This is what nightmares are made of
Since season six of The Walking Dead will start in October this year (October the 11th), I thought that it would be a brilliant idea to rewatch the old TWD episodes. As I’ve forgotten about most of the stuff that went down after season 4. So me and my brother had a little “The Walking Dead” marathon (which has lasted for almost a week now). Well, both of us had very little memory of the past events in TWD. So in a way, it was like experiencing hell one more time. Anyhow, up to this point, we have just watched season one and two. However, that´s more than enough for me to write this article on the subject about depression, anger and revenge desire. With that said, I will try to avoid any spoilers for season one and two. I will leave no guaranties though, so you have been warned!
Season one consists of six episodes and season two of thirteen episodes (each episode is about 45 minutes long). And every single episode is full of horrors, nightmares, suffering and tons of emotions. In fact. I would not recommend anyone that has a weak heart (nerves) or a record of depression, to watch “The Walking Dead”. As the series might actually give you more than “just” nightmares.” I´m not a sensitive person, but even I felt quite uncomfortable at times while watching TWD. And it didn´t take all that long before the never-ending nightmare started either. As we get to see a hell break loose through the eyes of Rick Grimes (a Cynthiana, Kentucky police officer. That´s played by Andrew Lincoln).
However, I don´t remember all that much from the TV-version of TWD. As it´s been so many years since I watched the old seasons. My point would be this, the TWD DVD (and Blu-Ray) editions hold a lot of extra material which I have never seen before. I´m also quite sure that some of the most violent stuff was never aired on tv either. For example, I sure didn´t recall ever seeing Rick Grimes shooting a little zombie girl in the head in the first TWD episode (season 1, at the very start of the episode).
So that was quite a shocker moment for me, as I didn´t see that one coming (that´s the way it should be though). It was also a rather odd experience as well, since you get tossed from “no worries in the world”, to “the gates to hell is open!”, and back to “it´s all cool” again. All in the blink of an eye. That was of course something that the producer, director and the TWD writers did on purpose, because they sure enjoy to mess around with our (the viewers) emotions in TWD. In my case, it really felt like my emotions jumped from fear, love, hate, anger, desperation and hope to hopelessness (all in the matter of a couple of minutes, at times). So I find it somewhat funny that people have called George R.R. Martin a fu**ing sadist and assho** for his decision to kill off people in Game of Thrones, because I think that “The Walking Dead” is even worse than GOT when it comes to psychological tormenting of the viewers. And please allow me to explain why.
A love-hate relationship
Don´t get me wrong. I LOVE The Walking Dead, but I hate the show at same time as well. As TWD is up close and personal from the very start, and I could relate to a lot of the stuff that goes down in the world of TWD too (minus the living dead of course). You know, things such as having doubts in humanity, hopelessness, loneliness and the eternal darkness (aka “life struggle”). I mean, even though TWD is pure fiction. The show manages to stay very real because the characters feel extremely real (the survivor’s life stories, plot and memories of the world before and after the zombie apocalypse).
So in a very creepy kind of way, TWD is a truly realistic vision of how things would go down if the walking dead would exist for real (and everything that comes with it). Another thing that´s rather scary, in my opinion, is the human nature. Because people become like animals when they’re hungry, thirsty, wounded or when their lives are on the line. And you get to see a lot of that stuff in TWD. Seriously, you can´t trust anyone. Paranoia is your best friend in a zombie infested world for sure.
So in other words, you must become inhuman in-order to stay alive (no emotions, no feelings, trust nobody and become very selfish). And faith won´t do you much good either, at least not in TWD (Daryl Dixon knew what he was talking about, and so did Rick Grimes). And all of this combined makes TWD into the kind of show that makes you think a lot of deep philosophical thoughts (both while you’re watching the show, and when you’re done watching TWD). Just take the poor woman Hannah (Aka “The bicycle girl). Not only did her life end in a very tragic and violent way (twice even), but just the moment before she dies (she sacrificed herself to the zombies in-order to save her children), she said the following to her son“It’s okay, baby boy, everything dies. It’s God’s plan.” That part made me shiver a lot. It´s true of course, but it was HOW Hannah said it that made those lines really creepy. And TWD is full of dialogs and comments like that.
Let the pain and suffering begin! (Hello anger and depression)
It doesn´t take all that long for you to figure out that TWD is the kind of series that´s all about sacrifices, hard decisions, horror, fear and hopelessness. In fact, the main theme for TWD would be “the eternal struggle to stay alive against all odds”, in this case, a whole zombie infested planet. Something of which that´s easier said then done. As gas, food, weapons, ammo, medical supplies and water, is very hard (and dangerous) to come by. And keep in mind that zombies, starvation and depression ain´t the only thing that the TWD survivors have to worry about either. As there’s plenty of other dangers to be concerned about, such as hostile survivors, cold weather (winter), infections, sickness (cold, etc.) and the hard wildlife. That´s also why a lot of people die in TWD, one by one, episode after episode. Children, females, males, and even animals. Death exists everywhere in TWD.
And just when you think that there are some hope and positivity to be found in TWD, the writers stab a fu**ing stake through your heart, and it´s always done in such a way that they give you a false relief of hope and safety as well (you let your guard down), then comes the damn stake out of nowhere. Trust me. There are plenty of scenes like that, for example, the little girl who gets lost in the woods, the sister who gets ambushed by zombies, or that one kid who got shoot while watching a deer in the woods. That´s the kind of scenes that you will see a lot through the TWD series. And even though I´m a mentally strong person, I had a hard time to coop with suffering women, children and animals.
So I honestly felt more anger and hate than anything else while watching TWD. Like that scene when T-Dog is looking through some cars for antibiotics, and he finds a baby high chair full of blood. T-Dog knew instantly what that meant, and so did I. And you can’t make the seen unseen (mental scars and nightmares for life awaits you!). And the funny thing with TWD is that the show is a mix of psychological horror (Silent Hill), visual horror (Resident Evil) and thriller (X-Files, the unknown + drama). For example, there is a handful of scenes in which the survivors have found people who have committed suicide (no hope = suicide). You (the viewer) also get hammered with a lot of mixed emotions. For example, would you be able to sacrifice yourself (or someone else) in order to save someone whom you love? And could you really end the life of a loved one that has been infected? (changed or unchanged).
Think about that for a moment, let it sink in.
The walking dead season 6
As for season 6 of The Walking dead, if you would like to know more details and such about part six of TWD. Then I would recommend you to check out denofgeek´s post on the matter (spoiler warnings awaits you!). So, with that said. Does The Walking Dead make you depressed, angry and sad? And are you excited for season 6? (no matter what your answer may be to the previous question).
This is a personal opinion of the writer, and it doesn’t necessarily represent the other writers (nor The Gaming Ground´s) opinions.
Robin “V-Act” Ek
The Gaming Ground
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