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TV ramblings spoiling a few shows in a fairly general way:

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Resuming on pad, so more now:

If Game of Thrones is by 1st person creators but about 3rd persons and largely for 3rd persons, excepting that brief interruption in season 4, WD is trying to tell us - Gimple is trying to tell us - that that's not how he sees his job. Presumably he feels he's an I talking to a we most of the time, but once he starts manipulating our sense of personhood (at least in untraditional ways) he takes pains to show he's an I talking to a you - something he's unlikely to forget after this year's two gigantic outcries. I think this shift may be fitting for experimental writing, though of course especially for this sort of experiment. It says, "we're going to try something here, and while we feel pretty sure it's important to, we do understand you might not, so we're telling you to look at this as a message to a person from a person who is thinking about the responsibilities involved in that act - and who maybe might fail, as you too might fail, and need the forgiveness you too must hope for."

Did Shakespeare innovate that asking for applause thing he does in Midsummer Night's Dream and elsewhere? Or do I vaguely recall it from Roman and Italian comedy, or Greene or something. His election of a feature that doesn't seem to be obligatory, as well as the concern of the troupe that the ladies in the audience understand just what a play is at least, plus the plot-nudging love poem magic, plus the speech about the beautiful but disquieting craziness that creating something out of nothing constitutes ... all these show he was thinking hard about just what the fuck he was doing, and wishing us to as well. Seems a step beyond Titus, which is an expression of despair at his audience (and what it seemed to prove about people) - someone please go tell Game of Thrones that, by the way, though that pie was an art director's triumph. Taymor's likely green with envy.

But anyway that probably has something to do with his own experimentation with pronoun "modes." Probably I'm just parroting Bloom here, who IIRC sees his meta-elements as relating to the character-change via self-overhearing that he feels is S's chief innovation, though to some extent following Montaigne's near-dialogic layering practice and (somehow) the Wife of Bath.

Probably character depth is often pursued not as veiled confession or for the sake of an ages-old verisimilitude competition but just to get us to grasp something about ourselves. Tactical depth, depth for a purpose that's shallow, or anyway elusively complex rather than tangled or unconscious-driven. Doing both at once is probably the Shakespeare way, or anyway feels like it - maybe he out-Gimples Gimple and I'm simply too simple to see.

Would I get mad at The Walking Dead, if it were literature? I don't think so. It's not being told what to do that's a problem, or even ONLY being told what to do. It's being told what to do when you already know it. Since it invents new ways of saying it, it's not saying quite the same thing we've heard before - and, since I find it rewatchable, saying it using sounds not fully hearable all at once. Passes the Stevens tests, in other words. Not always with the most pleasant of pleasures, but the artistry involved is itself a pleasure once you notice it - and how much of it and how comparatively original it is. Gimple draws clearly inspiration from moral philosophy and (defogging it first, usually by translating ot into common sense) theory, so he's Shakespearean in the fanfic sense too.

Hardly related, but I was dimly wondering if Game of Thrones might be up to something (it isn't, this is just the content of a wondering) similar to what I locate in Julius Caesar, where utility and rule-based morality are shown as incompatible, thus as two (and perhaps the only) groups of people into which the morally-motivated fall - each of them making a mistake the other would not, and both enough out of step to not cooperate efficiently. The Sansa-Jon Snow scenes suggested that, in the last two episodes, since she seemed to show good sense in manipulating him and he seemed to have a point saying they needed to trust each other, but I'm not sure if the show wanted things received that way or was interested in what that entailed if it did. Sansa's cold but successful use of her brother is followed by her accession to Sadistic Revenge and the Now-I'm-All-That expression it's unfailingly paired with in this show, so maybe we're to instead think he could still have carried out her plan, or one just as successful, if he'd been in on it. Or that if he'd refused to make a deal with Littlefinger that would have proved to be less destructive thsn the alternative will or something. Plus I don't think I recall that precise implication in other contrasted pairs elsewhere, unless there was some highlightedly missed opportunity for Sean Bean and Dinklage to connect back at the start? But Shakespeare's leaving it tragic was a stronger point, anyway: Brutus and Cassius DO work together, but the problem is their brains can't. Whereas if the show's just saying that people who never break a rule and people who think nothing of betrayal both have something to learn! then that's practically no point at all.
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Revisited Walking Dead 6.16.

Starts with a 1st person p.o.v. we later learn is that of one of the four captured in the previous episode - Glen, Darryl, Rosita, Michonne. While it may prove that of the person beaten to death at the end, even if it's not it still prefigures, as an imprisonment variant, the message of that shot: "since this sort of thing happens to someone, as an experience looking and sounding something like this, it might happen to you - the most important takeaway of which Sartrean realization is not "so watch your back" but instead "so apply the self-sympathy the thought of this creates in you to those actually in that situation: just as your dismay about your own hypothetical future plight didn't exist till the possibility was presented to you with a certain degree of vividness, neither will the present pain of your fellows seem anywhere near as real as it is to you until you allow yourself to imagine being in their shoes the way, just by watching this brief shot, you are automatically imagining yourself in those of a you who will almost certainly never exist." The show's explaining how it would have us change, by edging its "FICTION" gradually into union with a sort of fiction we don't just treat as non- but find more real than many others' reality - our anticipation of a state of some future self of our own. The show is trying to explain to us why we need shows of its sort (or novels, say) to help sharpen our moral clarity, but more importantly wants to prove to us that we possess knee-jerk representational distortions that make us categorize people more or less into 1st, 2nd and 3rd persons in ways more profound than grammatically, and that this is the root of not just fascism and racism and the horrors that 3rd-seeming persons belonging to those groups have perpetrated but also every significant sin of our own me-ism and us-ism, which there are many more of than we're easily made to see. Of omission or otherwise indirect, perhaps, but nonetheless pains or terrors an I might never dream of visiting on a me or even a you.

The awakening to glimmers of light, suggestive of course of the Terminus railcar, may also suggest birth, the emergence into sensing consciousness all lights go out on at the end. (This sort of shot was readied for in the last shot of the previous episode, which - while I can't remember if it was 1st person or of his face or what - went black at the shooting of Darryl, and after which audio continued a moment or two longer, just as it does at the end of this one.)

This birth interpretation seems supported by the next shot, where the sign "YOU ARE ALIVE" points at us and not Morgan, who walks by behind it and who we have no reason to assume has read the sign. Since he immediately comes up to a horse and says "Look at you, you are alive" or something like that, we should (though probably next to none of us did) at once think, "direct message from show to viewer" and "alienation effect to let us know to think about the story AS story, of ourselves AS audience when trying to interpret that and all ensuing messages," thus, most immediately, to consider that it might not just be the horse being urged to look at itself and contemplate the glory, and perhaps other implications, of its existence.

Next shot is a dying man resolute on the trail of the woman he wants to spend what's left of his life visiting vengeance on. He carries her crucifix, which might make us think of his present disregard for any reminder of her inner life, including awareness of her own misdeeds and the desire to stop commuting them, evidence of a shared nature that one might think ought to prevent acts of pure revenge. This "you" is alive but not looking at that fact, and is instead fixated on how he is dying. He is not seeking a means to not die, perhaps because believing none is available, but instead to somehow even the score. That another's death cancels out one's own is not plausible, though it may be a superstition informing his behavior, but the man and woman also belong to two distinct "you"-groups

Addressing us as "you" may be something of an apology: the show knows it cannot really access our experience as an "I," and might have no right to if it could, but it can request the same sort of quasi-identification that addressing someone as you implicitly asks - and offers. It realizes a contract is being broken, so explains its motives, or at least that some will be found if we look (thus that we please look). People were mad about who the show did not kill, or anyway deferred the revelation of having killed, but I think the apology must be for using all the tricks it could think of to make us identify with someone who was going to die horribly - horribly not just because of the painful, grisly manner but the dawning awareness of it, through stages. "I am the I, the hero of this tale, and I must be blessed as, unlike so many others, I have never died," is the vaunt the show strips away. "You are alive" is also a preemptive reality check, saying "listen, someone is going to die, and we're going to make you think hard about what that really must be like, but please see that YOU ARE STILL ALIVE and that this is a FICTION (though we may complicate that for you a little bit later as well...)."

It does the same thing on a "you" level, of course, which is the one likely anguishing Rick and clearly Glen the most at end: you are my family, and you are blessed, as I will not let you perish even if I do. Right before the trap is sprung he is about to (protectively) disabuse his son of the illusion that this can be promised. I-thinking can thoughtlessly harm a you, you-thinking an I, both in their extreme forms can sabotage their own purposes, and of course both can harm "them," the least protected group of all. Rick is worried Carl's you-thinking will harm Carl, of course, but is about to find out the sharpness of his own in/out-of group distinctions are about to destroy a real or adopted family member.


Carol doesn't want to even kill zombies, toward the end. Does anyway, like she did with people.

As Rick falls from the blessed hero role even in his own eyes, Morgan gets a horse like his own from the Pilot, a white one. Though gives it away after having to kill.

That all the roads seemed to curve, so one could never tell what was ahead; how there were always more roads even as they proved blocked one by one, how one could even leave the road and at last did ... how night fell as this process went along ... the continuities of lighting and framing and filtering and closeup depth etc. that gave this episode a feeling of being a new show ... all brilliantly handled.

More to say someday. Phone dying.
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Rewatched the last one because I knew it had more going on than I'd realized:

Denise leaves the tracks but then goes back to the edge of them - the arrow knocks her straight in.

She also picks the one soda from the cooler full of beers. Her parents were alcoholics, and she's gone the never-drinking route. I think we're to understand Dennis went the other. Tracks can go both ways but they're still tracks. Imitation, aversion, same difference. Still conditioned.

Her final speech is about how, as a psychiatrist, she's trying to auto-cog-behaviorize herself by facing her fear(s) of zombies, dangerous situations generally and/or killing anything. She took Daryl with her because he's like her brother who despite being himself dangerous always made her feel safe (a bad sign of change in Daryl, since he admits they seem to have had the same brother and we all remember his), and Rosita because Rosita has never been alone before (meaning she went with Daryl out of fear AND to let Rosita be alone for the first time? This is confusing...). I guess she's aware of Daryl's starting to become untrusting, and how that's a bad path for him? She's warning them that if they don't face their fears and let themselves be changed, then - and is hit.

So they're all on their usual "tracks" by the end. It's usual for Rosita to be with people, usual for Daryl to not take unusual steps because of fear in a way related to reflexively killing people who are threats (or something?). Further: Daryl holds off from (in a strict sense) unnecessarily killing D/Dwight when Rosita yells at him to stop - before he even sees why; Rosita becomes Abraham's wingman again despite their breakup; Eugene uses Abraham as a human shield; Abraham risks his life to protect him. (Is Denise's "track" to be all talk and analysis of others, sans risking action herself? Not sure if we've seen enough of her to establish that, but it at least seemed both natural for her and unhelpful.) All have made gestures toward behaving differently, but in a crisis their "training" reasserts itself.

