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  1. #1
    airrunner's Avatar
    "Scavenger"

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    Post Themes From We're Alive

    I haven't done an exhaustive review of the Forum since I only joined about 2 weeks ago, but I was looking for a place to post about overarching themes or ideas maybe that people have noticed. Especially with the whole series just being completed, it's a great time to step back and ask ourselves what message or messages is "We're Alive" trying to convey? Art helps us make sense of the world around us and how we experience it. The best Art, for me, speaks to me on a deep level and I know "We're Alive" has that effect on me.

    I have my own ideas on what I think the overall message of the show is, but I need to flesh it out more so I'll wait to offer it. In the meantime I have some other themes that I can throw out there to consider, which I can begin with the next post.

    --Eric

    p.s. If something like this topic already exists on another thread, please let me know so I can fold this thread into that one.
    Last edited by airrunner; Jul 31st, 2014 at 10:13 PM.
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  2. #2
    airrunner's Avatar
    "Scavenger"

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    Leadership





    (SPOILERS: Do I have to give a warning since part of my discussion requires me to cite examples from the Show that could be viewed as spoilers?)














    So the show has a lot to say about what makes a good leader, why people follow leaders, and how leaders maintain their authority when they inevitably screw up. And certainly every leader we see on the show has something bad happen to those under their care during their watch (whether they are directly responsible for it or not):

    1. Michael (fall of the original tower, deaths of Tommy, Bill, and a bunch of redshirts, Angel's death, Burt's incapacitation and torture)
    2. Burt (exile of Lizzy)
    3. CJ (fall of Dunbar, loss of life after the convoy massacre)
    4. Durai (deaths of numerous Mallers due to battle with the original tower and another convoy massacre on the way to blow up the Arena)
    5. Gatekeeper (loss of Colony to the Mallers resulting in numerous Colonist deaths)
    6. Marcus (death of Sean, terrorized his own Colonists)
    7. Colonel Kimmet (annihilation of both Boulder and Ft. Irwin)

    It's also interesting to me that the leader of each of the main groups of survivors had their doubters among those they led at one point or another.

    1. For Michael, his Tower experienced some deserters at times (Carly and Simon among others) and had a near revolt by Kelly and Burt.
    2. With CJ, Dunbar was dealing with deserters as well, especially after the loss of life after the convoy massacre.
    3. As for Durai, it's clear from Scratch's speech that plenty of Mallers were questioning his decision-making that led to deaths of their comrades.

    What I get out of "We're Alive" depictions of different types of leaders is that there is a thin line between a successful leader and one whose followers have completely lost faith in him or her. And that line could have something to do with the qualities a particular leader has or it could just be dumb luck that unavoidable disaster happened not to befall the group. Perhaps there was a superior leader to anyone we met who had the brilliant idea of holing up his group in the City's local professional hockey rink after the May 8 initially went down. And maybe there are a group of slackers out there who happened to be on a yacht during the first mass turnings and sailed out to an island that is untouched and unnoticed by any zombies and has managed to survive in spite of their lack of planning abilities.
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  3. #3
    LiamKerrington's Avatar
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    Hi.

    This is a very good question.

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    SPOILERAGE
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    To me this story is also about family and friendship. It all starts with a "bunch of misfits", civilians and soldiers alike, who tried to survive together as a team. And although things have fallen appart and the original group of survivors was torn apart, in the end they stuck together and were able to survive as a team of friends who besides all doubts have supported each other until the last moments of the story.
    It has shown already when Riley and Angel searched for Datu; their task was supported by Burt, Saul, and Michael who saved them. Another big moment was when Michael took the lead after Saul has organized the trade with Scratch (arguable). Things like that go on and on through all seasons of the story.
    And in the end the friendship has been fixed in the person of Nicholas, who - by the words of Kc himself - gathers bits and pieces from all the friends' personalities; this makes them more then friends, somehow they have become a - odd - family.
    So, trust and bond: I think that's what is behind all those relations between the figures.

    This shows especially well in all those dark moments, when one does something very stupid, but he or she is not sanctioned by the others; instead they do everything to keep him or her in the community while accepting the shadowy path their friend has walked on and supporting him or her remaining or becoming a good person (again). This is best displayed in Burt he prevents Riley from shooting Scratch.

    Best wishes!
    Liam
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    Zombie Story:
    - raises the acceptance of killing humans in huge numbers,
    - reveals everything bad and and even worse about human behaviour and psychology,
    - is fun.

  4. #4
    YetAnotherBloodyCheek's Avatar
    "Destroyer"

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    - Hubris
    - Lies
    - Truths
    - Hope
    - Losing the social superstructure and becoming increasingly more savage
    - Moral flexibility
    - And finally, as we all might think that we have all the information we need to draw any conclusions - it is just this very sentence: "The first casualty of War is Truth"
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    Pegs' pretty precious potato planter

  5. #5
    airrunner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LiamKerrington View Post
    Hi.

