There’s realistic TV, and then there’s The Walking Dead. AMC’s zombie-themed horror series is less than plausible and though there are some of us out there who are well-stocked and ready for the apocalypse to hit at any second, it likely won’t come from a surge of undead humans roaming the streets.
Still, The Walking Dead has done a pretty good job of creating a world that feels very real, despite its unrealistic premise. Sure, there are the things that make us go “hmm” — like how the prison’s grass managed to stay so manicured, or how Carol’s hair always looked good even when they were on the run. But for the most part, being a fan of The Walking Dead means that you develop a healthy “just go with it” attitude.
Sometimes, though, the series goes a little too far with the suspension of disbelief. These are the times when Robert Kirkman and company ask us to forget what we’ve already learned about their carefully constructed universe and the moments when the actions the characters take defy the laws of basic science and order. Here are five things about The Walking Dead that just plain don’t make any sense.
1. Why don’t they just walk around wearing zombie guts all the time?
The Walking Dead often presents situations in which our beloved characters are surrounded by walkers, and seemingly unable to get away. There’s just one problem with this: Both the characters and we, the viewers, know that there’s a pretty simple way to walk among the undead undetected. Rick, Glenn, and the Atlanta crew learned in the second episode of the series that if they covered themselves in zombie guts, they’d be essentially invisible.
Yeah, it’s a pretty gross solution. But it’s worked, more or less, on multiple occasions. Carol did it when she was exiled from the prison. The Alexandria crew almost escaped a walker invasion unscathed using this method — and only didn’t because Sam started freaking out.
So why don’t TWD characters utilize this gnarly-yet-effective resource more often? Many innocent lives — Sophia, Ed, Noah, Aiden, and Connor just to name a few — could have been spared if the characters had just thought for a second and added an extra layer of protection.
2. Are there seriously no government forces left?
It’s hard to predict exactly how society would fall apart in the event of an actual large-scale apocalyptic event. No government system is infallible. But it’s a little difficult to believe that the United States, with its expanse of secretive intel and massive underground military operations, would be rendered completely ineffective — even by brain-eating zombies. Was there no contingency plan whatsoever for an invasion of this magnitude within the government’s highest branches? Can we seriously believe that every single leader in the country was immediately taken out by the undead?
None of this is to say that The Walking Dead would be a better show if Rick and his friends had to cut through red tape to make it into a government-sanctioned safe zone. It wouldn’t. But that doesn’t mean the series hasn’t more than stretched the realms of plausibility in making us believe that there would be no functioning governing bodies left.
3. How did it take so long for Hilltop, the Saviors, and Alexandria to find each other?
Remember when Aaron recruited Michonne, Maggie, Rick, and the rest of the team to Alexandria? And how he said that he and Eric had been constantly scouring the area for other survivors that they could bring into the safe zone? It makes sense on paper — until the Alexandria crew runs into the Hilltop crew and the Saviors in Season 6. Narratively, it’s intriguing to have these three micro-communities sizing one another up and building alliances. But how did they all manage to coexist for months without encountering one another — especially when they’re always out and about, looking for supplies and other survivors? It’s possible, yes. But not very plausible.
4. How have they not run out of gas by now?
By most accounts, the first six seasons of The Walking Dead took place over the course of about a year and a half. That doesn’t seem like all that much time, given how many horrific events the characters have lived through, and how much ground they’ve covered. But when you factor in one very important logistical concern, it’s kind-of baffling that they’ve made it as far as they have.
That’s because we’ve seen everyone from Rick and his crew to the Saviors rely heavily on cars, motorcycles, and other vehicles to go long distances. And gasoline doesn’t have that long of a shelf-life — we’re talking a few months or a year if you’re incredibly lucky. Even if we believe they’ve been able to siphon enough from other cars and gas pumps along the way, eventually it would dry up — and at this point in the timeline, it’s hard to believe there would be any left at all.
5. Why didn’t they set up a tighter perimeter around Alexandria?
From the moment Rick entered the Alexandria safe zone, he was hell-bent on convincing its inhabitants of one thing: They needed to learn how to protect themselves. Given what he and the rest of his crew had experienced on the road, it was a smart call, even if it fell on deaf ears in many cases. Still, there’s one perplexing quality to Constable Grimes’s obsession with safety — why didn’t he do more to actually keep the area safe?
Yes, the wall was there — and it seemed to hold up pretty well. But there were other easy safeguards they could have employed to keep not only walkers, but the wolves at bay. Remember when Morgan went a little bit crazy and set up what amounted to an obstacle course of pointy objects to keep himself isolated? It’s hard to believe that the idea wouldn’t have occurred to Rick, especially once Morgan re-entered the picture. Instead of focusing on leading a horde of potentially dangerous walkers away, they could have — and should have — realized that their best option was to truly hunker down, and make it as hard as possible for anyone unwanted to find their way into their community. Given Rick’s track record of being defensive in The Walking Dead‘s later seasons, the fact that this didn’t even cross his mind is especially difficult to believe.
Follow Katherine Webb on Twitter @prufrox.
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