We’ve all seen the memes and heard the jokes about Tdog not having any lines on The Walking Dead. Or Rick not remembering his name. But did he need lines? Is talking the only way we get to know a character in a show? Statistics vary, but quite a bit of communication comes nonverbally: our facial expressions, tone of voice, posture, speed of speech, gestures, eye contact and other non-verbal cues–intangibles like personality and humor.
Tdog had a bigger role in The Walking Dead than most people remember or give him credit for- if you look back. His character was on display from his introduction. He spoke up to Rick and fought back against Merle, yet wasn’t a hot head.
He was a thinker. He acted and fought and stepped up and followed when he was needed, but he didn’t just follow blindly. He offered his thoughts and his opinions–at the farm, about the walkers in the barn, at the prison about Oscar and Axel. But he didn’t think his was the only opinion that mattered.
From day one we saw his positivity and his heart. He knew that Merle Dixon was a big mouth bully, but let much of what he did and said not get to him. He also felt for him as a fellow human being and no lines were needed to see how terrible Tdog felt for leaving Merle behind. The look on his face told us everything we needed to know.
He was a member of our group and we watched him get hurt and scared and laugh and smile. He didn’t have to be a big talker for us to love him.
Rick was the leader and he had lots of people debating with him and arguing with him. Tdog was a welcome change along with Glenn. They were with Rick but not as soldiers, as helpers. They didn’t want to be leaders, but they had opinions and ideas and we’re respected for them.
Tdog is who I would be. I would want to have someone else as a true leader, but I would want to be respected and listened to–not just bossed around. I would likely quietly kill walkers and do what was necessary to help the group. I would hopefully be positive when I could be, but also realistic. I probably wouldn’t have many lines either.