Dwight too: he is again turning on Daryl despite having been spared by him, and back working for the people he got sick of being kicked by - and now covered with horrible burns (Two-Face style, tellingly). His two names make him like Denise, who has the Dennis road (anger-fear) as well as the Denise one. Perhaps this suggests he's not yet sure what to do either - killing Denise does seem to have been an accident, though it's unclear if he'd intended to kill Daryl and not just wound him ... and his two shots don't end up killing Eugene. He doesn't end up performing the Saviors' customary murder, and maybe could have declared Denise to have been sufficient.

The soda seems to be Orange Crush, the same one Denise had Daryl get for Tara. This was, symbolically, a foundational "sin" back in 6.10, since it wasn't strictly necessary and in fact made them risk their necessities (the food truck) when trying to get it from the Pandora's-Box soda machine. Jesus pops up exactly when they stop to pry it open, and in lying to him they shy away from true initial trust/sharing, which on this show equates to taking more than your share and discounting the welfare of those not you and yours. Which when you do it to Jesus...

Our training and others' expectations keep us from finding out what else we could do, though training's spoken of (by Eugene, by implication Denise) as conceivably letting us get control of our environment when we let it complete itself. Since she dies and he's critically injured the episode is not clearly admitting this can be true - nor that it isn't, since Eugene bravely bites Dwight's dick and Denise may truly have changed herself.

Still not sure what's up with the child. She was locked in or something? Or was that the corpse of an adult, and the shoe means she ate her child after writing all those "hush"es - because of cries which I guess attracted all those zombies to the outer door? A take on that pseudo-Hemingway ultrashort story I guess? The child couldn't help screaming - from hunger? Because already a zombie? The adult had a cast, so couldn't run past the zombies outside the door? So both were stuck repeating their futile panic signals till one died then the other? Or is it that they didn't wait? Or waited too long? No, I'm still missing the point of this, from a choice vs. fate perspective. And a New Age one. There is one, I'm just missing it.

Yeah, why witchcraft type stuff was highlighted - some veiled comment on psychiatry and/or video game "leveling up"? Or maybe something about choices, since there was both a pharmacy there and assorted bullshit. True medicine versus things we make up to alter our minds? Or anyway how we're forever unsure how or whether or when the latter might work? Denise's antibiotics will save Eugene, while her words of warning may be unlikely to save Rosita and Daryl if they're in fact endangered.

Before dying half-blinded (Governor-style?) but after facing her zombie fears Denise throws up on her glasses. Meaning she was seeing clearly but something in her at once tried to stop that? Or meaning that this act made her see the world differently? See it askew? She keeps them off, doesn't she? Yes, is shot with none on. Glasses as imposed ways of seeing the world? Is her true self trying to throw off some habitual way of filtering/framing experience?

Earlier she tells them what she had for breakfast - what's inside herself (though the part ingested from the quotidian environment). They'd earlier guessed she would throw up, one of many occasions where people unhelpfully and perhaps hurtfully explain to people what they're like and what they think in this episode. This is behavior some feel constitutes emotional abuse, an effort that's mostly had trouble getting off the ground because we all seem to do it. I bring this up because it's right up this show's alley, the universality and destructiveness of the attitude "if I abuse then I'm an abuser, thus not a better species of person than those others I'm relieved to get to look down on, ignore, exclude etc., therefore I can't have abused you." It felt like it fit how people used each other to define themselves, here. Or maybe rather how they got mad at others for changing because it made them feel guilty for not having changed? Or do people try to reserve the power of changing for themselves, whether they achieve it or not. Because otherwise how can they tell if they've really changed? Or as part of a bargain - I've been acting this goddamn way because it was my job around here, and now you're up and deserting yours?!

Which is cousin to the amazingly consistent feature of WD where when people do a good thing it's because they expected the next person would have done that - a next person who either denies this or turns out to have been doing the same thing using that FIRST person as moral role model. As though doing good for its own sake, or reason's, were cripplingly embarrassing. We invent peers to pressure us, or we pressure our peers to pressure us. And they actually resist the latter! Suggesting the issue isn't conformity but a fear of internally located values, perhaps because those are hard to change, might commit us to terrible risks. Might make us judge ourselves for our own failures. Or worse: might make us see our failures as knowledge-based, thus not our fault, when finding them to be our fault is how we ward off the terrible possibility of a repetition of our loss? Yeah, probably the latter above all, since it was Morgan's most persistent symptom in Here Is Not Here. The trouble with consequentialist principles is they erase the possibility of guilt, and we've integrated our guilt so thoroughly with who we are that we feel we can't dispense with it.

Was that it? Trying to remember what happened with Morgan, back in that clearing scene. He can't handle extending his enlightened views to his own past behavior, when his own past behavior was about "clearing," killing everyone because life was not worth living, which he'd turned to when (to his mind) his lingering love for his wife got his son killed. So, to time-reverse and clarify this causation: I have suffered an intolerable loss, to avoid suffering further I have closed myself off from anything that could repeat the loss, my doing so has at last caused that loss to be repeated, the loss is so traumatic that the moment repeats (it seems)forever, to avoid the tormenting feeling of loss I stop valuing my life, plausibly not valuing my own life entails not valuing that of others, who I even come to actively (but inconsistently) try to kill because of projected guilt and/or so that they will kill me in reprisal, since something in me makes it that I cannot kill myself. So there's still a "life wish" or nagging trouble with suicidal/homicidal logic that prevents anyone from truly being rather than merely doing "evil." We see that with all the villains, even the blown up road Savior in 5.8-9, in the true hesitancy that must (?) underlie his mock-hesitancy about killing. Or is he on a different slippery slope? Trying to frame immoral behavior as moral? Pre-blinding Governor versus post-, as it were.

Morgan doesn't just see the breaks in Carol's routine that others miss, but also the dragging out of weapons for distribution (thus the standing army problem again, the one that nearly brought Alexandria down). He puts two and two together very rapidly. Clear sighted. And is not assuming she'd do something because she always does, but instead noting that she just now has, and what it's likely related to (because free will's not the issue here but new reactions to / informings by an ever- changing reality?). Believing in the possibility of unpredictability, he is ready to notice it when it's happened?

Though the bars on the cell he's made make it unclear whether Morgan's in it or Rick (and the rest of the planet?) is.

And he's racked with the same guilt Carol and Daryl are, of having let someone live who then killed others close to him/her or nearly so. A damned if you do and if you don't sort of guilt, especially in Carol who has made the definitely kill / maybe get someone killed Sophie's Choice both ways. Glen brings up the experience of short term PTSD with Heath in order to make the point that murder must be worse, shortly before murdering. (Heath can't even face Glen after this event, despite what he did for him - that devaluation problem? It affects Glen. I am a murderer thus I should suffer, perhaps make myself suffer by murdering again.) Moral PTSD is maybe a good way to sum up the real concern of the show. When we act out of personal fear and try to justify it, we commit ourselves to a philosophy that will make us act that way again, since some threat will come up where the relative valuation of our life will be relevant. When we act out of personal fear and DON'T try to justify it, we often think of ourselves as lesser afterwards, usually by assuming we should now sacrifice our own safety and happiness to help those we know to be more deserving (innocents by omission, like kids, or by habit, or by being the victim of our now-regretted selfish choice). These aren't quite the opposites they look like because both negate the possibility that ALL life is precious, when it in fact is and has to be for any of it to be. Not quit sure if this means selfishness and selflessness/suicidality will eventually start to trade places? The Governor's recklessly risking himself for the new family he meets, say; or Carol's selfishly running away. Our suffering does matter, so when we believe it doesn't ... No, I'm oversimplifying. The show knows these are all different phenomena. But it does relate them.

Where there's life there's possibility, Morgan says. Not hope, possibility. I don't know who anyone might become. I guess that's why this episode ends with him: suppose we do know who we are, who those near us are. Well enough to accurately tell them what they'll do. If so, then there exists a life without possibility.

But the patent ridiculousness of bothering to tell someone what they're like unless you thought they could change, that's probably the key here. You're telling them what they're like because they've deviated from it and you want them to get back in place - which means you DO think it possible they can change. Or you're telling them so they'll stop being like that. Or so they'll keep doing it but hate themselves. Or so they'll enjoy it. These too are changes.

Also explains people's attitude toward change: they both long to and dread to. Like they both long and dread to not be guilty, long and dread to not matter, long and dread to feel more important than others. Or should dread, anyway. There must be "innocent" vs. "experienced" ways to be out of balance. All are ultimately innocent, of course, since it's only information/wisdom that gets one up the ladder thus only ignorance/misinformation keeping one lower down. But there's certainly a difference between people at the sowing and reaping stages of mistakes-in-progress. It's not like anyone might convert back to sanity at any time, but that they eventually may if a) you tell them what you know AND b) give them time to compare that to what they discover. Not training but guru-ing. Or better, befriending.


She dies half-blind because Denise sees that people can change. She does not see that they must change by their own choices, not by being tricked, trained or pushed. (Though Eastman tricked, in his fashion; Jesus too... Perhaps there's white lies, temporary and minimal, vs. controlling ones that assume you're a movable thing on rails?)

Is the other kind of change, the forced change, just imitation/repulsion? A jail cell on wheels on a track? Limiting vision, among other things? Two gears: reverse and drive? Where Morgan is you can see stuff - like the flowers, which are back now, in a couple subtle shots. He's trained ... for all environments? Or rather he sees the whole world, all of life, as a single environment (no walls), so whatever training he engages in reflects that? Yeeeah. That sounds plausiblesque.


"Hush" repeated is like a magic spell, perhaps? If you're not using language to give your reasons - and own them as YOUR reasons, learned from your mistakes, as you're not better, just differently-exposed - then you're essentially battering with it? The mother eats the child she'd previously meant to save through forcing her (her, because those photographs) to change her behavior. Which just maybe you can do - though the psychology implanted is often reversed by the implantee - but you never should.
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Walking Dead only gets away with this level of subtlety because no one in a million years would expect that out of such a show.

We're watching only it and Better Call Saul (and the slow drip of Adventure Time) so it's hard not to compare. I'm not convinced WD isn't the more brilliant right now. Though I'm not entirely clear on what BCS is up to; have many guesses but it's slipped out of my grasp before.
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Re. 6.12 and 6.10:

So Jesus intervenes twice:

1. When Daryl refuses to kill him, he deems the Rick group worthy of coming to Hilltop.

2. When Heath won't murder, and/or when Glen won't let him, he saves them both.

Suggesting he'll abandon them if they back away from this standard at some point? Did Rick lose his favour with the prisoner incident? The prisoner (Primo?) was vaguely Bob 2-like, what with the baldness, and I assume the two murders are intended to rhyme on some level. Maybe just by showing Rick going out of two slightly distinct sets of bounds? "You are nothing" vs "you are less than I"?
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WD 6.14 (if I'm counting right)

So were all the choices between playing it safe and mum and a message sent running a certain amount of risk?

