Season 1, Episode 4—Vatos

The-Walking-Dead-VatosIf the power grid was shut down and world was crawling with zombies… would you look at your watch?

Dale does, and I’m sure Walking Dead fans could have hour-long discussions about his intentions. Is he grasping for control in an otherwise chaotic world? Or is he simply holding on to a memento passed on to him?

This episode offers a moment of insight about it, when Dale and Morales have the “watch discussion” (not quite as good as a certain Christopher Walken watch moment, but good nonetheless).

But prior to that we, we were thrown quite a few curves in this episode. The walker attack on the camp, people losing their lives, and of course the biggest twist… the benevolent Vatos.

I’ll be honest, as much as I enjoyed the watch moment, this episode didn’t rank within my favorites. I think it was a hit or miss for most people. Don’t get me wrong. I love the show and I think many episodes supersede the qualities of movies you’d pay full ticket price for. But the “twist” in this episode—the Vatos are really caring orderlies—seemed like a stretch. Not that orderlies could be caring, but I think our first impression of them felt a little forced.

Some may disagree.

But the episode did reveal the good about humanity. It was refreshing to see differences settled more peacefully this time (Shane and Jim, Rick and G, etc.) and once the big reveal was unveiled about the Vatos, we got a small peek at good in the midst of people in a very bad situation.

But I think many would argue that the most touching moment was at the 38-minute mark, the scene where Morales asks Dale about obsessively winding his watch, even though the world has come to an end. His response is brilliant:

Dale:  I like what, um, a father said to son when he gave him a watch that had been handed down through generations. He said, “I give you the mausoleum of all hope and desire, which will fit your individual needs no better than it did mine or my father’s before me; I give it to you not that you may remember time, but that you may forget it for a moment now and then and not spend all your breath trying to conquer it.”

Dale is paraphrasing Faulkner’s book, The Sound and the Fury, and seems to be communicating his own desire to cherish the small moments of time they have left, instead of battling to gain more.


1. Why do you think Dale is obsessively winding his watch?
2. If you look at all the time that passed today… this week… what did you accomplish with your time?
3. Are you making good use of your time?

Read the following passage from Scripture:

Teach us to realize the brevity of life,
so that we may grow in wisdom.. (Psalm 90:12, NLT)

5. What does it mean to “realize the brevity of life”? (read the verses prior for a little more context)
6. Even though we aren’t facing the threat of zombies in our world, why is it still important that we make the most of our time?
7. How would ‘realizing the brevity of life’ make us more wise?
8. What do we have to look forward to when this life is over?
9. How does the hope for the future change the way we live today?

Wrap up
In this episode, several people lost their lives suddenly, which reminds us that one main reason we value the ‘brevity of life’ is to value the relationships God has given us. This week, take some ‘time’ to evaluate how well you are using your “brief” time here, so you can grow wisdom.

About Jonathan McKee

president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Teen's Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices, If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, and You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.
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3 Responses to Season 1, Episode 4—Vatos

  1. christine says:

    There was a time in my life when I lived off the grid with a group of “gypsies.” No watch. No time. A friend asked me if I knew what time it was. “It doesn’t matter,” I said. “Here, time is not the same. We look at the sun and the shadows. We’re not limited to hours and minutes anymore. We live in moments.” I had happily rejected timepieces during this adventure–but I also knew it was temporary. For Dale, however, I believe his watch connected him to a time that he wished he could have back. A time when things were normal and orderly. Winding the watch was a ritual he needed to maintain because it gave him hope that things could someday return to normal.

  2. Joy says:

    Good morning. Loving your blog. This episode is incorrectly listed as Season 4, it should be season 1. It’s not showing up in the Season 1 list on the right. Thanks!

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