Review – Mega Re-watch of The Walking Dead continued..

Posted: May 9, 2016 in Post apocalypse, zombie


Re-watching The Walking Dead has been an interesting exercise for me. Not just from a pure entertainment point of view but also for all the nuances and details that I missed the first time around. Perhaps, with some of the shock and horror taken out of the series, I’ve been allowed to peek over the metaphorical cushion a little more, to watch a bit more observantly. And so, with great mental fortitude, I revisited season five..

This is, in my opinion, one of the most brutal seasons of the series so far. Not only are we confronted from the outset by some truly hideous scenarios, we also see a number of great characters lose their lives. Season five is one of change; almost a paradigm shift from ‘what was’ to ‘what is’. By that I mean, it’s a move away from the last vestiges of civilised society to one that is explicitly premised on survival, and one that all but removes any ideas of hope.

The opening episode sets the tone for much of the fifth season. Terminus, that beacon the group strived so hard to reach, hides a secret more horrifying than anything encountered in the series. Confronting a group so warped that they’ve resorted to cannibalism displays in stark relief how possible it is to give in to the insanity of this new, post-apocalyptic world.

On the other hand, Beth is trapped in an equally bizarre camp where humans are commodities, kept to be used or abused as those in power see fit. Both Terminus and the hospital exhibit an exterior of safety and sanctuary but, underneath, each is a twisted reflection of people’s degeneration (a lesson that will stay with the group, affecting their reactions to Atlantis).

These story arcs both culminate in a number of losses for the group as Beth, Bob and Tyresse are all killed. But these deaths aren’t just used for shock value. All these characters embodied hope, positivity and the possibility of a future and each death serves to reinforce that idea of hopelessness that this season is so concerned with.

These factors all bleed over into the Atlantis portion of the season. The group have become wild, almost feral due to their experiences. But, and this is the heart of it, only the strong are left now and whether they are cannibals, psychos or a group like Rick’s, they are all steeped in violence. There is no room for weakness or softness or compromise or hope. They trust no-one as evidenced by their reaction to Gabriel. They leave no threat able to act against them.

Atlantis poses a different but no less dangerous threat. The people are weak, scared and inexperienced fighting against both zombies and survivors. In The Walking Dead cowardice and fear get people killed, as we see with Noah. It’s another example of lost hopes and also the first time we see Glenn crack.

Season five has forged Rick and his group into battle-hardened survivors. It has wrought irrevocable changes on them all and the question of whether they can find themselves again or start afresh remains at the forefront. The fact remains, however, that to survive you must be prepared to do whatever it takes.

Season five is no-holds-barred and the finale is the nail in the coffin for any notion of returning to life as it was. My wife and I are currently halfway through the sixth season and it seems like there’s little let up. I’ll admit, I’m obsessed with the show but it is amazing viewing.


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