Obviously every episode of anything is all about choices. I think here the point was that it was always unclear ahead of time which was correct?

Main ones:

1. Denise's to go out herself so she won't be forever stuck as an insider/Alexandrian. She makes two sub-decisions ratifying this, one she can't sustain (the child's room) then a ridiculously risky one to make up for it. Outcome: well, obvious, but also not - the risks she thought she was taking may have paid off for her, but those she inadvertently also ran by exposing herself didn't.

2. Eugene dismissing whatshisname; he hadn't necessarily calculated the risk of this, but does accept that risk by not apologizing and running after him. Outcome: similarly bad but good, as he gets his chance to prove his bravery and "skillset" but also nearly dies and, worse, gets others killed. And getting captured suggests he's not as ready for going it alone as he thinks he is.

3. Daryl and the tracks. He's wary of traps and that breaks the group up and consumes time. It resonates with his earlier decision to not kill the guy who stole his bike that he talks about with Carol; she walks away from him when he suggests he wouldn't spare him now, not liking that he's changing (though also, we find out, inspired by the fact that he has). He changes his mind on the way back, partly to get back to being who he'd been - and, relatedly, to let Denise feel she truly is safe. Outcome: not good, and all because of that earlier choice - but of course the true choice has been made by "D" (Daryl, Denise, Dennis ... ), or by whoever burned his face and compelled him to go destroy Alexandria.

4. Carol's to leave rather than kill. We don't yet know this outcome.

5. Morgan's to go after Carol, which I assume we're watching on his face after he observes the full ashtray and strongly jostled swing, which indicate she's made a sudden, emotional departure. Outcome unknown.

More minor or uncertain:

A. Morgan makes a jail cell, despite his master's disbelief in them, in order to give Rick choices other than executing prisoners. Outcome unknown. Any risk to this choice? Rick's irritation? Or is the significance how prison removes choice. Is Morgan making his Wolf mistake again (not trusting others to choose) on Rick's behalf, as it were? Or in some sense taking Rick's choice to kill away?

B. Denise feels safer with Daryl than with Rosita, so following him wasn't really s choice.

C. Whatshisname's choice to dump Rosita and go with Sasha. Outcome unknown.

D. His decision to leave Eugene so as to teach him a lesson (though he's nearby and follows him once captured, it looked like). Outcome: bad since Eugene's put at risk for little reason and injured, good since Eugene is enabled to prove something by it, maybe good since it resolves him to complete his Sasha decision, maybe good since it curbs Eugene's hubris.

The Dennis vs Denise path: angry bravery vs calm cowardice? Their parents were alcoholics, so he confronts, she soothes? She gets worked up after her brave act, which maybe helps by drawing the attention that gets her killed (by mistake - D misses Daryl).

So all could have neglected to take the stands they did, which changed (clarified?) who they were as people - but only by putting self and others at risk. And it's not clear if changing yourself even works, as compared to being changed. Maybe the point is that making the effort ends up clarifying whether you've already been changed?

Whatshisname falls back into the role of protector, Rosita into working with him, Daryl into saving rather than killing preemptively (staying with Eugene is no choice at all). Carol perhaps changes, but only at the cost of total rupture. Denise may have changed, may have not. Character vs fate remains unsolved.

The tree across the path: what happens as a result of your choice isn't always the result of your choice, as it were, rather than just some random hazard along the way picked.

It's not clear if Morgan's changed either - his choice to stay in the cell may be finally the same as putting others in one.

And Rick's perhaps made a sheriff again, rather than warlord, by the cell.

Other people try to keep us how they knew us, undoing many of our choices? Rosita and Daryl try to scoff Denise into cowardice again - hence her anger - just as whatshisname does with Eugene, and Denise and Carol similarly pressure Daryl to stay as what he symbolizes for them. Similarly Morgan with Rick. So Carol's trying to leave her place in an ecosystem, pretty much. The cinder blocks in the wall I guess symbolize that sort of constraint? Everyone doing their same job, the entirely repeated cuts at the beginning suggest. But the jobs are about readiness - guarding, stocking. (The priest subtly indicates the possibility of change in a new environment, I guess? D the dark version of that - he's now a leader in the ranks he'd tried to flee from.) Morgan's exercises prepare him too, of course, but perhaps less mechanistically? You do the exact same exercises daily to be free from them in some sense, like with meditating - or anyway maybe the qualified freedom of knowing you're contingent? Which lets him see Carol's broken ranks - a block is missing.

Wasn't paying much attention to Denise's last words because she was being kind of tiresome - deliberate on the writers' part, I imagine. I should go back and see what they were.

Her decision to go Dennis may be picked up by Daryl along with the name-thing, since he felt they'd had the same brother and of course has fought the impulse to emulate his brother at various earlier points. His brother would have killed D.

Did knowledge of the true way die with Denise, or did she not have it either? Killing a zombie over a drink suggests someone not quite where (eg) Tyrese was at the end of The Grove. Morgan is very close, though. Building a prison isn't necessarily condemnable - you could say he's backed down from speaking his full mind to Rick, but equally could say he's leaving Rick a stepping stone to follow him back to the right ethical standpoint if Rick chooses.

Carol's choice presumably isn't one because it takes her away from where she'd be choosing - if you want to kill then don't kill, rather than putting yourself where it will never come up.

Accept that all life (ALL) is precious, accept that all choosers must choose for themselves, accept that you must stand ready to try to protect any and everyone in danger, accept that this may occasionally require imprisoning and/or killing, accept that when this need is not clear such measures must be avoided/undone, accept that you must make these positions and the reasons for them known in clear language but must not hector, accept that no one should be given up on (including yourself) since where there's life there's hope, accept that modelling your beliefs by acting on them will change others more than your words or acts themselves are likely to. Morgan has almost all of it down, but it's not clear, post-Wolf incident, if he gets it that he must sometimes kill ... or quite gets it that absolutely everyone can change, thus should be allowed free choice. We'll see...

Do the tracks signify predictability - going with one's true character? They sort of go for Daryl when he capitulates. For others? Denise leaves the track in the car scene - though is back on it when she dies. Her position was emphasized ... was she right at the edge of the inside portion, making it unclear if she was about to get free?

Does the stick shift vs automatic bit have anything to do with anything? A small menu of options vs none? How difficult it can be to learn what your options are when others want you to stick to what you know? Daryl is supposed to know all manly things, but does not know how to "shift gears," change? Or rather does not realize you need to let up a bit to do so? Less is more when trying to change?

Kid's doubtless important too but I didn't let myself focus on that. What was with the shoe? The zombie was chained up by its parent, keeping it alive to no end? "Hushing" not stopping one's desires but merely ignoring them?

Zombies in a choice vs fate episode played a surprisingly small role otherwise, so there must be something relevant here. With the helmet zombie too - just how mischance and friends fail to let us see whether we can improve ourselves by taking risks?
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How to watch The Walking Dead:

Assume the most exacting standard of morality.

Pay attention to any violations of it by anyone.

Look out for ways that that fucks them up indirectly.

Because it will.

Maggie asks for as much food from Hilltop as the Saviors took? Rick kills a guy in a Mexican standoff that might have been resolved peacefully? Everyone but Morgan agrees to the premeditated killing of every member of a group that might eventually kill some members of their own? Rick kills a prisoner who refuses to talk but who poses no present threat?

They will suffer. The graze on Maggie's stomach is a warning.

Carl was shot in the eye because Rick killed that kid's father. Carol is a wreck because she got Sam killed by keeping him infantilized through a mixture of fear-mongering and oversheltering. Etc.

Bidding up, is what's being attacked right now. Escalation. Seeing conflict not as having to hurt Them to protect Us at times, but as never again considering those one is in conflict with as anything but a Them until more has been paid back than was taken (or threatened to be taken). This kills negotiation because negotiation cannot be repeated except on the same terms, i.e. on escalated ones. The mathematical basis is that one of You is not worth as much as one of Us. The Saviors are worse along this line, but that just makes them a Breaking Bad-style foil, showing us just how close the protagonists are to being that. And then hanging around, at least in memory, to horrify us when the protagonists are suddenly as bad as that themselves. The "reset" only taught Rick that allies' lives are precious, allies' minds are real. The dirty secret Morgan, Carol and others are keeping isn't just that Morgan kept the Wolf alive but that the Wolf proved he didn't deserve to die - all life's being precious is the treasonous notion.

They're tying it in to capitalism, where the mere fact that you're not crossing some final set of lines, some bare minimum of human dignity, makes it okay to cross everything right up to them where non-Uses are concerned. Thus Rick's apologizing to the medic he kills. If he'd cooperated he would have let him live, you see. The "new deal" isn't as good as the old deal, meeting as equals, but you brought it on yourself by not meeting thus too. And everyone you're affiliated with will now be dealt with according to the new terms - thus Witt's "the people you're with are killers, so that makes you a killer" to Carol, whose side used the same logic to kill her people.

The motherhood thing is fascinating, too. The Alexandria guy - Holden? - basically tells Carol she's like a mother bear to those on her side, or snyway most of them. We see that with Maggie, who goes feral on those who threatened her: I have a child on the way, you endanger it, so I get to kill all of you. Carol knows this logic is horrifying but can't fight it because of a twist on sunk cost fallacy: I have killed 18, 20 people (Witt had only killed 10), so if my principles of conduct are wrong I am a horrible monster, so they can't be wrong. Meanwhile I'm more and more messed up over all of the people I killed. And if the "I" house takes all ties you can see why - only takes two "it was you or me"s before that self-justification is mathematically nauseating. Glen's killing Heath's man for him is about that same math - to murder even once is to have rendered it forever unclear to yourself whether you've taken as much as you've given, in the life account book.

And Witt's account of the fall of DC: the gov't employees were considered worth more as persons, which injustice made her feel she could throw over the rules, and choose herself in the perceived me-or-him of her and her boss (another implicit assumption of a "better-than" mindset). Everyone gets sick when they stray from a 1 person = 1 person understanding, no discounting allowed, or rather a 1 infinity = 1 infinity one, where discounting may not even be mathematically coherent.

Maggie told them about Alexandria's location, I assume we're to take it? Thus perhaps wanted them all dead not just to protect her people, but to somehow erase her own knowledge that she would hold them all at less worth than her unborn child. Capitalism's frewuent, unspoken justification being that it's okay that I'm taking more than my share so long as I'm passing it along to my children. And the fact that others will have children too is ignored because you see yours, you don't see theirs. When you do see theirs things get harder.

