A Metamorphosis: Carol Peletier (***SPOILERS***)

Long ago, in a post far, far, away, I shared my opinions of AMC’s The Walking Dead.  Now that four seasons have elapsed, I am going to revisit a small pinch of those opinions.

Much like any other show or story, I have my favorite characters, as well as those I’m rather apathetic toward.  From the beginning, Carol Peletier has been my steadfast choice of interest.  During season 1, she was suppressed, oppressed, and abused by her husband.  Overall, she was rather timid, shy, and weak.  Although she was conveyed in this predominantly stereotypical way, a spark was burning behind her eyes. Over the course of the following seasons, that light intensified, transforming her into a new woman.  Perhaps the same woman was there all along, bound behind her fear.  Regardless, she blossomed into an amazing character.  This metamorphosis is both internal and external.

Pictured below are photos of Carol (Melissa McBride), in season 1 and season 4 respectively:

Season 1

Season 1

Season 4

Season 4

As you can see, there is a remarkable list of differences in her physicality alone.  The following rough list are just a few of the changes:  Her posture is strengthened, her facial expression is hardened and focused, her clothes are more realistic for the fictional circumstance and not so “homemaker,” her comfort level with weaponry is evident.  There is so much to be said in her eyes and expression.  She carries herself with more purpose and aspiration.  She acts on her own for the benefit of her community.  No one ever stops her – not anymore.  What Carol thinks is best, happens.

This renowned sense of being has gotten Carol into some sticky situations on a variety of scales.  Though some of her decisions are rather brash, how can she possibly be to blame?  With the world in the fictionalized state that it is, how could she possibly be in the wrong?  I suppose it is up to the reader, the fan, the watcher.

There is a remarkably long list of circumstances that Carol has had to deal with over the last four seasons.  I attempted to write some of them down, but each just outweighs the last.  I digress…

Other characters in the ensemble have gone through hell and back, but Carol is one of the few that tends to move forward and adapt.  This is a world of adaptation and progression.  Without adapting, one cannot survive.  Is Carol making so many changes to merely survive, or be part of the solution?

I believe that Carol has a plan inside of her.  No, she may not have a cure for the “Walker” disease, but she is able to coach people into differing perspectives.  These people come to trust and confide in her.  Much like a mother bird teaching her young to fly, she forces them to deal with things that make them uncomfortable.  That’s the reality.  The reality of this new world is scary and uncomfortable.  There isn’t time to sit back and let things happen anymore.  To each their own and to each their own power.  No one can be fully dependent on others.  The world and it’s people are challenging and frightening.

Sure, this is a fictionalized story line, but it isn’t too far fetched.  There may not be zombies walking down the street right this second, but times are changing and so are people.  Perspective and adaptation are required for survival.

The Walking Dead Feminists

First things first:  I’ve only recently started watching “The Walking Dead,” so these are simply my observations through mid-season 2.  Oh ya, SPOILER ALERT to anyone who has yet to watch this show.

Alright, so this show is sweeping the nation and taking top ratings.  Sure it’s very suspenseful, and yes I watched the whole first season in one sitting with a friend one rainy afternoon.  HOWEVER, though the show is entertaining, my feminist-self came screaming out at me.  As the episodes progressed, little things kept popping into my mind and the drive home was one big internal rant.

Here is the abridged back-story of our manly hero, Rick Grimes: He was a small town sheriff, father of one, and husband with minor marital issues.  While on duty alongside his buddy Shane, he gets shot and spends X amount of time in a coma.  Upon his revival in a hospital, he is alone and confused.  After he stumbles his way outside, the world is messed up and there are zombies.  He eventually finds civilization, or what’s left of it in his immediate area.  Yada yada yada, things happen, zombies die, people die, and the show continues onward.

At this point, I figure this post will be one in a mini-series, so I’ll just focus on a few issues today.

Issue 1: Why is the first zombie that Rick encounters a woman without any legs or any shirt?!

Once Rick gains his strength and runs out of the hospital to figure out what’s going on, he crosses through a park.  During his little journey, he stumbles across legless, shirtless, lassie, who is the zombie from most of the promos and stuff.

This poor thing has been dragging her guts around for who knows how long.  Though this is tragic in its own way, why couldn’t he stumble upon a man, fully clothed, or a woman with all of her pieces?  I just don’t understand why she is totally naked, dragging herself along the ground, all alone?!  Oh wait, probably because the rest of this show is based on a very patriarchal and rather misogynistic structure.  How silly of me.  More to come on Legless Lassie, I’m sure.

Issue 2: *Spoiler* The Wife is the Slut and is Wrong

Going back to our hero and his marital problems, he was having issues with his wife before the coma and zombie take-over.  Of course, once he is lost and in a coma, Lori (the wife), begins a relationship with Shane, the best bud.  Eventually, Rick finds Lori (yay) and suddenly, poor Shane is SOL.  Naturally, the writers and director handle this situation, by making Lori out to be the bad guy and the slut.  As the story line progresses, we see more backstory and see into the current relationship and the puzzle pieces that are at work.  Regardless of this story, all of the blame seems to be put on the wife and the way she is portrayed is obnoxious.  She just appears to be a weak and needy, flighty woman, that can’t handle much, but just needs sex.

Issue 3: There is a Humongous Lack of Feminine Strength 

No matter what the situation, the location, the people involved, or the stakes, the men are always the first to spring into violent action, while the poor damsels stand there and scream.  Ok, so Andrea is somewhat of a fighter and go-getter, but she is always cast down and hardly ever fights for her right.  Every time she stands up for herself and the other women around her, she gets harassed and then the hegemonic men spring back to action.  The men are cool, calm, and collected, while the women cry, scream, and run.  The men all appear as level-headed, while the women are emotional and overly dramatic.

These are just a few of the issues that I have with this show, at this point.  It is a good show, if you just need some mindless entertainment.  However, there are so many problems, that I have barely even scraped the surface.  The three issues that I’ve focused on are still very basic and have a lot more depth behind them.  Once I have the chance to revisit some episodes and learn names better, I shall return with the second installment.

Just for kicks: