The Walking Dead: The Moral Mess of Terminus

The-Walking-Dead-Season-5-trailer-350Any dedicated fan of the show has no doubt witnessed what our favorite group of survivors has had to endure throughout their time in the apocalypse. Life as they once knew it is gone, and the constant search for food, water and supplies (along with the brutality of their environment) takes its daily toll.

And as the story continues, we can see how the characters change – some for the better, and some for the worse. But perhaps the most dramatic and controversial change can be seen in the inhabitants of Terminus.

[Spoiler Alert – if you’re not up to speed on TWD, stop reading here!]

So what do we know about Terminus? We know that it was once a safe haven for survivors.  It was a legitimate sanctuary.  And we know that they were over run at some point by rapists and pillagers.  After enduring horrific torture and punishment, the “Termites” did eventually take it back and exacted their revenge (did they actually eat the bad dudes?  Do we know for certain?  In any event, revenge was dished out).

Here’s the moral dilemma — because of what they endured, do they have a right to be the way they are? In other words, are they excused from having to follow a basic moral code that’s unspoken but goes something like, “We shall not eat other people, ever”?  Is what they endured so horrible, that going forward they have the right to trap innocent people, thus butchering them and processing them for food?

Seeing as how we don’t live in a zombie apocalypse (yet), it’s hard to see things from their perspective — from a survival-at-all-costs point of view. But I subscribe to the theory that there comes a point where they cannot use the terrible things that were done to them as an excuse.  They took their camp back and punished their captors.  What does that mean for all of the other people who have wandered into the camp?  Did Rick and the gang deserve to be eaten because of crimes committed by others?

Perhaps the most haunting aspect of this comes next. When the gang escapes, Rick wants to kill each and every one of them, yet a few step in and tell him to let them be.  Well, for those who have watched what happens to Bob, it becomes crystal clear that if Rick had been permitted to kill the remaining “Termites,” then Bob wouldn’t be the main course of a cannibal banquet right about now (a Bob-beque, perhaps?).  Talk about hindsight being 20/20. (A side note… he was crying outside when they captured him — can we deduce that perhaps he was bitten?  Does this mean that the Termites could be eating infected meat?  Or, when cooked to a certain temperature, will the virus die inside human flesh?)

Where do you weigh in on this issue? Were the people of Terminus justified, or had they gone too far?