If Rick Grimes had known Negan would be free to go in his absence, free to play dad to Judith while Michonne replaced him with Ezekiel… Does he still spare Negan?
Had Rick Grimes peeked into a crystal ball and witnessed the dystopian-like future of Alexandria in his absence, would he undo it all? Every day Rick Grimes is not around his daughter is a day she forgot about him a little bit more than yesterday. Rick’s despised rival becoming her adopted father figure and who she looks to for guidance. Memory alone pales to immediate availability, and Negan is available and willing to play dad. Rick’s promise of a life sentence for Negan reduced to parole for good behavior. Negan has accomplished what Shane set out to do minus Lori.
For those who’ve watched The Walking Dead’s Season 10 Comic Con Trailer, it’s clear Negan will go free from his cell to roam Alexandria… Meaning, it’s only a matter of time before he rebuilds his influence like The Governor before him. Sure, he might take a beating from Daryl but nothing he can’t handle. In the end, Rick placing Negan in the cell will be largely meaningless as Sanctuary’s top guy rewrites his own history. Maybe even Rick’s history if he chooses to. For how much longer will Judith keep believing Michonne’s stories about Negan against her own experiences? Especially, once Michonne starts kissing Ezekiel.
Michonne isn’t even Judith’s real mom after all, and she’s just entering that teenage rebellious phase. Remember how difficult Carl was toward Rick at Judith’s age (and even later)? A moment will come when Judith has to choose between the viewpoints of Michonne and Negan, and vote for him… She’s already ignored Michonne’s wishes before. If Rick Grimes knew Michonne had accepted a replacement in his place rather than continue the search, how would he react? He’s already been in the scenario with Lori once before. So again, go back to the epicenter of it all, The Walking Dead’s Season 8 Finale.
Rick Grimes has an opportunity to vanquish his opponent in Roman Gladiator-like fashion. The Saviors have surrendered, the war is over. Yet, Rick relents and spares Negan from his fate. There’s a saying, ‘first thought, best thought’ or ‘always go with your gut.’ If Rick Grimes ignores Carl’s dream right that second, there might have been true unity by those who fought The Saviors. No forced unity between opposing former front lines who balked at the dream.
The idea two sides imprinted with the memory of the war and its casualties could live in harmony was likely a utopian daydream. Daryl tried desperately to make Rick see that as his best friend. Whereas Maggie had already lost faith in Rick Grimes permanently.
If Rick Grimes could see the future of his decision… Would he change it? Would you?
Relive The Walking Dead Season 8 with the Blu-Ray on Amazon! Rewatch the moment that determined The Walking Dead’s entire future timeline with one action on Season 8 Episode 16 (“Wrath”).
Negan referred to Beta as “clearly a Goose Stepper” on The Walking Dead’s Season 10B Premiere. Let’s examine the deeper meaning of Negan’s commentary on The Whisperers. Author George Orwell once commented on the ‘Goose Step’ as “only possible in countries where the common people dare not laugh at the army.”
This article contains spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 10B Premiere (“Squeeze”).
Negan attempted to earn Alpha’s trust on last night’s TWD by informing her of a traitor in the flock spreading her wings without permission. However, the slick haired, leather jacketed one was quick to point the finger away from Alpha’s second-in-command, Beta, in the blame game. Negan vouched for the skyscraper-esque giant’s innocence, commenting, “And no, I’m not talking about Frankenstein’s hemorrhoid. The big dude is clearly a Goose Stepper.” Thus, presenting Beta as someone who toes the line and upkeeps the status quo, so-to-speak. So, just what is a “Goose Stepper” you might ask?
Anyone familiar with World War II should immediately visualize the prominent marching step, military parade formation that has become inseparable from its popularized use during the era. The ‘Goose Step’ involves troops swinging their legs upward straight vertically in unison while marching. It’s meant to show a totalitarian form of discipline and evoke silent intimidation to spectators.
