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Zombie 101: "Rules" of the Show


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#331

KirkB

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Posted Oct 16, 2012 @ 2:35 PM

Overall I like the way the show seems to be doing it. Since they go out of their way to say they are not following the comic exactly they can do their own thing. Have the characters be the ones who define the "rules", only to be (sometimes immediately) proven wrong, or once and a while right. Have Rick or Glenn or whoever say "walkers can not do this". After all, just because one of them thinks or says it doesn't mean it's actually true. The show is being fairly consistent about this.
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#332

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Posted Oct 16, 2012 @ 3:10 PM

The out-of-control virus angle has been done to death in the movies.


But IMO, the best explanation was in "28 Days Later" my apologies if this premise came from an earlier source, this was my first exposure- if you'll pardon the expression.

Scientists studying rage (and its effects on brain activity) were attacked by a militant group opposed to animal testing. When the group freed the caged animals- the animals attacked- thus transmitting the "rage virus" to humans. The 'infected' could be killed (head trauma) and their motivation wasn't feeding- just KILL KIll KILL. Those 'infected' could starve.

Those zombies were the most troubling to me because damn, they moved fast.
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#333

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Posted Oct 18, 2012 @ 4:41 PM

So they have showed a number of times where a zombie was de-headed. And the head still moves and growls and stuff. But does the body stop? Can you have a headless zombie body just moving by itself and blindly walking around? I wouldn't think so based on the way Jenner describes the "disease", how it keeps just a tiny bit of the base of the brain active and functions that way. It would seem like if you cut off the head, the body is done. Have we seen a headless body moving around?
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#334

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Posted Oct 18, 2012 @ 4:57 PM

Nope. Up to now, any partial zombies have always had the head attached. So we haven't seen a detached arm creeping along with it's fingers, or anthing. Since damaging the brain is necessary to "kill" the zombies, I think it's pretty clear that they need their heads attached to the bodies, or parts thereof, in order to function.
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#335

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Posted Oct 19, 2012 @ 12:16 PM

I would like the show much less if the zombies were based in magic or, say, the wrath of the divine. I think what makes the zombie apocalypse so "appealing" to people is the "What would I do?" aspect of it.

The show is about survival, and with the apocalypse being such a popular thing these days I think most people would prefer a show grounded in reality, where they can imagine putting themselves in that universe.


Jporr, I think we have similar motivations: I too want it to be more realistic, something I can imagine happening. Even though I totally do not believe in the supernatural, I guess for me I can more easily imagine a world where supernatural stuff happens than one where a virus changes human biology so fundamentally that organs, blood, etc. are no longer needed to continue functioning (and neither is any kind of fuel).

Put it another way: didn't the "demonstration" Shane used, to convince Herschel that these were not sick people who could be cured, also make that whole pursuit of realism pretty difficult to achieve? I guess I find that about as believable as a computer virus allowing my MacBook to continue to function even if I blast it a few times with a shotgun.

But I know I'm being a wet blanket, LOL...so I will try to give my curmudgeonly routine a rest. Right after you kids get out of my yard! ;-)
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#336

JOnanGoopta

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Posted Oct 19, 2012 @ 5:40 PM

The head doesn't seem to have to be attached in the same way a head would have to be attached to a living human, though.

Example: the zombie with a broken neck and a head barely dangling that Glenn killed in the drugstore.
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#337

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Posted Oct 22, 2012 @ 5:18 PM

It was brought up in the episode thread and maybe it's a bit metaphorical but if everyone is infected, does that mean that eventually, in 80 years if no cure is found, the world will all be zombies? If babies are born infected, and everyone is infected and will die and become zombies... that means no more non-zombies in a few decades. And once that happens, when there is no humans to eat or animals to eat, will they start to eat each other? So then there will just be mobs of zombies chowing down on each other?
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#338

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Posted Oct 22, 2012 @ 6:02 PM

But babies born now will end up having babies of their own, so as long as that keeps happening there will never be a time when there aren't non-zombified living people left.

