Saturday, February 24, 2024
Tv Series

Shane Walsh – One of the biggest regrets among the great television characters seen in recent years

Shane Walsh - One of the biggest regrets among the great television characters seen in recent years

When we think about The Walking Deadan AMC series currently available on Disney+, the first face that comes to mind 99% of the time is that of Rick Grimes: his expression when in the very first scene he realizes that the little girl he wanted to approach was actually a little wanderer, the meme together with a Carl who is still at a young age or his face which, season after season, becomes increasingly filled with a beard and is emptied of all positive emotions. Only after thinking about him we begin to visualize the other characters: Carl – precisely -, Michonne, Maggie, Daryl, Negan and all those who took part in numerous seasons or in any case who lasted longer in more recent times. Only after thinking about it again and again do we probably think of Shane Walsh’s face, which at the beginning of the series was so important that it had a place in the theme song among the three broken photos depicting the protagonists, and which then unfortunately ended up in that list of characters from TV series that they could have given a lot but instead they ended too soon (and too bad).

Rick Grimes and Shane Walsh: The Walking Dead’s first showdown

Shane Walsh appears among the protagonists in the first and second seasons of the series now on Disney+, and as a very welcome guest in the third and ninth. At the beginning of the series he is one of the main characters, among those who the very first departing group relies on to succeed survive in a context that is not exactly simple. From the first episodes, however, we also begin to understand what his past is and what led him to arrive at the situation in which we find him when we get to know him. Before the beginning of the end, Shane was a Cynthiana police officer, Rick’s colleague and best friend who instead was a deputy sheriff. When Rick fell into a coma due to a botched operation at work, Shane began to get closer to both his friend’s wife – Lori – and Carl, establishing a very strong bond with them. A bond that however resulted in the beginning of the zombie apocalypse a relationship with Lori (who meanwhile thought that her husband, unconscious in a hospital bed, was now dead) and to a relationship that had a lot to do with the father-son relationship with the little one.

The Walking Dead (640×360)

But what could have been in Shane’s mind a new happy Mulino Bianco-style family with zombies in tow turns into an unfulfilled desire. In fact, things change radically when, in the third episode of the first season, Rick joins the group in Atlanta. At first seemingly happy to see his friend again, Shane quickly realizes that Rick’s return to Lori and Carl’s lives changes the cards on the table for him too, involving both a breakdown in her relationship and a change of direction in her relationship with Carl. And it is precisely at this moment that the clash between Shane and Rick begins, one of the most stormy relationships that the series visible on Disney+ has ever seen (and it has seen many), a friendship that is also a constant struggle because it is lived by two people who have as their goal the love of the same people. A clash which – we already know by now – will not end well for Shane, but which will also forever affect the soul of the one who had previously been so close to him and who then became his main enemy, zombies aside.

This is how the transformation of an alpha male who feels deprived of what belongs to him begins

The family ideal that he had created and the role of group leader are suddenly taken away from him by the return of Rick Grimes to life, and this deprivation immediately translates into an increasingly uncontrollable violent instinct. He is caught by Dale as he is about to shoot his friend to eradicate the problem at the root: without Rick everything would go back to how it was before, but luckily he is unable to do so. Subsequently attempts to rape Loria gesture from which the woman manages to escape but which also marks a very powerful watershed, a before and after which are then further outlined in the second season of The Walking Dead, when in order to escape from the walkers, Shane uses one of his traveling companions as bait. It is at this moment that the mental transformation also begins to take shape in a physical change, with the haircut made to hide the fight with Otis and the fact that he had pulled out a lock of his hair. And for Shane it’s the beginning of the end.

The Walking Dead
The Walking Dead (640×360)

From now on everything that Shane Walsh does will bring him one step closer to the final decline: the discovery of Lori’s pregnancy and the awareness of the fact that she has every intention of raise the little girl she is carrying as her and Rick’s daughter, Sophia’s death and last but not least Randall’s murder are all pieces that build the same puzzle made up of delusions of omnipotence, but also of the feeling of not being enough compared to his dearest friend but also intimate enemy. Shane sees Rick as a role model and at the same time someone he doesn’t feel up to, the person who has everything he would like and who therefore must be eliminated to allow a redistribution of what is in his power. The love of Lori and Carl, the esteem of the group, the role of the one who makes the decisions: this is what Shane wants with all his heart and what Rick – without even having to ask for it too much – has. And his desire to recover them brings him in a vortex of obsession from which only Rick’s knife will be able to get him out, but in the worst way possible.

Together with Shane, the possibility of cohabiting in a new world dies

As we realize what the story behind the return of Rick Grimes is, deep down in our hearts we know that a world in which he and Shane coexist amiably does not exist. We know that the clash between the two will begin to escalate and that one of the two will have to die sooner rather than later, and we immediately imagine who it could be. Shane was designed to be contrasted with the protagonist of The Walking Deadthe one who brings to the screen more than a man a heroic entity whose goal is save not only his group but all of humanity. As such, Shane is and must be the antagonist, the one who is willing to do anything – even kill – to pursue his personal goal. However, this does not mean that the moment he dies our heart breaks a little. Excellent as a seasonal villain, but even more so as a representation of a problematic humanity well before the arrival of hordes of walkers in the world, Shane is an antagonist we succeed within some way that sometimes we don’t even like, to empathize. We see the evil, but deep down we are also able to read the reasons behind it and hope that it can change. It doesn’t happen, and with Shane also dies that possibility of improvement and reinvigoration of the soul to which perhaps only Negan will be able to give a new space many seasons later.

And so, my dear Shane, you are a great regret. But maybe that’s the only way it could have gone: not even a zombie apocalypse will be able to remember us what it means to be human.