The second chapter in The Walking Dead graphic novel is the basis to season two of the television show, although there are clear differences between the two. Tyresse (the character on which T-Dog is based) is introduced, as well as his daughter Julie, Julie’s boyfriend Chris, Hershel, and Hershel’s family. The group has not encountered the Atlanta CDC, nor do they make any visits to the local pharmacy. Hershel is a hard-working family man, and not in any way an alcoholic. With that said, the screenwriters do preserve the prominent themes found throughout the chapter: trust and the potential deceptiveness of appearances.
The chapter opens in flashback, with Lori falling into a moment of weakness over being “a wreck” over leaving Rick behind in the hospital. There is an implied affair between her and Shane, with Lori’s regret immediate and profound. The chapter cuts to Shane’s funeral, with Lori clutching herself, possibly wearing Shane’s police jacket. In a seeming moment of self-loathing, Lori spits on Shane’s grave. We learn that Shane’s funeral has occurred on Christmas Eve, which Rich opts to keep secret for the sake of the children.
The theme of trust, and the lack thereof runs heavily throughout the chapter. Although the members of the group rely heavily upon one another and want to trust one another thoroughly, it is clear that they realize they cannot even trust themselves. Rick admits to Lori, “This s*** we’re in . . . if it can change a man like Shane so drastically, we’re in deeper s**** than we thought.” He suspects Shane and Lori had an affair while he was in the hospital, but his denial also runs deep. He wants to trust her, just as desperately as she wants to forget the affair ever happened, and when she cannot deny any longer that she is pregnant, she is clearly torn about withholding the truth.
Tyresse joins the group after they meet on the road, and Rick is weary of Tyresse’s distrust of the group when he rejects an offer for him and his family to sleep with them in the RV. They soon learn that Tyresse had trusted an old storeowner, who had changed due to the stress of the times and ended up attempting to rape his daughter. He admits to beating the offender to death, and Rick confides that, although he is a man of the law, he would have reacted in the same way. The theme of deceptive appearances becomes solidified when the group finds an upper-class, gated community that, at first glance, appears “perfect.” The first sign of the actual danger that lies within comes when the group encounters zombies in the basement of the first house they explore. Despite fully stocked cupboards and the illusion of safety, the group learns that the community is far from perfect—it is swarming with the undead.
Tyresse’s character offers the most profound example of misjudgment of appearances. An ex-NFL player, turned bouncer, turned to “odd-jobs,” turned car salesman, his character offers a profound glimpse of what seems versus what is. A good man and an asset to the group, he shows that a man isn’t defined by his job—or, moreover, what he has been—but rather who he is at the present moment. Interestingly, he admits to Rick he had pegged him as a “hero cop,” only to learn Rick had never shot his gun before doing so to shoot zombies.
Much of what occurs surrounding Hershel’s farm is similar to that found in the television series, although the details surrounding the group’s exit are slightly different. There is no wave of zombies that exacerbates the group’s leave, and the barn remains intact. The screenwriters’ decision to destroy the barn seems a stylistic one—a parallel to Season One’s explosive ending at the CDC.
The group is reduced once again to hunting and foraging on the road when they come across the prison—which is riddled with undead. Still, with its high walls, razor wire, and potential for food stores, the group concludes it is the “perfect” place to start over … once again….
And so begins Chapter Three and the beginning of Season Three of the television series.
Leigh M. Lane lives in the beautiful mountains of Montana, where she writes speculative fiction that spans from sci-fi to horror. All of her writing contains a gritty realism that hallmarks her unique voice, which also often has social or political undertones. Her recent full-length releases are Finding Poe, World-Mart, and Myths of Gods. Leigh’s influences include H.G. Wells, Kurt Vonnegut, Isaac Asimov, Clive Barker, Edgar Allan Poe, and Stephen King. For more about Leigh M. Lane and her works, visit her website at http://www.cerebralwriter.com.