Examining the Symbols in Fear the Walking Dead 206

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Examining the Symbols in Fear the Walking Dead 206

BG Blogger discusses the episode title, those creepy owls and other symbols found in “Sicut Cervus,” Episode 206 of Fear the Walking Dead

 

Often, the titles of Fear the Walking Dead episodes take a little thought to analyze, but in this week’s episode, “Sicut Cervus,” we were greeted with it the moment the episode opened.

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In the very first scene, the boys choir was singing the melody of “Sicut Cervus,” a hymn by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina. The words to the song in Latin are:

 

“Sicut cervus desiderat ad fontes aquarum, ita desiderat anima mea ad te, Deus.”

 

Which roughly translates to…

 

“As a hart (deer) longs for the flowing streams, so longs my soul for thee, O God.”

 

The words come from Psalm 42. Here is the rest of the text:

 

2My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?

 

3My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God?

 

4When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me: for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday.

 

5Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.

 

6O my God, my soul is cast down within me: therefore will I remember thee from the land of Jordan, and of the Hermonites, from the hill Mizar.

 

7Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts: all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me.

 

8Yet the LORD will command his lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life.

 

9I will say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?

 

10As with a sword in my bones, mine enemies reproach me; while they say daily unto me, Where is thy God?

 

11Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.

 

 

From reading the entire Psalm, it becomes clear that the words here reflect the priest’s message from the opening scene. He talks about how the dark times that the people find themselves in them leave them questioning god, but he says that:

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The priest is calling his parishioners to arms against Celia. They clearly believe that she is the evil force that needs to be reckoned with. Perhaps they want to kill the walkers that she’s keeping to ensure their own safety or maybe they blame her directly.

 

When you consider the other symbolism in the episode, I don’t think that these members of the church were planning to pull a Shane and kill the walkers in their cellar. I believe taking Celia out was at least part of their goal.

 

Why?

 

It’s those owls. Owls appear twice in the episode–first on Luis’ coin

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and later carved into the tree above what Ofelia took for a holy altar.

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In Mexico, there are legends about lechuza, women who are powerful dark witches that have the ability to change into the form of an owl by night. Owls are largely associated with witchcraft due to these stories and other superstitions. I believe the people of the village saw Celia as a witch. Maybe they hold her responsible for the zombie apocalypse, or maybe she has done things to them that we’re not aware of yet.

 

At any rate, before they could go to estate to face her, the parishioners fell dead one by one poisoned by the communion wafers. Poisoning everyone who takes communion is a pretty expedient way to get rid of an entire congregation, but I believe Celia’s choice of murder weapon is significant.

 

Holy communion is meant to be a reminder of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The wafer is his body, while the wine is his blood. To Christians, taking communion is a way of deepening one’s religious faith of remembering that Jesus died so that humans could be resurrected in Heaven.

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In the world of The Walking Dead, the dead are resurrected, but it’s not to some heavenly home. They walk lifelessly among the living.

 

But to Celia, they are not lifeless at all. She told Nick at the end of the episode that the walkers are not dead. They are what comes next. Does she believe that by poisoning the people she has helped them become resurrected to a higher state of being? Did she see her action as good the same way she thought Strand’s decision to follow Tomas into death was noble and right?

 

Is it possible that she, like Hershel, is confused about the walkers, a superstitious person who is trying to make sense of the state of the world?

Or is she something darker? Is she a witch?

Was Madison right to tell her to stay away from Nick? Has she already begun to cast some kind of spell upon him?

 

We’ll have to tune into the Mid Season Finale next week to find out. In the meantime, follow me on Twitter for more BG Blogger.

Bicycle Girl

Freelance writer from Pittsburgh. May or may not be a walker whose bicycle was stolen by Officer Friendly.

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