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Just how dumb are the zombies in WD really?

posted by Robert Morgan on - last edited - Viewed by 226 users

Every incarnation of this franchise, from the comic book to the TV show to the video game, insists the walkers are stupid creatures; rotting bodies with rotting brains. But how does that explain the multiple cases of ambush you encounter throughout the game?

I didn't keep count, but there were close to a dozen incidents when a zombie would simply lunge out from some convenient hidey-hole, or even play possum before a convenient human passed by. One of the moments you can't alter no matter what you do (namely Lee's bite) is a huge example of this at work.

Could someone directly involved with the series please make a statement about how smart or dumb the walkers really are?

16 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • Keep in mind as well that people who get attacked by lurkers doesn't meant walkers are smart. Instead, it just means people weren't paying attention (e.g. Lee distracted by looking for Clem).

    At the end of the day, anything that has essentially no self-survival instinct are pretty dumb. Most animals in the wild are cautious/defensive against humans because they at least have the instinct to know we may be a threat. Walkers, you can keep shooting them one by one and they will just keep walking into your gunfire.

  • @RobtMyers said: They're so dumb that they really shouldn't be a problem in a few decades or so. The natural world is so full of all kind of lures and hazards that the zombie population would realistically be in a sharp steady decline.

    Walkers have no ability to discern or avoid danger and are relentlessly drawn to the smell of living things, as well as sound and motion regardless of the source.

    Consider an urban center like Niagra. What famous natural feature there do you think the local dead would wander towards and get destroyed in? Might make it one of the safest places in the world.

    Consider white-water rapids. They're noisy things that switchback through the countryside, and anything caught in them is torn to shreds.

    Consider the sea shore, particularly during rough weather. Ocean waves are loud and powerful and don't care about walker bites.

    Consider winds howling around a cliff, drawing walkers forwards until they tumble from the top like lemmings tossed to their doom by a Disney filmmaker.

    And while they only "die" when the brain is destroyed, there should be a rapidly rising percentage that can only move by crawling around. They might not care if they shatter their femur in a fall, but they still won't be able to stand on it. If the story were ever to skip ahead a decade it should probably be retitled "the dragging dead."

    Maybe there are six billion walkers and less than a million humans left in the world. But the dead's mindless aggression towards noise, movement and smell should be making huge in-roads towards bringing their numbers down.

    yeah, and because they can't heal, just general everyday wear and tear would eventually render them all immobile, just something simple like if the zombies didn't have shoes on they would eventually wear out their feet and not be able to walk, then eventually their hands and arms would go until they are just a moaning torso

  • @RobtMyers said: They're so dumb that they really shouldn't be a problem in a few decades or so. The natural world is so full of all kind of lures and hazards that the zombie population would realistically be in a sharp steady decline.

    Walkers have no ability to discern or avoid danger and are relentlessly drawn to the smell of living things, as well as sound and motion regardless of the source.

    Consider an urban center like Niagra. What famous natural feature there do you think the local dead would wander towards and get destroyed in? Might make it one of the safest places in the world.

    Consider white-water rapids. They're noisy things that switchback through the countryside, and anything caught in them is torn to shreds.

    Consider the sea shore, particularly during rough weather. Ocean waves are loud and powerful and don't care about walker bites.

    Consider winds howling around a cliff, drawing walkers forwards until they tumble from the top like lemmings tossed to their doom by a Disney filmmaker.

    And while they only "die" when the brain is destroyed, there should be a rapidly rising percentage that can only move by crawling around. They might not care if they shatter their femur in a fall, but they still won't be able to stand on it. If the story were ever to skip ahead a decade it should probably be retitled "the dragging dead."

    Maybe there are six billion walkers and less than a million humans left in the world. But the dead's mindless aggression towards noise, movement and smell should be making huge in-roads towards bringing their numbers down.