Carol stops Maggie from risking herself because she is pregnant. Which ends up putting Maggie at still more risk, but also lets Carol feel further nauseated. She didn't kill the guy who had the drop on them, the way she saw Morgan not kill the gun-stealing Wolf.

Rick refuses to entertain the notion of a 1 for 1 hostage exchange, but I guess that makes sense - he loses his hostage and then he has no real leverage, other than not killing, which they don't buy for good reason. The shock for us is that once the prisoner seems valueless to him he kills him. Like with whatshisname, though, the surgeon he killed in Alexandria, this medic's absence may become consequential. The surgeon's loss gets rectified because someone Rick had given a second chance (because Maggie did) gives his replacement the sense thst she'll have one too if she fucks up. So the show is really a series not just of delayedly punished Oedipal road murders but also delayedly rewarded paw thorn-pullings.

How the dying woman shares her cigarette with Carol - meaning Carol perceives herself this way? How the other woman refuses to let her smoke around the pregnant woman, suggesting she would not have really hurt Maggie, a hint which Maggie does notice or does but feels she can't afford to pay attention to.

Jesus saves Glen and Heath. Because the one was unable to murder, and the other murdered to prevent his having to?

The self-defense of those two crewting a pile of several bodies outside the door was a nice touch too - a war movie cliche thst, when oresented with even the tiniest touch of realism, becomes absolutely appalling.

Highly Zero Dark Thirty influenced, thst 3rd episode.

The range of behaviors of the kidnappers was telling, too: the man wants Carol killed, or Carol's arm shot the way she'd shot his at the very least. He's dying. The smoking woman doesn't care about her second hand smoke until her friend stops her - and of course second hand smoke is bad for non-fetuses, too, so there's a bot of a "1 trumps 1 but not 1+" assumption baked into her smoking. That she's dying ... is that just further symbolic proof that bad moral math sickens? Like with the Wolf? The man is already dead but they'd intended to kill him, or anyway Maggie did and Carol doesnt stop her; the 2nd woman is dying, and Maggie kills her too, with Carol not stopping IIRC; so Carol's slowly climbing up the me-or-you sin hill, and horrified because she's actually aware of it this time. Then there's Maggie vs. the Maggie double, who Carol kills rather than threatens (it's pretty brilliant that they have reason to think BOTH sides' allies are about to burst in at any time), then last there's Witt, who isn't armed, isn't running, isn't attacking but might, is merely advancing on a position they have room to retreat from, and standing in between them and an exit it isn't at all clear they should use. Carol almost shoots her because she's increasing the danger knob - but at what point is it fair? There's a chance she can be subdued, or maybe even reasoned with. One step closer she's more of a danger - but enough of one to kill her for it? But to not shoot her, as she hadn't shot the man, means she is still a live danger, and Witt does attack Carol, knocking her gun. Are we to understand that if she hadn't morally compromised herself she would have known when to shoot? Or rather that she wouldn't have moved in point blank like thst, in self-destructive indecision? Wanting to be killed, on some level, since life is not clearly worth living when you don't feel all life is precious - someone else's you know still might be, so you might not be suicidal. But at a certain point you are suicidal, because at a certain point you've killed too many other people to justify the claim you're just protecting your cubs.

Very very interesting stuff. It's like The Leftovers, where the challenge becomes justifying why you're still saying the same thing. Ways to say it just a little differently you go out of your way for, since they let you look yourself in the mirror. No one wants to be a hack, and especially no one wants to be a hack pimping violence. They want it justified - and they're ordered to pump out more and worse, so they need to justify it more and better. Kind of fascinating, given that anticapitalism dimension to their present argument.
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Walking Dead 6.10-11

They're switching targets from Hobbes to Burke. Violence creates ownership creates permanent war pretending it's peace. Note the parallel acts by Rick and Maggie: since you attacked first I can end an ambiguously murderous standoff by killing you; since you sought to take too much of what I had I can demand as much from you plus one more thing. A race to an unfindable bottom. Where life is priced it is not precious. Deals presuppose there are two parties. "A price to be paid." Babies don't help, since when you see yourself as extending indefinitely in time generationally it multiplies your sense of your share (a multiplier you forget to apply to others).

Not sure if that means they'll dodge what's looking obvious: that this is a big trap. Jesus' words were ambiguous about the leader, re. whether he's his reluctant right hand man or instead an agent of Negan's. He sure liked the Queen of Spades picture. Something about luck? He's weird. I hope they're not using him to represent some aspect of religion, or how it's supposed to soften capitalism but gets dragged along after it or whatever. I'm kind of burnt out from The Leftovers.

Is the show bad now? Its pacing seems very strange. It's going for some kind of pre-Jaws-music silence, I guess?
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The things that go wrong in season 2, and who is to blame:

1. Sophia wanders off. I don't remember if anyone is to blame for this, or for not finding her in time.

2. Otis shoots Carl. His not looking maybe fits the characteristic farm crime of burying one's head in the sand; it could also fit the more genersl theme of not recognizing sll life is precious - every deer is someone's child, after all. Maybe fits, too, the notion that people shouldn't be armed except shen absolutely necessary?

3. Otis is left to die by Shane. Shane had the me or you philosophy.

4. Sophia is locked away in the barn, causing distress.

5. An unnecessary risk is created by Hershel making Otis stuff walkers in the barn.

6. Hershel wanders into town to drink despite the risk. His own esrlier denial made this inability to cope happen, bit so did Shane's callousness and paranoia.

7. A firefight starts with the men met in the bar. Is this all their fsult, or do they onky draw because Rick won't trust them?

(Is each mistake simuktaneously defensible and not?)

8. Carl lets loose a walker, doesnt kill it, doesnt tell anyone, and it kills Dale.

So causality-wise, the fall of the Farm happens because:


...which enables Shane to get the gun from Dale...
...who tries to kill Rick...
...who kills Shane...
...which makes Carl shoot Zombie Shane to save his father...
...which draws the sombies to the farm

Hershel refuses to face the facts.
Hershel delegates another to face them for him.
Shane values his own life over another's.
Shane doubles down on this impulse, deciding to out his own interests over others' on principle.
Lori denies Shane a child that is his?
Carl refusesto admit s humiliation. (Be-a-manism?)

Hmm. Yeah, more is up than I noted. Hypotheticslly any farm would do it, right? So the season explains what might stoo the terrified from making a fresh start.

Dos that mean there's some route the grouo could have tsken to get through seaosn 3, too? Did THeY fsil the agovernor somhow?

If Carl had not been ashamed, Dale would have lived, and his voice of reason might have oreventd Rick and Shane from going nuclesr on esch other.

If Rick had not shot that guy in the bar...?

On the other side, Glenn causes Maggie to acjnowledge her losses, and she causes Goenn to ... Find something to live for, which he does, with her. So Glenn gets a fsmily, she lets go of the past, letting her see more clesrly (eg sbout the barn zombies).

Forced choices are condemned again, no? Shane forces Hershel to see, but this doesnt lesd to clesr sight, but despair.

So is Gimple's first eoisode about what to live for? Glenn: family; Maggie: acceptance; Rick et al.: life's continuance; Shane: um?
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The Walking Dead isn't precisely subtext free in seasons 1 and 2, but it's mostly blunt and tired stuff. The guy who thinks zombies should always be preemptively killed and that no outsider can be trusted is Shane, who we find out is willing to murder innocents not only to survive but to get the woman (and children) he wants. (Rick's behavior at Alexandria is supposed to make us think of Shane as well as the Governor and Gareth). You could say the message is that fear corrupts, but he's presented as glib, authoritarian and misogynist from pretty much the first. He does get worse as he goes, but part of that's that it takes a while for Lori to make it clear that she's truly chosen Rick - and is going to treat her child as his, either way. There should be a phrase for the (very weak) screenwriting tactic of making the holder of a position the writer wishes to condemn deplorable in various other ways. Vice bundling? Scale-stomping? Anyway, the first sign they're serious about this difference in perspectives is the 2 finale, where Rick announces he's assumed dictatorship over the group for its own good. Circumstances have started to convince him Shane was right. So the final shot, our first sight of the prison, is certainly loaded.

An intersting thing about the premise is that it seems designed to make people who would normally agree with the implied positions of the creators situationally reject them: when civilization has fallen, there's hardly any food left, and the few sustainably fortifiable positions are occupied by terrified, isolated groups of people who have done terrible things just to survive ... Then maybe yeah, don't trust anyone, don't take chances, impose martial law and the death penalty, consider preemptive strikes on those who look murderous. The vast majority of the audience thinks this - so many and so much so that the series again and again sets these assumptions up to take a fall but the audience is never shaken. Maybe at best admits a head vs. heart division, where the still nice characters are liked better but deemed unworthy of leadership. In Gimple's hands, this becomes the engine driving things - our continued, if uneasy, support for the "hard" line is firmly assumed, and is constantly made to seem to be correct from its own perspective, since scenarios keep popping up where the minimal trust route seems to pay off and the sympathy one seems to fail. But there's always an asterisk to each: unexpected consequences of the one crop up, as well as ameliorative hints about the other. Which aren't quite highlighted or certain - and are often muddied by Things Going Wrong in either case, where just how they go wrong seems initially to entirely defy prediction. But looked at closely, bad decisions made out of fear ( often on the part of OTHER people - villains - acting on the same logic as a misguided portion of the heroes) are always tieable to the random-seeming catastrophes occurring in their wakes, whereas the bad that follows from trying to be good really is bad luck, or follows from not being good ENOUGH.

I guess a bit of this happens in 2. Hershel's been having Otis put the zombies in the barn, which fits his denial of what's happening - denial, too, can be a bad reaction to fear, like with Alexandria later. Bush pre-9/11, say. Hershel's way has prevented anyone from knowing that the girl is dead, and has created an unnecessary danger. But Shane's way is worse, since he lets them all out, which could have killed someone. And plus he murdered Otis, who might have cleared up the mystery for them in a less sickening and risky way had he lived. Hershel's demotalization is so total he engages in near-suicidal behavior that nearly gets others killed too - in fact does so, since it brings them into conflict with another group who they eventually kill a bunch of. His denial was a big part of that, but that wasn't true good, which keeps its eyes open. And as with Alexandria later, the big fuckups come from the overreactors, not the under.

Or are they equally bad? Yes, the abandonment of the red poncho man (a Schindler's List allusion?) is endangerment by omission, which Hershel's actions amount to - he does what the Governor does later, sequester a zombie loved one, but in a different fashion. And of course he keeps trying to kick out Rick's group, which his dsughter points out is against his supposed Christian principle of helping all others. Maybe not so dumb, then?

I can't remember what brings the big herd, at the end. Gunshots? Or is the point thst they could have fortified everything etc. if not at odds for so long because of the big, stupid mistakes of Hershel and Shane?

