Are The Walking Dead's Zombies Following the Show's Own Rules?

In the Season 2 opener of The Walking Dead, our group of terrified zombie apocalypse survivors found themselves ambushed by a herd of walkers on a highway that looked like it was the scene of a demolition derby. With the meatbags closing in on them, Rick Grimes decided the best way to keep everyone alive was to forgo the weapons and get out of sight, so he ordered everyone to duck under cars. What followed was one of the most intense TV scenes in recent memory, as the herd o' dead guys shuffled past, clueless to the fact that lunch was right at their decaying feet.

It was good stuff, but it raised a very interesting question: "Wait, what?" In Season 1's "Guts," Rick and Glenn made a big deal out of covering themselves in zombie innards so the walkers wouldn't smell them. It worked, until a downpour of rain washed off the zombie intestine cologne. After that, Rick's plan became "shoot them in the head and run," because the zombies were starting to smell the human stink on them.

So why didn't the zombies sniff out the survivors hiding underneath the cars? Creator Robert Kirkman addressed that issue in AMC's actually entertaining live talk show Talking Dead, and said this: "The smell thing that we saw in the first season is really just a rudimentary sense [the zombies have] that we don't smell like a dead person in some way, so they have some sense of smell that enables them to differentiate people from zombies. But they're not bloodhounds, you don't see them walking around and sniffing, following their nose or something. So hiding under a car is going to work."

That seems to contradict Zombie Rule #6 from the list (see below) that AMC Tweeted out last year: "Zombies have poor eyesight but they do have a strong sense of smell." So what gives, Kirkman? Do they or don't they? Given how awesome that scene was, I'll say the end justified the means, but not everything seems to be consistent in zombie land.

In an Andrea scene from last week's episode, she was walking along by herself like an idiot when a zombie came out of nowhere. Maybe he was hiding behind a tree. I don't know. But he saw her, and then immediately started to sing the "I'm hungry!" zombie song, the lyrics of which mostly "Unnnnghhhhhhhhhhh!" plus some romantic heavy breathing. So do zombies stay quiet until they spot some dinner? Or do they hum all day long?

Later in the episode, Shane and Otis sneaked over to the former FEMA encampment at the high school, which is now overrun by walkers. There were tons of zombies who didn't notice Shane and Otis, but they were all singing along as if they were part of an a Capella group. Are these guys chatterboxes or not? Do they only shut up when they're stalking Andrea? If they were blabbermouths when they were human, does that mean they're blabbermouths when they're zombies, too? These are the things that keep me awake at night. And during the day.

Now let's go back to the first episode: Andrea (she's had some bad luck so far, eh?) stabbed a zombie up close and got an undead-juice facial, recalling the 28 Days Later rule of infected fluids leaking into the eyes or mouth and turning someone into a zombie. Did Andrea luck out, or is there something else going on here? Will we eventually find out that zombification requires a bite because zombie-ism is really an advanced form of contagious tooth decay?

Kirkman was asked about that sequence as well, and he pretty much dismissed it: "What exactly zombie blood and gore does will be dealt with later." I don't think this evasive move was as egregious as the bit about zombies' sense of smell, but it seems like a pretty easy question that he could have answered without spoiling the series' future. I can't see figuring out that eating a zombie is bad for you being a major turning point in the show.

And am I alone in thinking that in Season 2, the zombies are *gulp* faster? I know they never quite reach a sprint, but the zombies in Atlanta seemed to be a bit less Usain Bolt and bit more Billy Gardell in their ambulatory proficiencies. Also, they're now they're traveling in herds and going to church. Good lord, are these things evolving?

Finally, and this is less of a rule, and more of question: What's up with all the dead people in cars? Did something happen? Did they get bored to death? Why didn't the zombies eat them? Why were they just... dead? Kirkman's answer is a total cop-out: "Brain trauma would keep you from becoming a zombie. Maybe they were in car wrecks. There's plenty of explanation for why those dead bodies weren't up and walking around." But not an explanation that he'll give us, apparently. And please, those people were not in car wrecks. The producers just knew that having dead people in cars would make the scenes scarier and didn't care about why they were there.

