Super Beth

Season 5 Episode 4 “Slabtown”

The Episode

It’s Beth! And not just a little of Beth, we get a whole dang episode of her! It’s about time! Lots of interesting stuff is going on this episode. New characters. New settings. New problems.  We get to take a step away from the everyday horrors our other friends are going through and get to see something a tad different.

As excited as I am about Beth, let’s start with the new characters. The most important of which is Noah. Noah sticks with us for a bit after meeting Beth at Grady Memorial Hospital. Noah is about the same age as Beth, and he’s gotten stuck at this hospital for the past year. He’s got the place figured out and hates it but he’s smart enough to make a plan and wait for the right time. He does several nice things for Beth which gives him bonus points. He has the vibe of a trustworthy and nice person, but not a pushover either. I like Noah right away but I do get upset at him a little bit at the end of the episode for leaving Beth behind.

Then there is Dawn and Dr. Edwards. Dawn does not give anyone a good vibe. Her introduction to Beth as she first wakes up in the hospital includes a chilling “You owe us”.hospital patient hand with IV You know whenever you hear that you are assuredly not in the presence of anyone kind-hearted. Dawn is a police officer who was next in line to take over after the first guy lost it. Her gang of merry cops includes one very creepy man named Gorman. Dawn along with the doctor run a scam on weak looking survivors where they take them in and then force them to work for them as payment. This is why they took Noah and not his dad and Beth and not Daryl. I suppose it’s not a bad strategy if Dawn would just be honest with herself about what she’s doing. She seems to be under the impression she’s surviving for some wonderful after world that is going to happen, and using people now to get there is just a means to an end. This is what these bad guys do wrong every time. They get wrapped up in the rules of their ideologies, leaving no room for adjustment. Be flexible dammit! Dr. Edwards has a bit of a harder time coping with what they are doing but he’s no shining star either. He may regret giving Dawn this idea but he’s certainly willing to play the game. When another doctor is brought in, Dr. Edwards tells Beth to give him the wrong medication on purpose so he dies. Dr. Edwards can’t have another doctor around because then he won’t be necessary and becomes disposable.

And here we have Beth in the middle of this crazy hospital now. If there is one thing that Dawn and the rest of these people take for granted it’s Beth’s strength. They put her through a multitude of challenges and she stands up to all of them. She doesn’t have the backing of anyone she trusts and she faces off with all of them. The creepy officer Gorman is a complete pervert with her. It’s the most uncomfortable I’ve ever been when he forces her to put the lollipop in her mouth. But Beth gets him in the end when she tricks him into letting his guard down and she hits him with the lollipop jar, very fitting. Then she shoves him into the waiting arms of Joan the walker, the previous young woman he undoubtedly raped. Dawn is repeatedly cruel to Beth, including smacking her around several times and verbally putting her down. But when Dawn mentions rescuers coming some day to save them, Beth gets in her face and tells her no one is coming. Beth doesn’t let Dr. Edwards’ sins slide either. She confronts him about what he did to the other doctor. Beth could have let all of these people get away with what they were doing and she didn’t. She has the tenacity of a freaking lion.

At the end of all this fun, Noah and Beth try to escape together. However, it doesn’t go well and Noah is the only one to make it past the fence. As I said earlier, I’m a little perturbed that Noah didn’t go back to help Beth, but when Beth smiles, we get permission to forgive Noah. Beth is happy for him that he is going to get to go find his family like he told her he wanted to. And I suppose that’ll have to be good enough for us as well.

Best of the Episode

generic office buildingJoan’s unwilling amputation. Joan is brought back in to the hospital after running away. But she returns with a bite on her arm, so they want to amputate it and save her. We don’t have the pleasure of watching this done with an ax this time, but we do get a metal string which seems just as gruesome if not more so than the ax. It’s stomach turning to watch as the doctor saws her arm off and Beth holds her feet down.

The surprise ending.  Beth looks like she’s about to get herself killed when we see a stretcher come in with Carol. Carol is unconscious and we have no idea what has happened to her. No sign of Daryl yet so it would appear we’ve been left out of the loop on something again. But now Beth is forced to put aside whatever she had planned and make sure Carol is alright.


Promises Kept

Season 5 Episode 3 “Four Walls and a Roof”

The Episode

tree with no leaves at nightThis episode is dark…literally. Much of the episode is at night with people creeping around in the shadows. It matches the substance of the episode well. Our friends take a final stand against Terminus, and it’s a bloody and vengeful one. Rick and many others again begin to toy with their dark sides.

