The Walking Dead: Playtime…is OVER.

Major Dodson as Sam Anderson, The Walking Dead -- AMC
Major Dodson as Sam Anderson, The Walking Dead -- AMC /

For Sam, his safe world is imploding: The wall’s fallen and The Walking Dead have entered, and he can’t handle it. Playtime is over, but, is it HIS FAULT?

Major Dodson as Sam Anderson, The Walking Dead -- AMC
Major Dodson as Sam Anderson, The Walking Dead — AMC /

This past Sunday on The Walking Dead, things in Alexandria got completely “MotherDick-ed” straight to hell: The herd officially breached the walls, everyone had to scramble to get inside, Maggie got stranded on the lookout post, a mob of walkers broke into Jessie’s house (Thanks to Ron — I still hate him, by the way), Deanna, after being fatally wounded and bitten, died a hero’s death fighting the walkers, and Rick, Jessie, Michonne, Carl, Father Gabriel, Ron, and Sam were forced into the precarious situation of making the long march to Olivia’s storehouse through the herd, all while covered in “walker cloaks” slathered with entrails to mask their scent…with Sam (Rather loudly) trying desperately to ask his mother a question.

And that is who I want to talk about: Sam. It seems, lately, that fans are getting down on the poor kid, thinking that he’s a liability to the group and the community at large. From a purely pragmatic standpoint, it’s tough to argue with the naysayers: Sam is even less capable of dealing with walkers than his brother, his largest concern seems to be where his next supply of cookies are going to come from, and, he’s terrified to even leave the second floor of his house! Worst of all, though, as Rick, Carl, Michonne, Father Gabriel, Jessie, Ron, and Sam are attempting to escape, Sam, not even whispering, is calling out to JessieIf the walkers don’t hear him and attack, it will be nothing short of a miracle. By comparison, Carl, even by season two, looked like friggin’ RAMBO!

…But, can we really blame Sam for how he’s acting?

Major Dodson as Sam Anderson, The Walking Dead -- AMC
Major Dodson as Sam Anderson, The Walking Dead — AMC /

Sam is what, nine, ten? He’s right around the same age as Carl was when we first met him, and, he’s not that different than Carl was at the beginning of the zombie apocalypse: He’s confused, and more importantly, he’s scared. It seems like people overlook the fact that he’s a kid. While the idea of doing (Insert requirement here) to survive seems pretty basic to you or I, we’re adults, we get it (Although, in Sam’s defense, a lot of the adult Alexandrians don’t seem to grasp it yet, which is part of the reason Jessie gave her speech after having to kill Betsy’s walker in “Now” in the first place), but, for Sam, this may be too much for him.

Incidentally, what I said earlier about Carl looking like Rambo, yeah…I lied. Do you recall what Carl was like in season’s one and two of The Walking Dead when the herds made their way, first, to the Atlanta camp, and then, to Hershel’s farm? I do: He was terrified, and, who wasn’t? At that point in the apocalypse, the ENTIRE GROUP was terrified of the walkers, especially in large numbers. Carl didn’t become Carl as we know him now until the group made their way to The Prison, when he went to find medical supplies for Hershel after Rick was forced to amputate his foot! In fact, this brings me to another point: Carl didn’t really adjust until the group went through a whole winter in the apocalypse, and that was after thinking his dad was dead, losing his best friend (Sophia), getting shot, having to kill his surrogate father to defend his real one, and watching not one, but two bases be overrun by herds, and losing several people at both; In short, it took A LOT for Carl to become Carl as we now know him. It did NOT happen overnight.

impaled walker, The Walking Dead - AMC
impaled walker, The Walking Dead – AMC /

This brings me to something else that seems to be overlooked (Though perhaps, the fact there’s a week between each episode and episodes following specific situations may be several weeks apart is contributing to this…) in this discussion of how much of a liability Sam is: He has had, from almost a pre-apocalypse mentality, watched as first, his home (Literally) is invaded by The Wolves, and now, by an enormous herd of walkers…in two days. Carl got months to adjust to the zombie apocalypse, Sam is being asked to do it in TWO DAYS. The fact he hasn’t crumbled into a crying mess in the face of what he’s being asked to adjust to is downright stunning.

All of this raises another point: Why is it that Sam hasn’t been made to adapt to his new environment (Before The Wolves attacked, of course)? I mean, how long has it been since things went down? Three years?! It think the answer lies with where he is. Look at the rest of Alexandria, how many of the Alexandrians can you name who are/were even remotely capable of combating walkers? Aaron? Heath? Scott? Annie? David? Who else? …Seriously, who else? You can’t, and that’s the problem: Almost none of them are prepared to deal with the very situation they find themselves in, hell, Jessie just came to terms with it, what, a day ago?! How can anyone expect Sam to be ready to deal with a walker invasion when his own mother just came to grips with what their existence is now going to have to be not more than A DAY AGO?! 

Major Dodson and Alex Breckenridge as Sam and Jessie Anderson, The Walking Dead -- AMC
Major Dodson and Alex Breckenridge as Sam and Jessie Anderson, The Walking Dead — AMC /

Once again…you can’t. The fact is: Sam isn’t responsible for how he’s behaving at this point. He’s been brought up these last three or so years under this illusion that what’s going on outside of the walls of his hometown wasn’t going on, because his mom and the entire community, for the most part, have been blissfully (And willfully) ignorant of the situation they found themselves in! They’ve been playing house and throwing parties and letting Sam just play around and not prepare either mentally or physically to deal with the fact he’s living in a zombie apocalypse!! Reality has, quite literally, come crashing into their world to show them just what the world is like now, with the horror and death that comes with it. If Sam (Or anyone else, for that matter) is going to survive, he needs to be made to understand that this is what things are like now, or he, along with a lot of other people, are going to die. Suffice to say, playtime…is OVER.

More from Undead Walking

Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed this and maybe, if you were one of those people who’s been a little hard on poor Sam, this may have made you look at things differently. If you did enjoy this, let me know! And, if you REALLY loved this, and wanted to see more of my thoughts on the zombie apocalypse in general, why not pick up a copy of my book, The Rules: A Guide To Surviving The Zombie Apocalypse for Christmas, Hanukkah, or whatever holiday you might celebrate! You can also find it on Kindle here or on iTunes here!