The Walking Dead Is No Match for Its Eagle-eyed Fans
If you have a couple of hours and a few brain cells to kill, I highly recommend going spelunking in the deep well of online commentary on The Walking Dead. From fan fiction to nitpicking the set to challenging plausibility to porn, there’s quite literally everything to sate a curious (Walking) Dead-head.
There’s even one fan theory that is “an idea from a Batman theory mixed with Shutter Island.” It explains that, ultimately, Rick is actually in a mental hospital, with Laurie, Michonne and Andrea as nurses, the Governor and Negan as doctors, Shane as the general practitioner who committed Rick for kidnapping two children, Judith and Carl, and the whole rest of the cast rotating as fellow patients. Why a fan theory would ignore the entire concept of the apocalypse that’s garnered the show cult status is a mystery. Also, forget Batman — that happened in Season 6, Episode 17 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Regardless, here's a cherry-picked selection from the World Wide Web of geeking out on The Walking Dead. Enjoy at your own risk of never watching the show the same way again.
Let's talk about the blood
OK, this one is something that has personally bothered me, and I’ve been waiting for the perfect moment to bitch about it. So, there was an iconic moment in Season 1 — perhaps one of the moments that solidified the show’s status as serious as fuq — when Glenn and Rick throw on some tarps and slather themselves in zombie goo, hands and organs so that they can walk among the dead undetected. Luckily, they pull off their smelly scheme in a nerve-wracking scene, and a new defense tactic in the Walking Dead universe was born.
So, it makes sense that in the very successful spinoff series Fear the Walking Dead (which centers on a different group in California at the start of the outbreak but operates within the same confines of TWD), they use the same strategy to walk among the dead. What bothers me is that they go from rubbing on a pretty disturbing amount of blood and guts to just a couple of hand smears on a shirt. This seems to be because the character always trying to go on a zombie jog in FTWD is pretty boy Nick, and it makes sense that the showrunners don’t want his adventurous ass always looking like Swamp Thing. But it just takes you out of it, in my opinion, that we’ve gone from Rick and Glenn wearing the the contents of two adult humans to Nick just sporting a little zombie blush.
Can zombies stop and smell the roses?
Which leads us to the next point fans pointed out online: What’s this nonsense about the walkers somehow being able to smell? We’ve seen all manner of deformed, decaying walkers, from solitary heads still gnawing on the ground to zombies missing parts of their faces, like the pet zombies Michonne kept as protection when we first met her in Season 3. The zombies are not supposed to be sentient, and they clearly don’t have any feeling, so why is their sense of smell so keen that they can sniff out their prey, differentiating between live humans and fellow zombies by scent?
This also helpfully leads us to another great crowd-sourced point: The zombies have gotten dumber as we’ve gone on. This could have a legitimate explanation, which is that at this point, the remaining zombies have been rotting for a long time, making them slower and dumber. But it’s still worth noting that in the first episode, the little zombie girl that Rick sees not only picks up her dropped teddy bear — suggesting far more motor skills and a kind of consciousness that we don’t get from present day TWD zombies (or even FTWD zombies, for that matter) — but also starts to run at Rick, which is a far cry from the post-drug-and-alcohol bender kind of stumble we see the zombies do now.
Fans also pointed out that throughout the gang’s time in Atlanta, zombies could throw things to break glass and climb fences. A possible explanation is that the producers didn’t have a complete idea of how every aspect of the show would operate yet, which plenty of shows do (for example, Carrie talks to the camera in Season 1 of Sex and the City but she stops doing it by midseason, showing that they quickly realized this was silly AF). It probably became clear that Rick et al. would have had a rough time surviving this long against those wily Season 1 zombies.
Let's get nitpicky
My favorite kinds of TWD fan comments comb the show for aesthetic deviations from the narrative. For example, people were really pissed that the prison lawn was mowed in Season 3.
Honestly, this one is fair. When our ragtag gang stumbled onto the prison, it had been months since the walkers took over the world, and everyone is just trying to find a turtle to cook or a gun to shoot. They’re definitely not finding the time or gas to hop on a John Deere for a joyride. Internet sleuths actually found out that the show pays its location’s owners to go without lawn upkeep for three weeks prior to shooting. Clearly, someone dropped the ball on this one.
The Herbie the Love Bug of TWD
I also can’t help but giggle at the magic Hyundai Tucson fans noticed in Season 2 (which some fans and critics started referencing as a character). The vehicle model was from 2012, but in the show’s timeline, it’s supposed to be 2010. This is clearly an ad placement that was a production oversight — or maybe the showrunners were severely underestimating their fans back in Season 2.
What about this most recent season?
Boy, have fans stayed the course in their obsessive hunt for mistakes and plot holes. Since the 2017 premiere of the second half of Season 7, fans have already pointed out two huge errors that can’t be unseen.
In “Rock in the Road,” as Rick and his Alexandria angels dejectedly exit the Hilltop’s mansion only to be met by Hilltop residents wanting to join their fight, the camera pans over our heroes standing on what is supposed to be a southern plantation's porch, with the front door wide open. The careful eye will notice that the mansion is no Georgia gem after all — there’s a paper mural faking an interior.
But worse of all, in the very next episode, “New Best Friends,” fans spotted a plane in the background as Rick stares out from a trash mountain over the world’s wasteland — clearly, no place that planes are flying around anymore.
The paper background is kind of funny, but the plane is kind of sad because it could have easily been edited out. But who knows — maybe the showrunners were actually hinting at a new crew of NASA engineers who survived and are going to save the day in Season 8 by sending everyone up to Mars! Maybe every plot hole and misstep is leading up to some grand plot twist we can’t even imagine! I’m just waiting for someone to explain whether or not Dwight/Negan’s wife’s name is Sherry or Honey, because they use both.
Also, props to Eugene for this epic gag in last Sunday’s episode. He’s chomping on a pickle while he apologizes to Dwight for biting his crotch last season. Well played, D, well played.