All Out War, All Out Good Time {Guest post by intern Madison Ward}

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Introduction: Madison is our entertainment guru, keeping us up to date on the latest books, TV shows, and movies. She loves to cover pop culture and I'm glad to have her voice in this capacity.

{This post written by Madison Ward, Superstar Intern}

The month of October provides many entertainments, including Halloween; slightly less obvious are many upcoming premieres of television shows. Riverdale season 2, Supernatural season 13, and so on (new and recurring), October sets up the season of fall for a very bumpy, and yet extremely enjoyable, ride.

AMC’s The Walking Dead (TWD) is one of the highly-anticipated recurring shows that I am thoroughly invested in. Though last season (season 7) left viewers feeling a bit depressed, desperate, and weak, and  enveloped with a very melancholy tone, season 8 is predicted to be a showstopper. Action-packed and high spirits are to be expected, violence, and a whole heck of a lot of fun. Converging the three communities together for the first time, the characters finally feel confident in their position against the Saviors, and the hope that they have desperately tried to hold onto is now resting easy on their shoulders. People will die--main characters will die--but we can at last see a promising future for not just these current communities, but the generations that will follow them - the children that will have a chance to live and thrive, even in the apocalypse.

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TWD wasn’t always my favorite. I watched the first episode with my dad years ago and refused to watch it again for a long time because of what happened to Rick’s horse in Atlanta. Who wants to watch a bunch of flesh eating, slowly rotting corpses devouring innocent people and animals, while a group of survivors walk from one place to another, losing people and finding people, but always fighting for their lives? Now, this is enough for a vast array of people and I guess it interested me enough to come back and watch more, but once I got into watching it, episode after episode, season after season, I can see the even greater appeal.

The show has continued a unique shooting style of long dramatic sequences before people/cars/moments of scenes come into view. These long clips build up copious amounts of suspense and seriousness to such a laughable subject as zombies. And throughout the show, there are also a few common themes and devices that continuously arise and develop: hair length, deer (food in general), and limbs, and then the changing morals, learning through trial and error, the living v. the dead, but now more the living v. the living.

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My favorite one of all is hair length. If you are sitting there, reading this, thinking, this girl is crazy, I completely understand, but seriously, hair has been used as a symbol since the very beginning and has always affected a character right afterward. Examples follow as:

  • Shane--shaves his head and then goes psycho,

  • Rick--has little hair and is  scared in the beginning, grows a beard and longer hair and is awesome, shaves and cuts his hair and goes crazy, grows his hair again and is good, trims and tries to look cleaner and is weak, grows messy hair again and is ready to fight

  • Hershel--clean shaven at his home in the country and almost kills everyone by locking walkers in his own barn, grows a beard and ponytail and dies saving his family from the Governor

  • Aaron--clean shaven and short hair in the beginning and lives in a community that can’t protect itself at all and basically just lets it happen, grows scruff and longer hair and is ready to fight for and with his now-ready-people

Basically, the longer hair, the better.

Food is a big deal as well. The deer shown are almost awe-inspiring. They have continuously caused characters to stop and smile and think optimistically, and yet usually don’t end up being caught, like the shot to the deer that shot Carl and the two deer Rick and Michonne didn’t get (mostly Rick’s fault). An example of food in general could be the sorghum truck Rick and Daryl found; Jesus interfered and it ends up in a lake, extremely unfortunate and heart-crushing, but a good reminder to try harder next time. Survival isn’t a walk in the park (unless there are walkers walking in that park about to eat you, then it may be).

The limbs symbols are made up of a darker kind of humor and follow a set of strange rules: lose a leg and you become a better person, but later die (Bob and Hershel); lose an arm and we never see you again (some Saviours and Tyrese); lose an eye and you contract slowly escalating anger (the Governor and Carl); lose a hand and no one knows yet, but will probably happen since it does in the comics (Rick and possibly others).

 

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The changing morals and living v. living themes are pretty self-explanatory and have been coming about more now that the walkers are not the main problem, but other survivors. The characters have questioned how far is too far and have sometimes crossed the line, sometimes not crossed far enough. Since this season is All Out War and we know exactly who the common enemy is supposed to be, hopefully these issues will sit on the back burner so we can have a little fun.

TWD’s season 8 premiere was Sunday, October 22 and was also the show’s 100th episode, which will surely mean a lot of memories and references hidden throughout it! The show has come a long way and still has so much more to go if the comics have anything to say about it. Jesus is supposed to later end up with Aaron--so bye-bye Eric-- Rick is supposed to lose his hand and get a cane, and Ezekiel and Shiva died around this time as well. Who knows what the directors will decide to do and if they will stay with or veer from what is to be expected, but we will survive and, hopefully, our favorites will survive too.

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