It probably wouldn't be that entertaining a scenario, but you could imagine fast-forwarding a thousand years and seeing a world with few or no zombies, because people would simply be careful to destroy everyone's brains as soon as they died. You'd just have the occasional unexpected death stirring up trouble, but nothing on a mass scale.
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#339

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Posted Nov 15, 2012 @ 5:52 PM

Zombies may drag bodies to other areas to consume them.
Zombies get tired and sleepy if they eat a lot.
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#340

RustbeltWriter

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Posted Nov 16, 2012 @ 9:40 AM

Lori had high levels of Tryptophan.
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#341

JOnanGoopta

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Posted Nov 17, 2012 @ 9:51 AM

It probably wouldn't be that entertaining a scenario, but you could imagine fast-forwarding a thousand years and seeing a world with few or no zombies, because people would simply be careful to destroy everyone's brains as soon as they died. You'd just have the occasional unexpected death stirring up trouble, but nothing on a mass scale.


I think in a thousand years, if we survived at all, we'd have found a cure for the zombie virus, or whatever it is. Or at least a vaccine. If we did survive, we'd have adopted protocols that would render the whole zombie thing a mere endemic nuisance, but considering the havoc it wrought on the previous civilization, it would sort of be a point of honor to wipe it out permanently.

Though like smallpox, we'd probably keep samples of it locked away somewhere, or at least map the genome and keep a copy.
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#342

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Posted Nov 17, 2012 @ 10:14 AM

But babies born now will end up having babies of their own, so as long as that keeps happening there will never be a time when there aren't non-zombified living people left


I've been wondering if we know for a fact that the zombie virus will inevitably spread to the next generation. Maybe it was a one-time thing that spread world-wide, but died out once everyone was infected? Maybe mothers can pass on anti-bodies to their children during pregnancy? (Ugh, maybe we'll find out with Baby Grimes.) I definitely agree that if humanity does somehow survive, they'll adapt their funerary customs.

I think in a thousand years, if we survived at all, we'd have found a cure for the zombie virus, or whatever it is. Or at least a vaccine.


I hope so! I think it depends how far back in the dark ages human civilization is thrown once supplies start to run out.
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#343

JOnanGoopta

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Posted Nov 17, 2012 @ 11:12 AM

I hope so! I think it depends how far back in the dark ages human civilization is thrown once supplies start to run out.


So long as plants still grow, humanity has a future.

It's not like the truly dire scenario in The Road, where the biosphere has apparently entirely ceased to exist.
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#344

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Posted Nov 17, 2012 @ 11:38 AM

I could actually see a future where the walker thing is more or less under control, and people have taken a cue from that long ago philosopher Michonne by using walkers to further the cause of humanity. Where they become like pack animals, or are use to pull plows, things like that. Domesticating them, so to speak. It would sort of be Planet of the Apes only with walkers, and little chance of them gaining intelligence and rising up against us.
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#345

N8va

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Posted Nov 17, 2012 @ 11:45 AM

I hope so! I think it depends how far back in the dark ages human civilization is thrown once supplies start to run out.


So long as plants still grow, humanity has a future.



As subsistence farmers, absolutely. I think eventually with a lot of trial and error they'd be able to grow and preserve food, build shelters, make candles, soap (sorry Daryl) etc. But I do wonder if there are enough scientists and engineers left to repair or even build a solar panel, or a silicon chip, or a rubber seal, or any of the thousands of other things that Jenner had in his lab. Even if they find or recreate another lab, as the governor's tame scientist apparently did, a lot of that stuff is going to start degrading (although apparently not gasoline, luckily for our survivors!) and by the time the ability to recreate it is there, will this generation's knowledge base still be around?

On reflection though, given your thousand year timeline, maybe they will have nailed it.
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#346

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Posted Nov 17, 2012 @ 11:54 AM

But I do wonder if there are enough scientists and engineers left to repair or even build a solar panel, or a silicon chip, or a rubber seal, or any of the thousands of other things that Jenner had in his lab.


Not sure. But I think there'd be enough people familiar with information storage technologies that they'd be able to power up some pre-ZA computer systems, transfer out all the available data and, if nothing else, put it on a few DVDs or giant piles of paper, so any future civilization that eventually arose could use that knowledge.

It might take a couple centuries, but we'd probably eventually get back to work and we'd have the information to do it.
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#347

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Posted Nov 17, 2012 @ 1:31 PM

libraries! The information is out there. Manuals, directions, information.

Edited by Doom, Nov 17, 2012 @ 1:53 PM.