George Orwell’s 1941 wartime essay The Lion and the Unicorn: Socialism and the English Genius available online via The Orwell Foundation, referenced the ‘Goose Step’ as “expressing a certain philosophy of life,” a “vision of a boot crashing down on a face.”
“One rapid but fairly sure guide to the social atmosphere of a country is the parade-step of its army. A military parade is really a kind of ritual dance, something like a ballet, expressing a certain philosophy of life.
The goose-step, for instance, is one of the most horrible sights in the world, far more terrifying than a dive-bomber. It is simply an affirmation of naked power; contained in it, quite consciously and intentionally, is the vision of a boot crashing down on a face.”
Gamma herself has spoken of Alpha’s way of making you forget the past for the needs of the pack. There is no opposition on The Whisperers without retribution from Beta or Alpha. Consequences are always on display in front of others to warn them from falling out of their ‘Goose Step’ formation. A type of forest-based public square, post-apocalyptic, stocks and pillory. The Whisperers’ masks cover their humanity by taking away individual expression, while they march with death personified in unity.
In George Orwell’s ‘England Your England, he mentions the ‘Goose Step’ only being possible “in countries where the common people dare not laugh at the army.” It’s assured there are no Whisperers openly joking about the will of Alpha, who rules by the sword. Whisperers fear being turned-in by their fellow party members for speaking out of turn.
“Beyond a certain point, military display is only possible in countries where the common people dare not laugh at the army.”
Controlling The Whisperers
According to a Digital Journal article on a study called ‘How to control your herd of humans‘ originally published in Volume 201, Issue 2694 of New Scientist, Scott Wiltermuth of Stanford University in California and colleagues have found that activities performed in unison, such as marching or dancing, increase loyalty to the group.
“It makes us feel as though we’re part of a larger entity, so we see the group’s welfare as being as important as our own.”
There is certainly a mental psyche aspect to Alpha’s relentless micromanagement of The Whisperers. Forsaking one’s individual expression for the larger group’s supposed ‘welfare.’ Recall, Alpha telling Gamma’s sister Frances to place her crying baby down in the field… Against her wishes. Accordingly, it can be argued that The Whisperers’ act of marching together while masked with the faces of those who’ve perished, is not just a survival tactic… But a loyalty exercise. A test to to identify who will conform to The Whisperers’ rigid party line, and who will fall out of it.
Be sure to read TWD: Lydia’s mistreatment proves Second Chances are Fashion Statements and The Walking Dead #TBT: Negan asks Daryl ‘Who are you?’ on The Natural Aristocrat.
More Walking Dead Season 10 coverage is available in The Walking Dead category section!
The black and white memories of Carol Peletier’s past are threatening to steal away the colorful foundations of her future.
The swan song of her lost boy, draining any lifelong joy
She walks the earth but she cannot move, there’s nothing of worth left to prove
Being still is like going downhill, everything else thrown to the landfill
Carol’s true goals went mute, until debating them became moot
No words to make it better, every syllable a wasted letter
Return to sender, until Daryl finally surrendered.
He came with open ears to her ailments, now they’ve become derailments
Is ‘Caryl’ on its last stand? The flames have already fanned
Too many words unspoken, too many promises have been broken
Their eyes meet but the heart no longer skips a beat
Every searing moment of relief, caused by the darkest of grief.
Guilty tears weep for a romance buried by stone…
Even after assurance the feelings weren’t his own
Self sabotage, she concealed her real heart under camouflage
Romance is fleeting, his feelings toward her are seemingly retreating
It could be too late, Carol might have missed her fate
For the first time in years, he did not tend to her tears
Suspended in animation, Carol’s stuck at the train station
She watched him board and leave, only able to afford to grieve.
More vulnerable than ever, her long silver hair might as well be severed
Being headstrong on revenge, has left Carol unable to defend
Alpha has left her weak and helpless, she’s lost all situational awareness
An empty husk wandering from tomb to tomb, absent of her life’s bloom
Her story will outlive her son, while his chapter had barely begun
Forever in memoriam, forever alone in life’s auditorium.