I'm a fan of the show and I know the survivors are the most important part of it. But, let's face it, zombie rules are essential to any piece of zombie fiction and should at least remain consistent within a single work. Obviously The Walking Dead is more concerned with making scenes spookier and bloodier than writing its own handbook on zombies. Thankfully, those scenes have been good enough to give she show a little leeway. Let's call it artistic license. Until things get clearer, just remember to avoid zombie chompers and shoot 'em in the head. Those rules will always apply.


Have you noticed The Walking Dead breaking its own rules?

AMC's Zombie Rules for The Walking Dead, as Tweeted before the Season 1 premiere:

Zombie Rule #1: Ability to run is based on the amount of time a zombie has been undead, and how much decay has set in.

Zombie Rule #2: Zombies decay but at a much slower rate than humans, and it's still possible to differentiate between young and old zombies.

Zombie Rule #3: Zombies are like lions: if they've eaten, you can walk by them without fear, but a pack of hungry zombies will attack you.

Zombie Rule #4: The quickest speed of any zombie is a shambling run. see Night of the Living Dead. NO sprinters exist.

Zombie Rule #5: Zombies are not dexterous. They cannot pick up or use any items more complex than a rock or a stick.

Zombie Rule #6: Zombies have poor eyesight but they do have a strong sense of smell.

Zombie Rule #7: Zombies cannot speak but can communicate by pack mentality. The herd tends to move together if they sight food.

Zombie Rule #8: There is no overt recognition of people or places, there is a sense of familiarity that can dictate where a zombie moves.

Zombie Rule #9: There's no known cause of the zombie mutation, but it's suspected to be a virus or infection.

Zombie Rule #10: Once you're bitten you'll die and reanimate as a walker. How long it takes is related to the nature your bite.


Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

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I understand I am necro posting...

In Guts, the zombies that were closest to Rick and Glen could smell the difference. For walkers further away it was the motion and sound.

Meanwhile apparently the writer has no clue how strong the underside of an old car smells with all that oil, road dust, and the occasional road kill splatter caked on.

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In season 1 walkers were using tools (stones to break the glass) and were climbing over the fences, plus using a door knob to open the door ( Morgan's dead wife) and this was not the case in any of the later seasons...
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In season 1 thewife of Morgan tried the door knob, never seen any one else trying to open car doors when they are living are inside. Its so stupid they have no clue.
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Seeing how the virus is how they are up and walking and what keeps them preserved, I think they should be able to speed up to the fast shamble mode if they have fed. Also ones that have not fed do already seem to be weakened. Ie if they find ones that were trapped since death.
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Why don't you quit pondering stuff that is meant to be overlooked and enjoy the freaking show?
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.5 the fun for me, dont like it, don't read it. That being said I do hate nit picking when they have to do something to keep the show fun. I only nit pick when it's laziness or cost saving efforts on their part. For example you will see a bunch of fully alive and clean midriffs when zombies shirts come up. Also the blood splatter is getting really cheap and lazy. It's not like they are not making a lot of money on the show, they can afford to continue to keep the quality up. It seems like they know they are in the back half of the series and have dedicated watchers no matter what so they are skimping.
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so in regards to rule #5 and #8 whats with the little girl at the very start of episode 1 picking up her teddy bear? That contradicts, rule #8 there must be some sort of memory for to want to pick it up which also contradicts rule #5 its not a rock or a stick but she is a zombie, and there is no reason for her to pick it up, if it was hers or not?
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Can walkers even open a car door? I wouldn't think they'd have that ability honestly.
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Not supposed to be able to, only doors they should be able to open are the ones with push bars or a lucky push on the lever kind.
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The dead people in the cars could have been anything. Killed by other people, killed by fumes, dehydration, hyperthermia. Zombies have killed and wandered off to kill another.
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The cars they were hiding beneath had dead people in them, so it probably masked their smell like the one ninja chick with her two zombie buddies
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I agree about the masking of the smell.