    Basically what I've said in the past. That they're drawn to loud noises just means they're basically drawn to things that'll kill them; whether it's a waterfall or gunfire. The fact they don't react to pain is a pretty big disadvantage too, since it means they'll ignore things that'll ultimately cripple them, e.g. getting eaten by insects.

    Best I can figure, zombies only seem to be a bit ahead of Jellyfish in the intelligence department.

  • In the comic, the walkers are broken down into two classes by Rick's group.

    Lurkers: Zombies that just sit idle in one place or another. They don't move around and end up passing for regular corpses until something passes by them to arose their attention, in which case they will attack.

    Roamers: Zombies that are constantly on the move. They might have no purpose for moving, but they just do. Maybe they heard a sound in a direction days ago, and they just keep moving that way indefinitely until they are killed or find food.

    In the case of some of the ambushes: Chapter 4, Lee goes into that little shed to climb up over the fence for the second time and is attacked by a walker that wasn't there the first time. Perhaps that walker had earlier seen him go in that way, and followed him. When it got there, Lee had already jumped through the roof, so it just stayed inside. It wasn't intending on ambush, it just had no purpose to move at that point. That could also explain all the other ambushes for why walkers were in those areas.

  • On the show they've established that the virus revives you with nothing more than, if I recall correctly, the reptilian brain. That's where your instincts are. However, with that said, have you ever met an animal that didn't react to noises around them? How about animals that didn't know what type of noises potential prey make? From what I've seen in both the TV series and the game, the Walkers usually ambush when someone is moving around them and making noise, such as the twig snapping under Lee's foot when approaching the police officer's body or Glenn running by a car where a Walker was sleeping in Season 1, Episode 4. There was also in the Season 3 Midseason Finale when the Prison Survivors went to get Glenn and Maggie back. The Walkers were more than likely attracted to the sound of their vehicle.

    That's why a lot of times in the series, you see the survivors making sure to try and keep quiet as they sneak around.

  • I like to think they kinda work like a hive mind, and learn from each other. I forget what zombies this was mentioned for but I recall someone explaining how if a few are banging on a door with no luck, and one uses a rock and is more successful, other zombies nearby learn from that and mimic that. So a few zombies is no problem, but a herd will adapt to the environment faster than a lone zombie.

    I know this might not apply here but I liked that description. And I do believe one walker had a rock in hand in Season 1 when they were trying to bust into the shop that Rick and Andrea were guarding in Atlanta.

  • @Yertos said: I like to think they kinda work like a hive mind, and learn from each other. I forget what zombies this was mentioned for but I recall someone explaining how if a few are banging on a door with no luck, and one uses a rock and is more successful, other zombies nearby learn from that and mimic that. So a few zombies is no problem, but a herd will adapt to the environment faster than a lone zombie.

    I know this might not apply here but I liked that description. And I do believe one walker had a rock in hand in Season 1 when they were trying to bust into the shop that Rick and Andrea were guarding in Atlanta.


    That was just the creators of the television show being stupid retards. I also remember that scene when Morgan's dead wife tried to open a door via a doorknob. I literally facepalmed at that scene...

  • The walkers sometimes fall of ledges, because they can't see them (Episode 5, the elevator shaft)
    They also rely on hearing more than seeing. in Episode 1, Kenny and Doug could completely blend in the wall behind them.

    In the TV series, they are smarter and faster though.

  • If i recall correctly, in one of the letter hacks for the comic Kirkman stated that the walkers will never become more intelligent. From there, i guess it just depends on which form of media you're talking about. The game and comic(where they'll always be stupid) or the TV show(in which they are apparently become smarter).

    I prefer the one where they don't use improvised weaponry. :eek:

  • @CarScar said: That was just the creators of the television show being stupid retards. I also remember that scene when Morgan's dead wife tried to open a door via a doorknob. I literally facepalmed at that scene...

    I think it's pretty clear the creators of the show thought it was a mistake too, atleast after the fact. I don't think they repeated that kind of thing in any of the subsequent seasons.

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