Running From The Walking Dead – The Why and the How & Character Introduction

A few weeks ago I listed five reasons we wouldn’t want to see parkour on The Walking DeadI still believe all those things, but I also believe there’s a way it could work. I think a character proficient in parkour could add a lot to the show. In fact, I’m going to try my hand at writing that character in.

In case you’re a time traveler reading this from the far-flung future, as of this writing we’re currently waiting for season 3 to start. The farm has been overrun, the survivors are headed toward the prison, and we just caught a glimpse of sword-wielding, zombie-domesticating badass Michonne.

Season 3 is obviously already written and shot, so I’m going to skip right to Season 4. Since I haven’t seen season 3, I have to make some assumptions about what happens. I assume:

  1. The group will have to leave the prison by the end of the season, and be back on the road, probably near a city.
  2. Rick, Glenn, and Maggie are still alive by the end of the season.

I’m not saying it’s going to be easy. Our primary cast is approaching double-digits, and there just isn’t screen time to devote to another one in a single season (especially a half-season of thirteen episodes like TWD gets). So if we’re going to introduce a new character, it has to be a secondary character. They’ll get some screen time, sure, but the stories shouldn’t really ever be about them.

At the same time, they’ll also have to serve a purpose. I don’t want a token character, one who’s only there to fill a demographic. This character should be a tool to drive the story, to force one of the main characters to grow and adapt, and introduce an additional layer of drama.

Introducing the Character

The scene would open with the main group of characters making their way along the outskirts of the city, presumably looking for a safe place. Cut to a shaky-cam shot of a man running through the same city. Back to the group, Darryl hears something and holds up his hand to stop them. Back to the man, we now see he’s being chased by eight to ten walkers. Continue cutting back and forth between the group – who’s listening, hiding, and trying to determine the source of the sounds- and the fleeing man – who’s jumping, swinging, and rolling through the street as he evades his undead pursuers.

Finally someone spots him and we get a better look: he’s in his late twenties, athletic, and generally attractive. He’s using parkour to evade the walkers. Somebody states the obvious – “We’ve got to help him!” – but too loud, and one of the walkers turns to look. The man shouts at it, and it turns back and starts chasing him again.

At this point the group notices he is losing the walkers one by one, as they get stuck in trash, fall off cars and ledges, or are blocked by fences and walls. Maybe one manages to get a little too close, so he pulls out a telescoping baton and dispatches it before continuing on. After he seems to lose the last of the walkers, the group continues on.

Soon after, the group hears something again, only this time it’s close, and coming for them. Weapons drawn, they wait as our character emerges with a hands-up-don’t-shoot moment. He assures the group he’s lost all the walkers, and introduces himself as Andrew. He mentions that they look like they need a place to stay and offers to take them to a safe place he’s been hiding out. He explains that he’s been hiding out here for a few days, making runs out to to gather supplies. Maggie asks if it’s safe for him to go out alone, to which he makes some sort of arrogant remark about how, “anyone else would just slow me down.” Maggie looks impressed, Glenn looks jealous.

Now we’ve set up Andrew’s primary role in the story: someone to seriously threaten Glenn and his usefulness in the group. Up to this point, Glenn has been the party’s go-to guy to retrieve supplies, provide recon, even act as a decoy. But it’s very likely that Andrew is better at all of those things than he is, and he’s also better-looking and more confident. The more time Andrew spends with the group, the more Glenn is going to second-guess himself and question his own value.

We don’t have to see Andrew much after this for a while: He’ll slide into the background as  the group focuses on whatever the primary arc is for the season, only to show himself when needed to continue Glenn’s character arc.

This should be enough to pique your interest. I’ll talk more about that next week. See you then!

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