Gabriel reveals his sin that everyone has been wondering about. Rick and our friends pressure him into telling them as they freak out because they don’t know yet what happened to Bob, Daryl or Carol. Gabriel reveals that when the outbreak first happened, his parishioners came to the church but the doors were locked. And Gabriel kept them that way. He had to listen to them scream and die outside his church and he never let any of them in. Then he buried them when it quieted down. Pretty bad for a holy man as far as sins go. Gabriel continues to reveal he has no spine and it really is a miracle that he has made it this far. At the end of the episode, after our friends do their worst, Gabriel remarks that this is the Lord’s house. Maggie replies with the episode title, it’s just four walls and a roof.

I’m going to over analyze that morsel for a moment. I believe what Maggie is implying by her statement has to do with what Gabriel has done as well as what our friends have just done. Gabriel locked his parishioners out leading to their deaths. By Gabriel’s failure as a pastor, he has diminished what the building itself means. In conjunction with Maggie’s feelings on what she has just taken part in, it really is no church at all at this point. I would say besides Gabriel the next most religious person of the group would be Maggie. Hershel was a deeply religious man and Maggie and Beth were raised in a religious family. Back when we are first introduced to Maggie in Season 2, one of her first conversations with Glenn is about God. Even though she questions her belief, she’s still the only person of our group to even bring up the subject. By Maggie stating that this is just four walls and a roof, it’s removing God from the terrible deed they just committed.

And as for that terrible deed they did, it was pretty gruesome. Rick is really pissed at church pewswhat Terminus did to them and others. He’s ready for revenge. I like how they keep the actual plan hidden from us. They gave us just enough info to think things were going to go one way and then surprise us. We think our friends are about to go off and attack the elementary school, leaving a few behind to protect Judith and the weaker people at the church. And we think that plan is about to get messed up when Rick’s group passes Gareth’s group in the darkness and we watch Terminus head in to the church. We think our friends have been tricked again but really they predicted this and doubled back so they could ensure Terminus can’t escape. I have to give props to Martin again. Even as he faces death for the second time, he still has the balls to disobey Rick when he tells them to kneel. And that whole kneeling thing. I don’t know if it was my mood or if I just hadn’t watched this in a while and forgot or what but my stomach actually turned a little when Rick told them to kneel. There are a lot of similarities between Rick and a certain someone we meet in the future, but I had never connected this kneeling thing before. And it really kind of stunned me for a second. I wasn’t ready for that when I watched this. But I digress. Rick keeps his promise to Gareth and whips out the red machete and kills him. Michonne, Sasha and Abraham also take part in slaughtering the other Terminus folk.

The slaughter hits Tyreese, Gabriel, Maggie and Glenn the hardest I feel. Tyreese we’ll learn feels extremely guilty about Martin. Gabriel is a giant wimp. And Maggie and Glenn I think have a hard time swallowing any brutal murder in general. That’s not what they want to be about but they go along reluctantly.

black roseWe say goodbye to Bob Stookey this episode. But he goes out with a lot of style and heart. While he is still alive and captive by Gareth and the other Terminus members, he’s forced to listen to Gareth yap on about why they eat people as they continue to eat him. But one of my favorite moments is Bob’s big reveal about how he was bit and he screams “tainted meat!!!” at them. I enjoy the momentary freak out by them and seeing them vomit. It’s also good because if he wasn’t bit, I don’t think Terminus would have returned Bob to the church. They would have kept eating him. It also allows us to feel a little bit better about what’s happened to Bob. It’s terrible that he’s been amputated and watched people eat him, but knowing that he was going to die anyways is somewhat…for lack of a better word, comforting.

Losing Bob is particularly sad because of what him and Sasha had just gotten started. It took Bob a long time to get through Sasha’s hard outer shell. And pretty much as soon as he does, he’s taken away from her. No doubt this is going to have a long-term effect on Sasha. Her bad days are just beginning. Their last moment together is heartbreaking. Bob wakes up for a brief moment to tell her about his dream where he was smiling and she was smiling back and then she does smile for him. As he passes back out for the last time, Sasha tries to ask him what the good is that comes from this bad. But Bob can’t answer because he’s finally passed.

