Spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 7 Episode 4 follow.
The fourth episode of The Walking Dead’s seventh season made several direct callback to fallen characters. Not only were Abraham and Glenn named by Spencer (and referenced by Negan with a “ginger” line) but for the first time in years, the names “Lori” and “Shane” were spoken.
Quick refresher: When Rick woke up in the apocalypse, he found his wife and son only to discover his wife thought him dead and started sleeping with her police partner. A few months later, she delivered a baby but both Lori and Shane ended up dead.
The burden has weighed heavily on Rick. However, in Sunday’s Service episode, Rick opened up about the subject to Michonne.
There is a reason why fallen characters are not named very often. It’s part of what makes The Walking Dead so unique. Rather than mourn characters and show the aftermath and immediate effects of their deaths, the cruel world simply carries on without them.
“I actually love that about The Walking Dead, that, it’s a repeating thing, they don’t do these mournful, sad moments when somebody dies and then everybody else in Alexandria finds about it,” said Spencer Monroe actor Austin Nichols. “They don’t ever show that, and I actually really appreciate that because it would probably end up being super-melancholy and repetitive because it happens so often.”
The moment between Rick and Michonne which named Shane and Lori for the first time in years was only used out of absolute necessity. Rick revealed Judith’s true father in an effort convince Michonne that he was doing what’s best for everyone in his life – everyone in Alexandria. He had no other option and the reveal was organically a part of The Walking Dead’s narrative.
“She says to him, ‘It’s not your fault every time something bad happens,’ because he carries that on him like a leader does,” Michonne actress Danai Gurira said.
Mourning the dead properly is something which made add a sense of levirty to The Walking Dead. Most characters are remembered – often times buried – through the extent of their death episode but, beyond that, only last in terms of impact. No one mourned Nicholas. Tyreese was quickly a thing of the past. Hershel had no funeral. Glenn and Abraham were killed in the show’s most iconic moments but never given a proper burial in Alexandria.
It is all part of what makes The Walking Dead, The Walking Dead.