This is an opinion post. I am not affiliated with any network or show. This is just my opinion on where the core story of 'The Walking Dead' and walkers in general are headed. Please keep comments civil, this is a great community, let's keep it that way.
I love this show. I'll start by saying that. I was turned on to it by a co-worker and since that moment four years ago I have been hooked. I read the comics as well but I will not go further in the comics than we are in the show, which can be difficult do to how the show differs so much from its source.
In the seasons leading up to the sixth the story has taken a huge turn. We truly begin to understand why "Fear the living" has become the core motto over that of "Fear the dead.' Every season the walkers seem to become less and less the series villain when compared to the other humans our group comes across in this apocalyptic setting. Of course the humans in this world have been forced to change into the monsters they have become but is there a deeper reason as to why the walkers have taken a back seat? Could it be that there just isn't that many walkers left? Could the walkers be dying out? This is my theory as to why that may actually be what is happening.
At this point in the story we know that whatever causes us to turn into walkers is already in our bodies. When we die, no matter the cause, we will turn. Well, unless we die of a bullet, knife or another object to the brain. So when we die or in a case where the virus is accelerated i.e. a bite from a walker, we turn. When the series begins and Rick wakes after being in a coma for two months. At this point the apocalypse has already destroyed the world at large. Walkers roam the streets, cities are empty and buildings are burning or destroyed. I would venture to guess that at the point Rick wakes up at very least 2/3 of the worlds population has been turned. This can be evidenced by the sheer number of walkers vs. humans we see in the first episode alone not counting every episode since. At the end of season one we also learn information that backs this idea up.
In these past six seasons, 2-3 years time in the actual show, we have also noticed a drastic change in the condition of the walkers the show presents us. The first walker Rick encounters after waking, a small girl, looks as though she's only been dead a few days at most. Much like the picture above her body, though pale and clearly dead, is mostly intact and looks... good. You can still see clearly that these walkers were recently alive.
However as time progresses we begin to see more signs of walkers in whole deteriorating. As the show moves from season to season they begin looking worse as their bodies have reached new levels of decomposition. Now, scientifically speaking, everything deteriorates over time. This is why we as humans as well as every other form of matter ages and deteriorates as the years progress. Walkers are no different. Tissue decomposes and dies. I believe the SFX teams of 'The Walking Dead' have made a conscious decision to show this degradation over the seasons in their work. There are five classifications of decomposition.
- Initial Decay; 0-3 days after death
- Putrefaction; 4-10 days after death
- Black Putrefaction; 10-20 days after death
- Butyric Fermentation; 20-50 days after death
- Dry Decay; 50-365 days after death
From season one to our present we can clearly see the progression of decay. As the series progressed through seasons 1-5 we see how the walkers bodies move from stage 1, rigormortis, pale shin, sunken eyes etc. to stage 2, bloating, veins visible through the skin, cracks in the skin and skin that easily pulls/falls off etc.
In season six we see more signs of the walkers beginning to or already having progressed into stage 3, Black Putrefaction. At this stage the skin visibly turns black in color. The intestines begin to liquefy and vacate the body. This stage is important to where we are in the show because this is when the brain, being an organ, begins to liquefy as well. We learned in season 1 at the CDC that the walkers operate on the most basic of instincts to feed as their brains cannot process any other thought. This is why when you either shoot, stab etc. a walker in the brain it kills them. the only thing animating their bodies ceases to be. In the 3rd stage of decay it is no longer a question of how the walkers will die but when. Soon the original 2/3 of the population that were initially turned, if they haven't been dealt with by Rick and his gang or another group will die anyway as their brains will soon turn to mush. Now of course this doesnet mean that other humans killed in the show wont turn but groups like Rick's and Negan's in most cases kill other humans by destroying the brains of their victims to avoid them turning later. So inevitably the world will run out of walkers and if not humanity will at least no longer be the minority.
This is why the comic and show have made the remains of humanity more dangerous than the walkers over time. In short there just wont be enough walkers to pose an actual threat. In fact, if all of humanity would come together against them and unite they could literally right the world and completely stop the threat. After all if no one ever killed anyone and people only died of natural causes they would only have to drive a knife into those who die and never have another walker, ever.
I thank you for reading. Please feel free to expand the conversation in the comments below.