What Happened to the Government?

At the beginning of the series, and through much of Season 1, we see a few indicators of continued government activity. Helicopters fly overhead in Episode 1, and Rick escapes a hoard of zombies by climbing through an Army tank hatch.

In the graphic novel series, Lori and Carl are introduced while fleeing through a freeway littered with abandoned cars, napalm explosions falling from military helicopters in all directions, the city ahead literally glowing with fire. There are rumors of organized safe havens, which we soon learn are nonexistent.

So where did the government go? Did the military presence fail, move somewhere else, or disappear with political leaders? We know that the CDC was all but abandoned when the group reached it; only one doctor remained, and only because he felt an obligation to do so out of loyalty to a colleague-turned-test subject. We know the infrastructure has dissolved, made clear by the lack of power and telecommunication lines throughout the various settings. We know there are remnants of military action in some of the more previously populated locations. What we don’t know is where all of those helicopters ended up or where any of the political leaders are.

In the 1950s, during the height of the Cold War, United States government engineers built an underground haven specifically for the purpose of hiding and preserving the lives of the President and others whose lives they deemed integral to preserving national security. Comprised of several bunkers connected via over 100 miles of subway, this underground system is considered the last line of defense against any massive-scale threat against the country.

According to whitehouse.gov1.info, this system, known as the Presidential Emergency Operations Center, or PEOC, “was built six stories below ground under the East Wing to provide the President with a secure meeting place in the event of an emergency. Access to the PEOC is by an elevator located behind multiple vault-type doors with biometric access control systems.” The source adds, “While the exact specification of this emergency Presidential bunker is classified, it is built to withstand a direct nuclear hit.”

Meshing reality and fiction here, might there be a chance that a whole different group of survivors exists six stories underground? Might the government make another appearance when Season 3 commences in February? Will there be any further signs of the military attempting to contain and destroy the undead threat? With any possible spoilers that exist within the graphic novel series set aside (as the television show’s writers have offered us enough evidence at this point that all that exists or lacks within the graphic novel is no true predictor of where secondary storylines might converge) what do you think about the seeming disappearance of government and military involvement after Season 1—and do you think it will re-emerge in the coming episodes?

Leigh M. Lane is a speculative fiction author whose works span from sci-fi to horror. Her most recent full-length works are The Hidden Valley Horror, Finding Poe, World-Mart, and Myths of Gods. For more about her work, go to her website at http://www.cerebralwriter.com.


  1. I would think that the Government and a lot of the military are still alive and well in underground command centers and in very remote locations.and what of the Naval forces at sea during the outbreak?Plus our large submarine fleet would remain somewere I think.

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