Hi, my name is Suzanne. I am a Walking Dead junkie. There, I said it; I’m hooked on The Walking Dead. One of my daughters was the first to succumb, or so I thought. Then my husband confesses that before we met and married 4 years ago, he had also been watching it; I didn’t know, and then I continued to live in the dark because we have more than 1 television in our home, and as I watched another program he got his weekly fix.  Isn’t that how all addictions go?

I had tsk tsk’d my daughter each Sunday when she would cut a visit or conversation short so that she wouldn’t miss a moment. I asked what the appeal was of a series about zombies and an apparent apocalypse? The whole premise was dumb, in my humble opinion, that is, until I watched the first episode.

It all started innocently enough; the series was starting from the beginning playing through each episode, each season, in preparation for the release of the upcoming season. My husband was watching it, recapping so that he could continue his addiction and I happened upon the first episode on that fateful Sunday morning. I started to ask questions, again noting how unrealistic the whole thing is, and then before ya know it, BOOM I was hooked! I cared about the characters and wanted to see what happened next.

So, here I sit for the next several hours watching yet another season of The Walking Dead, putting laundry in the washer, and taking clean clothes out of the dryer to fold and put away during commercials and between episodes. While we are being honest here, I will confess I even asked him to bring me breakfast, refill my coffee, and let the dogs out so as not to miss anything significant.

The zombies, as I have discovered, are just the catalyst for the complicated relationships and situations the characters face during each episode. The characters have become people I have gotten to know. I am happy when they overcome, when they succeed, I am sad when one of them dies at the hands of the zombies, or is sick and there is no medical care available, I am in anguish when they are fighting battles among themselves or against the zombies. Silly, isn’t it? Well, not entirely.

The character Dale, for instance, is the voice of wisdom, the sage of the rag tag band of survivors. I love him! In a lot of ways, and I don’t mean to be disrespectful, he is like Yeshua (Jesus). Dale is usually the calm within the storm. He confronts when needed, calls a spade a spade, counsels, illuminates truth. He has depth. Dale offers hope in the midst of hopelessness. At times his delivery of the truth doesn’t seem loving. Like Yeshua in the temple with the moneychangers, Dale will rage against injustice. People within the community of survivors seek out Dale’s wisdom. He is their moral compass and sometimes the members of the community rage against him, angered by the needle of the moral compass. I won’t say anymore about him, in case you decide to join me in watching.

Each episode is filled with raw human emotion. Maslow’s hierarchy is evident from the need for basic survival and all that entails to the need for belonging and self actualization. Tough moral issues are dealt with like in one of today’s episodes; Lori finds out she is pregnant and she doesn’t tell her husband, Rick. Instead she makes the unilateral decision to end the pregnancy by taking The Morning After pill Glen got for her from the drug store in town. Having second thoughts, Lori shoves her fingers down her throat and vomits out the pills; Rick finds the empty wrappers and confronts Lori, convincing her that killing the baby does not change the situation they are in, so they decide to welcome a new baby despite the circumstances. Survival; life trumps death.

The zombies; they certainly are some interesting creatures. People who were infected with a virus, then died and returned with a part of a functioning brain stem; the living dead seeking to feed on the flesh of the living. Not unlike evil, is it? Evil, the enemy of humankind. The zombies keep coming at the living until the living shoot the zombies in the head, or the zombies overtake the living and rip their flesh from the bone. Everyday life in our world, wouldn’t you say? The lesson? Evil cannot be tolerated because it kills; kill or be killed.

Gun control? Doesn’t seem to have a place in the post-apocalyptic world. How else will the survivors protect themselves and rid their world of evil without guns? Sure there are some bad guys, and they have guns, too, but at least the good guys have a fighting chance. Again, kill or be killed. Not so very unlike our world. We could learn a thing or two from those living amongst the walking dead about the need for gun control. In their world it’s a moot point; no one is debating it on the news daily. The good people stay good people with guns and the bad people are bad people with guns. My takeaway is that because they have guns and are forced to use them to protect themselves and others in their community, they place more value on human life; it hasn’t made them more violent. Survival mode brings a certain clarity to the issues of life that polarize us.

All in all, I like the series. It is a creative and insightful depiction of life, relationships, moral dilemmas, and the insistence of humans to survive and face life no matter how hard it gets. Not so very different from our everyday lives, is it? Time for the next episode!

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