How Do You Solve a Problem Like Lori?
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.