But to consider the smell rule deeper, just because they can smell something (ie straight nasal ability) it does not mean they are smart enough to puzzle it out. Person shape plus human smell and human movement = food. Michonne gets discovered when she starts moving too human like even though he smell guards are still around. I think any combination of these things can send them into investigation mode but it take more to make them attack. consider Andrea in the RV bathroom, zombie comes inside probably b/c of smell and investigates, he even seems to put his nose up to the door but starts walking off until she makes noise.

This would explain why something like a helicopter or other random nature movement can set them to walking but they don't go into attack mode unless they get more than that.

The gunshot with Shane starts them into investigation mode and sends them to the farm but they don.t get overly worked up until they see humans too.
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the smell, well if zombies feel presnce but do not smell decay or whatever other zombies smells like they will attack, they can not smell fresh human flesh but if they know something is there and does not smell like a zombie they will try and eat it, and also if they didn't spot the people underneath the cars with their sight or their hearing they would not be able to know their there because they can not smell fresh human flesh, only zombies, for some reason,

now why they are in the car? well they could have been bitten but then the zombie left and the bitten person stayed in the car.
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Can i just say 28days later were not zombies they wer not even deadthey were ifected with rage that is why you see them breath .and with the preist he trys to warn him by fiteing the urge to attac . Allso dead ppl in cars it has not been shown that zombies in twd dont need to eat like dawn the dead who just do it for the sake of it maby the dead ppl in the cars were zobies who starved .
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28 days later feature "the infected" not really classic zombies. They are still alive and can be killed by other than headshots. Omega man was supposed to be vampires but were more like"the infected" version of zombies too.
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God can anyone be more annoying?!? If this is gonna be a bashing page why even watch the show?!? If you watch the show they say that they get riled up when the meat is moving. If the body is dead, still, and stiff it's not going to attract or be appealing to the walkers. As you saw with the walker in the well, they sent down a beautiful holiday ham and dangled it in his face and he turned his nose at it. But then they sent the kicking and screaming glenn down there and it was game on. When philyss was feeding the walkers in the barn she could've cut the chickens heads off and threw them down for the walkers to just pick up off the ground and eat but she broke their legs so theyd still be moving and making noise to attract the barn walkers. And then shane shooting Otis? He could've killed him instantly with a head shot and avoided the struggle of getting away cleanly but he shot him in the leg to keep him alive and moving and screaming. Stop hating. If your on here making comments then that means you must watch the show and you wouldn't be doing either if you didn't enjoy it. So stop with the whys and how's. You know you love it.
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I completely agree. There are plenty of ways to look at it but all together one of the best zombie shows i've ever seen created. It always keeps you guessing and your always scared for whats going to be lurking around the corner, If you don't like the show and want to be a critic, go to school and get a job as one. Don't make everyone else want to second guess the shows antics.
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and when rick first got with the group he went under a tank and they found him

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They did smell them a little, that is why they hung around. However, they aren't smart enough to realize that the smell could be originating under the car. In the webisode "stepmother" The kids hide under the table and the zombie hangs around trying to find the source but it wasnt smart enough to look under the table (although it could see under it to some degree).
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I was wondering how those people on the doc's farm keep those lights on at night w/o worrying about attracting zombies. Maggie even felt comfortable to sit out there at night alone. Why haven't the zombies found them? Also, if you were that group, wouldn't you demand that Shane strip down (a nice visual) to prove that he wasn't bitten after being surrounded by zombies that they believe overcame Otis? I understand "suspend disbelief" but some of it seems like common (post zombie apocalypse) sense!
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I have watched all the eps-but I am a little confused about something...the opening scene of the pilot where Rick sees the girl walker-is that just a "future scene". After that, it goes to Rick & Shane where Rick gets shot-Which I assume is before the "outbreak" as there are lots of humans-no walkers. Sometime while Rick is in a coma is when the outbreak-or what ever happened.



It doesn't really bother me about the blood-fluids etc getting on them. It seemed to me-in the beginning-they weren't exactly sure what would happen and they just weren't taking chances. However-in situations when they were attacked they didn't have a choice-it just got on them.

