Thinking about it from the perspective that these are "real" events happening to "real" people, then I could definitely understand Herschel's point of view. I don't trust news networks to tell the truth on everyday matters, so why would I suddenly believe some CNN reporter when he tells me that my family has turned into flesh-eating monsters and I need to put a bullet in their brains?
The reality and enormity of the situation simply hadn't set in for Herschel yet.
Also, I took that personality test as well and I guess I'm Dale.
I might do what Herschel did (if I were in his position - settled in other words) - but as soon as I observed them decaying and becoming irrecoverable for certain, I'd probably put them down.
He might have been waiting for them to decay and terminate by natural causes. But that might take longer than his lifetime - assuming Herschel would die of natural causes. He'd have to realize that before he became an invalid. Then there's no garauntee that his extended (living) family members would keep the walkers "alive" as pets either. They're dangerous!
Meanwhile, from Rick's perspective - he woke in the hospital in the middle of this and it was kill or be killed.
Shane was busy rescuing people he cared about - which obviously turned to rescuing Laurie and Carl - prompting me to wonder if Shane had an affair with Laurie before Rick was shot and in the hospital (way before the zombie appocolypse). Obviously Rick suspected and decided it was only natural for Shane and Laurie to make the mistake of believeing him to be dead and carrying through with it. But it'd be another story if he learned that it started before he was ever shot and the world was normal - or worse - that Carl is actually Shane's biological son. (Rick would never have had reason to have a paternity test back in the day - but I don't think Shane purposely missed the 2nd shooter in the traffic chase. Walking Dead showed the incident where Rick was shot and it seemed Shane did everything he could to back Rick up - so I DO believe Shane is Rick's best friend. Yet the affair with Laurie could have and at least eventually did happen).
But in any event, Shane was out in the open having to kill walkers too - in order to protect Laurie and Carl (and himself) at the very least.
We've only seen this so far of Shane's past as the appocolypse happens:
- he was on the road in a traffic jam with Laurie and Carl and they saw military helicopters fire-bomb Atlanta.
So they must have been evacuated by the authorities before they had much zombie contact.
So how fast did it spread?
How many were amongst the first walkers?
You had to have some lag time between when those attacked die the first time, or get the fever and eventually die the first time - and the time they awake - the zombie population having grown.
So how did Shane and the rest of Rick's family end up with Dale, Andrea, T-Dog, Meryl, etc? They haven't flashed back to show that.
I would assume that in that traffic jam, somebody felt like Herschel and had a sick relative with them who turned and started biting others. But that individual would've been killed the 2nd time. And again, the future walkers would need some time to incubate their disease before they'd come back - so the living people could easily get away from them.
Maybe that's where survivors including Shane banded together. Well yeah. They sort of showed that happening when the family met Sophia and her mom and abusive dad. But there should have been more living people and not THAT many walkers at that point. So what happened?
Maybe the military didn't have enough transports and Shane and others elected to stay behind and be the last ones evacuated but the military never came back?
Could a military base be overrun by zombies anyway? They have more than enough ammo especially since it'd only take one bullet carefully shot - and the zombies can't shoot back.
Then as evidence would be obvious - they'd shoot the bitten and infected as policy. Shane and friends managed to do it with only a few armed personnel when they opened the barn. A military base should be very safe, right?
Well, there are a lot of problems with modern zombie stories that don't really align with how things would work in the real world. There is an article on Cracked.com that describes 7 reasons that a zombie apocalypse would fail before it even started, however I can't link to it from here because of the language.
To sum them up:
7. Too many natural predators: dogs, cats, crows, buzzards, hawks, flies, maggots, lions, bears, coyotes, cougars, panthers, wolves, hyenas, rats, mice, worms, ants, bacteria, etc. - animals that have no problems eating dead flesh (in fact some of them prefer it) would be lining up to feast on any zombies that crossed their path. And that's not even counting all the animals that could gore a zombie just by walking by (or on) them: cows, horses, deer, buffalo, elephants, rhino, etc.