Krugman's use of the zombie concept - is that at play here? Shane comes back after arick kills him, and is killed by Walt - but in a sense comes back AS Rick, because what his resurrection proves changes leads Rick to adopt some of his mindset: if the threat can NEVER be avoided, then such measures may be required after all. I guess the parentage auestion also brsts on this? Who will shape the next generation's views, or who will manage to bring back humanity, the party of (informed) trust or that of fear? But once Rick joins the latter...

So I guess it's meaningful thst, annoying as it makes her, Lori vacillates so much. Means th deciding factor will be one of the dudes.

Glenn does get identified with a willingness to tust strsngers right away, too. And the word "hope" is brought up about him from the first. Morgan's very minimal trust is also emphasized, and connected to his inability to kill his wife, whereas Rick kills the grandmotherly zombie (and the child one) in mercy-killing fashion. Facing it. The blankets over the windows, the inabikity to move on - Morgan isn't fscing it, which is what we find out gets his son killed, since 1) the son follows his father's example and wont kill his mother, 2) Morgan let her live to kill him in the first place. The son covers his esrs when Morgan shoots, too. Head in the sand. Vs. hero Rick riding into town on his horse? Or is thst sbout how traditional notions of heroism can't apoly here? Or maybe about how xploiting animals can't. The deer incident in 2 ... Was the show doing its animal thing already?

Imprisoning Merle becoms practically a desth sentence, too, and ends uo making him worse, though the show orsts him as ridiculously bad from the start. Perhaps leaving him on the rooftop was the problem? Out of sight, out of mind. A Guantanamo kind of thing? No due process? I dunno.

Season 2 is deifnitely already doing th standing army thing, with the bag of guns and Dale vs. Shane.

Andrea sides with the Governor because she wants safety after being in the wikdernss for so long, so that fits. And her loss of her sister makes her first suicidal, then homicidal, so. Life is shown to be worth living becsuse of the deer, for Rick/Lori/Carl - and the deer and children are thus associated, as life retune, is anundant in nature etc. Whereas Andrea changes her mind because ... Of what, power? Guns? She has sex with Shane after they kill zombies, I think?

So her arc makes sense. Does Lori's?
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6.4 rewatched continued, plus some 6.5 talk:

But Eastman also fails to let Morgan know what he himself did, which means he hasn't completely accepted who he was. If he'd let Morgan know, Morgan would have realized that Eastman was a damaged person who healed himself, a killer who stopped being a killer. If Morgan had known this then he might no have been thrown back into the wrong sort of "here" in the clearing.

The wall motif functions here too: uncovered windows, unlocked doors. The fence is just a noise trap, really. It doesn't keep them out.

Why lock the gun box? To not kill himself? Or because he didn't trust Morgan, thus his pacifism wasn't complete? Self-distrust because not accepting who he had been meant he didn't trust/know who he was? One must be as patient and forgiving with oneself as with others?

So walls again. Between here and here. Which eventually mean you see no heaven, just hell clear before you.

But isn't Eastman also choosing to let Morgan see the better version of himself? What's the difference?

Trees moss flowers

Says he won't kill and then kills zombies. Related? And still eats chocolate and milk, so not vegan - related? Related to his slight-seeming but highly significant ethical lapses.

Wolf goes from "maybe" to "I'll kill all of you" - in part because of Morgan's reactions? Or to test Morgan, to see if he'd truly trust him like Eastman had? Morgan DOES admit what he did - he tells his whole story, unlike Eastman had. His problem isn't nonacceptance of his own past, precisely, but not being fully convinced evil doesn't exist: the one Eastman had initially had, and technically died having.

In Always Accountable, in the clearing scene is the shot of D and the pilot supposed to be reminiscent of him and Beth in Still? The dead couple in the house are similar. The fire starters realize they killed them, and the woman (?) bites their innocent (Beth-like?) friend. Karma.

D asks for something in return for the insulin, thus buys into the local sin, however slightly (and kind of implausibly). Karmically, he loses his crossbow and motorcycle, his most prized belongings. Fitting pattern of 6.4? He does ask them to join him but only after seeing their regret. Conditional trust is not trust? Is his moment of mind change related to Aaron's seeing him lead his people to the barn? He sees helping them as stupid but does it anyway, so he's a little ahead of himself, like Rick saving Spencer though not as bad.

Returning to the pilot lets him find the fuel truck ... So has he faced Beth's death or something? They're a bit reminiscent of her killer, the forest people: overreacting from fear, compromising themselves for safety and regretting it ... And being at last corrupted by their compromise, like her. But does he even know all that stuff about her?

Both D and Abraham face zombie versions of ... Themselves? A soldier, a motorcyclist. The forest fire is as heavy handed and indiscriminate as the hostage taking of D.

The helmet protected the brain, like the plastic melted into them protects the fried couple - out of sight out of mind?

Facing himself? Beth? gives D the fuel to go on? That the others were denied because of the very people they (I guess?) killed? But what is there to face? I'm missing something. Something about the auto insurance? Vehicle one gets replaced by vehicle two because of ... Accountability? Deserving it? Or was deserting Sadha and Abraham his sin, returning his insurance, Karmically?
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Rewatch of 6.4 of Walking Dead:

(May again be repeating much of what I said before - simply can't remember.)

Morgan's framed visually as though in prison, and of his own making, at numerous points, and often with pointed "bars" - ones he sharpened, often.

He's framed that way at the end after not throwing away the key, since this act is a bit of a repeat of Eastman's imprisoning and starving of Crighton Dallas Wilton. The bars are pointed in that scene, I think? And the words of Rick's he hears are "Open the gates" when he's just locked one. Meaning the example of Rick and what has happened to him should make him back down from his act of exclusion.

Eastman's making of cheese: milk gone bad can still become cheese. And he keeps trying till it's right, like he does with Morgan.

He's in the prison of going back to the moment when his son dies, with a door that might open out but just comes back in. If it's him or you, it needs to be him no matter what, he's in effect saying to his son - so kill your mother, son. He can't do this either when the son he killed of the man he killed comes back to kill him. So the argument he's been having all this time with his dead son is won by the son.

But the door eventually does open - one is eventually real. Eastman lets him see this. And he truly is outside, at the end of his story. The sun shines through the trees, the world expands everywhere.

On the wall by the daughter's infinitely indivisible house is a picture of a turtle, showing it in its shell from the side and from above, and then just the shell from the side and from above.

The notion of having your home on your back is being played with; hence his large pack at the end, echoing the packs of the man he kills and the woman he saves.

The contrast with the J.S.S moment where Enid eats a turtle alive (but has blocked from memory the part in between her attacking and its death?) is pointed. Eastman's shirt says "Save the Terrapins," and he eats oatmeal burgers.

His story ends on the train tracks, like The Grove did. A clear path forward?

Wanting to kill isn't condemned. Eastman wants to kill Morgan when he breaks his daughter's house picture, and again when in the clearing when Morgan seems to have not changed. Morgan has this after the Wolf's response to his story.

We do hear a lock after the fight in the house, meaning Eastman has locked himself in for protection. Similarly, he has a locked box with a gun in it he uses to kill himself. So locks have their place, for him - in this case as a temporary measure against a clear, proven danger.

Eastman doesn't go as far as to say that Wilton is not evil. Just that his life is precious too. But from his story one gets the impression he truly isn't evil, but rather in one of the other categories: born with a sick brain, having acquired one, or having been damaged but able to heal. Born, achieved, thrust-upon, for those keeping count. Heredity, environment, free will. The paradox that we can only hate those who have truly chosen to hurt, and that if someone can truly choose we cannot hate them because what if they choose differently next time. Since why wouldn't they? Evil is a terrible choice. Do I depart from the show in lamenting the concept of free choice, as implicitly defined? Or is that exactly where a show about zombies is pointing.

Does his mistake cause his death? Has he hesitated at all, with Morgan? You know, he really has. Because he lets him know that truly evil minds do exist. Which may be incoherent, but gives Morgan the option of believing that might be him, that he might be that 825th (826th?). Gives him the option of seeing his own good behavior as just an act, like Eastman's interpretation of Wilton's in prison. Where once "out," once in the other place (which, if evil can exist, it must have a whole world of its own, have its own code and justice), he can feel that it all was a dream. Can want to die, rather than accepting who he had been and trying to make up for it. It is a direct connection, then. A later failure of Eastman's, though one he makes up for by saving Morgan's life at the cost of his own. Tiny-seeming mistakes can have great consequences on this show. Because even the smallest acts might still change the life of another. Since Morgan's positive response is to how thoroughly Eastman seems to accept him, the single reservation matters, just like with Glenn's toward Nicholas.

All the words in the clearing have reversible meanings. Here's not here: 1. This seems like world but is prison, 2. This seems like prison but is world. Clear: 1. Kill everything and hope that clearing out the world around you will clear out the suffering inside, 2. Step clear of the fear and hate in your head, so it flies on past, and your way will be clear, your view of the world will be clear. Pointless acts: 1. Saving people is pointless since they will die, though killing them is also pointless since they will die anyway, 2. Acts that do not seek to kill, that accept and protect. What was the fourth one?

In his hometown he also wrote, "You are not here." 1. You are not in the world as it seems but instead imprisoned or already dead, or the son you speak to is no longer really here because he made his mistake and died - both a torment and solace, 2. That moment-prison of his death that you keep returning to is just in your head.

The violence seems to come from not knowing which to choose, living or dying. This is more or less brought up again in Always Accountable by Sasha: violence and other back to the wall situations seem to preclude choice, so can hide from others one's guilt (survivor or otherwise), but not from oneself. If we're all doomed or damned why kill everyone? Or anyone?

Redirection of aggression, fear, grief. A new direction, a new chance. Everything coming 'round again. This can be taken in an annoyingly implausible Eastern way, where it evades death itself, or just as a where there's life there's hope type thing. As Martin had said, there is always a choice. And as we learned with Tyrese, when there isn't a choice there isn't life anymore, so then you can let it all go.

The fire is supposed to make us think of Carol, I think, in that episode where all her abandoned past selves are symbolized by the various fires she's witnessed and sometimes set. Accepting who you were is the opposite; what lies behind the urge toward mayhem is always a death wish, on this show, hence the repetitions when cornered of "kill me" by Morgan, the Wolf, the priest, I think Martin ... probably others. Is the "clearing" impulse pure projection, can we say? Or a bit more complex than that?

Don't make me see what has happened. Don't make me see what I've done. Because what has happened has made the world unacceptable, identifying it with the worst that can be remembered about it. Because what I have done makes me unacceptable to myself, since I can remember that I did that. But no, instead of denying the worst this embraces the worst as the only true thing; "Don't ever apologize," Morgan says to Eastman, and later knows he has failed with the Wolf when the Wolf repeats that back. To apologize (or was the phrase "say you're sorry," which would be much better, since it includes the unwitting implication that you really are sorry but simply won't let yourself admit it) ... To apologize means to accept the reality that you have done something wrong and perhaps to express that you would like to make amends if possible. To not apologize might seem to be to not admit that you did something wrong, but instead (or as much) cuts your self-definition off from the things you have done that were right. Morgan admits freely that he has murdererd, but not that he has saved. Being damned is one end of the process of guilt - but it is a false one. Guilt doesn't end with being self-damned.