However-it is really bugging me about the people in the cars-How did they die? if they had been attacked by a zombie-they would've turned by now...they are just...dead... and even the carseat with blood & stuff on it...if it had been eaten by a zombie--wouldn't there be some remains-I mean in some cases people get bit then escape, but as in Otis case-do they just eat everything???
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well am not 100% sure but i hear its a flash forward to the future, evry1 dies n rick is standing there alone................ so am guessing maybe that's the last scene n rick kills himself( i cant see the show ending any other way , and now that lori is dead, seems likes it fitting into place)

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in the first episode , when all the zombies come out suddenly , it's pretty funny , because they are behind the RV , so they are coming from the road the survivors were on a few minutes ago.the road was clear before the truck cimetery so why nobody saw a damn zombie ? the zombies were hiding maybe when they were driving , it's dumb
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My two issues with the 2nd episode was how the herd "snuck up" on them when they were watching the rode with binoculars, and at one point the camera zoomed out and it showed that they were on some kind of hill with perfect vision for a long ways out. the second issue was the poor parenting of Rick, encouraging Carl to approach a wild animal with antlers! that being said I enjoy the show immensely.
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I was also bothered by the mystery of how infection is passed. The survivors get covered in zombie blood quite often as they're swinging axes, screwdrivers, and knives splattering blood all over themselves.



I'm thinking that zombie blood doesn't transmit the infection....maybe only saliva in the bite. That would explain why Kirkman wouldn't get specific on that point....maybe it's a reveal down the road so as to have a fresh take on the why/how of zombie disease.
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As far as i know, they are getting faster, they are under alert...



they are changing LOL



It`s the evolution... Im afraid they will find the stone of knowledge and evolve to monkeys and then to humans again...



No, wait, that`s another movie :x
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The stench of all the corpses in the cars would overpower the smell of live humans hiding under them. Works for me!
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You know I've never really understood this need for everything to be so concrete and ordered with my fiction. I'm perfectly happy to enjoy how tense the situation was under those cars to even care about if the zombies smelled them. It's the same with Star Trek or Babylon 5 or whatever show like that I'm watching. I want good story and if they have to play a little fast and loose with the logic I'm fine with that. That said if they're constantly contradicting themselves it takes away from the story. So far I don't think Walking Dead has done that. As I'm sure others have pointed out there are several possible reasons that can be thought of to explain these supposed flubs.
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by the way, on the comments regarding the dead bodies in cars. has anyone considered these people running from death came across an impassable road, and decided to take the same route as andrea in the season 1 finale. it's not hard to believe someone would take their lives having come to this hurtle. i doubt all of those people killed themselves but i agree there's options for why the people were there. since it doesn't play into the story or influence any outcome or characters wouldn't it be easy to conclude that a minor detail like this is better to leave to the audience to make their own conclusions? sometimes a persons imagination is simply the best tool to further their fear. after all it has us all thinking, analyzing, and trying to wrap our minds around it. isn't that how we want a show to affect us?
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the lack of noise from the single walker while the group was very vocal actually makes decent sense. kirkman has made it a point to let us know that there is a reason ( one which will be explained ) for the herd of zombies. they are in a way evolving, and adjusting to the situation to better their odds for eating. if they work as a unit ( no matter why they do so ) then its easy to conclude they have a form of communication. with this new form of unity it's easy to assume a lone walker has no reason to be vocal. i can't remember which ramero movie had the zombies which started to evolve, and use weapons. in that movie the vocal zombie used his new found wit AND vocal's to lead the group. i think the difference in noise is the KEY to why they are working as a herd. further more i wish people would stop referring to the walkers as zombies. for a group who is adamant about the rules being followed to a tee i wish you all would remember Kirkman's brilliant idea to place this in a world where the concept of zombies was never made. learning the old fashion way rather then working off the works of others is a wonderful idea. how would you survive without the accumulated knowledge we have. so why stop calling them zombies?? well quarantine were not zombies, and to call them zombies would be an insult. while in the walking dead we do see zombies i choose to feed into the storyline, and dismiss the term zombies to further in gulf myself into the story itself. in reality its the least important issue at hand but its my own personal frustration. it seems when it comes to the walking dead we all have our own frustrations. i guess some of that is what makes this show so good. if we weren't so feverish over details we wouldn't be as invested as we clearly are. in a way it reminds me of the lost debates. anyways i'd love to hear some feedback about the vocal aspects previously mentioned. comments??
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I think the Romero movie was Land of the Dead. Those things were pretty smart too... eventually figured out how to swim and ignore the fireworks that used to distract them.
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Zombie Rule #11: Zombies have the ability to break rules 1-10.
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loved the article. interesting view...i never thought of that i was to busy enjoying every moment and every zombie....

