BG Blogger discusses the meaning of the title “Shiva” as it relates to the themes and events in Episode 207, the mid-season finale of Fear the Walking Dead
When Nick chose to stay behind at Abigail’s home, he looked to Madison and observed,
Immediately, the title of the episode made sense to me–Shiva, is the name of the Hindu god who is responsible for destroying the world so that it can be remade by the god Brahma.
Daniel acted as Shiva, lighting the cellar and the rest of the buildings ablaze, forcing, or maybe allowing, the group to move on to somewhere else, to start anew in a place that he believed would be less evil.
Nick said the words with such weight that it seems his accusation went beyond just the fire. He identifies with the walkers; he sees something almost peaceful and pure in them, just as Celia seemed to. When he said the word “we,” he implicated all of mankind.
The idea of nature fighting back against man has been a major theme since the start of Fear the Walking Dead. George told Travis that the world had enough of the harm done to it by humans and chose to fight back, to stop the destroyers by using their own bodies against them.
The parallels between the god Shiva and the theme of destruction both of the house in Mexico and the planet itself make the title of the episode fitting, but as I contemplated it more, I realized it was even more appropriate.
The term shiva can also refer to the act of “sitting shiva,” a period of mourning that Jews observe after someone has passed away. While sitting shiva, the tradition is to sit on a low stool or box while well wishers visit to express their condolences. The seat’s height is meant to symbolize being “brought low” by the passing of the deceased.
In his own way, Daniel was sitting shiva when tied up in the cellar. He sat on a chair, doing nothing but contemplating the dead. He saw and spoke to his beloved wife Grizelda. He heard the echoes of a soldier commanding him to pick up a gun and commit his first act of murder.
Grizelda said that Daniel only ever atoned for his sins in his sleep when he was caught up in dreams, but in the mid-season finale, Daniel finally mourned, not just for his wife, but for his victims and for his boyhood self, who Grizelda identified as a victim in his own right.
After being brought low, Daniel rose and sought to save Ofelia from a place he was convinced was evil. He lit the fire, not facing down the walkers, but the people he lost and sent from the world of the living. His mourning period had come to an end, and I think his life likely has as well.
But we’ll have to wait until August to find out.
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