How Do You Solve a Problem Like Lori?

1107dealwithlori Separator

by Angelle Bonnecarrere

I have been a fathful watcher of The Walking Dead since it premiered. I often joke that Sunday nights are “when my stories come on.” I love the characters and have analyzed their storylines and wept for their departures like my mom wondering if Cricket is ever going to come back to The Young and the Restless.

If you have not seen Sunday’s episode, “Killer Within,” I would not read further… SPOILERS AHEAD

I’ve watched my fair share of what would be considered sci-fi/horror TV shows and movies. We as an audience, male or female, love when a female protagonist is put in a position where she needs to become a “bad ass.” She picks up an AK-47 and just knows how to use it without having to be told. She Krav Maga-s her way through a wall of bad guys, does a back flip, AND SHE’S A VAMPIRE WHO CAN JUMP OFF BUILDINGS! YEAH! This is awesome and we love them and want to dress up as them for Halloween or Comic-Con, because f-yeah! I know I enjoy watching a woman take charge of saving herself and looking hot while doing so.

It’s an art.

However, is it an art that is doing a diservice to the characterization of women in these type of shows?

Not every character can be a Sarah Connor (or Walker), or a Selene, or even a Lara Croft. Not every woman in a crisis can pick up a gun and shoot some bad guys in four-inch platform heels. So what happens when we want a character to be believable? When we want her to be flawed and maybe just a tad incompetent?

We are left with Lori.

From the beginning, The Walking Dead has done its best to give us a REAL interpretation of what life would be like “at the end.” Whether that end is a zombie virus, a nuclear disaster, or just the eventual downturn of civilization. It’s dark, it’s gritty, and not everyone is going to make it. This is not a show that is going to have a slew of beautiful women who are nurses by day and killing machines by night. This is real. This is your neighbor who is a working mom who probably has never even seen a gun, much less held one, who all of a sudden has to save herself and her children. She will do her best and probably make some pretty bad choices along the way.

At the beginning of season one, we meet Lori not as grieving for her presumed dead husband, but having a romp with his partner and best friend. It may be the zombie apocalypse, but we all need some stress relief after seeing people eat each other. Through the course of the next few episodes we learn that Shane may have not told Lori the whole truth about Rick and that he in fact is very much alive. After his return, Lori is torn between the two men, but quickly realizes her fling with Shane, was just that, a fling.

Season two saw more of Lori’s bad choices coming back to haunt her, including the downspiral of Shane’s mental stability, culminating in the news that she is pregnant. This leads to the inevitble showdown between Rick and Shane and we all know how that ended…

Throughout all of this, Lori’s character was called annoying, whiny, and the internet naysayers wondered why they couldn’t just kill her off. The show would be so much better without her meddling. What I found peculiar is that not one of these people made mention of the fact that Andrea’s character was arguably making even worse choices than Lori. She treated Dale like something on the bottom of her shoe and allied herself with the group’s resident psychopath. Why weren’t they calling for her head on a platter as well?

Andrea carried a gun like she meant to use it and that earned her place on the show. Carol cried and moped her way through season two, but is killing zombies and flirting with Daryl now. No problems here.

Lori took issue with Carl learning how to use a gun, had an affair, and got pregnant…off with her head.

I couldn’t tell who was hated more at one point, Carl being a kid or Lori being his mom. The memes that popped up post-season two made me laugh when they mentioned how Carl would wander off (as kids do when they are bored) and get in trouble (as kids do when they are bored), but the ones with Lori just made me angry. Obviously the writers noticed the backlash as season three opened with a very pregnant Lori, Carl taking out some zombies like a boss, and Rick barely managing to look Lori in the eye.

Well, congratulations Internet, you got your wish. After four episodes of Carl and Rick treating Lori like less than a human being, she died while giving birth. Carl walks out stunned and Rick falls to the ground devastated. I cried my eyes out.

We had the nerve to complain about a character who made very real, very bad choices, but ultimately may have represented how we would act were we faced with the same situation. Not every man is a Rambo and not every woman is a Trinity, all tight leather outfits and trigger happy. We are flawed, we are overprotective, and we fiercely love those we hold dear.

Lori was the part of humanity that Carl and Rick needed to hold on to. Love.

I, for one, am sorry to see her go.


    14 Comments

  1. TanjaNovember 7th, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    I really didn’t like her character but was very shocked when she got killed off – and that’s something I wouldn’t have expected. The fact that she got this kind of dramatic exit saved her character on some level – at least for me. It made me feel something else than annoyance with a woman who wasn’t just simply “real” or “flawed” like we all are.

    People didn’t not like her because she was real but because she KEPT making the wrong choices and didn’t learn from them. She kept stringing Shane along and when he was getting out of control she basically told Rick to kill his former best friend. And when he eventually HAD to kill him she had the audacity to be mad at him for doing so.

    While I just think that Andrea is stupid and naive, Lori was self-rightous. I was very happy with the way season 3 started because it made SENSE that Rick and Carl treated her this way. She deserved it. In the end kiilling her off and having her sacrificing herself for the baby was an act of absolution for the character.
    I don’t know…it made me ‘hate’ her less somehow.