Wilton goes back to planting flowers after murdering Eastman's family. Flowers earlier for waiting rooms to remind those temporarily imprisoned by fear and sadness that life still goes on, renews itself, that the world isn't only one color. He has defined himself as the same evil that Eastman has, but can't live his remaining life according to that definition. And is angry at Eastman for, what, being right? If he were truly evil he would have nothing to prove to anyone. Rather than meeting "I think you're evil" with "Yeah? Well then I'll show you evil."

The couple Morgan saves ... He does basically mug them, but it's stranger than that. A feral, threatening hiss at people who are very clearly no threat. It's the kabuki version of being a clearer. He wants them to see him that way. But instead they give him food. Like Eastman? And that bullet, like Michonne gave when she had nothing else to give. As a mugging, it's not so great to have received someone's everything. Maybe the "thank you" was the point? She summed his series of actions as the best that it was: saving them. Not the worst. Definitely echoing how Eastman thanked Morgan for saving Tabitha, despite the fact that he had also endangered her - but did Eastman know that? Or is the point just that in each case Morgan had the choice of correcting the mistake but realized that he preferred the version of himself their mistake or fearful humoring of him had created? Because that's what re-cures him. But maybe the adding of the bullet is what proves that the gesture is "everything," short of their lives, is one of gratitude. She didn't have to do that, perhaps? Or is it that she does it because he still seems unappeased? But maybe to believe in good one has to choose to see it - to prefer to. Maybe it's as much about him preferring to see her as wanting to do good in return rather than doing whatever it takes to not be killed. Does he realize this too? That small nod.

The not quite deserved thank you - echoing Nicholas in the previous episode? That scene's certainly the one thing on our minds coming into 6.4.

The [Walking] Dead - Joycean? Some common ground.
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The Walking Dead 4.1-4.8

Completed my Gimple/Dead rewatch.

No clue how much of this I've said before in entries left public:

4.1-4.3: Basically adapt "Plato's Pharmacy" - seriously, this is a fully conscious use of Derrida on a tv action show. Recap of its relevant set of metaphors: ancient city states became constituted on us/them principles symbolized by their walls (inside, outside), but since slavery, trade, genetic mixing etc. meant that the group inside the walls inevitably included outsiders this distinction was unstable. When a threat from out was perceived two things would tend to happen that became as momentous as that threat: the distinction between "them" and "us" would be insisted on more strongly, leading to purity tests or purges (e.g. McCarthyism); and, shortly after, "our" ability to defend ourselves from the threat (usually made worse by the distraction from and/or radicalization of the outgroupers caused by the purification panic) would become so compromised by our inability to clearly see what was threat and what not that we'd NOTICE a change was needed and have to import back in some of what we'd excluded. Inoculation, basically. But for Derrida the point is that words, which are created by distinctions (walls), cannot be stable, as we'll always be trying to protect their meanings from the influence of neighboring words and that purification will always leave out what we later realize is necessary to that original meaning. Words will never fit actual conceptual contours neatly, the way walls will never be stable against weather, aggression, neglect/decay etc. unless fixed, changed, exchanged. The "pharmakon" is the aspect of the excluded word or world that one fears to be toxic (hence the distinction in the first place) but that one eventually turns to as the needed medicine for the illness insularity's causing - the ancient Greek word for medication and poison is the same, basically, much like how the Drug War caused a split in our sense of that word. And given how iffy medicine would have been for the ancient Greeks one sees their point. But Derrida of course loves how the word is both things, because it seems to prove his point: meanings shift in crazy ways based on shifting needs, so distinctions are forever being undermined. Main counterargument to which is that not every term can be proven to change significantly in meaning over a middle-term segment of time, thus flux is tendency and not rule, in which case not everything is deconstructible (i.e. based on an unjustifiable distinction on some level). If the instability of the universe is itself unstable in ways creating patches of stability - which is the take of (e.g.) Lucretius, Shelley, Stevens - this is a viewpoint with no particular problem with representation and empiricism, and one where even the limits of both need to be representable/experienceable in order to BE limits for us. But though Derrida hasn't given us a new diagnosis or new drug his allegory lures us in by how freaking familiar it sounds - this isn't how things have to go wrong all over, but it sure is the main way they go wrong when they do. Some words are more logocentric (having their own perceived authority as sole basis of their maning, rather than some independently verifiable fact they innocently gesture at) than others, and some *situations* can lead us to desire/hallucinate such self-proving authority to exist in certain words rather than in others (e.g. confusion, pain, fear of death empowering the words of the stabilizing, soothing, immortalizing language of the Bible, Koran, whatever). To the extent Derrida's just saying WATCH OUT, ANY WORDS CAN BECOME LOGOCENTRIZED YO then fine, sure, but he fell down the rabbit hole of our inability to talk about just which ones might or might not be without using, like, words. Whereas calling attention to what might make us stop carefully comparing representations to realities (at least, you know, now and then) seems pretty useful, if less clearly an original notion (Hi Orwell; What up, Borges; Hey Blake). And other aspects of the setup are really suggestive - he ties this in to scapegoats and to banishment, favorite and Socratically relevant Greek pastimes. When the volcano acts up you toss the more volcanic (unpredictably menstrual) members of your group (your virgins) into the volcano - it clearly wants them back, or anyway they're attracting its damn attention. And the introjective move is as familiar-sounding as the projective one: uh oh, a bunch of men are coming toward us and they're assaulting, raping, and taking all our food - so let's set up a standing army! What could go wrong?

The argument's not extended to language per se, in The Walking Dead, except to our overreliance, when fearful, on dubious distinctions enabled or reinforced by certain socially sanctioned language. The sanction is the main problem: precedents set by others tend to be the worst trouble, on the show. And it's not just language, of course, but action precedents. Slogans advance the process but aren't of a separate order from actual walls, are like them artifices maintained only through the belief they're effective. Derrida is misread this way often enough, and why not? It makes more sense than what he's actually saying, at least if we take the problem as a tendency rather than a universal truth. We need to revisit our distinctions whenever they're being acted on in ways where people could get hurt, not because all distinctions may be wrong but because fear and conformity can reinforce one another in ways that stop language (and behavioral contagion) from being examined. Late Derrida himself seems more interested in this sort of misreading than in what he actually meant, in fact. Meek's Cutoff is the only previous dramatization of these ideas I'm aware of, but Walking Dead can go deeper into the specifics because there it features actual walls - of a prison, no less. I guess you could say it has to strain a point by showing the mossy zombie sticking out of the ground right by the elderberries, whereas the Obamaesque new guide in Cutoff is a more properly ambiguous pharmakon. But the association allows zombies to be redefined in a fruitful way, which I'll maybe explain later. And the faltering wall, standing army, scapegoat/sacrifice/exile paradigms lead to more inspired images and happenings.

4.4-4.5: 4.4 is about that irony of exile - Carol has become too much like the callous outer world, so Rick tosses her out into it, which makes him as callous as the outer world. 4.5 is great because it admits what Derrida never can, that yes, there's a point where distinctions/exclusions do need to be made so that we can act, and more importantly they CAN be made fairly, and language helps us make them. Representation isn't the problem, but instead how we fall back to a simpler sort of language when we go fight-or-flight too soon, and then double down on that simplistic crap we'd been saying when that fear comes back or is sustained. So, yes, a counterterrorism allegory, but kept vague enough that it fits war, racism, every other damn politics-entangled problem ever.

4.6, 4.7, 4.8 extends the wall thing to distinctions one makes about self-definition - the Governor tries to exclude the good part his own past, his family, because it led to his overprotectiveness, atrocities and downfall, preventing him from seeing he's still the kind of person who needs to love and protect a family hence will as soon as one's available. And once one is and he knows he can't leave it he tries to exclude the bad part his past, his dictator self, so strenuously that he's led into violence, which makes him figure that's his real self after all so why not be dictator again. Or thereabouts - I'm mischaracterizing it a bit for brevity. Then in 4.8 his view that once you've gone bad you have to stay bad (since he feels like he tried to be good and failed) gets put up against Hershel's that assessment of reality rather than the lean imparted by your baggage can dictate what path to choose, once you realize you've talked yourself into a view of yourself that's mostly just talk. But sunk cost fallacy wins the day, as it often does. Worse, Rick gets converted from Hershel's view, which he himself preaches at the Governor, because it doesn't work at that crucial moment - the choice of another has blocked his own, leading to his doubting choice itself in the very way the younger Governor had. You have to do what you can do to survive (and survive in order to keep those you love alive), so where others might choose in favor of themselves and against you, like the Governor had, you need to choose in favor of yourself and yours preemptively, like the Governor had. Assuming zero sum when the sum ain't zero, on the grounds that you'll lose everything if you're wrong that the sum isn't zero. So instead lose everything more certainly, if gradually, by wrongly assuming it always is zero, since the Governor's is the path to hell on earth - no trust, no sleep, constant replacing of your last record ethical low with a lower, since you keep shifting your personal Overton window of what's normal. Anyway, Rick's antihero arc starts here. Well, back with Carol. Given Gimple's later practice I wonder if the Carol decision somehow affects how the Governor encounter goes - was there hesitation in Rick's saying that one can always change, when he's just previously exiled Carol on the assumption she can't? Maybe I should rewatch the scene. I do recall him not sounding entirely sure of himself, perhaps echoed in the Governor's murder-cut not being clean. Neither is entirely with or entirely against the head of Hershel, as it were. Is it that Rick holds back from giving something? Some proof? Risking himself instead? Can't remember to what extent he does. Later episodes and especially 6.4 will confirm that hesitation in any way from the faith that other lives are as real and meaningful as your own (and that your own is real and meaningful, relatedly) will have bad consequences sooner or later.
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Looks like Walking Dead has gotten in trouble with critics, and conceivably audiences, by not making what it's doing clear enough. You can kind of see why - in the recent sequence the characters' mistakes are fairly far upstream from their consequences, which helps explain why they're able to keep making them. But for those identifying with the characters, it just seems like everything that could go wrong is going wrong for no reason, or that the characters are obviously making dumb mistakes for no reason, thus risking their identification. But the show's trying hard to show that none of the mistakes are in fact dumb. What's stymying that effort? Maybe the fact that it's doing that with several distinct points of view, so those audience members agreeing with one will find everyone else's actions moronic?