As the episode closes, Maggie, Glenn and Tara keep the promise they made to Abraham and hop in the school bus to go to Washington. It feels weird with them leaving like this, just a bunch of casual goodbyes and hugs. But we’re not done with them yet, not by a long shot. And Daryl brings back a surprise of his own. Daryl comes out of the darkness and is greeted by Michonne. When she asks where Carol is, Daryl calls out “come on out”, but he wouldn’t talk to Carol like that. We don’t get to see if it is or not but I was 100% sure at the time this aired it was not going to be Carol.

Best of the Episode

Rick vs. Abraham. As Abraham again tries to force everyone to take off for Washington immediately, Rick refuses because they are missing Bob, Carol and Daryl. Abraham continues to push and Rick’s pressure meter is in the danger zone. Rick begins to march towards Abraham with the intent of getting into a brawl but Glenn gets in the middle. It’s that walk Rick takes towards Abraham that makes me giggle with anticipation. Like he’s ready to fight the world even if his chance of survival is slim to none. I know I was pretty damn excited to see that fight. Rick at his boiling point is not someone to mess with.

Tyreese opening up to Rick. On a more somber note, Rick takes a moment to check in with Tyreese and dig some graves. Rick asks Tyreese how it was for him getting to Terminus. And Tyreese says “it killed me”. There’s a long pause and it seems like it’s going to end there but then Rick says very quietly, “no it didn’t”. That line hit me in the feels. And it somewhat connects with what Gareth had been saying back at his camp to Bob. “Every day above ground is a good day.” Tyreese feels like he’s had his soul ripped out of him, but he couldn’t be more alive as he digs a grave for someone else.

Look at the Flowers

Season 4 Episode 14 “The Grove”

The Episode

I’ve felt a lot of different feelings watching The Walking Dead. I’ve been surprised, scared, amused, disgusted and a whole lot of sad. But this episode is the first time I’ve ever felt utterly and completely stunned. “The Grove” very much rips your heart out and lays it on a platter for you.

We get another small cast episode where we are completely wrapped up in what Carol, Tyreese, Lizzie, Mika and baby Judith are doing.  A lot of what happens early in the episode comes back by the end of the episode. Lizzie asks Carol if she ever had children. Carol talks about Sophia as being sweet and not having a mean bone in her body. Which is also how she describes Mika to Tyreese. When Mika and Carol find the house they stay in she says, “Everything works out the way it’s supposed to.”. Carol later states this on her walk with Lizzie as she is taking her to kill her. Karen and David are also brought up over and over again ending with Carol’s confession to Tyreese. And there’s a burning fire not too far away that is continuously mentioned throughout the episode. Specifically, with Mika’s comment, it would seem that what transpires here is meant to be. If it didn’t happen here, it would have happened eventually and could have been worse.

Carol spends the first half of the episode trying to get rid of Lizzie and Mika’s faults. Lizzie doesn’t want to hurt walkers, she thinks she can play with them. She thinks they are her friends. Lizzie has no problem hurting and torturing animals, but don’t lay a hand on those walkers. There was probably nothing more surreal than the flash forward of Lizzie trying to play tag with a walker in slow-mo. Slightly amusing and slightly terrifying all at once. Mika on the other hand is trying to be a pacifist. She mentions how she hated dissecting in school, very much the opposite of what her sister is doing. She doesn’t want to kill people and feels sad for the people who do kill people. She makes a comment I like that seems wise beyond her years. That people who hurt other people probably weren’t like that before. It’s true but the part that Carol tries to get across to her is that because those people are willing to kill you, you have to be willing to kill them back. At least that is what Carol feels. You don’t have to do anything, but you will live or die by your choice.

black roseSadly, in Mika’s case, she does die at the hands of her own sister. Lizzie is so very damaged and obsessed with having walker friends, she kills her own sister to turn her into one of them. It’s an incredible moment of the episode. Everyone had been excited about finding this house. They wanted to stay there and not go on to Terminus. They wanted to bake pecans and sit around the fire and do puzzles. It could have been a beautiful new beginning for them. And then Carol and Tyreese return from the woods to find Lizzie standing over her dead sister and baby Judith sitting in front of her. The look of absolute dread on Tyreese’s face says it all. He’s just found a little girl who has murdered her even younger sister and about to kill a baby. That is not something you would ever expect to see. Carol keeps her cool at first, thinking of just getting baby Judith out of danger. It’s shocking when Carol has to reason with Lizzie about killing Judith by telling her she can’t even walk yet. A point that Lizzie actually gets which is mind-boggling. Once she is left alone with Mika, Carol crumbles.

