A Look at The Walking Dead‘s Theodore Douglas

Season 2 of AMC’s The Walking Dead wrapped up this past Sunday, kind of a big deal when you take into consideration the fact that the show was pulling in roughly 10 million viewers every time it aired. There are blogs all over the place discussing the big reveal, so feel free to head over there if you’re wondering what all the fuss is about. This post is meant to take a good hard look at character Theodore “T-Dog” Douglas.

AMC’s The Walking Dead is based on an immensely well-received comic book series of the same name written by Robert Kirkman. While it has, for the most part, stuck with the comics’ general plot progression, there have been a large amount of changes made. The addition of T-Dog as a member of the group in the first season was one of them.

As this season has progressed the internet has taken a lot of interest in T-Dog, for the most part discussing how little a role he actually has to play in the show. The following are his biggest moments listed in chronological order:

S1E1, Guts: T-Dog is one of the group members. He is savagely beaten by a racist among them and is almost killed.  The character who beat him is handcuffed to a roof as punishment. Later, when sent to free him, T-Dog drops the keys down a drain.

S2E1, What Lies Ahead: The survivors are scavenging an abandoned
highway for supplies. T-Dog doesn’t hear Rick, their leader, tell everyone to hide under cars due to zombies. He cuts his arm open on a car door. His life is saved when another survivor covers him with a dead zombie.

S2E2, Bloodletting: T-Dog is upset because the group is leaving him behind with an old man. He thinks it is because he is black. It turns out that he has blood poisoning and is weak and might die.

S2E4, Cherokee Rose: T-Dog almost drinks water from a well that had a big fat zombie in it.

S2E6, Secrets: They’re at a farm, and one of the farmer’s kids turns his pistol sideways during shooting practice. T-Dog tells him not to “give [him] any of that gangster sh-t.”

S2E12, Better Angels: T-dog sees that a prisoner has escaped and exclaims “Aw hell no!”

S2E13, Beside the Dying Fire: Zombies attack the farm and everyone scatters. T-Dog is driving himself and two others to the coast. One of them, Rick’s wife, tells him to turn around or she’ll jump out of the truck. He does so, performing a particularly ugly U-turn.

As the second season progressed, the conversation about T-Dog and what he has to do with anything grew immensely. In the last few episodes many were wondering if he was ever going to get past more than one or two lines per episode. Some have theorized [and by some I mean me] that he shares the same affliction as Eddie Murphy’s character in the universally panned A Thousand Words.

Thankfully, an interview with showrunner Glen Mazzara hopes to answer all of your questions about this enigma of a man. Entertainment Weekly asked if we would be seeing more of T-Dog next season, and the answer was as follows:

There is a plan for T-Dog. Given all of the things that I had to focus on to develop the show in a way that I felt was best, I will say that T-Dog got short shrift. We took care of business, and now we can delve into [SPOILERS] and T-Dog and all these other characters. T-Dog fans will be happy. We’re no longer interested in having a character in the background only saying one line per episode. We’re done with that. But again, we only had so much real estate, and it was very important for me to tell Rick’s story.

Which is great, really, except that I don’t see him having much more to offer the show. As far as what his role is it’s difficult to look any further than token black character. Glenn, a Korean-American character, was present in the comics and as a result has a pretty well-defined personality and storyline. In other words, Glenn has a foundation that extends beyond diversity for diversity’s sake. At this point in the series, T-Dog is actually the only character [save for a girl whose name was changed] not found in the original comics, and this really stands out.

It’s great that Mazzara was able to address, in a straightforward manner, that they did have a character who was “only saying one line per episode.” What remains to be seen is whether or not the writers for The Walking Dead can add any sort of complexity to T-Dog in this upcoming season. It’s been amusing watching and waiting to see if he does, well, anything, but while that may be enjoyable it doesn’t make it good television.



4 responses to “A Look at The Walking Dead‘s Theodore Douglas

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