Zombie Cliche Lookout: Keeping the Pressure On
Surviving the zombies apocalypse is all about balance. It’s about balancing risk and reward. It’s about balancing your stress. You have to balance the added security of joining up with others with the added stress of having to keep them fed. The survival pressure is absolutely relentless, which is why it’s so important to savor ever small victory, with the understanding that another setback is likely on the horizon.
This also holds true from a meta perspective. In telling a zombie survival story, you have to strike a balance between keeping characters in danger, but not completely overwhelming them. They have to have something to keep them going beyond narrative necessity (e.g. plot armor).
About this Episode:
Yeah, that’s a pretty big key, right? I mean, hilariously oversized to the point of being completely impractical. That is also, to the best of my knowledge, the only key made by LEGO that’s available. I shouldn’t have put it in the comic, but when I was looking for a key prop, that’s the first thing I found and I thought it was hilarious. Sure, it looks like it would unlock a giant door from the middle ages and not, say, start a panel truck in 2017, but I have to use what I have available, right?
Discussion Question: Keeping the Pressure On?
As we’ve discussed a time or two in this comic, it’s a narrative necessity to keep characters in zombie stories on their toes. They can’t have too many wins, and they can’t feel too safe for too long. In fact, the only time they should really feel safe at all is when they’re getting setup for another big, painful setback.
I think this is a staple of the horror genre, but I imagine is shows up elsewhere. What other types of stories are characters constantly kept a hair’s breath away from complete failure?