COMMENTARY | A lot of Walking Dead fans just cannot cope with the death of Lori Grimes.
Occurring so soon in the fourth episode of season 3, the aptly-titled “Killer Within,” Lori’s death was considered a shocking interruption to an otherwise engaging emotional storyline. Critics praised the bold move, but many on the internet have come up with “persuasive” theories suggesting that Lori could still be alive. If you are one of those who thinks that this could be the case, I urge you to stop and accept that Lori is dead.
Furthermore, if the show proves me wrong and Lori did in fact survive, you should realize what a bad thing that would be for the show. I will defend this statement to my dying day: There is no way that The Walking Dead‘s writers can pull off Lori’s magical survival without completely jumping the shark.
I argued in a previous post that The Walking Dead is declining in quality, and that the writers are beginning to use character deaths for cheap shock value and reaction at the expense of meaning and “deep, human emotion” that the show was previously known for.
I’ll argue the opposite in this post, mainly because while I disagree with the way the show’s writers kill off their characters, I believe that what is dead must stay dead, and “cleverly” killing off Lori only to reveal that she somehow pulled through not only cheats and manipulates our emotions, it suggests to us that the creative minds of The Walking Dead regard their audience as deeply stupid.
I hope to God that this is not the case.
Backing up: Various polls, forums, and blogs suggest that Lori Grimes may have survived her medieval C-section and coup de gras head-shot provided by son, Carl. Presenting various “facts” regarding the handling of Lori’s death, many have crafted decent cases for her survival. FACT: Lori’s death occurred off-screen. FACT: Rick didn’t discover her body nor her bones in episode five. FACT: Rick found a bullet, but where was the blood? FACT: There’s no way all that Lori could fit into that zombie’s tummy. FACT: Three graves were dug, and only one body is actually buried.
The theory: Carol, who was saved by T-Dog from hungry zombies at the expense of his own life somehow discovered Lori, passed out, after Carl failed to kill her. See, he couldn’t take shooting his mom, so he either spared her, or didn’t really look when he pulled the trigger and missed her all together. Carol, having trained herself to perform a C-Section on a gross dead zombie body, absconded with Lori to the infirmary, patched her up, and nursed her back to life.
There’s just one problem. This theory fails to take a step back and realize how asinine Lori’s survival would be.
Please hear me, internet. Lori’s “miraculous survival” would be a cheap shot. Cheaper than killing her off in the first place.
Not only does it make irrelevant the emotional detour of the season as various characters learn to cope with her passing, it just amounts to lazy storytelling based on cheap thrills meant to somehow increase ratings that were already stellar before The Walking Dead started treating their characters like one-dimensional plot contrivances, killed moments after they finally start to take shape and the writers allow us to get to know them (T-Dog, anyone?).
It would be a classic case of jumping the shark. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, jumping the shark refers to the exact moment in a TV show when our suspension of disbelief disappears completely. We stop believing in the show, and we stop caring because the plot has just become too damn untenable and unrealistic, and for those of you pulling for Lori’s survival?
You shouldn’t wish something like that on the best-rated cable TV show in history. Furthermore, you shouldn’t wish that on The WalkingDead so soon. Let it get to season seven first, like a normal show that jumps the shark. Such a thing arguably needs to happen, but it should be delayed as much as possible.
Furthermore, Sarah Wayne Callies has been doing the traditional “Welp, I’m dead” press round-ups since her ignoble departure. She has been arguing that Lori had to die in order for us to get Rick into an interesting emotional place. Now, we can debate that, but these press appearances seem to make it pretty clear that Lori has taken her final bow.
If not, and this has all been staged by The Walking Dead production team, then there’s no other way around it: They think we’re incredibly stupid. I’m urging you not to play into their hands if they ultimately do pull the rug out from under us.
Furthermore? I think Rick wants Lori dead. I sincerely do. You saw how he went to town, sticking that stuffed zombie like a pigright in the stomach where he thinks his wife’s remains are. Rick and Lori have been on the rocks throughout the entire series. It was the very first thing talked about way back in the pilot episode during that fantastic conversation between Rick and Shane, and it set the tone for their relationship.
There was a lot of anger there, and if the writer’s are smart, they play to those emotions within Rick. Not only is he sad about Lori’s death (of course, he loved her) but because of their volatile relationship, he should also interestingly feel relieved. Then, he should compound that relief …
… with guilt.
Now that’s character development.
Last round-up of opinions: I do think that Carol is alive. Not only because Melissa McBride was absent from the post-death press round-up populated by Callies and IronE Singleton (T-Dog), but because stalling her return only to reveal that she was turned into a zombie somehow (like her daughter, Sophia) wouldn’t be a clever full-circle kind of thing, it would be incredibly redundant. And if Daryl started looking for her a la Sophia and found her alive, it would provide a very emotionally rich and redemptive moment for the show.
Zombie-Carol would only prove what I’m beginning to suspect. The Walking Dead is not as good as we think it is.
But I do hope I’m wrong.
Sound off! I invite criticism, discussion, everything you’ve got. Do you think that Lori survived The Walking Dead?