    To me this story is also about family and friendship. It all starts with a "bunch of misfits", civilians and soldiers alike, who tried to survive together as a team. And although things have fallen appart and the original group of survivors was torn apart, in the end they stuck together and were able to survive as a team of friends who besides all doubts have supported each other until the last moments of the story.
    It has shown already when Riley and Angel searched for Datu; their task was supported by Burt, Saul, and Michael who saved them. Another big moment was when Michael took the lead after Saul has organized the trade with Scratch (arguable). Things like that go on and on through all seasons of the story.
    And in the end the friendship has been fixed in the person of Nicholas, who - by the words of Kc himself - gathers bits and pieces from all the friends' personalities; this makes them more then friends, somehow they have become a - odd - family.
    So, trust and bond: I think that's what is behind all those relations between the figures.
    "Friends as Family" is definitely a theme in WA. And it's one that resonates with me as my Mom passed away when I was 30 and my Dad disowned me. Basically, other than my brother, I don't have an active family life, so having friends around me as "found family" is important to me. Perhaps that is why I like the WA character so much - they feel like friends (and thus) family to me.



    ****SPOILERS*****













    Staying with that theme, WA really illustrated this idea of friends as family the way Michael viewed the redshirts who lived in the original tower. I think he said that of the wave of new survivors who moved into the Tower after Lizzy, that the only ones worth mentioning were Kelly and Tommy. And then he did it again when I think it was James who was being offered as the scapegoat for Pippin's murder. Michael said something like "I know I sound like an a** but who is this guy again?" I laughed so hard because it was like KC was adopting the audience's perspective towards redshirts/non-main characters which is to say "we don't care about them." For Michael and us it's the main characters who become his and our friends. I'm used to writers introducing disposable characters whose sole purpose is to die so that the audience feels more tension and believes that the outlook of the main characters is dire. But rarely do the characters, themselves, reveal this bias in how they perceive the disposables so blatantly. Another example, Stephen, the redshirt who almost crossed the line and became a main character, again voiced the plight of disposable characters when he challenged Burt's attempt to downplay Lizzie's violation of the Rules of the Tower, as rules that only apply to the friends of the Tower heads. Finally, CJ came swooping in during Season 4 to portray a main character who does care about the redshirts with her eloquent recitation of the background of Jay and Glenn, a redshirt who did become a main character, after Datu became infected at the well pump station.
    Last edited by airrunner; Aug 3rd, 2014 at 05:57 PM.

  6. #6
    airrunner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YetAnotherBloodyCheek View Post
    -
    - Lies
    - Truths

    ***SPOILERS*****





    Definitely these, although the lies the character told were usually lies of omission. CJ engaged in this in Season 4 as she didn't tell the Colonists that she hadn't come there to save them and she covered up Burt and Riley's desertion by retroactively granting permission. The former was self-serving but also for the good of the group, the second was definitely for the good of the group. She also lied about what she already knew concerning Ground Zero before sending Vic and Saul there. But, at this point they weren't exactly allies. Victor did a lot of lies of omission too, in initially not telling CJ that he knew who Sean was when his name was mentioned after CJ explained what she knew about Kalani and Ink (this after Saul demanded that everyone stop hiding things from each other) and then in not telling her that the Mallers had no connection to Sean's death. Both of these lies seemed self-serving. Then he withheld information about Angel's death by Scratch in order to spare people their feelings. Burt did not tell Riley about Lizzy's death when he learned about it, again to spare her feelings. Early on, Michael withheld information from the rest of the Tower that they were running out of water. Like CJ's lies this was done for the good of the group. Since the water plant incident he really hid from everyone the story about Randy due to his shame. Tanya lied about the tests she was running on hers and Saul's blood for self-serving reasons because she couldn't trust what the rest of the group would do if they knew she and Saul had the same Keratin levels as the infected. Let's see, Angel lied about taking Latch's body to give to Scratch, I guess for self-serving reasons and to ease Peg's mind. Kalani, obviously, lied all over the place to protect his daughter. I think that's about it. Saul (the lie about Sean was Vic's, Saul just was an accomplice in the lie), Datu, Lizzy, Pegs, Riley, Kelly, Glenn, Pete, and the Ft. Irwin Soldiers - all seem pretty straightforward and honest.

  7. #7
    Kc's Avatar

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    Gamertag: kc wayland Steam ID: waylandprod
    Quote Originally Posted by airrunner View Post
    Let's see, Angel lied about taking Latch's body to give to Scratch, I guess for self-serving reasons and to ease Peg's mind.
    Angel also did this to try and appease the mallers, into possibly making a sort of truce with Scratch. It didn't work, but that was also a little bit for the group. He knew how Scratch would take it.
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  8. #8
    clem131's Avatar
    "Body Removal Team"

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    Something just hit me: what's up with the swat van being taken from the colony? That was a big freaking deal at the time. Did I miss the closure on that one? Was it Scratch? Ink? Damn, I have to re-re-re-relisten to season 4 again :P

  9. #9
    Gnex's Avatar
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    Overarching themes .............

    1) Zombies are bad
    2) Never trust people with tattoos all over their bodies
    3) CJ is Evil


    Done!
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  10. #10
    Kc's Avatar

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    Gamertag: kc wayland Steam ID: waylandprod
    Quote Originally Posted by clem131 View Post
    Something just hit me: what's up with the swat van being taken from the colony? That was a big freaking deal at the time. Did I miss the closure on that one? Was it Scratch? Ink? Damn, I have to re-re-re-relisten to season 4 again :P
    The van was over-run outside the colony after it tried to escape- and those were colonists trying to flee.


 
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