The Walking Dead is Also Poorly-Written

Here's a question I'd like to pose: if bad writing from the source material has been preserved in the finished product, is that better or worse than something just being badly written? Does faithfulness to the source material excuse the stupidity, or does the fact that years have passed without anyone noticing the problem, or bothering to fix it if they did, make the mistake even more contemptible?

I'm referring, of course, to the big reunion scene from episode 3 of The Walking Dead (it appeared in issue 2 of the comic).

That's TVRick, gleeful to discover that his family has survived.

This, of course, is comic Rick at the same moment.

What's wrong with both of these scenes? Simply that, while Rick's surprise at discovering that his family is alive is heartwarming (and needlessly profane, in one redacted case) it could not have happened this way in the context of either story.

First, let's recap what directly preceded this sequence in the comic. After escaping Atlanta with Glenn, Rick takes a moment to wallow in self-pity, morose about the inescapable fact that his wife and child are dead in Atlanta. Glenn comforts him, then the two of them walk the rest of the way back to camp. As established by the size of the city in this panel:

The total travel time of their couldn't have been less than an hour. So Glenn and Rick were walking for an hour, likely talking the whole way (since that's all Kirkman characters ever do). What did they talk about? More importantly, how could they have gone that entire time without Rick mentioning where he was from, or what his wife and child's names were? Glenn has been living in close proximity with Carl and Lori for weeks now - there's no way he doesn't know about the fact that they left a a husband/father behind in Kentucky before trying to make it to Atlanta.

For this scene to have occurred as depicted, you have to imagine that two men would have spent more than an hour discussing absolutely none of the things than the two of them are most concerned about. Glenn should want to know more about Rick, and Rick should want to know more about Glenn's camp. Yet somehow, they talked about neither of these topics. How is that possible? Through the magic of glossing over, of course! By simply moving onto the next scene, the author hopes that we, the readers, won't notice that the characters' actions make absolutely no sense.

This edit makes even less sense in the television version of the scene. This time Rick is escaping Atlanta not just with Glenn, but also an entire truckload of other survivors from Glenn's camp. We actually witness a scene of them driving down the highway at a leisurely pace, talking about the other survivors back at camp.

How could the topic not have gotten around to Rick's missing family or the names (or at least demographic info) of the other people back at camp?

Now, a slightly less critical person than myself might point ask 'But Count, isn't it worth a glaring realism omission to have Rick's reunion be a surprise?' - to which I would answer: no, of course it isn't. Not only does this glaring error make it seem like the characters aren't behaving like real people (thus making it more difficult to identify with and care for them), but nothing is added dramatically by having the surprise sprung on Rick when he arrives at camp.

In the comic book, at least it was meant to serve as a surprise to the audience as well - but in the TV show, the audience already knows full well that Rick's family is alive. Wouldn't it be just as dramatically satisfying to have rick get the news from his portly seatmate, and then be overcome with emotion, and race back to camp all the more quickly as the music swells?

You'd still be getting the surprised glee from Carl and the more mixed reactions from Shane and Lori - a full range of emotional reactions to be sure. So what would be lost by fixing this glaring character omission?

1 comment:

Bedazzled Crone said...

I was hoping the Count would comment on this - it was an absolutely horrible episode - my high school class who cam to the university for a week wrote better stories in their comics than this

this is just one of the stupid things about this series - don't think that I will waste download bandwidth on the rest of the series