    Plus: I don’t think the writers just caved and threw her under the wheels because the public didn’t like her. The whole episode with her and T-Dog dying just gave the show a new push.

  2. EmilyNovember 7th, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    I agree with everything that you said yes Lori made some stupid choices but who wouldn’t if they were afreaid of getting eaten anytime you hear a noise. Marriage these days hardly stay together in our “normal” world but in the middle of the world ending every couple are going to have their ups and downs..

    overall I’m sad to see Lori go

  3. waschalNovember 7th, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    ach. She is back next season. Sarah lost her head 😉 So she can survive this 😉

  4. NatalieNovember 7th, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    I agree with you completely on Lori. She was the representative of the flawed character no one wants to see in Hollywood.

    What we must remember is this is based off of a comic book, and while I didn’t read the comics, I did get some back ground to each book. I knew this was coming, but I didn’t want it to. AMC already made different choices while writing and I was hoping that they would have chosen this to be different as well.

    I would have liked to see Andrea go instead of Lori. I’m sorry if you like Andrea, but I can’t stand her. After what she pulled with Dale, I lost all respect for her. On top of that she kept using losing her sister as a “feel sorry for me” move. At least I thought so.

    We’ll just have to see how the next episode comes out. I’m excited to see how Rick does, who mothers the baby, and if the baby even survives.

  5. Michael MoleroNovember 7th, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    You’ve made several good points, but you forget to mention the fact that the show is more or less predetermined, following the story of the comic book. If you think the way she died in the show was bad, you haven’t seen her comic book death and the events that immediately surround it. Comparing the two, there was absolutely no disservice done.

    Every character in the group was shown getting offed either on camera or through their eyes (ala Dale). Everyone up until Lori. The writers obviously felt that the right thing to do, the humane thing to do, was to let the finalizing gunshot be only heard and not seen.

  6. PeavesNovember 7th, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    I have read both the books and dissected TWD TV — the stories in the book and the characters are going in different directions, so for my comment, I am going to comment on TV Lori, which is what Angelle’s piece is about. As a viewer she was annoying, but also a real portrayal of a woman at the end. Keep in mind though, that she was Rick’s wife, a Sheriff’s wife, so she possibly knew how to handle a rifle, and also never underestimate the strength of a mama defending her cubs. So, that part of her character I could stomach. The part about this show that keeps me hanging on is that every character is is truly driven for a reason. We are looking at people, who probably more than likely never would have been friends in the regular world, but because of this apocalyptic event, it’s down to the bareness of their humanity, which needs to happen once in awhile. Lori’s fate is ESSENTIAL to the psychology of Rick’s character, as you will see in the upcoming episodes, and it will forever change the direction of his character- as she really was his only driving force to keep progressing in the way that he was.

    @Michael from what I understand, from peeps who are “in the know,” TWD TV is going in a different direction than the books starting this season– still basically premised by KIrkman though. It’s going to have to fit according to production needs. As you know, one of the most beloved characters (Daryl Dixon) isn;t even in the CB’s… so they’re doing a fantastic job,

  7. PeavesNovember 7th, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    Glenn Mazzara has stated that he will never dishonor the original story lines and that it’s a character driven horror show.

  8. EmmaNovember 7th, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    I was actually GLAD they killed her off – you do make valid points, but seriously the woman couldn’t make her mind up one minute to the next. Now if they could just get rid of Andrea as well……

  9. PeavesNovember 7th, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    Oh no, make no mistake, first annoying woman in the clan is getting “friendly-fired” if it was me. But, it was just explaining WHY she was important there. Steps need to be taken for Rick to become what he does….

  10. RamahNovember 8th, 2012 at 8:13 am

    There’s always an annoying character, Lori was it. Everytime she did something annoying it put me off the show! She nagged like anything, and seriously as a mother (which I am) if I was in a situation like that I’d be grabbing a gun and protecting my kid. It seems the prominent mothers in the show have been protrayed as weak and irritating. In real life I’d say it would be the mothers who were the leaders. When your kid is in danger, the adrenalin kicks in and you take control!!

  11. AngelleNovember 8th, 2012 at 11:44 am

    These are all great points and I do agree that the woman couldn’t figure it out. The Shane saga was one I questioned myself. My friend Angela made a good point that Lori was just trying to see who would float to the top between Shane and Rick. I agree on some level that if Rick had died, Lori would have been loyal to Shane, but only to a point. She saw him losing it and I doubt it would have lasted long.

  12. AngelleNovember 8th, 2012 at 11:47 am

    Also just a head’s up…I have NOT read the comics. Only a few things on Wiki and since the show deviates a bit I’m just going to take it as its own thing…

  13. PeavesNovember 11th, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    @angelle i totally get that, and the piece explains that wonderfully… thanks for clarifying because people constantly compare the two. I saw a panel or interview between Charlaine Harris and Alan Ball of Sookie Stackhouse Novels & True Blood and they were talking about same thing… characters and stories from a book to TV, and Charlaine Harris said, “I don’t tell him how to write his show and he doesn’t tell me how to write my books.” TWD this season is starting to sort of stray from the novels now, but under Kirkman’s advice I believe.

  14. PeavesNovember 11th, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    so all in all, it IS its own thing, rightly so discussed in your write up! =)

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