Hershel & George, Or the Difference Between TWD & FTWD

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Hershel & George, Or the Difference Between TWD & FTWD

BG Blogger talks about the fundamental difference between TWD and FTWD as shown through the characters of Hershel and George


When I was doing my rewatch of “Bloodletting” and Hershel said this to Rick:

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I couldn’t help but think of this moment from Fear the Walking Dead:

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George and Hershel both view the situation with the walkers as part of the natural order of things, but their conclusions about what that means are very different.


When we first met him, Hershel believed the walkers were like a bump in the road, a brief interruption as nature’s course corrected. He believed they could be cured and that they would be restored to what it once was. Even after he realized the truth, Hershel never lost his optimism, believing in the good in people, particularly Rick, who he thought could come back from the dark place he found himself in during Season 3.


In many ways, The Walking Dead is a show about how people from different backgrounds, walks of life and families can come together and fight to survive. We cheer for Team Family through everything because they never give up. Not when the farm burned, not when the prison was destroyed, not when the walkers swarmed Alexandria.


And then there’s Fear the Walking Dead. When talking about the walkers, George paints a bleak picture. The optimism that Hershel had is gone. He believes this is permanent. This is the end of things. Even Travis is led to believe the same thing, saying “Nature always wins.”


Fear the Walking Dead has struggled to gain the same following as The Walking Dead, and many people say the show isn’t as good. After watching “Bloodletting,” it struck me that fundamentally, the shows are about different things.


FTWD is not about people coming together and pressing on despite challenges. It’s one about how the effects of the world of the walkers lead to families coming apart at the seams.


Time and time again, we’ve seen people being broken.


George, his wife and daughter were all dead by the end of the episode that he appeared in. Now at the mid-season, Strand has lost his lover, Celia lost both of her sons, Chris is losing his grip on his humanity, Nick is seeing humans as nothing more than agents of destruction, Travis and Madison are separated and Ofelia may have lost her father due to Daniel’s madness.


During FTWD Season 1, many people complained that the show skipped over things falling apart, not showing much about how things progressed once the dead started walking. But the show is about things falling apart–just not society.


It’s how the family unit is destroyed by the shift. In many ways, Fear the Walking Dead is infinitely darker than The Walking Dead for this reason.


By the time we met our Team Family in Season One, their families had mostly already been torn apart. They had already been broken and were starting to rebuild new lives. The grief of that initial loss had passed and there was room for hope, for optimism, for characters like Hershel and Dale and Bob, who shined light even among the darkness.


FTWD isn’t that world. Nature is just beginning to beat the families we’ve come to know. Maybe it will evolve over time or maybe it’s not meant to ever have the same tone as The Walking Dead. But for now, the two shows that take place in the same world couldn’t be more different. You only need to look at Hershel and George to see that.


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Bicycle Girl

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

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