When secular sources get it right – The Walking Dead
(I can see disgruntled “Caryl” fans wanting to leave me argumentative comments about this post. If so, please see the “Policy on Dissent on this blog” before being tempted to leave me a nasty gram. Thank you.)
On the cable channel AMC’s hit show about the zombie apocalypse, The Walking Dead, the topic of ‘what is family’ is explored every so often, as it was most recently in last night’s episode, “The Suicide King.” The show centers on sheriff Rick Grimes, who leads a group of survivors, some related by flesh and blood (or marriage), but most not.
The character Rick Grimes has a wife named Lori and son named Carl, and a newborn daughter named Judith (the wife, Lori, got killed a few episode ago).
Other characters under Rick’s charge include (but are not limited to) Hershel Greene, who has two daughters, Maggie and Beth. All the other members of Rick’s group are unrelated through birth or marriage (some previous members were killed in older episodes). They have banded together to survive.
One of Rick’s group includes the redneck survivalist character, Daryl Dixon. Daryl has become the show’s most popular character.
Daryl and his older, racist, sexist, violent brother Merle get separated early on in the show. Daryl grew up in his abusive older brother’s shadow. When Daryl was not being ignored as a child, he was being physically and verbally abused by his brother and possibly by his father, when they bothered to pay any attention to him.
In the episode ‘The Suicide King’ (first aired February 10, 2013), Merle re-enters Daryl’s life. Daryl decides to leave Rick’s group to go off alone with his brother again, because Rick refuses to allow Merle to join the group.
Rick tries to talk Daryl into staying (without his brother Merle), but Daryl is still stuck in the idea that flesh and blood ties is what constitutes “family,” or that flesh- and- blood ties should take priority to other sorts of bonds.
The character Glenn, who doesn’t want Daryl to leave the group, tells Daryl that Merle may be “your blood, but not mine.” Glenn explains that the group of survivors, headed by Rick, is his family now, even though Glenn is not related to any of these people through blood ties – and Rick tells Daryl, “you are part of this family.” Daryl still decides to leave with his brother Merle, however.
You can view a video clip of a few moments of that scene, and the actors from the show discussing the concept of “family” in this video clip:
(Link:) (SPOILERS) Inside Episode 309 The Walking Dead: The Suicide King (Video on You Tube)
Rick’s group of survivors have been more of a family to and for Daryl than Daryl’s own flesh and blood relations – despite a few arguments with one or two other group members (such as the late Shane Walsh), the group has treated Daryl with kindness and respect, and they have come to rely on him for protection and defense.
In one of the last few episodes, when Rick falls apart after his wife Lori dies from childbirth, Daryl willingly risks his life to go out in search of baby formula for the newborn.
In yet earlier episodes, Daryl took it upon himself, and puts himself in danger, to go searching alone in a zombie-infested forest for the twelve- year- old daughter of Carol, Sophia, who went missing at one point.
Daryl, despite his racist family of origins, freely and glady, with no prompting from any one, gives up some of his big brother’s antibiotic and painkiller medication to a black group member, “T-Dog,” who was gravely injured.
Remember, none of these people – Carol, the new born child, T-Dog, Rick, Sophia – are Daryl’s flesh and blood family, but he still acts on their behalf anyway.
In another episode, Rick, Glenn, Oscar and Maggie – all of no relation to Daryl – go to the town of Woodbury to rescue Daryl from one of the show’s bad guys, the Governor.
Throughout the series, Daryl has shown himself not to be a racist, sexist jerk like his older brother Merle. He has a difficult time emotionally connecting with other people, but he is, at his core, a decent guy who tries to help other people.
~~~~~~ ASIDE ~~~~~~~~
Before I return to the main theme of this post (which is, ‘who is family’), I wanted to address another issue about this show:
It may resonate with this blog’s particular audience to know that the actor who plays Daryl has said in interviews that in his mind, the character Daryl, who is also in his 40s, is a virgin. The show’s writers have, so far, never given Daryl a love interest or a sex scene – and remember, Daryl is hugely, hugely popular with the show’s viewers.
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Continue reading “What Christians Can Learn from The Walking Dead Re: Family, Singleness, and Marriage”