the church thing i would say applies to zombie rule 8. they stick around places they know or is familiar to them ergo....bride in the church :)

the smelling thing is actually really weird. no explanation comes to mind.

the movement thing....maybe the zombies in atlanta are older ones...already decaying..explaining the slower undead.

grasping for straws :) still loving the best show ever on tv.

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Questions which have also been puzzling me, it has to be said. I've been especially trying to figure out why the dead people in the cars were there and why they hadn't turned into zombies. Not all of them had head wounds, it seemed. Very few in fact. But, to be honest, these are fleeting issues. This show is just damn scary and I'm on the edge of my seat each week wondering what will happen next. But I sweat it's going to kill me before season end. I can't bear the tension.
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I recall a line by Daryl how he found empty pill bottles or something like that in the cars. I suspect those people were dropping pills
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Maybe you need to die or be dying in order for the infection to take root, maybe if you're alive your body can fight it off. The way the CDC guy explained it isn't that what he was saying?
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That leaves a few more question.

If they get a hangnail do they chew it off or ask a friend?

who ties their shoes?

If a zombie falls in the forest do the trees hear it??

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Zombie Rule #11: All previous rules can be disregarded when it suits our purposes.
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Hah I just posted that and then read yours after. :)
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Great minds . . .
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The car dead weren't attacked by zombies. I'm sure not everyone who dies automatically returns as a zombie, only those exposed to bites (so far). The car dead are still there because zombies go after fresh meat, not mummified corpses.



If being exposed to zombie juice is enough, then the scene from season 1 is a contradiction. They hacked the bodies apart and spread gore all over themselves. What are the chances of NOT getting something in your mouth or eyes? Even breathing that concentration in too much should work if exposure was all that was needed.



It looks like zombiefication is caused by direct contact of human blood with zombie saliva or blood. It will be interesting if someone this season ends up turning after getting a small amount of zombie saliva in a simple, exposed cut.

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In 28 days later you could get infected and immediately turn in a few moments, but it seems like in TWD you have to die first in order for the infection to take hold. Maybe if you're alive your body can just fight it off. I thought that might have been the purpose of the demonstration by the CDC guy but then that contradicts the guy in the pilot episode who wanted to know if Rick had any scratches. That kinda implies that even a scratch from a zombie will kill you and bring you back as a zombie.
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28 days later wasnt zombies
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28 days later was a virus spread through blood into open wounds/body (eyes, mouth) and by being bitten. The keyword being blood. The "infected" (as some would call them in 28) are different than these zombies in certain cases but still similar. I haven't gotten far enough in the comics to know WDs definition how to turn but all movies of this genre are different.
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In the comics, everyone is actually already infected by the "zombie" virus. You then turn into a zombie when you die, however the death! Even if someone is killed by a gun shot without ever beeing bitten by a zombie, this person will comme back as a zombie. Way different from the tv version.
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Cool good to know thanks!
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"turn of your brain and just enjoy it dude. IT might get cancelled if you keep talking like this. get away from here with that foolishness. It will ruin it for you if you overthink it. Come on dude stop. Just enjoy the show! "



Dont you just love those comments :D
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Zombies never make sense in the first place.
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I put this show to the test. So far everything it has thrown at me has failed.



