Oscar (The Walking Dead)
|The Walking Dead character|
|Last appearance||"Made to Suffer"|
|Created by||Glen Mazzara|
|Portrayed by||Vincent Ward|
|Significant other(s)||Unnamed Wife|
Oscar (portrayed by Vincent Ward) is a fictional character from the American television series The Walking Dead. Unlike his fellow prisoners Tomas, Andrew, and Axel, he is an original character and shares no comic counterpart.
Fictional character biography
Not much is known about Oscar's life before the events of the apocalypse, besides the fact he was imprisoned for breaking and entering, and that he had an unnamed wife and kids.
Oscar is one of the five prison inmates (along with Tomas, Andrew, Big Tiny, and Axel) introduced in the Season 3 premiere, "Seed" where they witness Rick Grimes amputating the lower portion of Hershel's leg after he is bitten by walkers. In the episode "Sick", Rick makes a deal with the Prisoners to clear out a cell block for them in exchange for half of their food. Tomas kills Big Tiny after he is scratched by a walker. Tomas tries twice to kill Rick while clearing out the cells, so Rick kills Tomas, and chases Andrew and locks him in a courtyard full of walkers. Rick, Daryl, and T-Dog hold Axel and Oscar at gunpoint; Axel begs for his life, but Oscar refuses to beg. Rick's group shows mercy on them and allows them to stay in their own cell block. In the episode "Killer Within", Oscar and Axel protest staying in the cell block after seeing the dead corpses inside. T-Dog sympathizes with the prisoners and asks Rick to let them join the group, but Rick is adamant about keeping to their earlier compromise. Later, a horde of walkers is let into the prison courtyard, resulting in the deaths of T-Dog and Lori Grimes. When the prison's sirens sound off, Oscar explains that the back-up generators are powering the alarms, and takes Rick to shut them down. Andrew, who survived and is revealed to have let the walkers loose and turned on the alarms, attacks Rick in the generator room. Oscar picks up Rick's gun, and Andrew pressures him to kill Rick, but Oscar instead shoots Andrew, and hands the gun back to Rick. In the episode "Say the Word", Oscar helps dig graves for Lori and T-Dog, and Carol, who had gone missing during the walker attack and was presumed deceased. In the episode "Hounded", Oscar helps Daryl and Carl clean out an area of the prison, and they find Carol, alive and hiding. In the episode "When the Dead Come Knocking", Oscar is allowed to participate in the rescue mission to rescue Glenn and Maggie Greene from Woodbury. In the episode "Made to Suffer", during a shootout between Rick's group and the Woodbury soldiers, Oscar helps Glenn climb to safety but is fatally shot by the same Woodbury soldier that Rick hallucinated as Shane Walsh. Maggie shoots him in the head to prevent him from turning into a walker.
Vincent Ward was cast as Oscar, and got the part after auditioning for the role. He was confirmed around the same time as Axel for the TV Series. Michael Rooker (who portrays Merle Dixon), had also uploaded a photo of Ward to his Twitter account, although Ward's role was unconfirmed at the time. Per Glen Mazzara, "Oscar is another guy who has had to go along with Tomas' rule."
Zack Handlen, writing for The A.V. Club in his review of "Sick", joked of Oscar and Axel, "I'm sure the remaining prisoners are completely harmless. They said they were harmless—why would they lie?" Showrunner Glen Mazzara commented that in "Killer Within", Axel and Oscar want to be let into the group so they "prove themselves, which is why Oscar takes action and kills Andrew (Markice Moore), so that he can gain access to the group. Throughout the entire season, it's a major theme: Who can Rick let in? Not just into the prison, but let in emotionally." Los Angeles Times columnist Laura Hudson observed tribalism as a trope in "Killer Within", which she ascribed to the reluctance of Maggie, Rick, and others in the group to allow Oscar and Axel into their clan. Hudson noted that these characters had been severed from the cultural and social fabric of their past civilization for so long that they have reverted to "traveling in a small, tightly knit group, hunting and gathering, and regarding anyone who isn't part of their it as a deadly threat." Bex Schwartz wrote in her review for Rolling Stone magazine when Andrew tries to get Oscar to shoot Rick, "Oscar shoots Andrew instead, because Oscar understands life and death and remembers that Andrew was one of the bad dudes". Slate writer Jeffrey Bloomer commented that the writers "dispatched T-Dog at the same moment the show inaugurates another stolid, loyal black character: Oscar". Zack Handlen of The A.V. Club commented on T-Dog's death in the episode by saying "now that Oscar is probably sticking around, it’s not like we need two black guys, right? Ugh."
Handlen later noted that Oscar's death in the episode "Made to Suffer" happened to occur in the same episode that Tyreese - another African-American character - was introduced. Handlen found that was it was "no big surprise when poor Oscar gets shot. He’s the least defined character of the group, and the most likely red shirt; his death doesn’t raise the stakes so much as it seems to satisfy some unspoken need for secondary-character sacrifice."
- "Exclusive Interview With Vincent M Ward Who Is Oscar On The Walking Dead Season 3". Blast Zone Online. October 26, 2012. Retrieved December 10, 2012.
- Ross, Dalton. 'The Walking Dead': Meet the SPOILER! Showrunner Glen Mazzara introduces us to the people in that final scene Entertainment Weekly (October 14, 2012)
- Handlen, Zack (October 21, 2012). "Sick". The A.V. Club. Retrieved October 22, 2012.
- Abrams, Natalie (November 4, 2012). "The Walking Dead Bosses on Two Big Deaths: "It Was Not an Easy Decision"". TV Guide. Retrieved November 15, 2012.
- Hudson, Laura (November 5, 2012). "'Walking Dead' recap: No more kid stuff". Los Angeles Times. Tribune Company. Retrieved November 15, 2012.
- Schwartz, Bex (November 4, 2012). "'Walking Dead' Recap: 'Why Can't We Just Have One Good Day?'". Rolling Stone. Jann Wenner. Retrieved November 15, 2012.
- Chris Kirk, Jeffrey Bloomer (November 4, 2012). "The Walking Dead, Season 3". Slate. The Slate Group. Retrieved November 15, 2012.
- Handlen, Zack (November 4, 2012). "Killer Within". The A.V. Club. The Onion, Inc. Retrieved November 4, 2012.
- Handlen, Zack (December 2, 2012). "'Made to Suffer'". The A.V. Club. Onion Inc. Retrieved December 3, 2012.