think? Let me know in the comments section below!