Here is episode three of Spoiler Warning’s coverage of episode one of the first season of The Walking Dead, which is the third incarnation of the source material and the tenth season of Spoiler Warning.
I think it would have been an interesting idea to make the stupid evil nutjob a different person from the insufferable abrasive loudmouth bully. Right now the deck is stacked so hard against Larry because he’s wrong, unreasonable, and rude. I wonder how things would go with players if the guy arguing to kill the kid was doing so in a detached, clinical manner, and the person against it was being emotional and irrational. Instead of saying, “Let’s wait until we find a bite”, they could be simply making appeals to emotion and denying that a bite was possible. How many people would lean one way because they want to side with the voice of reason, or the other way because it’s the more reasonable thing to do? With time pressure and uncertainty, you might be able to nudge some people into considering the “kill the kid” side of the debate.
Here, Larry wants to kill a little kid without even waiting to find a bite. He’s so eager to do this that he’s practically taunting the parents. The whole exchange is why I quit watching the TV show. The danger here isn’t from the zombies but from one person being completely unreasonable. His insistence that everyone stop and murder a child without even waiting to find a bite or see any symptoms is ludicrous.
Early in the show I accuse Lily of being “irredeemably evil”. Here’s why: (Spoilers for next week.)
Larry wanted to murder a kid without proper proof of a bite, caused a huge fight, etc etc. This leads him to having heart trouble. Lee is railroaded into risking his life several times to get Larry the medicine he needs. Then at the end of the episode, Larry doesn’t seem to really help in the big fight. In fact, he doesn’t lift a finger until he punches Lee in the face, leaving him to the zombie horde. (I think this only happens if you side with Kenny. If you play the diplomat I don’t think Larry does this.) Larry tries to murder the guy who saved his life because you failed to agree with him when he was being a stupid crazy murderman.
He’s big and strong and willing to use violence to get his way but not willing to use his size and strength to protect others. (Which, okay, he’s got a heart condition. But that excuse kind of evaporates when we see how willing he is to hit living people when he doesn’t get his way.) He’s the biggest liability in the group at this point, and he’s never made to recognize just how wrong he was.
Lily simply supports him without question. If you even try to point out how crazy Larry is, Lily gets angry at you. She can’t be blind to what sort of man her father is. It would be one thing if she was unwilling to side against her dad because of familial bonds, but she openly supports him and never really tries to talk her father down, even though she’s the best person to do so. I was left with the impression that she was going along with him because she agreed with him. In my play-through, I saw the two of them as this pair of dangerous irrational people who couldn’t be reasoned with and who would kill other survivors for their own convenience.
I’ll give the writers credit: This is a tense scene. On the other hand, this is exactly why I hate the TV show. Stuff like this leaves me feeling angry and agitated after it’s over, which isn’t what I look for in entertainment. This is in contrast to a game like Amnesia, where the negative emotion (fear) leads to catharsis when I step away from the game. This just makes me angry and sullen.
Anyway, it wasn’t until I began following the conversation on the game that I found out how much less evil Lily and Larry will seem if you do things a little differently.