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‘Walking Dead': 5 Very Symbolic Things Rick Did This Season

'Walking Dead': 5 Very Symbolic Things Rick Did This Season

No. 2: Killing the pigs

This season of the “Walking Dead” wasn't exactly light on symbolism. People who wanted to see zombies get stabbed in the head real good probably came away very satisfied. But fans looking for meaning had plenty to chew on, too. In fact, they didn't need to chew: most of the symbolism was spoon-fed with a shovel.

In case you somehow missed them — and we're pretty sure you didn't — here are some very symbolic things that happened on the just-wrapped fourth season of “The Walking Dead.”

Also read: ‘Walking Dead’ Season Finale: The Unhappiest Ending of All

1. Rick plants seeds: Get it? Seeds? He was putting down roots, actual roots, in the hopes of his small seeds sprouting into something bigger: A peaceful civilization behind the prison walls. Hey, Carl even started raising pigs for food. This is going great!

2. Rick kills the pigs: Oof. The pigs were part of Rick's grand plan for creating a new, autonomous society. But Rick and friends also discovered one of the drawbacks of close quarters when a virus swept through the prison. Rick blames the pigs, and has to kill them, one at a time, sullenly. Because he is also killing his dream.

Also read: ‘Walking Dead’ Is in ‘Lost’ Mode

Graduates of Mr. Bland's ninth-grade English class at Dodson Junior High — hi, Mr. Bland! — will recall that killing the pig in “Lord of the Flies” represented a descent into savagery. For Rick, it's a little more complicated. The pig-killing is part of a one-step-up, two-steps-back attempt to climb out of savage desperation.

3. Rick finds bullets in the garden. Violence will also intrude on domesticity in the world of “The Walking Dead.” This was probably the most subtly effective scene of the season.

Also read: Review: ‘Walking Dead’ Comes Back Strong, Thanks to Robert Kirkman

4. Rick shows Carl how to set a trap. This was another case of very nice, effective foreshadowing. Rick shows Carl how to catch a rabbit for meat. Later in the episode, the Terminus gang uses almost exactly the same technique on Rick and Carl, along with almost everyone else in the cast.

5. Rick bites Claimer Joe in the neck. Rick borrows a page of the zombies to protect his son and Michonne. Mr. Bland would have loved this one: Man's inhumanity to man, descent into savagery, the living become the dead, etc. This was the most very heavy-handed symbolism of the season, but it worked.

What other very meaningful things did you catch on this season of “The Walking Dead”?

  • J. Powell

    How about the episode with the death of the two girls? it clearly showed that children have a different view of the zombie apocalypse, and also, placing Carol in the position to kill a child, when she in a sense was still dealing with the loss of her own was close to home

    • nelks

      I guess you missed the part where this was about things rick did.

  • yah00fantasy

    The show is called the Walking Dead – it's about living in a Zombie World. So how come it seems like the zombies are not the real problem? It seems like the zombies are even a nuisance to the show that is about them in the first place. It was hilarious how the zombies were like cows cattle lumbering in the distance in small groups outside the prison, and how easily you could side-step an oncoming zombie without any effort, and the zombie just falls on his face. REMOVE all semblance of zombies from the show and just have the people fighting each other just like what they've been doing all along and you'll still have the same Walking Dead show. There are lots of scenes where there are no zombies at all, then all of a sudden one lumbering zombie appears and the people easily stab it in the head and the people continue to go about whatever they were doing…. so the zombies are just nuisances in the show that is about zombies?

    What is the difference between a show that is set in a post Nuclear War where there are no more governments, no law, no electricity, not that much survivors, and NO ZOMBIES. But the surviving people still need to groups themselves and scavenge for survival. Isn't that world similar to the Walking Dead? Same story, same actions of the characters, just without zombies. You can still have a Governor Woodbury scenario, and a Terminus Cannibals setting, and Joe and the Hunters story all without those nuisance zombies. So why is it called the Walking Dead again?

    • HockeyGiraffe

      “The Walking Dead” refers to the people not the zombies.

    • Edward

      The Walking Dead, comics and tv series, isn't about zombies. Its about the survivors, primarily Rick and Carl. It follows Rick and Carl's journey through a world filled with zombies and how they effect the people they meet along the way and how those people effect them. Case in point, Michonne telling Carl that he and his dad brought her back. also, how Rick and Hershel tried bringing the Governor back but failed.

  • SJ

    I think the show is not about living in the zombie world. I think the “walking dead” is a reference to both the zombies/walkers and the living…because becoming one of the walkers is inevitable…man would die anyway. In this show, the zombie apocalypse is the end of mankind as we know it.

  • Cyclops

    Rick's gaunt face and dead-eye look at the beginning of the finale episode. Rick was becoming, in essence, a zombie. His biting Claimer Joe in the jugular just reinforces this image.

  • Cyclops

    The title of the show itself. It could reference the zombies; but it could also reference Rick and Co. Their journey is just as directionless and unfocused as the walk of the zombies. And, as we found out in season three, they are all infected with the virus. They are already zombies. They just happen to have a heartbeat and can talk.

  • ReadHead322

    Carl eating puddin’ on the roof. Not going to explain the obvious symbolism there.