Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Season One - Episode Three: Tell it to the Frogs

Rick, Lori, and Carl are reunited
We begin to have a basic understanding of the heroic archetypes of the central characters in this episode.  We can tell by the end of "Tell it to the Frogs" who are the emerging honorable heros and who is a dishonorable hero (anti-hero, if I could be so bold to redefine a word for lack of a better one).

The major ethical dilemma the characters face is to go back to Atlanta and save Merle, an unreasonable racist redneck prick, or leave him to die.  The decision is complicated further because Merle is not a favorable character and only his younger brother Daryl will be affected by his death.  It begs the question, would the characters still consider his abandonment if this person were a child?  What if he

were Mother Teresa?  Furthermore, it begs the question of a major theme we will continue to discuss throughout this blog: if the purpose of this plague is to prune the human race, and with every person who dies we are weeding out that person's traits from the human gene pool; from this point of view, would it be permissible to leave him for dead?  Seeing as how an unpredictable and violent man who doesn't seem to care about anyone but himself would not be a person we would like to keep and allow him to pass on those qualities to future generations...

Ironically though, those who advocate for his life are going to be put in severe danger, and we want to keep the heroic trait, compassion, and a healthy level of guilt in the gene pool; but if they opt not to go, then they do not possess the aforementioned traits that help make up the decent folk in humanity.  Conundrum.

Meanwhile, back at the camp:

Andrea reminds the group that Merle was out of control, dangerous, and would have gotten everyone killed had Shane not handcuffed him to the roof.

Amy suggests that they lie to Daryl about what happened to Merle on the roof.  Ef her, she dies soon.

Glenn, Rick, T-Dog, and Daryl discover Merle is gone
Shane enlightens Rick by telling him that Merle wouldn't give someone water if he were dying of thirst.

Rick tells Shane that what a man would or wouldn't do doesn't interest him.

And so, the characters have played their cards and it is clear that Rick, Daryl, and Glenn will fall into various hero categories (it does help that I've seen all three seasons to make such a claim) but they do all want to go and save Merle for various reasons.  Rick mostly for guilt and his feeling of responsibility for Merle's condition.  T-Dog feels the guilt too.  Daryl because he's related to Merle.  Glenn because he is always willing to help and he also thinks he can aid in the mission.

Shane takes a very Utilitarian stance.  It is not good for the herd to lose this many men to sacrifice themselves for one person; especially someone nobody liked anyway.  I firmly believe that Shane would have left a child and Mother Teresa (at the same time!) for the Walkers too.  He is unaffected by feelings of guilt (another example of this is his lie to Lori about Rick's death so he could have a romantic relationship with her).  He is only focused on protecting the group.  Which brings about his archetype of the anti-hero because it is not heroic to leave a soldier behind; even if that soldier really sucks.  What Would Harry Potter Do?  Totally go back into the burning room of requirement to save Draco Malfoy.  period.    But I do believe Shane earnestly wants to protect the group; not for altruistic reasons, mind you.  Shane probably feels empowered by being in charge of these people and telling them what to do and when to be quiet.
Shane beats Carol's husband for spousal abuse

Shane's true nature comes out toward the end of the episode when he catches Carol's husband hit her in the face.  He grabs him and tells him never to punch his wife or daughter again and beats him to a bloody mess by punching him nineteen times in the face repeatedly.  He saves the day, but he really doesn't.  You see what I mean about anti-hero?

The episode ends in a cliffhanger.  We see the guys make it back to the roof only to find good evidence that Merle was forced to saw off his hand before escaping.  We don't know if he is dead or alive.