Talk about timing. The explosive Season 3 finale of “The Walking Dead” was broadcast on Easter Sunday, when resurrection, in the religious sense, gloriously triumphs. This show, however, has put an entirely different spin on resurrection, twisting the underlying archetypal theme of victory over death into something unthinkable.
“The Walking Dead” has always been about reanimation, a theme tied to Pluto’s association with death, regeneration and transformation. In the first episode, Rick (Andrew Lincoln) emerged and revivified himself from a coma, a bitter taste of what would unfold. We learned, along with him, that anyone who dies of whatever cause undergoes a mini-resurrection. The dead “turn” and become flesh-eating zombie marauders unless their brains are decimated. Putting a bullet or knife to the upper part of the head takes care of the physical threat. But at the same time, the second “killing” also obliterates the whatever solace and hope traditional resurrection offers. Look at what it did for these lumbering entities.
In this season’s next-to-last episode, the Governor (David Morrissey) killed renegade Merle (Michael Rooker) but didn’t finish him off, ensuring Merle the sorry resurrection that would emotionally tear little brother Daryl (Norman Reedus) to pieces. In the finale, the psychopathic Governor was even more diabolical. He fatally wounded his formerly loyal right-hand man Milton (Dallas Roberts) knowing that, on revivifying, Milton would attack and kill the chained Andrea (Laurie Holden). Upon being found by her old mates, Andrea, who has been bitten, bypassed resurrection and went straight for the brain.
This is not to say “The Walking Dead” is unredeemable in its bleakness. The show’s Christian theme is carried by Hershel (Scott Wilson). His chosen biblical passages which speak of spiritual victory to the faithful – in full view in the finale – are perhaps the only transcendent spark the community of survivors has going for it. Despite these hopes, “The Walking Dead” – a drama whose landscape is barren of any glimmer of it – has secured its reputation by mocking resurrection itself. The show takes the concept of “life-death-life” to the far more riveting “death-life-death.” The finale, titled “Welcome to the Tombs,” focuses on an un-Easterish rising up that’s gruesome and far from luminous. Three seasons in, we’re gotten used to them.
Astrology Television Rating: ♇ (Pluto)