The last person that understood her is getting pushed away…
Distant another mile every day
People she cares about are now getting hurt, victims of innocent support
Like Rick Grimes before her, trapped in the tragedies of the past
Until the chance to be together with her surviving family has passed.
Carol Peletier’s cave claustrophobia is a common fear for starting spelunkers and potentially a leftover of past emotional scars.
This article contains spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 10B Premiere (“Squeeze”).
The combination of tears and sweat painted Carol’s face, body frozen in-place, allowing only a shriek of terror into the vast abyss that greeted her. It became clear on The Walking Dead’s latest episode that Carol’s achilles heel is being trapped in a confined space, the question is… What are the origins of the phobia? Scientifically speaking, there was an April 2013 study published on PubMed.gov (U.S. National Library of Medicine) linking a single gene defect to claustrophobia. A quick overview of the study’s abstract on the connection between ‘GPM6A’ gene expression and its connection to panic disorders:
“Gpm6a-deficient mice develop normally and lack obvious behavioral abnormalities. However, when mildly stressed by single-housing, these mice develop a striking claustrophobia-like phenotype, which is not inducible in wild-type controls, even by severe stress.
The human GPM6A gene is located on chromosome 4q32-q34, a region linked to panic disorder. We suggest that loosing dynamic regulation of neuronal GPM6A expression poses a genetic risk for claustrophobia.”
Theoretically, Carol’s claustrophobia might be hard-wired, programmed right into her very DNA. GPM6A-deficient mice in the study above went against their nature of preferring enclosed spaces to open areas. Typically, a mouse’s instinct is to hide at a sign of danger or stress. Instead, these GPM6A-deficient mice felt stress when forced into an enclosed space. KnowingNeurons.com‘s Anita Ram created an easy to follow visual illustration of the experiment and detailed analysis for those who wish to learn more about the study’s breakdown.
Thus, despite a valiant record of taking 1000s of walkers out of commission, experience in countless do-or-die situations, and even Daryl Dixon by her side… Carol’s troubles coping with a claustrophobic environment could be innate, genetic, rather than an emotionally born phobia.
Repeated Exposure as a ‘cure’ for Carol’s Claustrophobia
According to NHS UK (National Health Service UK), gradual repeated exposure is a successful treatment for claustrophobia.
Claustrophobia can be successfully treated and cured by gradually being exposed to the situation that causes your fear. This is known as desensitization or self-exposure therapy.
Daryl encouraging Carol to advance forward and face her fear was actually the right move. Whether it was the only move Carol could do in reality or not. Staying in-place and waiting for external help to assist her would be a reach under normal, non-apocalyptic circumstances. Forget being caught with Alpha’s Horde at bay. Even though Carol verbally stated that she couldn’t go through the cave, Daryl’s encouraging words made her escape possible. StartCaving.com recommends “focusing on your breathing” and “challenging the feeling”, which is just what Carol did.
The argument for Past Induced Trauma as cause
According to WebMD, the fear of enclosed spaces typically begins as a result of a traumatic childhood event including, “Bullying, Abuse, Being stuck in a tight place like an elevator.” Now, in Carol’s case the first thing that comes to mind is her poor treatment at Ed’s side. Could her fear of enclosed spaces have originated over the course of their marriage? It’s certainly possible.
However, it cannot be ignored that a traumatic event did befall Carol in her youth either. Perhaps, there’s still much more Walking Dead viewers don’t know about Carol. Just as Daryl has to piece together some of her unspoken background together, so does the audience.
It would be an excellent use of a flashback to showcase Carol’s past before Ed on The Walking Dead. Something that lends definite credibility to the emotionally charged phobia theory. Nevertheless, whatever the true reason is, Carol made it out of that cave in one piece. Yet, forced exposure of her fear by way of Alpha did not seem to cure her ailment in the least. Carol appeared to be on the verge of complete mental breakdown upon daylight bracing her shoulders.
Note: The lead photo of this article (Photo Credit: Chuck Zlotnick/AMC) has had its contrast/brightness adjusted from the original for clearer site viewing.