Yeah, something along that line. The show's premise creates its reality, so the audience thinks, "don't try big things, they'll fail; don't turn your back on a possible threat, as it's a certain one." Gimple must be going crazy about being misunderstood, but I guess he's hidden too well? Because he's been using our assumptions about how things have to go in this world so we take the hits the characters, who are doing the same thing, do: a point comes when the world is not the same one, but if you stay the same you'll MAKE it the same one. Simultaneously presenting a new group who refuse to see that the world HAS changed in many ways, what with a zombie apocalypse, muddies the waters too much, when combined with that one-step removal rule applied to consequences of persistent mistakes (with no remove they'd never persist). And PLUS nihilism and pacifism are tossed in, and treated much more seriously than the audience that assumes both are batshit might realize. And they too are treated as non-obvious mistakes with delayed consequences. And in the case of pacifism I'm not yet sure a mistake has been made; Michonne's insistence that things don't reduce to four words reminds one of the conspiracy theory/anti conspiracy theory loggerhead: "You just don't want to believe a single person's madness or stupidity could cause so much damage" vs. "You just don't want to believe that forces greater than a person control us all." There's complexity involved in judging all life precious, but not necessarily contradiction. And if Morgan's wrong he may prove a lot less wrong: his mistakes MAY have killed people who would otherwise have lived, Rick's, Carol's, Deanna's, and it goes without saying the Wolf's very clearly have at this point.

I mean, the mosaic that the show is DOES demand that everything go wrong. But that doesn't any longer mean that any particular sort of decision will make that happen. Doing nothing is also risk. People shouldn't even be attacking Rick's basic plan given the circumstances. Perhaps the show should have revealed the semi's fall was sabotage? I think it doesn't want to give its hand away blatantly. But it's looking like maybe it ought to have.

My worry's that the sense of disconnect will make them stop trying to do the neat things they're doing, which would risk the show falling back into the genre crowd-pleaser that (apparently) everyone assumes it's been trying but failing to be anyway. That Adventure Time problem.

What's the answer? The Martian's point was hard to miss because it made different versions of it relentlessly, and what subtleties existed were about defending that claim from rival ones via clarification. Mad Max more or less did the same, and both did it with a crowd-pleasing arc that Walking Dead's denied by its nature. Even Interstellar got to do that. Yeah, that premise - means it's hard to sustain hero OR antihero arcs, and those are the two sorts people seem to know how to watch. Probably mostly because it seems impossible that anyone would try something else on television.

But Gimple has to, to avoid repetition. And he doesn't have the Game of Thrones out of zapping off absolutely anywhere and having just anything happen - the one group has to be doing more or less the same thing in more or less the same place, and ultimately reacting to the same danger. So it's the reactions that have to carry it. Meaning nearly everyone has to be a little bit wrong (unless the show itself commits to nihilism, which it hasn't, and which would presumably create an unsustainable sort of malaise - a movie can be nihilistic, but probably not an ongoing, complex, expensive, mainstream(ed) enterprise). And if everyone's wrong who do we identify with? We can't know or we get that hero problem, which would become one good person rightly fighting an endless losing battle and would feel repetitive and depressing - and even lend some justice to nihilism about the world depicted.

So the show should obviously go the antihero route, but there's problems with that: 1) three seasons have already gone by with (Gimple's earlier attempts to elbow it out of this groove aside) the hero model, so it's going to need to be convincingly transformed, 2) any slow slide into antiheroism may still be taken as a sort of heroism given the absurdly stepped up threats in the world presented in the first three seasons, where trust really was a bad idea and where extending your sphere of sympathy just meant you'd be burying more friends soon enough - mere endurance could thus seem heroic - hell, SUICIDE could, 3) there's lines you can't cross once a character's in the hero position - even Breaking Bad couldn't - and there's more of them when you don't flag from the start, like Breaking Bad took pains to, that the character has bad in him or is hesding for no good end. First impressions matter, and we won't believe in huge changes in a character - it has to be precedented. The show's worked extra hard to precedent the fuck out of a major shift in Rick and the others, but it eventually has to run out of rope.

And the premise isn't wholly compatible with antiheroics, either. Even once we're bored by zombies they still take up a lot of the villain oxygen in the room, first off. And they're so bad, or anyway what they do and represent is, that it can never be made clear, rather than a provocative possibility, that any person is worse, so it would be hard to have that sort of reveal (and rereveal) that The Sopranos, Breaking Bad etc. specialized in, where the casuistry making the antihero seem enough like a hero to justify the audience's symoathies get suddenly lifted and you realize this person is (at least given what s/he could be, should know to be) perhaps the worst of them all. Both shows walked that back, but that's pretty much what it takes to shake the hero off enough to make a clear point. Walking Dead tries extremely hard with that too, but Rick keeps getting re-heroized just because of the combination of being in a leadership position and leading against a horrible omnipresent danger. Something almost George-Bushish about this audience sympathy problem (well, first term), and while the show exploits that connection too it doesn't mean its hands aren't at last tied.

It's how meaning is created within (and about) these sorts of constraints that's brilliant in the Gimple run. But not all the rules can be obeyed at once: don't repeat, don't reveal your final position, don't be TOO depressing, don't deny short term satisfactions to those we like, don't permit long term satisfactions for those we like. Make everything fall apart but not in a way where we felt it was bound to, make everything come back together but ditto, have it all feel like it means something real, don't quite tell us the real thing it means. Don't make it seem like zombies can reliably be escaped, nor that they can never be. Don't make it seem like people can never be trusted, nor that they can always be. Don't make us feel like metaphors are driving things rather than supplementary (a commandment no tv show has come close to breaking, but a price is still paid to keep it - here, a whole mess of them). Don't make us feel anyone's unkillable, don't kill those in whom we're sufficiently invested.

The character killing thing is very interesting. They had no idea if they could get away with killing a child we'd spent ANY screentime with, so spread out the shock across several episodes, early on. Where we were partly relieved when she proved to be dead - partly resigned. They needed this because not only did we not want her to die but we expected that she couldn't possibly be dead: television rules can't be ignored, so their bending has to be announced. The show wanted to see if it could kill a character we actually liked, and one who appeared at the start so seemed foundational. And had a personality - Andrea never really did, presumably because Darabont thought of her as a female heroic lead, and heroic leads can only have temporary or superficial personalities past competence, to keep identification easy. But no one really liked her so she lost lead protectiom. And there's still the problem of finales - and for this show mid-season ones - where we're used to contracts being up (or whatever) such that people who one wouldn't normally see die might die just this once. Even Six Feet Under (even Game of Thrones) only backed up major exits by one episode, and that was shocking enough. Sort of implied the last episode would be a coda, too - so there was a touch of precedent even there. Even Andrea died in a finale. It was difficult enough for the show to establish the precedent of a midseason finale, too. It's also been playing with beginnings - there was sufficient continuity in the first three episodes to make Glenn's apparent (and mid-episode!) death feel somewhat acceptable - or anyway to help out some brskes on how much more unacceptable it could have been. It came about where the end of a movie might - and where Bob's death had in the similarly movie-like first three episodes of the previous season. And I think th broken ice of Beth's death made them feel like they could kill Tyrese before things sewed back up. They're in waters not even Game of Thrones approaches, so they're all the ice-testing they can. I suspect the Glenn thing, too, was an ice test, and maybe a clever one on Gimple's part, since it may help convince the network that NOT getting to kill major characters on a random interval schedule will hurt the show's ratings in the long run. Given the widespread annoyance, to regain credibility they're going to have to drop an A-lister. Thus they get to! Unless they went too far in their attempt to not go too far. It's unclear if viewership has much relationship to internet ridicule, at least initially. Hopefully the brass at least realizes that ridicule eventually damages, or at last prevents expansion, of a brand.

I dunno. I do admit that the latest episodes weren't non-stop fun, though a lot of the decisions, setups and payoffs of previous setups were facinating and admirable. The ties held them back.

Maybe nonrepetition more than any. Alexandria couldn't be yet another CDC/farm/prison, or even church. You can't end on safety, you can't again end on the same note of despair. So here's a different note of despair, they venture. One that IS the final piece of what Gimple's been building here: the final consequence of the even-worse fusion of the Rick group's mistakes with Alexandria's mistakes. The consequences of those consequences don't actually need to be seen. And I guess the cliffhanger's supposed to keep both hope and despair alive in the right proportions?

Yeah, my fear is the network's going to just stomp all over the show and insist that the good and the bad be plainly labeled, that stories be to a greater extent stand-alone etc. etc. Without understanding how ridiculously tough this balancing act is, and especially how intricately Gimple's come up with SOMETHING answering to all the pressures involved that still can mean.
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Sam attracts the zombies (caused by his mother suggesting this is all pretend; also caused by Carol making him too terrified to feel he can handle this)

Ron lets the zombies into the house by attacking Carl (caused by his refusal to realize his father was unhinged; also caused by Rick's killing his father, rejecting his father's corpse, manhandling him back into town, arming him, and teaching him to fire a gun; also caused (likely insufficiently) by jealousy over Enid)

The falling tower lets the zombies into town by smashing the walls (caused by Rick's directing everyone to focus on bracing the walls)

The truck weakens the tower because a Wolf runs it into it during their attack (caused by Aaron's having left his pack in their trap; caused by Rick's leaving the town ill-defended while pursuing an elaborate proactive plan against a probably non-existential threat; possibly caused by Ron's and/or Enid's helping them invade the town)

The zombies are at the gates because of the truck's horn (caused by the reasons given above)

The zombies are near the gates in the first place because of Rick's inadequate plan (caused by the (presumed) sabotage by Ron (and/or Enid and/or Wolves) of the truck preventing its kinks from being ironed out; caused by Rick's slippery slope logic where posible thrests are interpreted as certain ones)

The zombies aren't drawn in a different direction because Glenn and Nicholas have failed to lure them to a fire (caused by Nicholas' PTSD about his prior cowardly failure to save four comrades; also caused by Glenn's doubts about Nicholas' abilities being apparent to Nicholas, increasing his self-doubt; also caused (probably insufficiently) by the chance occurrence of a foammable building's habing already burned down)

The zombies aren't preemptively led away by Rick because his RV dies (caused by his having to leave its steering wheel to kill the Wolves freed by Morgan's pacifism; also caused by his being without help because he refused it when offered repeatedly)

The zombies are relased from the quarry because the semi blocking them in falls (caused by the neglect of the Alexandrians to come this way and notice it should be shored up; or caused by Ron's sabotaging it as vengeance for what Rick did; or caused by the Wolves' sabotage enabled by Aaron's negligence and possibly Morgan's; or caused by Rick's developing an offensive strategy rather than shoring up the weak point; or caused by Enid's sabotaging it in order to be spared by the Wolves or to help Ron)

The zombies accumulate to a critical level in the quarry because the Alexandrians blocked its exits then never checked back on what might be happening (caused by their habits of running from and/or denying danger)

All the smaller losses have similarly dovetailing or tangling or ambiguous causes. The Wolf's kidnapping of the doctor is caused by Morgan's pacifism AND Carol's total warfare notions AND the doctor's being an easy victim because unready - and of course by his own brand of metaphysical nihilism. The show is not against running, hiding, fighting or surrendering per se, just against their becoming principles followed in all situations. These four represent pretty much the whole gamut: giving up too much, becoming too spoiled by provided safety to keep yourself safe when it's gone, fighting when it's not clear you have to, risking or taking others' lives to improve your own. Ignoring risk, imposing risk, hallucinating risk, inviting risk. Only killing, never thinking of killing, thinking only of killing, never killing.
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Sam on the outside steps gets re-terrified by Carol, who'd earlier traumatized him by vividly describing how she'd tie him to a tree to be eaten alive on some random day if he told people she was stealing guns from the town armory.

