Wednesday, October 23, 2013

What Would Darrel Dixon Do?

Darrel Dixon, a character in AMC's "Walking Dead," is happy to shoot any problem with a bolt from a crossbow.
Academics and serious amateurs will note my family's appreciation of the "Walking Dead." The show, set in the zombie apocalypse of present times, showcases a group of rugged survivors as they make their way through the devastated landscape of the American South.

Part of the melodrama is who will survive the assorted challenges, so characters come and go and only a few core characters remain after four seasons.

The character my kids most celebrate is Darell Dixon, a chopper-riding, crossbow-wielding, muscle-shirt-wearing son of the South. What little back-story I have picked up on (I haven't seen all the seasons or episodes) is that he lived a hardscrabble life before the apocalypse which trained him for a life on the run from "walkers". 

He doesn't say all that much, but is very effective at knocking out the zombies. I would like to believe this highly effective trait of getting things done (in the zombie apocalypse) is the reason he is popular with the kids.

I like the action of the series, but admit that I find none of the characters all that appealing. Rick, the obvious protagonist, spends way too much time in stupors of rage or lamentation. All the reasonable characters were killed off, so perhaps by default Darrel Dixon is the most compelling.

The season we are now watching has the survivors at about 10 months after the "outbreak." They use an assortment of weapons like crossbows, swords, hatchets, crowbars, and machetes in an effort to save ammo and keep themselves covered in sweat and zombie gore.

In much the same way I geeked out on "Lord of the Rings" so, too, do I see this happening with this series. In the "Rings," fans gravitated toward different creatures based on temperament and weapons. For examples, dwarfs were stout and stubborn and fought with battleaxes, while elves were nimble and used bows and arrows.

For a while the daughter was impressed with a katana-weilding wild woman, calling her a major source of bad-assery, but eventually she succumbed to the laconic Darrel, who thoughtfully takes a moment to don a leather vest or tie a bandana to his head before joining the others on a gore-splatter mission.

I doubt the writers will challenge Darrel with nuances of the tax code or have him calculate the emotional needs of his companions, but, hey, this is the apocalypse, and shooting stuff with a crossbow is pretty cool.

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