In Sunday’s episode of “The Walking Dead,” “Do Not Send Us Astray,” the Saviors finally carry out their plan to attack the Hilltop with zombie-blood tainted weapons.
Things don’t go exactly as planned; actually, Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and the Hilltop pretty much stomp them, but some characters do get injured with the infected weapons and eventually turn into zombies.
Among the victims, I’m sorry to say, is Tobin (Jason Douglas).
Some peeps might be like, “Tobin? How’s that guy still alive?”
Yeah, I agree. How did Tobin outlast Carl (Chandler Riggs), a kid who survived two gunshot wounds and the potential threat of diabetes after eating an entire supersized can of chocolate pudding?
If you think about it, Tobin is like the best contestant on “Survivor.” He is just kind of around, doesn’t make too big of a splash, but has vital contributions when needed and probably has an immunity idol.
Tobin is a survivor, so it’s a bummer when he gets stabbed by a Savior with an infected knife, eventually turning into one of the undead and attacking people in the Hilltop compound.
But this all raises one question: How?
“The Walking Dead” is in the latter half of its eighth season now and over the years we’ve seen characters repeatedly cover themselves with zombie guts and get cut by weapons that have been contaminated with zombie blood. (Spoiler alert!) Nothing happens to them.
Notably in Season 6, Rick (Andrew Lincoln) cuts his hand on a weapon sticking out of a zombie and just keeps on trekking. The moment started some speculation that his hand was infected and he’d have to cut it off, but nah, dude was OK.
In “The Walking Dead” comics, infected weapons do eventually cause characters to turn into zombies, but with the show having established scenes where people don’t turn, is Tobin’s situation just a blatant plot hole?
Douglas (aka Tobin) himself argues against that.
“I think what we have to accept about the convention of this show ... we’re all infected anyway, but that infection can accelerate if we are really bitten or whatever in a way that really gets that into our system, and so a deep cut versus a scratch is gonna make a difference about how infected we get,” he told HuffPost.
“I’m sort of with you, if you’re going to be completely covered in blood, is there a chance that that infection gets into your system? What about if you already have a cut and then you cover yourself in the blood? … I think there’s so much we don’t know. I mean, we’ve already accepted the convention that the dead can come back to life and eat people, so I think we have to remember that that’s where we are, and I don’t think we can expect everything to be just so.”
Fair enough. But even in a universe where we accept that dead people come back to life and choose to eat humans over something much more accessible and tasty like unlimited soup, salad and breadsticks at Olive Garden, you have to have certain rules, right? Up until now, those rules seemed to include the fact that zombie blood alone wouldn’t turn you and that when you’re at Olive Garden, you’re family.
Douglas says that the way the Saviors used the weapons should also be considered.
“I think we have to accept that this is where we are and, frankly, just the aggressive way that the Saviors are using the walkers’ blood to really get in and infect people.”
I floated the idea that perhaps the walker blood the Saviors used was more potent than regular walker blood thanks to all the toxic waste we’ve seen around the Savior facilities. The actor agrees that could be the case, but adds the show would ultimately have to back it up.
“I think at a certain point you have to justify that by kind of making that connection on screen, so it actually plays out that way. I mean, until then it’s just conjecture. So much of what we do as fans of this genre [is], you know, ‘How could this happen? How could these things lead to those things?’ I just think it’s enough that they’ve dipped bullets, certainly knives, in fresh walkers’ blood, and they’re sort of immediately coming and using them on whoever they can find,” he said. “It’s more than just getting walker blood on them.”
Tobin isn’t the only character who got injured on the show, noted Douglas. Tara (Alanna Masterson) gets clipped by a Savior arrow.
“I guess we’ll have to find in the coming weeks if that becomes an infection or not. I’ll just leave that there,” he said.
Though the actor makes a good point, that Tara only received a small injury and may not turn because of it, it seems more likely that the arrow she was hit with wasn’t even infected.
On the show, Dwight (Austin Amelio) is the one who shoots Tara, and it seemed he only did so to stop another Savior (Steven Ogg’s Simon) from killing her. In the “Walking Dead” comics, Dwight similarly uses a clean arrow to injure Rick but not kill him. It appears this may be the same deal.
For what it’s worth, Douglas is cool with how Tobin went out.
“I’m grateful that he could die with his boots on,” he said, recalling how the character has gone from a somewhat selfish, cowardly guy to dying in a big battle as “someone who became far more selfless.”
Unlike Douglas, I’m still not totally cool with the zombie blood turning people, but, hey, what are you going to do? As my man Ron Weasley would say ...