It's gonna be another not-so-wild Sunday night.



-Leonidas
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Season 3 has been awesome so far so I have no complaints. However, I did wonder about the dead people in the cars as well. They would of been eaten a long time ago, no? And after season 1, I was under the impression that you couldn't get any zombie blood on you...I mean Rick and Glenn put on those protective gloves etc. when they were walking with the zombies that one time. But then when Andrea's sister died and whenever they kill zombies, the blood goes all over the place....what is that about? I try not to think about these things much because the show is amazing regardless
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Great episode but I agree that some of these rules need to better observed!
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I find it funny that in your article about the minor mistakes made by this brilliant TV series I have spotted at least half a dozen mistakes. Check your own back yard before you criticise your neighbours.



I'll admit to being a bit confused by the dead people in the cars, but I figured it doesn't matter as the show is great fun to watch. I've never understood this apparent need to analyse every little detail of a TV show or film, especially one that I like.

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Does beeing the grammarpolice make your point any stronger or his any weaker? You just go ahead and ignore everything. That is exactly how there are still shows like jersey shore out there. :)
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Picky article....
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Why does the dead people in cars bother you now? There were some in the pilot.

As for the infection through eyes and mouth maybe it's like HIV and can only be transferred if the virus makes contact with the victim's blood? In that case Andrea had minimal risk of getting infected.
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i say... lets just enjoy the show.. it's entertaining and thinking about that stuff makes it less enjoyable
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I don't mind a few inconsistencies in the "science" of zombie-ism, these are suppose to be regular people who learned things as the plague of zombies grew, some through first hand knowledge, some of it from unseen news reports and rumors. If it isn't an exact list of everything after a year since the outbreak, chalk it right up there with the flu, polio, the common cold etc. My only problem is when the people start acting contrary to the way they were acting that allowed thenm to survive up until the sheriff came back from the coma. Not making zombie behavior a huge part of the narrative is fine, being sloppy with the character's behavior is just lazy.
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Found it...



"agibaer

Disappointing.



Here's what doesn't add up:



- Lots of dead people in cars. How did they die? Of boredom? If they were bitten/eaten by zombies, they would have turned and be UNdead. If they all commited suicide, there must be a pharmacy with lots of poison nearby, as none of the dead seem to have any head wounds. And why shoud they commit suicide? They were obviously NOT overrun by Zombies while still in their cars, otherwise the would have turned and as Zs don't really know how to open car doors let alone unbuckle a seat belt, they would still be in there, grabbing at anyone nearby.



-Rick & the girl. He "saves" her from two Zs only to stick her into ... more some bushes and leave her there, because he "can't handle two zombies at the same time". Come on! he did handle them at the same time, a mile away, with a rock someone has left conviniently in the middle of a rockless (watch the images) wood. Instead of grabbing some thick branches that are lying all around, even were he left the girl.



- No shooting: Everyone was really, really scared that shooting a gun would bring all the Zs from the highway to the woods, completely ignoring that A.) The horde was long out of earshot and B.) even if they weren't, it would have been impossible for them to determine where the sound came from. As well they didn't mind making a whole lot of other noises, like screaming, shouting and ramming cars of the highway.



- Letting the girl run off in the first place: Why? There was only two Zs left, the herd was long gone. Still no one helped the girl, everyone just watched stupified. It wouldn't have been to hard for ten people clubbing down to Zs.



Well, it's AMCs own fault that this will be the last Season of TWD. They cut the budget and kicked Darabont out, what did they expect.

October 17, 2011 FlagReply9 Delete

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Season 3 has already been confirmed.
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The only thing I've heard a good rebuttal too was the dead people in cars. Some have hinted that its possible those people were killed by other non zombie people. Knowing what we know about humanity and chaos in the real world during mother nature made disasters and human made ones, I can only imagine.
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I hear that, but then why didn't the horde eat the people in the cars?? Talk about easy prey....these guys are starting to sound like Darlton....
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Believe me I have the same questions. I'm trying not to be a bitch and nit pick everything to death and lose interest like I've done with other shows. I just love zombies that much and I'll give them a chance. I'm sure now they see that their vague explanations and contradictions won't fly for future episodes.
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Hmmm. Darlton . . . . Wait a second! Carlton + Damon + Cop-out explanations = Darlton
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Oi! You stole that from my post on Episode 1



"Did they get bored to death?"



