Our TV Roundtable on humanity, inhumanity, and Season 3, Episode 7, "When the Dead Come Knocking"
Daniel Drezner, the Walter Lippman of zombie-policy studies -- he's the author of Theories of International Politics and Zombies -- says that that zombie television shows (and movies and comic books) are not so much about zombies as they are about how humans react to zombies, zombies of course being stand-ins for a whole menu of apocalyptic threats facing humanity.
Zombies are quite one-dimensional as characters (all you ex-people do is eat!), and so they're deeply uninteresting: Zombies are very much like terrorists in this way: They're monochromatic and unthinking and quite bad company. Which brings me to this week's episode, which is actually one of the most satisfying I've seen, because it makes such a close study of human adaptability, and of the human reaction to stress, and also such a close study of Glenn's taped-to-a-chair superfantastic zombie-fighting skills. But I'll leave that last subject to Gould, who would be among the best zombie fighters at The Atlantic, if it ever came to that.
The most interesting moment to me in tonight's episode: the reaction of Oscar (the new noble -- and obviously expendable -- black character, who has conveniently replaced the previous noble black character, the now-eaten T-Dog) to the decision by Rick and company to throw the corpse of an essentially innocent man to the zombies so they could sneak past them while they were dining. Oscar, you'll remember, had been sequestered in prison during the collapse of civilization, so he is unused to the new reality of the outside world. The instantaneous, almost unspoken, decision to feed the zombies the body caused Oscar (played by Vincent M. Ward) a moment of well-acted consternation. And it stopped me short, too: Could you imagine Rick allowing such a thing to happen three or four months ago, or at least happening without a great deal of hand-wringery and arguing with Shane?