Saturday, December 13, 2014

On Bringing Back a Certain Dead Character (Walking Dead SPOILERS)

This morning while doing some Twitter work for a client, I found the following article:

"Second Half of Walking Dead Promises 'Huge Changes'"

I'm not familiar with the show (I didn't have cable when it started), but I saw the mid-season finale with some of my church friends. The article said it's possible that due to the fan outcry, they might bring back the character Beth.

Here's what happens to Beth in the mid-season finale:

Unless they're doing flashbacks or dream sequences (Maggie tormented by visions of her sister?), Beth is dead. Maybe they have a funeral for Beth that would give the actress one last gig (basically lying around until they can burn her, given how everyone who dies comes back as a zombie) and that would work, but that's it. And I doubt they're going to do this, considering I read an article talking about how sad it was for her to leave the set.

I mean, watch the scene:

1. The bullet drilled right through her head and out the back with a lot of blood and gore flying, as you can see above. She was almost certainly immediately killed.

2. Even if she was on some level still alive when Daryl carried out of the hospital, there's not a hospital that could treat her for that kind of injury. Grady could try (they still function, sort of), but I doubt they'd succeed. That's a lot of brain blown out, and then there's all the shock, bleeding, etc. that would go with it. She would die very quickly if she's not already dead. The Grady people might try to keep her body alive for organ-donation purposes (assuming that's even possible anymore due to the whole "everyone who dies becomes a zombie" thing), but the Beth that is Beth is gone.

So this would be a time where giving into fan demands would hurt the quality of the show.

HOWEVER, I did have an idea for an alternate ending for that episode that could have made this possible.

Dawn shoots Beth reflexively and she goes down. Daryl loses it and blows Dawn to hell. Then we find out that Beth, though wounded badly (shot to chest instead of head?), is still alive. Officer Shepherd (the female cop taken hostage to trade for Beth and Carol who tells everyone to stand down) offers to allow the group to stay at the hospital (presumably as muscle to replenish the police/doctor ruling class, since I doubt they could control a bunch of armed people as enslaved "patients") like she does in the canonical show, and when Rick tells her to go to hell, offers to save Beth.

For Beth's sake and for Maggie's, Rick agrees "for the duration" (until Beth recovers). The group basically becomes part of the hospital's ruling faction. The show could go into all sorts of interesting directions:

1. Nobody in the group is going to tolerate the abuse of the hospital's patients by the police. Even Dawn, for all her sins, called out another cop for beating patients, making rape jokes, etc. before he attacked her and she and Beth threw him down an elevator shaft into (I think) a pit full of zombies. Nor are they going to support raiding survivor groups for slaves (i.e. how the hospital got Beth and Noah). That'll cause all kinds of drama between the remaining police and Rick's group.

2. Dawn likely had friends among the police officers and doctors even possibly among the patients and nurses (due to her comparative benign-ness). They're going to want revenge on Daryl for killing her. Openly attacking him risks a civil war in the hospital that could leave them all vulnerable to the zombies outside or an uprising by the patients, but it'd be a lot easier to poison him or arrange for a zombie-related accident.

3. Word might get out that Rick killed that third cop, the one they'd taken hostage and who tried to escape, rather than him getting eaten by the zombies like they said. That'll likely P.O. some people.

4. Power corrupts--could one or more group members be tempted to drink the Kool-Aid and become as bad as the cops?

5. Noah is not going to be a happy camper, considering he was trying to escape the hospital earlier.

6. Rick can see all these problems, but they can't leave until Beth is healed enough. Maybe he sees all of these problems and tries to leave before Beth is fully healed, putting her at risk? And the remaining cops might try to stop them from leaving, since without them they might not have the numbers to control the patients and/or protect everybody from the zombies?

This could actually be really interesting. That said, given the comment I read in another recap about how nobody escapes a season finale unscathed, having Beth killed minutes before she would have reunited with her sister seems like something that's a pattern for the show. Breaking it would harm the show stylistically.

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