Deanna, TWD and the Social Order

Update: Post-11.22.15 Episode:
Deanna may have a screw loose. It’s one thing if those plans are for survival within reinforced walls and protection. But she wants to expand? Optimistic, yes. Prudent? Not exactly at this juncture. Other things may need to be prioritized first.


 

The other day I was thinking and I had an insight. Now that I’ve recovered from that harrowing experience, I will share that insight with the rest of you.

Was into the simple solution for mankind’s many existential woes?

No.

It was about The Walking Dead.

What else did you think I would have an insight about? How long have you been reading this blog?

So, I’ve written elsewhere (or so I recall) that historically, characters representing social institutions really don’t end up being very … reliable. Or likable, or dependable, or moral.

In fact, they end up being pretty skanky, at best.

Let’s review:
Religion:
Father Gabriel  – holed himself up in the church while he let his congregation die gruesome deaths, only for them to un-die again.

Law & Order:
Lt. Dawn Lerner – Holds Beth captive, pimps her (and another patient) out. While her motivations are somewhat pitiable, she’s still not anyone that will inspire you to look on the law enforcement institution with confidence.

Medicine:
Dr. Steven Edwards – ensures job security through murder.

Science:
Dr. Edwin Jenner, CDC – became very nihilistic and blew himself up, happy to oblige anyone who wanted to ride the incineration express on his coattails.

Why have I not brought up The Governor yet? You may ask.
Well, gimme a minute.

I thought about Deanna. Deanna may not live up to my hopes and dreams, but there’s some promise here. She is the first character to represent any formal social order – she presides as the political head of her community – that seems trustworthy.

Some may argue she has committed a grievous error in underestimating the truth and reality of Rick & Co’s experiences initially. My recent premise has been that that narrative is one of morals of Season 6: listen to the people who have lived outside your walls if you want to build a stronger society. They (we) know what monsters lurk out there and we know how to fight them.

Where I find promise in Deanna is that she does just that. She listens, she heeds. She has her moment of shock and awe, and then she gets over it.  In terms of being a community administrator, I’m hoping she turns out to be every much the badass Carol is in terms of military covert ops (disguising herself as a Wolverine).

In one of the last scenes of one episode, Deanna is seen marking up crop placements on the map. Maybe I’m being naive to think she’ll actually get to execute her plan, maybe she is too. The point is, though, that she’s reacting to the reality around her, and she always has. She steps away where she recognizes that Maggie and her group are, at that point, the more able fighters during the Wolverine crisis. It’s unfortunate, and she’s weak for being that way, but she recognizes that reality. She recognizes the true nature of her son, Spencer and his faux leadership pose.

Deanna does what we all should do when working to build our society: listen to the people who’ve survived the dangers from which we need to protect ourselves. Listen to the outsiders. Respond, don’t just react.

So, I have hope, probably misguided, for our little Alexandria.


As an aside, this is where I want to stick my little head into the moral debate on Morgan’s responsibility for letting the Wolverines live, and did that lead to the attack. Well, hindsight is twenty-twenty. In that moment, Morgan was contemplating killing that seemed unnecessary in that context. He didn’t know about Alexandria, he didn’t know they were outlaws. His context told him they were dumb, mean kids and he’d given them their whuppin’ and let them go, hopefully wiser men.

And yes, we do say “whuppin'” down there.

 

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