Heath and Tara exchange proves depth important on The Walking Dead

Heath. The Walking Dead. AMC.
Heath. The Walking Dead. AMC. /

Things have gotten bigger in the world of The Walking Dead. But the heart of the show hasn’t changed. The depth found in the dialogue is still there.

Something I’ve always admired about The Walking Dead is the athletic prose of the storytelling in the scripts and in the lean and meaningful dialogue. There is so much to be extracted from so little in every way.

So much rich symbolism, emotion, and psychology revealed with such tight scenes and exchanges mixed with the suspense, and tension of the walkers and the changing world that is the zombie apocalypse.

The Walking Dead has always been able to introduce characters and have us learn so much about them with very little screen time. We can love them, hate them, fear them, distrust them, change our minds about them with just one small action or sentence.

While there has been quite a bit of discussion about ratings and bottle episodes and things like that recently, I realized something with the conversation between Heath and Tara in the RV that makes me remember what is at the heart of trusting The Walking Dead. 

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The show has always been fearless. If you’re going to be fearless, you need to take risks. There’s an expression “no risk, no reward.” The expression isn’t, “if you risk, you’re guaranteed reward.” So keep taking risks, The Walking Dead. I trust you.

The show has always had deep, meaningful dialogue within normal exchanges and has put together interesting character combinations. Tara and Heath are a great pair to be together on this supply run.

Tara came to us from a very innocent situation in her home with her father. Locked up with a huge supply of sketti rings and her father, sister and niece. Her own mini Alexandria. She didn’t know about the world out there.

She was taken in by The Governor who showed her the bad out there, and then by Glenn and Rick’s group who balanced that with some friendship and training. People who gave her that attitude she has had since then of “we do things for each other.”

Heath had the same things with a little timing twist. He had his Alexandria and then he thought his Governor was Rick’s group. But he wasn’t aware that Rick’s group was really trying to help him from the real evil out there that Heath hadn’t seen yet.

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The conversation with Heath and Tara was beautiful and intense. He was trying to figure out how to become something he was not. He had chastised Michonne for what Rick had said about leaving the Alexandrians behind if they couldn’t keep up. He had prided himself in not leaving anyone behind.

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Now he had seen and done things that he never imagined he would do. He did them for the good of the group to help the group, yet he saw that if the cruelty of the world comes right to your face, you may be forced to leave people behind. The very people you thought you were fighting for in the first place.

None of this added up. He was trying to make sense of something that could never make sense. The dead coming to life doesn’t make sense. Things don’t always make sense. Tara was the perfect person to listen to him. She doesn’t worry about things making sense. She doesn’t think about it.

She runs and tries to save Spencer when he does something stupid and her reason is ‘because that’s what we do.’ Her reason for telling Eugene he has value no matter what is ‘welcome to the human race, asshole.’ Tara flips off Rick when he yells at her. Tara doesn’t worry about making sense. She acts on the good until she is forced to make the difficult choice that won’t make sense.

So, it’s okay, Heath, that you didn’t know anything before the way you were living in Alexandria. You’re in this together with us now. If you have to make a tough choice at some point, you have to make a tough choice. But we’re in this together now.

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And to the writers of The Walking Dead, I trust you. You have to make lots of tough choices. We’re in this together. If all of your choices don’t make everyone happy all the time, that’s the way it goes. You’re the ones with the grand plan. You’re the reason we have a show we love. It will all make sense when it’s time to make sense. We need to be more like Tara and stop trying to make sense of things that don’t need to make sense yet.