While watching "No Way Out," The Walking Dead Season 6 winter premiere, I started thinking about the myriad ways we've seen our band of not undead heroes ward off the zombies over the years.
Rick, Daryl, Maggie, Michonne, Glen, and crew have sliced, burned, stabbed, hacked, shot, and exploded their way out of many zombie pickles over the years.
The one "sure fire" method for getting the zombies to leave you alone, however, is pretty simple: smear zombie guts all over yourself and you can walk among the zombie hordes pretty much unperturbed (that said, at the risk of a mild spoiler for those who haven't yet watched "No Way Out," it helps to stay quiet while partaking of this zombie defense technique). In fact, the "zombie guts" technique was discovered and executed perfectly way, way back in "Guts," the second episode of the series and, fictional timeline-wise, shortly after the zombie apocalypse jumped off.
Over the years, we've seen the zombie guts technique utilized occasionally, and you may want to even say flat out rarely based on the overall zombie onslaught that the main cast of characters on The Walking Dead have faced to date.
You see where this is going, right? It begs the question of why the veteran zombie fighters of The Walking Dead aren't using the zombie guts technique early, often, and nearly always in fending off the undead biters.
We know that zombies love to bite on the humans but aren't in the least interested in messing with each other. In fact, the zombies seem to have some, if vague, affinity or bond to one another -- if perhaps only because they are communally drawn to sounds or the smell of alive humans. And we know that slapping and slathering oneself in zombie guts hides the smell of very much alive humanity to zombie nostrils (ah, to be a zombie smelling the sweet smells of a rose orchard come spring, but I digress). And we know that the live humans of The Walking Dead have known this for a long, long time.
So why aren't they getting their zombie guts slathering on early and often? Whenever the crew goes out on one of its endless series of patrols (where things never go wrong, right?), why not find some zombie guts and take a quick dip before hitting the road? There never seems to be a lack for zombie corpses to choose from for such an endeavor. In fact, it would make sense for there to be a zombie gut vat or repository going on constantly on the home front so people can get a quick and efficient zombie dip going before hitting the road.
In fact, even during the most peaceful days for Alexandria, they would have been wise to have people -- and especially the kids -- going around outdoors in zombie soaked gear at all times. Really much more effective than guns, which effectively draw the zombie hordes upon first fire, when it comes down to it.
Is it gross? Yeah, of course it is. But that's a small price to pay for warding off a quick bite and flip to the other team.
This line of argument gets into some of the problems that The Walking Dead faces as it trudges deeper into its run. The audience is savvy and even jaded as to all of the ways that the cast have battled the zombies over the years. What may make the most common sense for the characters to do won't necessarily tie into what makes the show more interesting, which then leads to a kind of dissonance in terms of what makes the story most believable.