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Tag Archives: Glenn Rhee
There was a hue and cry after the Season 7 premiere of The Walking Dead. Two characters we knew and cared about died, and people were undeniably, understandably upset. Some of that reaction stemmed from the mere brutality of it – the protruding eyeball and the last gasps and the earth stained with bloody mush of it all. But more of it stemmed from the senselessness of those deaths – the sense in which these individuals had perished not as the culmination of their journeys, but as fodder for puffing up the series’s new biggest of big bads, turned into sacrifices made on the altar of “this guy means business.”
There has been a great deal of death on The Walking Dead over the years. We’ve seen characters take out hordes of zombies, roving marauders, and even their own as a necessary if-bloody kindness when circumstances require it. But very very rarely has the series shown our heroes as the aggressors in a life-or-death situation.
That’s what made “Not Tomorrow Yet” so interesting and so novel, especially for a series already in its sixth season. Many episodes of the show have examined the morality of killing — when it’s justified, when it’s morally dubious, and how those standards change in the ashes of the world. But it’s never shown “the good guys” engaging in what amounts to a preemptive strike before.
It is, in a word, troubling, even when on paper it makes sense. It’s uncomfortable, even when the audience, by dint of affection and perspective, is on the side of the people doing the killing. It’s meant to be. The Walking Dead has paid lip service to the moral gray areas that emerge when having to decide whether to take a life in something approaching a state of nature, but rarely has it confronted these ideas as directly as it does here.