6. They can't take the heat: high heat causes dead bodies to putrefy much faster than normal which causes bloating (from the gases created by flesh-eating bacteria) up to twice their normal size and eventually will cause all of the dead bodies to start exploding spontaneously.
If the zombies are in a dry desert heat, the flesh will dry out and, without the ability to replenish the moisture, they will begin to mummify and simply fall over unable to move within hours. The sensitive tissue of the eyes would dry out first leaving the zombies completely blind within minutes.
5. They can't take the cold: in weather that is below freezing, all of the zombies will simply be frozen solid. There is no way for a dead body to replenish body heat and, since human bodies are mostly water, that water will freeze almost instantly in temperatures below 32º F. There is also the problem of freezer burn, which is caused by water molecules migrating out of meat after it has frozen. This causes the meat/flesh to dry out and completely destroys it, making it 100% useless even after it has been thawed out.
4. Biting is a Terrible way to Spread a Disease: rabies is a disease that can only spread through bites and look how easy that is to avoid. If you see a guy, 50 feet in front of you, getting bit by a rabid dog, are you going to let that dog (or that guy) get anywhere near you? The really dangerous diseases spread quickly because they are airborne. Even blood and body-fluid transmitted diseases (like AIDS and Herpes) are relatively easy to avoid.
Also, a very important fact (that isn't mentioned in the Cracked list) is that human teeth are incapable of biting through cloth. Not even healthy human teeth can bite through a t-shirt and that's not even factoring in the rotting teeth and gums of a zombie. So just put on a pair of jeans, some shoes and a longsleeve turtleneck and 95% of your body is zombieproof.
3. They Can't Heal from Day to Day Damage: without a central nervous system to warn your brain that your body is taking damage, even the most minor paper cuts can eventually turn into an amputation. This is why leprosy is so dangerous. People simply rub off their extremities (fingers, noses, ears, feet, genitals, etc.) because they can't feel the damage being done and it tends to build up day after day and get infected until you would end up with a bunch of limbless, faceless zombies writhing around on the ground. In fact, it would happen even faster to a zombie because their bodies wouldn't heal.
2. The Landscape is Full of Zombie Proof Barriers: rivers, mountains, cliffs, bridges, staircases, etc. - these are things that would be tough for zombies to avoid during the day and nearly impossible for them to avoid at night. Without the ability to heal or feel pain, it would only take one minor fall off the front porch to permanently incapacitate any zombie. So unless you spend the entire zombie apocalypse in an empty parking lot, you're pretty much safe wherever you are. Especially people in cities who live in buildings with security doors designed to keep out the living.
So just lock yourself indoors and take out the zombies with your gun or whatever furniture you can fit through the window. Speaking of guns...
1. Weapons and the People who Use Them: if human beings have proven anything about themselves, it's that we are really, really good at killing stuff. In 2004, there were 14 million people hunting with a license in America alone. That's not including the police and our military (who would also have access to machine guns, grenades, rocket launchers, det cord, Claymore mines, tanks, and that little thing called the Air Force).
That's also not including all the registered gun owners that don't hunt and all the illegal gun owners. And even if you are idealistically opposed to guns, you would still have no shortage of weapons like kitchen knives, baseball bats, crowbars, Molotov cocktails, and cars (that I'm sure people would more than happily use to mow down a few walking dead).
Realistically, the idea of a zombie apocalypse is really laughable. So I wouldn't be spending too much time on the hows and whys of the epidemic itself. The only thing the zombies would have in their favor is the very powerful human emotion known as denial. People might be so busy telling themselves, "Zombies don't exist, so that can't be a zombie, because zombies don't exist," that they might hesitate long enough for the zombie to get close enough to bite them.
The other thing that zombie movies and TV shows never mention is the smell of dead bodies. If you've ever been within 100 feet of a dead animal, you will know it. So it would be completely impossible for a walking horde of zombies to sneak up on any person with a functional sense of smell. Not even taking into account the swarms of flies surrounding the zombies and the birds of prey circling overhead (which would would betray any zombie about 5-10 miles out during the day).