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#348

Jporr0121

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Posted Nov 17, 2012 @ 1:37 PM

I don't think it would take that long to overcome the walker apocalypse. I think the first 10-20 years would be the hardest. Libraries should still be intact, along with a bunch of basic technology that could be reverse-engineered if needed. The problem would be getting fuel and power, although if any sort of government still exists, they would have an easier time with that sort of thing. Give it 50 years and at least some groups and communities would be well on their way to reclaiming civilization.
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#349

N8va

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Posted Nov 17, 2012 @ 2:09 PM

libraries! The information is out there. Manuals, directions, information.


I don't think it would take that long to overcome the walker apocalypse. I think the first 10-20 years would be the hardest. Libraries should still be intact, along with a bunch of basic technology that could be reverse-engineered if needed.



Maybe. It took 500 years for indoor plumbing to make a comeback after the Fall of Rome, but you're absolutely right that there's a ton of information that could eventually be used as long as it's archived before it's damaged by the elements.

I think the biggest unanswered question is exactly how hard subsistence survival is going to be once they run out of scavenged goods, especially given that they may also need to put a lot of their community resources into defense against both walkers and outside groups for the foreseeable future. Under those circumstances, can they grow enough food to allow for other specialists? (Of course, they could just move to Woodbury, where this kind of thing apparently takes care of itself!)

I freely admit that I may be unnecessarily gloomy about the future of humanity. Maybe I should lay off the dystopian fiction for a while?
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#350

Jporr0121

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Posted Nov 17, 2012 @ 4:52 PM

I think the biggest unanswered question is exactly how hard subsistence survival is going to be once they run out of scavenged goods, especially given that they may also need to put a lot of their community resources into defense against both walkers and outside groups for the foreseeable future.


They should run out of gasoline before they run out of food. To be honest, I don't know how they still have any gasoline. Without a stabilizer it should have deteriorated pretty quickly. Did their alternate-Earth timeline ever produce electric cars?

Hopefully someone still has the capability to breed horses. I'd imagine horse-drawn carriages will become a very important part of travel, if humanity makes it that far (and if rural Georgia is any indication of the rest of the world, there should be a good amount of people still alive).
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#351

N8va

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Posted Nov 17, 2012 @ 4:57 PM

They should run out of gasoline before they run out of food. To be honest, I don't know how they still have any gasoline. Without a stabilizer it should have deteriorated pretty quickly. Did their alternate-Earth timeline ever produce electric cars?

Hopefully someone still has the capability to breed horses. I'd imagine horse-drawn carriages will become a very important part of travel, if humanity makes it that far (and if rural Georgia is any indication of the rest of the world, there should be a good amount of people still alive).


On the bright side, humanity's global carbon footprint has probably gone waaaaaay down. That Arctic ice sheet is probably firming up already.
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#352

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Posted Nov 17, 2012 @ 6:01 PM

I freely admit that I may be unnecessarily gloomy about the future of humanity. Maybe I should lay off the dystopian fiction for a while?


I used to think zombie apocalypse scenarios were depressing. Then I read The Road. Really, zombie apocalypse is one of the most cheerful and fun possible apocalypses. I look forward to the inevitable zombie apocalypse.
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#353

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Posted Nov 17, 2012 @ 7:04 PM

In "Guts", one of the zombies has picked up a rock and is using it to smash the door of the department store they (our merry band of morons) are in. There are also two climbing zombies in there, which has been noted before.

So the idea that that a zombie dragged Lori around the corner and then ate her is completely plausible really.
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#354

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Posted Nov 18, 2012 @ 7:36 PM

Great point, Doom. It seemed that the Season 1 zombies were more coordinated and able than they are now. The fence-climber and the window-smasher are perfect examples. I really hate how inconsistent the writers have been, but I can forgive them. They are clearly writing from the "Wouldn't it be cool if..." POV. Its TV, I get it, its meant to be entertaining first, consistent second, logical distant third.

ETA: The original Night of the Living Dead zombies were able to use simple tools like rocks, too. I remember Kirkman (or was it Mazzara?) saying they were using Romero Rules. The problem with that is, Romero has been wildly inconsistent throughout his (progressivly worse) movies. That's not a good benchmark to use at all.

Edited by captnamerca, Nov 18, 2012 @ 7:38 PM.