Carol has once again lost a child. An adopted daughter who was described as being so similar to Sophia. And if that wasn’t enough pain for one day, she now has to decide what to do with Lizzie. Her and Tyreese talk about the options, but it comes down to one thing and one thing only. Lizzie isn’t safe to take anywhere or stay with them. Poor Carol is now faced with the fact that she has to kill Lizzie. A decision that no mother or human being should have to make.

But then we’re still not done with this horrible day. Because Carol chooses this time to admit she killed Karen and David to Tyreese. Carol had several opportunities to admit this during the episode. But I think she chooses this moment because she doesn’t want to live anymore. She has been through too much and I think she feels if she tells Tyreese he will kill her and she won’t have to get hurt anymore. But in an emotional twist, Tyreese chooses to forgive her. This day has taken its toll on him and I think in his mind any more killing would have just thrown him over the edge as well.

The two decide to head for Terminus. They can’t stay in this house of death. A house that seemed so promising and full of possibilities, now just full of devastating memories. They bury the girls and head out.

Best of the Episode

The fire walkers. I choose to believe that the fire the group sees from a distance is the house that Beth and Daryl lit up. In a weird way, that fire drew the surrounding walkers to it, which probably made the house that Carol and Mika find so easy to get into. But when Lizzie wanders back to the railroad tracks to feed a mouse to the walker that is stuck there with Mika following her, they both get ambushed by a group of walkers who have clearly been burnt to a crisp from that fire. My first thought when I saw them was that they really looked a lot like orcs from Lord of the Rings. We’ve never seen walkers burnt like this before. Dark and steaming still a little. Another new and interesting way to present walkers to us.

close up of tulips in a fieldLizzie looks at the flowers. Probably one of the most well-known lines of the entire show. The line has been used with Lizzie before. It’s a way for her to subdue her anxiety when she’s having an attack. But now as she freaks out that she’s upset Carol (over pointing a gun at her and not her sister’s murder btw), Carol tells her to look at the flowers one last time. Carol struggles in the moment and I honestly was sitting there going, “she’s gonna do it, she’s not gonna do it, they can’t do this, can she do this, oh snap she did it!” The show went on for several more scenes after this, but I was stunned the rest of that time after my first viewing I don’t think I was even paying attention.

Into the Fire

Season 4 Episode 8 “Too Far Gone”

The Episode

You’ll have to pardon me for being tardy with this post. I’ve been moving the past two weeks and internet access and energy really got in my way. And this episode was far too important to do a half-ass job on. The entire show and the characters are changed by the events of this episode. It is in my opinion one of the most important episode of the entire series.

Everything comes to a head between The Governor and the prison. Several don’t make it out alive and those remaining are permanently changed. After last seeing The Governor aiming a gun at Michonne and Hershel, we now know that instead of killing them he kidnaps them and takes them back to his camp where he uses them to convince his people to try to take over the prison.

Hershel tries to talk The Governor out of attacking by telling him he’s changed and that they can all live together. In some ways, yes, The Governor has changed. But at the heart of him, he’s still the same old psychopath. As we’ve seen over the past few episodes, he’s still very quick to kill and still only sees blood when it comes to Rick. We also catch him in a lie about his daughter. In riling up his camp to fight, he lies to them that the prison group killed his daughter, his daughter who was a walker. But then when he speaks to Michonne he says he knows his daughter was dead when Michonne finished her off. He’s willing to say whatever to stay in control, something he did throughout Woodbury.

Rick on the other hand shows real signs of trying to be a better person. He really means his offer of compromise. He was willing to set aside all that happened, and let The Governor and his people live inside the prison with them. Rick’s change is also evident at the end of the episode, when the British woman who Rick met and killed herself appears with a herd of walkers. We finally learn Rick honored her wishes and let her turn so she could be with her walker husband. A kindness that only one with real humanity still in them could give. The Governor is incapable of such kindness as we see with Megan who later arrives dead in her mother’s arms at the end of the fight. Immediately shooting her in the head. The Governor refuses to believe in a better world and does the most traumatic thing to all of our friends by cutting Hershel’s head to the bone and later on completely off.

Maggie, Beth, Rick and everyone lose it over this. The battle ensues. This is the fight we didn’t get at the end of Season 3. It’s a real battle with massive gunfire, grenades, tanks and plenty of bloodshed. Rick gets shot in the leg and has a bloody fight with The Governor which he almost loses. As the main characters fight, the rest of the prison survivors frantically run for their lives. Some pile onto an escape bus which ends up leaving without a lot of our friends.

