The Female Perspective: Women of The Walking Dead, Part II

Welcome! This blog is written by author J.L. Metcalf and will chat about comics, movies, garden gnomes, ghosts or even books and daily life. It is a place where I offer my ladylike perspective on anything and everything my brain can think of. 

A few weeks ago, I did a post about feminism on The Walking Dead. After last nights powerful and female-centric-ish episode, I wanted to take a look at that a little bit more, focusing once again on Carol but also looking at Maggie and Sasha as two other powerful women on the show.

It was one of those episodes of The Walking Dead that is quiet, nothing really happens and yet, it’s amazingly powerful. It was an episode about finding your way after so much death. About trying to figure out if you had it in you anymore to simply survive in this new, horrible world. It was an episode about family.

You don’t get to choose your family and in this episode, it’s made clear that while they weren’t able to choose each other (for the most part), they fell in together because of shared ideals and needs. They work well together because they all want to survive. They are unable to simply give up and die. They won’t give up the hope that some day, they’ll find a place to finally call home.


Last nights episode focused a lot on Maggie and Sasha and their struggles with the loss of Beth and Tyrese. For Maggie, it was a devastating blow to think her sister dead in the chaos that followed the Governor’s siege on the prison, then to find out that her sister is actually alive and that she was going to get her back. To her then arriving at the hospital only to see her dead sister being carried out by Daryl. It was too much for her to be able to shake off and move on. She had to figure out a way to grieve, she had to figure out a way to see the point of all this pain.

She's tough AND fragile. A wonderful combination.
She’s tough AND fragile. A wonderful combination.

I wasn’t sure about Maggie when she first came onto the show and often, I’m still not sure about her. I find her to be a bit irritating but I also enjoy her toughness, her inability to give up or give in. She is almost raped by the Governor but it doesn’t break her, she keeps going, she keeps fighting and she keeps surviving. She watches her father get beheaded (again by that dang, pesky Governor) and yet, she keeps going.

In last nights episode, we see Maggie sitting in the forest, sobbing, a zombie comes up behind her and she slowly gets up, stabs it and sits back down to cry. This has the effect of showing us how desensitized they are to zombies being around them and how deep Maggie’s sadness really is.  She isn’t yet depressed to the point of not doing anything to save herself, but she could be…oh yes, one day, she could be.

Sasha, Oh Sasha...
Sasha, Oh Sasha…

Then we have Sasha, oh Sasha, I don’t know what to think about you! I liked you, then I didn’t like you, then liked you and now, you’re just being a pain. When everyone has a plan to knock zombies into a hole so they don’t have to fight (because they are so weak from lack of food and thirst) she decides it’s time for her to stab some zombies with wild and reckless abandon. Sound like anyone to you? Yep. She is mimicking her brothers grief after the death of Karen (I think his lady was Karen) when he became so self-destructive that all he wanted to do was FIGHT dammit. While this is admirable in a situation that warrants it, it was a horrible idea here. She jeopardizes not only herself, but her entire “family” who now have to help her fight them off. Everyone is weak, tired and slowly dying of thirst and it is a horrible thing to watch them fight as though they are moving through a bowl of molasses.

Sasha is suffering, but she is so self-centered in her grief that it becomes irritating. Everyone in that group has lost people. EVERYONE. They are all grieving and she knows this. But when Abraham tries to extend an olive branch (or whiskey bottle as it were) she snarls at him and states, “We are not friends.” – OK then. Be that way! So I’m still troubled by Sasha. BUT, that being said, she is still an awesome shot with that rifle and I actually enjoy the way I can’t decide if I like her or not, it’s proof of a great actress doing great work.

I simply adore the friendship between Carol and Daryl. They really are a dynamic duo.
I simply adore the friendship between Carol and Daryl. They really are a dynamic duo.

Finally we get to Carol (and Daryl), Carol has been through a lot recently. First she was kicked out of the group, then she saved the group, then she was hit by a car and then watches Beth die. Yeesh. This is all after being married to an abusive jerk and seeing her daughter lost and turned into a zombie. Yeah, Carol’s been through a lot. Even with all that, she is there to mother Daryl through his own grief. She is there to remind him that “she knows him better than anyone” and gives him a kiss on the forehead. She reminds him that he has to grieve, he has to cry or else he’ll take them all down with him. She is the voice that keeps him going and I love her dearly for that. Then later, we see Daryl weep alone in the woods and you know that he heard her, that she gave him a permission he was never going to give himself.

So what does this all mean? It means that The Walking Dead is doing an amazing job of writing complicated, powerful and fragile women that I want to see survive more than anything because they are fighting so damn hard for it. Bravo Walking Dead, bravo.

I also want to quickly add (I know, this post has turned into a BEAST) that Glen really shined last night. He reminded Maggie that she had to stay alive, that she was needed and loved and then he tried to do the same for Daryl. He really stepped up and tried to be there for his people, showing a beautifully kind and even feminine side to his personality that made me so joyful. We are seeing men portrayed as both strong and fragile on this show and it’s wonderful.

What did YOU think of last nights episode? Did you feel differently? Let me know in the comments!!

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