TWD TBT: Religious Symbolism in TWD Epx502 Strangers
Bicycle Girl talks symbols in Episode 502 of The Walking Dead in this week’s TWD TBT post
How’s it going, Dead Heads? It’s time for another The Walking Dead Throwback Thursday, and this week, I’m going back to an episode I touched on briefly when I discussed how Bob could be a Christ-like figure. When I was writing that post, I stumbled upon some other symbols that relate to some of the main characters in the series.
Let’s take a look, shall we?
When the group enters the church to scout Michonne, Carol and Glenn all focus on different items that have meaning. First, Michonne passes a sign that says Amazing Grace, referring to the lyrics of the hymn that go:
“Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I was once was lost, but now am found
Was blind, but now I see”
and later she focuses on a child’s coloring page that shows Baby Moses floating down the Nile in a basket. Underneath the drawing, the child has written “40 Years of Wandering.”
To me, these two images symbolize Michonne’s time on her own with her walker “pets” and after she and Andrea parted ways. Michonne was lost in grief and had become a shell of herself, wandering for what must have felt like 40 years. Because of Rick and the others, Michonne was able to move on from the past. She is no longer lost; she has been found by her new family.
Carol finds a notebook where Gabriel seems to have copied the entire Bible. On the page that she looks at, Carol sees one line in bold letters.
Even as she reads the page, Carol is clutching the gun that she used to kill Lizzie, and earlier in the episode, we are reminded of the fact that Carol killed Karen and David. The scripture seems to be a reminder of the guilt that she feels.
Glenn stops to look a framed picture.
All throughout the series, Glenn has remained a force of good. He has never killed a living human, and in Season Four, he was kind to Tara even though she had been a party to the murder of Hershel. The road was difficult, but Glenn kept going, trying to find Maggie. He did “reap” in that he found her again, and the two managed to escape from Terminus with their lives.
Glenn continued to do good beyond this episode. He forgave Nicholas and gave him another chance, and whether or not he intended to, Nicholas ended up saving Glenn’s life by killing himself and giving the walkers a meal. I hope that Glenn will again reap and be rewarded for not giving up by making it through Episode 609 safely so he can be back with Maggie.
During the episode, five scripture readings are also shown in the sanctuary. Let’s take a look at them in order from top to bottom:
“We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” — Romans 6:4
This verse references Christ coming back from the dead and promises that people who believe in him will also be able to come back to life after death. In the world of The Walking Dead, we know this doesn’t happen by ascending into Heaven, but by coming back as a walker.
“So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone.” — Ezekiel 37:7
“and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. ” — Matthew 27:51
These verses bring to mind the idea of the walkers’ bodies coming back to life and moving on their own. It also reminds me of this quote from Hershel:
“During those days people will seek death but will not find it; they will long to die, but death will elude them.” — Revelations 9:6
As I read this quote, I can’t help but think of all of the walkers that were clearly the bodies of people who committed suicide, people who tried to escape death only to return to a half life as a zombie.
“In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, ‘Why do you look for the living among the dead?'” — Luke 24:5
This verse makes me think of the idea of the entire group being the “walking dead” as Rick would say in a later episode in Season 5. Even though the group is alive, they live among the dead and are a part of them, and at their worst, wandering without food and water, they are almost difficult to tell apart from them.
The Bible verses and religious symbols in Strangers remind us of the past of the characters and of the state of the world in which death is ever present.
That world can overwhelm a person and make them forget that they are living at all.
It can stress a person to the point of taking the lives of others even if they never would have conceived of doing something like that before.
But for a small few, it only serves to drive them forward, to push them to keep fighting, to keep holding onto their humanity, so that one day, perhaps, they can reap what they have sown.