In just a few days Season 04 of the Walking Dead will conclude. While spotty at best, this season did strike hard when it was on top of its game and this coming Sunday is shaping up to be a very hard hit. While scouring the web for hints, I only found 2 words: Savage and Brutality. Enough to give anyone chills down their spine. Of course the producers could turn around and give us a happy and positive ending to make us all mad, but I don’t think that is going to happen. There has been much chatter that Terminus is the home base of the Hunters and much like in the comic, the Hunters are cannibals. Where does the comic and tv show differ and how are the same? And we can’t forget about TellTale games Walking Dead and the St. John Dairy Farm!! (“Why is there so much meat on a dairy farm…”) But before we go into all three worlds of the Walking Dead let’s first review a few real life incidents of cannibalism right here in America.
Way back when the US was just a colony to Britain we had the Jamestown VA incident. While more dependent on trade and supplies from Britain this group found themselves in dire straights in the winter of 1610. It has been confirmed that dogs, cats, rats, and one 14-year-old girl was eaten for people to stay alive. This was known as The Starving Time. Also in the 1800s but on the West side of America the Donner Party made way from Missouri to California only to get stuck in the mountains of Sierra Nevada from a freak early winter storm. In order to survive those weak from starvation and sickness were turned into meals for the healthy members of the party. Of 87 people only 48 arrived in California to fulfill Manifest Destiny and the American Dream. More recently in our history there was Jeffrey Dahmer who killed and ate at least 17 people between 1978 and 1991. In 2009 Otty Sanchez killed her own child and ate parts of the corpse. Then in 2012 Rudy Eugene was found in Florida eating a man’s face. While the earlier accounts were done as a means of survival the more recent cases are just as or even more horrific than the Walking Dead itself. What would you do to survive in a post outbreak world? Could you eat the flesh of a human being, to live or for pleasure? Let’s review the comics, tv show and video game to see what happened in each world.
In the Walking Dead comics there was a group known only as The Hunters. Led by Chris the Hunters stalked small groups of survivors after getting fed up with trying to hunt animals. They came upon Rick’s group and managed to get Dale only to discover he was “tainted”. The Hunters were a brutal bunch and it was discovered that they ate their own children as well. The only woman in the group Theresa followed Chris willingly believing it was the best way to survive. Over in TellTale Games video game version of the Walking Dead we have a similar situation at the St. John Dairy Farm. Also headed by a lone woman named Brenda she lives with her two sons and have mysteriously survived untouched by the Walkers. The two men approach Lee Everett and his group at the Motel shortly after Glenn left for Atlanta to find friends. the St. John brothers offered a lot of food in exchange for some fuel to keep their electric fence working. Lee and the group agree to check things out. Soon Mark, new comer to Lee’s team gets separated.
While the lush and unscathed property of the farm seems wonderful to some Lee and Kenny have their suspicions. Why is there only one cow on the dairy farm? Why is there no other people helping out on the large farm? Sinister things lie behind a locked door in the barn…. and what did happen to Mark anyways? For those of you who have not played the game, you will have to find out for yourself. But it’s gruesome and don’t let Clementine take a bite of her dinner!! And so now we circle back to where we began. Terminus and the tv show iteration of the Hunters. It seems it will be a mix of the comic and video game worlds. But some of the survivors have arrived (How did Maggie get Daryl’s poncho!?!?) only to find a lone woman standing in front of a hot grill and a couple of steaks already on the fire. Where is Beth? Where is anybody as it seems for now she is the only one living in Terminus. Or do the Hunters in the show really live in Terminus, leading naive survivors to their door?
Never mind a zombie outbreak, is society were to break down in America how would you survive long after the markets were stripped bare and packaged goods reached their expiration date? Common sense states to raid a greenhouse for seeds or overtake an established farm but what if you live in urban areas like NYC or LA? What if you haven’t eaten in 4 days, would your friend start to look delicious? Would you imagine them as a steak or chicken leg as they walked passed? Is it right to act like a zombie and eat humans to survive, would that make you a zombie as well? Are you ready for the worst? Could you do the unspeakable if your life depended on it? The Walking Dead makes us face many of these controversial themes. Whether it is euthanizing someone infected, having a baby in stark times, or needing to eat each other to save yourself. Hopefully this Sunday’s episode will live up to the hype and take us down a much darker path than we ever though possible.