:D
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A few of the questions do bring up some pretty fair points, however, to fans of the original comic, most readers already know the answers to them and understand why Kirkman is being intentionally vague to avoid spoilers. "I can't see figuring out that eating a zombie is bad for you being a major turning point in the show" -- Yeah, readers of the comic will seriously get a few kicks out of this line in particular!
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I think you're waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay overthinking this dude. I know I'm not going to stop watching if I see some minor inconsistency.
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i actually wish zombies were a little bit faster! "zombieland" zombies were sprinters!
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that'd be more scary and entertaining but it would also make it even harder to believe some of these people could survive
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Aren't the zombies not that fast because their feet were eaten/torn apart/damaged by zombie attacks from when they were human? So, i think if a zombie was just bit in the hand, it shouldn't affect their feet, so, hence, they can run? Correct me if I'm wrong but i seriously believe that I'm right. The only inconsistency that I see in the series was the zombie smell thing.

But i gotta say. THIS IS ONE AWESOME SHOW THAT MAKES ME APPRECIATE TV.
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There are inconsistencies because people aren't trying to explain the constants. First the hiding under cars scene. Anyone change their own oil at all? What does the undercarriage of a car smell like? human flesh? no oil...a strong strong smell of oil. Combine that with the heat of the south (they are still in Georgia right?) and you've got oil, dead bodies in cars, and tar from the pavement. And the moaning is consistent too, when have we seen them moan? When they aren't alone. The zombie alone in the woods, no sound. Sees a human, moans. The zombies at the school, not alone...moans. The only thing that could even need some actual explanation are the people in the cars. But i'm not the type who needs to see that some guy in a random truck has been shot in the head or hatcheted in the face to see that he's not a zombie. i don't need that type of backstory from every living and non-living entity on the show. The random people in the cars didn't jump out and grab anyone, they didn't get up and start trying to bite the group. So what does that mean? The show is inconsistent? No, it means that they weren't zombies. It means that they died, some how, some way died. We are all watching a show about a Zombie Apocalypse. Some suspended belief is already there. Sit back and enjoy a great show.
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A couple dialog exchanges about the stench of dead bodies or the reek of motor oil and fuel would have covered the scent issue, hindsight.

Also maybe the contagion is only passed through undead saliva glands, that would explain why exposure to zombie blood doesn't infect but doesn't explain why the characters don't protect themselves adequately.

Since the show is so good I'm turning a blind eye to the discrepancies for now but it is distracting.
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They just need to nix that rule from the list to make things all good. I know bringing reality into the convo about zombies is just crazy, BUT, why would becomming infected change your sense of smell? Perhaps it is hightened like a pregnant woman, but can't be stronger than human sense of smell. Their brains are dead, just the brain stem is keeping them going. This isn't Resident Evil, they aren't mutating into a new species, they are undead. Long rant, but the producers/writers should've thought of that. It's not like zombies have changed into dogs, just stupid to even write the episode "guts".
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They wrote it because it was a major incident in the original comic series. The point wasn't even meant to show that covering themselves in zombie blood and guts made them unnoticeable it was that it made them uninteresting to the zombies and eliminated them as an immediate food source. That's not to say a bored or curious zombie wouldn't eventually bite them anyways, it just made them a much less appealing option.
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I'm more shocked by the fact that the characters don't care about all those variations. I mean some people here say that those variations are not inconsistencies because zombies are not identical and depends on what the human was and therefore what we call inconsistency is just a complex fictional world that is the show . If it's the case, why there is not one character noticing about those differences. It would have been a smart way to justify those narrative shortcuts (if that's what they are).
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They seem to be a little slow on the intake. (how are they not screwed?)
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