5+1 Sentences On The Walking Dead s3e6 “Hounded”

Posted on by TheLastPsychiatrist and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

it’s not possible, so the rest of it is plausible

Never answer a ringing rotary phone because there’s madness on both ends, but Rick does anyway and has a heart to heart with his dead wife, and the interpretation is that this is a kind of working through of the grief and forgiving himself, which would be right except that this is a show about zombies, so it’s wrong.

His zombicidal rage in the prison was working through his grief; the phone call, however, came after that was all over, and so the starting point of interpretation is that this is the single instance of mourning in the show that is not mediated through the experience of zombification– i.e. denial of death– but through a connection to something else that carries on after death, the essence of a person, the exact part lacking in zombies.

In the show when you die you don’t die, you continue as a zombie, and then you must be finally put down, terminally terminated; so if he believes he talked to her– as if in a dream– then the point isn’t that she forgave him but that she still exists, just as the body survived, the soul survived as well.

The key is the telephone, it is the single mediating device that he knows just enough and not enough about that it would plausibly still be operational, it has copper wires and gears, after all, (remember the old timey computer in Lost?) not like a cell phone which he knows couldn’t work, or a material letter which is similarly unimaginably impossible.  So while he knows perfectly well he could not have talked to his dead wife’s spirit on the telephone, he’s created a split which he can forever avoid confronting head on:  that what’s impossible isn’t her spirit but that he talked to her spirit on the telephone– rather than the phone mediating an impossible communication, it becomes the “sink” for the doubt,  leaving all else floating uncritically, possibly….



And yet still they do not call them zombies.


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3 Responses to 5+1 Sentences On The Walking Dead s3e6 “Hounded”

  1. MarcusB says:

    I don’t watch the show but this was interesting.

    Is this how people deal with the loss of people they love? Like, maybe after awhile of grieving, they’re ready to move on symbolically: e.g.- A widow who can finally place her husband’s favorite blanket in the closet, or a mother who can finally put her son’s toys in the closet and years down the road, have the toys remind her of the good memories rather than pain.

  2. bbrodriquez says:

    I just wanted to say that as a long time fan of the comic this show was based on, I’m really enjoying your 5+1 series here. I tried to watch the series, and, well, uh, … it disappoints. I’m curious, have you read the comic, and what do you think about the differences between the 2?

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