Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Walking Dead: A Letter to Deanna

Hello Deanna.  I traveled with Rick’s group and kind of hung out in the background.  I now live in a house on the edge of town.  Don’t remember me?  I get that a lot.  I’m basically like Buddy in Community.
You don't know me, and, really, I don't know you too well, either.  I know you're a former congresswoman and once dreamed of being a poker pro.  "I'm good at reading people," you said, and I believed you.  I shouldn't have, but I did.

Rick and his people have done some bad things.  You knew this.  They told you as much.  Did you know they violently killed a group of people in a church?  That it was basically a re-creation of the final scene in Conquest of the Planet of the Apes?  Did you know that Rick killed his best friend?  That Carol burned two people alive and shot a little girl in the back of the head?  No, of course you didn’t.  You didn’t know the specifics.  You didn’t want to know.  The world is different outside the walls.  When you agreed to take them in, you knew they were good people at heart, and that the group of them sticking together and forming a loving family unit was difficult under such circumstances.  That Rick must be a great leader, and, no matter what he did, he did it for the good of his family.  Right decisions sometimes masquerade as bad ones, and it takes a great leader to know the difference.

While they were out there fighting and killing and dying, you’ve been sitting behind these walls, trying as hard as you can to stay blissfully ignorant of the horrors on the other side.  People left the confines of your idyllic community for supply runs, but you hadn’t really taken in anyone who had survived in the wild for years.  You didn’t see what they saw.  You didn’t know what they had to do.  Even good people can’t be good on the other side.  The nice ones – the immediately trusting ones – have long since died out.  Likely eaten by the not-so-nice people.  Surely you’ve seen Mad Max before this all went south?  You know what even a good man must do to survive out there.

Still, you said you were good at reading people.  Did you bring this group in just to turn on them at the first sign of savagery?  Do you trust Father Gabriel?  That dude killed his own congregation by locking them outside the church.  He has burned his collar and ripped pages out of a Bible, and then he comes ranting to you about how Rick and his group are Satan.  Tell me poker pro, do you trust that man?  Can you read him?
Can you read him like you read Nicholas?  The coward who caused the death of Noah?  Poor, sheltered Noah (who somehow learned how to use a gun in the short time he lived in Alexandria).  His face is in pieces because of Nicholas.  Do you trust him?  Do you get a better read off of him than you do from Glenn?  Either Nicholas is the best actor in the world or your career in the world of poker would have lasted a grand total of 5 minutes.

Finally, let’s talk about Pete.  I have some questions:
1. Why is chocolate kept under lock and key, while Pete somehow has unlimited access to alcohol?  Does he have a basement full of it?  Does he brew his own?  Are there prohibition tunnels under Alexandria?
2. What’s the point of keeping a surgeon in the town if he’s drunk all the time?  Like, all the time.  Who feels comfortable with that arrangement?  “Tara has a terrible head wound that the surgeon must check out.  I guess we’ll leave her in the shaky and drunken hands of abusive Pete.  Surely nothing bad will happen.”  Having a surgeon who is drunk all the time is worse than having no surgeon at all.

Perhaps Rick’s suggestion of killing him sounded a bit extreme, but what’s the alternative?  You suggested exile, but I’m with Rick on this.  Maybe he’ll die out there, in which case a death sentence is no different.  Or maybe he’ll find some others (say, the people who are carving Ws onto the heads of zombies), group them together and take down your little town.  Outside of a single sniper, you have no other defenses.  A well-organized group that knows the town’s weaknesses could overtake Alexandria with minimal casualties.
Rick is there to provide a perspective that is different from the people who have lived in Alexandria for years.  Granted, it’s kind of tough to take the advice of a man who waves guns at people in the street while being covered in the blood of his neighbor, but just because his methods are questionable doesn’t mean his logic is.
(By the way, do you know what the Pete solution should be?  Cut off his supply of alcohol and put him in a house by himself.  Is he still abusive?  If yes, kill him.  If no, then you have a non-drunk surgeon living in the town.)

I can only imagine how hard losing a son must be, but, for the sake of your community, you need to keep a level head.  Danger is right around the corner.  You can’t pretend that everything is fine, because it’s not.  If there’s one thing in this new world you need to learn, it’s this: if you have something nice, there is always someone who is going to want to take it from you.  You think Rick is bad?  Wait until you see what happens next.  You’ll be turning to Rick for guidance quicker than you know.  This time, listen to him.  He might be insane sometimes, but he understands how to survive beyond the walls better than you could ever hope to.  Just ask all the people with him.