We don’t know much about Anthony, despite him being around since the pilot. Basically, all we know is that he was friends with a guy called Click and that he was a cop of the Boston PD. I admit that isn’t a whole lot and maybe I’m the only one who still takes a big interest in the development of this character. A day before his (presumed) return to the 2nd Mass, it’s time to take a look at the reasons.
First of all, it’s no secret that I’m not a fan of Walking Dead, but a big fan of what Walking Dead briefly seemed to be in season 1, and hopefully can and will be again in season 3. And it’s even less a secret that I hate really everything about Rick Grimes and have rarely seen a less likable character than him. I liked Shane because I’m always quite fond of the character that carries the conflict. But this duo was a really bad case of playing “good cop, bad cop” for a whole damn season.
Cops are an archetype of the post apocalypse genre because they don’t need to establish their morality for the viewer in every detail. It’s clear with the introduction that they are the “good guys” and can be trusted with the burden of leadership. Your average TV cop isn’t a bipolar Rick Grimes. It’s a good guy with a normal life, with a strong sense for justice and the guts to enforce law and order. A guy who is willing to take risks, but usually knows when the risk outweights the potential gain; a heroic down-to-earth archetype.
And here is where things get interesting for me – this archetype outside a crime show, in a post apocalyptic world, without the responsibility of being the lead character and designated goody-two-shoes hero, allowing him to develop in many directions. Directions less extreme than “must-save-all-ohmaigawd-I’m-so-responsible”-Rick or a sociopath with serious erotomania like Shane, who would probably not have made it through the first psych exam in police academy. On my personal wishlist for character development are several options for Anthony. The ones I like most are also the most unlikely to happen. But hey, it must be allowed to dream!
Imagine Anthony and Pope return to the 2nd Mass. We have no idea what happened. Tension starts to build up, surrounding Ben, Karen and Red Eye. And in the one crucial moment that really counts… it’s not Pope, who everyone expects to freak out, it’s Anthony pulling the trigger and putting a bullet in, let’s say, Karen’s head without asking questions. Boom! It would be so wonderfully unexpected! Everyone just waits for the ex-con to look at someone the wrong way, being too distracted to realize that’s it’s the good-and-loyal-by-default cop who poses the real risk. Pope splitting the 2nd Mass by promoting a controversial view? Unlikely, the average soldiers and civilians usually aren’t too quick to side with a guy like him. Have a cop say the same? You bet some people start thinking he has a point, just because he was an authority figure before the invasion and hence must know what’s good and right. Hell, even if Pope would make the more reasonable statement and Anthony would throw some really weird ideas out, it would be more likely people follow Anthony.
Now, Anthony’s good example turning Pope into a lap dog… would be pretty lame. But the opposite is appealing – Pope corrupting Anthony’s view on law, order, right and wrong and have them return as a fire forged duo of badass skitter killing machines. And ooops, just before they come back, dragging 3 or 4 dead skitters with them, Red Eye, Karen or Ben-with-glowing-spikes returned, too – conflict potential just went up to eleven, and with Anthony being just as radical as Pope now, there’s no-one to talk reason into him. Or both. And here we have a situation when the Berzerkers are ordered to do “something we [Tom, Weaver] can’t or won’t do”: shoot humans. And in a perfect world, the half-baked idea of the Berzerkers as a special unit goes down in a rain of bullets.
There’s also a more likely option. One that doesn’t involve Anthony’s development into an antagonist. It’s the status quo, but moved slightly into the spotlight: Anthony and Pope still not really agreeing on anything, having very different ethics, but also a mutual respect and friendship when it really counts. Waldorf and Statler, G’Kar and Londo Mollari, Odo and Quark; Anthony and Pope. With all the couples, it sure wouldn’t hurt to have at least one non-romantic duo thrown in the mix and both already have the deadpan snark to make this constellation really, really entertaining.
Originally written for fallingskiesblog