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#355

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Posted Nov 18, 2012 @ 10:35 PM

Well, we had guts part II, as Michonne found out that if they can't smell you, they may not notice you. It was a bit much as she was obviously a living person, but I can fanwank it away by saying there wasn't a big enough group that they would notice her, and it was the country where there are lots of living things vs the city where everything is stone and dead and you'd be able to detect something living easier.
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#356

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Posted Nov 20, 2012 @ 10:05 AM

From the episode thread:

A bite does not infect someone; it is simply a fatal injury.

(Michonne) already is infected. Everyone is. When she dies she will re-animate. I think what happens is that the Walkers are very slowly rotting so they are basically petri dishes of bacteria. A little bite or scratch from a zombie your immune system can handle. We've seen people get blood and scratches lots of times without worry. I think when you get a deep scratch or bite especially when it gets into your blood stream then you get some other bacterial infection that kills you.


From what the show has shown, bites do infect you. Jim died (or was left to turn and die) less than 24 hours after having teeth impression puncture marks on his chest. It was a bite, but nowhere near a fatal wound. Also, from the show it isn't just bacteria and an infection in a weakened immune system that causes you to die and turn into a walker. Certainly these fools would all be dead if that were the case, with the unsanitary practices they deal in. Glenn and Maggie were hugging and kissing, covered in walker. T-Dog's arm got ripped up and he had a dead body thrown on top of him. Daryl had his side pierced with one of the arrows he reuses over and over. It is definitely bites and scratches that infect you with the zombie virus - that take it to the stage where you get a fever and die relatively quickly, and antibiotics don't stop it, and you have zombie dreams. T-Dog got his arm ripped open, got a fever, but never had zombie dreams like Jim did after Jim got his nonfatal chest bite.
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#357

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Posted Nov 20, 2012 @ 11:49 AM

The show is being (deliberately, I imagine) vague about this, but my take on it has always been that everyone has the virus, as Jenner told Rick. It's in there but inactive. Whenever someone gets a fatal wound or dies the virus kicks into gear and brings their body back to shambling life. Being bitten or scratched, on the other hand, introduces a fresh and active dose of the virus that wakes up what's already present early, overwhelming their immune system and making them get sick and turn.

Edited by KirkB, Nov 20, 2012 @ 11:50 AM.

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#358

Megamos

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Posted Nov 20, 2012 @ 12:25 PM

The show is being (deliberately, I imagine) vague about this, but my take on it has always been that everyone has the virus, as Jenner told Rick. It's in there but inactive. Whenever someone gets a fatal wound or dies the virus kicks into gear and brings their body back to shambling life. Being bitten or scratched, on the other hand, introduces a fresh and active dose of the virus that wakes up what's already present early, overwhelming their immune system and making them get sick and turn.


I was just going to say this but you said it better that I ever could. It seems a bite activates the virus so you get sick quickly and die, then turn. Has anyone actually gotten the fever and died from just a scratch by a zombie? A bite, yes but a scratch? They seem to believe a scratch is the same as a bite as in the case of Big Tiny but if Tomas hadn't hacked him to death would he have actually gotten the fever and died? Rick and Daryl seemed about to say that they would quarantine him to see what happened, then Tomas went psycho before they could say that. I don't ever remember anyone dying from a zombie scratch.
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#359

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Posted Nov 20, 2012 @ 1:19 PM

I don't ever remember anyone dying from a zombie scratch.


Yep, they've never shown it on screen. Just alluded to it with Morgan, and with the two security guards, and another scene I can't recall.

If I'm remember correctly, the show execs have said that the audience will never really figure out a lot of this stuff because the characters would never get all the information. So we may never know precisely how this whole thing works. Whether it is viral, fungal, or what. I think Jenner is about as good as it is going to get, though DR. SCIENCE in Woodbury could possibly give us more info.
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#360

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Posted Nov 20, 2012 @ 1:25 PM

Milton probably has more relevant experience than Jenner. While Jenner was at the CDC, as he pointed out, his wife was the smart one. He was also limited in his exposure to how the virus/whatever behaves in real life. Milton may not have the fancy equipment that the CDC did, but he has probably been working on the issue for some time, with as many walkers as he needs. By comparison, Jenner had already given up and become suicidal, and is unlikely to have done his best work.
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