Also this adds credence to Herschel's opinion, since he is a rancher and a veterinarian; so he would be very familiar with the effects of death on flesh. So when he sees "dead" bodies still walking around after a few days, then the only conclusion that he would draw is that they are not dead, because that would be impossible. In other words, his intelligence would be working against him in this situation.
I merely thought that, by mid-season, the season has been "fine". I think the first half felt like a lot of "nothing happened" to me. I felt that the story could've spanned four episodes rather than the seven that aired. There wasn't very much character development for me and it seemed like they actually just plugged the characters into roles that were too defined. I still think it's a great show and compelling television even at worst. Season one was a 10/10 for me and this season has been about a 6/10 at this point.
BB: thanks for that awesome analysis. I think I'll include that in my memory of my all-time favorite posts by you. That was really informative and well thought out. I think I can finally stop sleeping with my gun under my pillow on Sunday nights. All thanks to you. ;)
Meanwhile, I think it would be really tough for a FICTION writer to write their way around these facts you illustrated, just to make the show even more realisitc. I doubt that happens. But it's just good 'ol plain fun anyway.
JP: I think I really disagree with you on this one. As I've been discussing the FICTION behind a Zombie Appocalypse with BB above, that's hardly what makes this show. It's very strong character development and the human story - about the survivors' decisions - like the contrast between Herschel and Shane's approach to things (Rick's somewhere in the middle - like John Kerry between Dennis Kucinich and Dick Cheney).
I thought the character development was terrible in that it took too long to deconstruct what they had built up. The characters became too black and white to me. There wasn't enough grey area. The funny thing is that I think I even read that someplace. I will have to see if I can dig that up. This show, overall, is like Battlestar Galactica (reboot) in that the whole convention and setting is merely a space for character development and how people deal with adversity and whatnot. I don't think that we see this as differently as you think. I just think that what they did was rather poorly done and over more episodes than they needed. I think the mid-season finale was possibly the best episode since the season opener. My issue was there was too much repetition in each episode and nothing was really offered that couldn't have been offered in fewer episodes.
Oh... here was something that I read after the finale aired and it echoed my sentiments...
'The Walking Dead' and 'Pretty Much Dead Already': A cheap thrill-kill, or new life for the season?
Well, you know the motto of Hollywood, "Reality is no excuse for bad fiction." ;)
Originally Posted by Tycho
I tend to prefer slower character development and I don't really mind it when shows take their time building up to something big. It's one of the major benefits that a television series has over a 2-hour movie - they get more time to lull the audience into a sense of security and then drop a sudden bomb on them. I don't think the mid-season finale last week would have had nearly the same impact without all the episodes building up to it. It seems that the incidences of zombies have been fewer and farther between so far this season, but I think it really just helps to underscore that this show is not about the zombies.
Originally Posted by JEDIpartner
Of course, that's not to say that every episode is a winner (I think the ending of episode 206, where Lori confessed her relationship with Shane, kind of fell flat); but overall I still love this show. I don't have cable (or even basic TV reception), so I have to buy each episode individually off of iTunes; but this is the only television show I care about, so it's the only one I'm interested in watching and actually paying for.
Also, I don't think I've ever read an Entertainment Weekly review that I've actually agreed with. Sometimes I think they just criticize stuff because they think they are supposed to.
Stretching the search for Sophia out was a bit much. One or two eps could've been trimmed down.
Originally Posted by JEDIpartner
I think Herschel's intentions are good, but he's not thinking in the present time. I wouldn't say he's delusional but just in the wrong mind.
I don't have anything new to really add, but in reading what others have posted, I'm finding myself strongly agreeing with BigBarada in this discussion.
And you're allowed to do that, Tycho. I just found the Sophia thing to just be a couple episodes too long. OC apparently, agrees. Two sides.