Then he retreats back upstairs, where his mother'd installed a lock in his closet in case his violent father ever hit him - and also so that he'd be locked away from seeing her beaten. He won't come down. She lets this happen and leaves cookies outside his closed room. I believe these were the cookies backed by Carol that Carl takes out of the oven after the Wolf fight, which took place within the space of an hour?

So he's sheltered from harsh realities relevant to his existence, fostering a delusion of an implausible degree of safety. He'd originally demanded cookies of Carol - had followed her to demand cookies, then seen the guns. He liked her despite how mesn she was because she seemed like she might speak to him honestly. He was curious about what's really going on. And she told him (and modeled) terrible, atypical versions of what does. Things he could never defend himself against. So he stops bothering to feel he could try. He doesn't stop thinking about it, though. He draws pictures of the scenario Carol had described.

And eats just half of the offered cookie, or anyway half of the last one, which because the window is open becomes swarmed by ants (yet another zombie/animal parallel). Why? Because that's too much coddling. But Carol baked (I think) the cookie. With a standing army taking care of things the populace is told not to worry, and doesn't in the sense of not opening its eyes to what's goin on - but does in the sense that it believes the terror tales told to permit the army to keep on standing. Are these the same cookies baked with applesauce? And what was uomwith all the chocolate she stole? Was she munching some herself - corruption proper? Or just using it to pacify, to circus up the bread?

But the missing half also suggests the coddling is only halfway responsible. The ants come from above - "heads up" - because no attention's being paid to any threats but those to the established fortifications. But nature doesn't work that way. It takes wherever eyes have been averted. There is no space of truly sustained safety and none of truly sustained terror. Fear creates the sense of the latter, leading to dreams of and attempts at the former, which in turn lead to terror when the safe is taken away, as it must be, since walls block the view and the things that go wrong are never fully walled out, exist inside the walls - and inside the material of the walls and of their watchers.

In the end they're tiptoeing through the garden, pretty much, hence I suppose the song? It's a song about an implausibly idyllic life, I guess. And the sound drowns out invasion. It's a womb. You will have to be terrified for your life in your own home if you've avoided seeing how you shouod be sensibly cognizant about possible threats of all sorts in all places. Leaving your home, rather - where the walls fall the world changes to "out," to fight or flight.


Why did the disaster not quite shown to happen yet happen?

Because Sam attracts the attention of the zombies by crying for his mother because she's told him this is a game of pretend where he must act like he is thoroughly brave when he is in fact thoroughly fearful. He's used to being given the cookies no matter what he does, to having sommeone else stand between him and threats, sights, decisions. So because of Deanna's dream of a safe space. Because of Alexandria.

But he fell back on these provided protections, on helplessness and blindness, because Carol was presented a world too bleak to be adjusted to, because she had decided that being weak in any way would finally lead to her death so she would at last instead and forever be strong. Sam's A stamp retraumatizes her: this A of Alexandria is that of the cattle cars of aterminus or Auschwitz. Path A, established by the Terminus people to lead their victims to their deaths. You're an A in this world or a B, so for God's sake be B. But she's not auite like the Terminus folks, or anyway not yet. She wants to protect others by hardening them, by killing for them. To Morgan she says, "I'll kill you to kill him so nobody else will die." That's it in a nutshell. And the Wolf does get free and takes a prisoner and goes - she may be wrong, Morgan may be wrong. You never get to know. But since you don't maybe killing two people, one looking as bad as can be, one as good, is not the best sort of math. And we see that all the bad the Wolf is doing may just be misguided, and that his actual impulses are friendly, almost apologetic. And he has a long-standing fever, a festering injury. Carol mistrusts Morgan most of all, because his overgoodness may get everyone killed, so neglects the real threat in order to neutralize what protects it. Does Morgan neglect it? He does point out the stupidity of what she's doing. But it's his staff that gets taken away. Still, he couldn't have modeled better behavior if the Wolf could be changed - short of being Eastman himself, who would have left the door unlocked and removed the Wolf's bindings. And the doctor helps, saying "you're so full of shit," a surprise the Wolf enjoys. People must all be killed for their own sake but he misses them, is surprised by them. He's just a bit farther than Carol, who wants to kill everyone who might get others killed, their intentions be damned. He's a bit like Gareth, who also explained why he was doing what he did so there'd be no hard feelings, and like Martin, whose adopted convictions sat ill with his impulses.

Sam's foolishness attracts the zombies. Ron's madness lets them into the house. The tower's fall lets them into the walls. The truck horn leads them up to the gates. Rick's imperfect plan leads them into the area. The fall of the semi makes the plan the only choice. The negligence of the Alexandrians let the quarry fill up with too many zombies.

Meanwhile the Wolves send the truck into town. And Aaron's dropping of his pack attracts the Wolves. And his Alexandrian mindset lets him abandon a person search for a food one that gets him trapped where he loses it.

But Ron has gone mad because Rick killed his Dad and marked his corpse unsacred. But arick did that because Pete had killed Reg. But Pete killed Reg because Carol blinded him with rage. But carol blinded him with rage because she thought he'd kill his wife. But Carol thought he'd kill his wife because she accepts onky the worst case as true. But she accepts the worst case as true because a man like Pete beat her. But Pete beat his wife because the Alexandrians let it happen.

But the tower that's cracked only falls because all Rick lets anyone care about is the walls.
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Alexandria's gay scout talked Daryl into giving up on the man in the red poncho, and instead investigating the grocery trucks. They were in a territory full of "bad people" (the Wolves) and the man's poncho was red for crying out loud, so this was his version of the basic Alexandrian flaw of non-solidarity. The flaw of Rick's group, which displays total solidarity, is to not let in others. But Daryl, especially when alone, doesn't share this. The gay scout (what's his name again? He's very stage-actory but they make him extremely likable) realizes his mistake once they're in the car, and tries to make up for it by insisting they both make a break for it together: he gets the right idea. But his pack gets left behind, attracting the Wolves to Alexandria because of his pictures and whatnot. Earlier he'd told Daryl that he'd had to exile three men, their leader named Davidson, because of unspecified crimes, and that he wouldn't make the same mistake again. He means he won't let in iffy people, but the phrasing sounds ironic, given the fact that the people back in town are close to exiling Rick: it is exile that is the mistake. We assume at first that the Wolves must be Davidson and co., but the pictures disprove that - they have no prior relationship with the town. Which means they're more like the poncho man: the main problem with exiling isn't acts of revenge it causes, or anyway wasn't in this case - the problem is isolation. The poncho man might have helped them; giving up on him they become helpless. Committing themselves to solidarity with one another regardless of the risks gets them saved by Morgan. Two acts instantly karmatized. Perhaps Davidson won't ever be seen, and is instead the "son" (reiteration) of David, a murdered character who we don't see (at all?) because it suggests how the murderer (Carol) failed to see him as a person. So the name persists sans referent, a sort of ghost.

Whereas Rick's mistakes get the town zombie-attacked in the same episode. The mistrust he'd shown the (essentially kidnapped) priest is part of what sends him into the despair that leads him to not shut the gate properly. All the priest sees of the group, remember, is their extreme mistrust of him despite his obvious harmlessness, their failure to protect their strayed members, their unnecessary hacking to pieces of the Terminus remnant, their dismantling of his church, Maggie's cold shoulder on the road, Rick's mistreatment of Aaron etc. His accusations are projection, but he also feels like he's fsllen into the company he deserves - the damned - and that they're goong to fuck up paradise-ish Alexandria. And it's not clear he's wrong, at least where Rick's concerned; he says the group will care about only its own when the shit comes down, and that's what we see with Rick remonstrating Tara for risking her life to help Spencer.

Rick also gets the town besieged, of course, with his overproud plan of luring the zombies nesr then past it. They're lured by the horn when the truck hits the tower during the Wolf fight. So, since the over caution of the Alexandrians brought the Wolves there in the first place, and Rick brought the zombies close enough to be attracted by the clamor ... both are to blame, or anyway both caused this by their weakness. And since the tower that eventually falls does so because Rick's diverted the builders' attention to reinforcing the walls (I think?) their mistakes have caused that too: the truck hitting the tower weakened it, the zombies Rick brought stream through the gap. Town falls?

And the death of Reg, the maker of the walls and leading advocate of cooperation, is caused by Carol and Rick as much as Pete. Carol deliberately provokes him to do something stupid, by taunting him about his powerlessness and exile and being st the mercy of others. She uses beater logic on him to drive him into a rage. Rick had triggered the (in remission) beaterliness in the first place by general unfriendliness and clearly moving in on his wife, then making his wife agree to kick him out by terrorizing her with slippery slope logic - he hits you today, he'll kill you tomorrow. Refusing to even try to talk to him, they push him into being the monster they assume he is. And the Alexandrians contributed there, too, by turning s blind eye because he was a surgeon: risk aversion, refusal to put themslves in harm's way for one another. Nicholas (whose last act improbably worked out the way he'd wanted) shows they're able to change, though. Whether Rick can we'll have to see.

So you need to see others as precious because alive, and also need to value their life like your own in an active way. Morgan gets it, though he wonders if his all-costs pacifism may have to go. Glen gets it except he doesn't trust others to make the right decisions by themself: he tries to get Enid back into the fold (good impulse) bu force (bad) and she pulls a gun on him (he IS the asshole), wants to change Nicholas (good) but keeps letting Nicholas know that he doubts whether he's there yet (bad) which leads to Nicholas' self-sacrifice (?) suicide rather than their escaping together a la Daryl and Aaron. Michonne's there or almost there too - her own trust of Rick prevents Rick from actually trying to pull a coup. But her loyalty is gradated, rather than shown to all? She says she hit Rick for him, not "them." Glen saves Enod for Maggie, at first, but once he inows her slightky better does it for Enid herself (does Maggie do something at some ooiint because Glen would? I forget). Michonne has the Bob knowledge, because she too had been Alone. Sasha might be close to getting it, as she's been virtually alone herself - we'll see. Daryl's been there too, and Abraham in his fashion. They're the enlightened ones, or close to it - their remaining lessons aren't as punishing.


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