I don’t believe there was anything Rick could have said or done that would have ended any better for them. It’s clear The Governor was never going to be happy and it’s safe to assume that if the group had left the prison, The Governor would have hunted them down anyways claiming them as a threat. The compromise was the best option and almost worked, but The Governor could not help himself.

black roseOne of the saddest parts of this episode is the final separation of the Greene family. Hershel has just been decapitated in front of his daughters. But also, Maggie orders Beth to load people onto the escape bus, uttering in a frantic way to her nervous sister, “we’ve all got jobs to do.” Words of her father which is emotional enough on their own but as we will come to learn, these are the last words she will ever say to her sister. At the end of this fight, Maggie will be alone in the woods with Sasha and Bob, separated from both Glenn and Beth. Beth will be off in another direction with Daryl. The two sisters will never see each other alive again. When I came to that realization the first time, it made me incredibly sad. As we often find, our characters do not always get a nice goodbye. But Maggie seems to be the unluckiest of all, as she doesn’t get a nice goodbye ever, not for a single member of her family.

In the end The Governor, Hershel and Megan are dead. Baby Judith is missing and presumed dead. Tara is alone and regrets her decision to fight. The prison has fallen. And we have a lot of unknowns about the rest of our separated friends. The last time they were all separated, our friends found each other on the highway the next day. Unfortunately, things will not go that way this time. When I say this episode changes everything, that’s a realization that comes with time. There’s obvious immediate changes that we will see, but losing the prison is a slingshot into a whole new world.

Best of the Episode

Daryl’s grenade drop. As only Daryl can do, he gets one of those moments that make us all giddy with his bad-assery. In a single motion, he plows down a walker with his crossbow and dumps a grenade down the end of the tank. And to finish the moment off, shooting the tank guy in the heart with an arrow. Pure legend.

The Governor and Rick showdown. A fist fight for the record books. With Rick already shot in the leg, The Governor has the upper-hand in this fight. Rick is beaten to a bloody pulp and we think it’s the end as The Governor strangles him to death. But Michonne saves the day with a surprise katana through the chest from behind. Rick is saved and they both leave The Governor to die in pain.

Lizzie and Mika. Surprise surprise, these two youngsters follow in Carol’s footsteps and save Tyrese by shooting two attackers in the head. Don’t ever underestimate children in the zombie apocalypse, you will lose. But wait, weren’t these two taking care of Baby Judith?

Little Asskicker goes m.i.a. Rick and Carl find each other and then go to find Judith. But instead they find a bloody and empty car seat with nothing in it. They assume the worst and have an epic cry together. Surely all that didn’t just happen AND they lose Little Asskicker? Too much!!!

Rick’s speech. Rick uses every word he can muster to try to find a compromise with The heavenly white skyGovernor. We see Hershel’s face as he talks about living together, and he smiles. It’s pleasing to know that Hershel was able to accomplish something in this world by helping a broken man stay human. The speech seems to work….for a moment. But The Governor snaps out of it and the worst case scenario happens.

What’s In a Name?

Season 4 Episode 6 “Live Bait”

The Episode

We have a departure this week from our friends at the prison. If you were wondering if that bit with The Governor last time was going to go somewhere, wonder no more.

We pick back up at the shoot-out at the prison from the end of Season 3 with The Governor slaughtering his people and taking off with his two lieutenants. As it turns out, that threesome doesn’t last long. Martinez and the other guy abandon The Governor in the middle of the night while he is asleep. He appears defeated and with no desire to live. I think that is what we were all hoping to see. The Governor was responsible for so much death and destruction, I know I was hoping to see him get his comeuppance.

After burning the remains of Woodbury down, he sets out on the road. He is unkempt and depressed. No energy or even desire to kill walkers. Until he comes to a house where he hallucinates seeing his daughter. Inside he meets a family that has been surviving by staying holed up inside. They are a pair of sisters, Tara and Lily, their father and Lily’s daughter Megan. They are unique to the show in that we haven’t explored the lives of survivors that aren’t out there killing walkers/people. This family has been living safely and quietly alone in their apartment for over a year, surviving on processed and canned foods. They don’t even know how to kill walkers properly. The father isn’t able to walk, lives on an oxygen tank and has stage 4 cancer. These aren’t the kind of people we think could still be out there. But here they are.

close up of chess pieces midgameThis family brings The Governor back to life. He even gives himself a new name…Brian. He picks that up from a wall of messages he walks by on the road. He likes names. Philip, his true name, took up being The Governor to lead Woodbury. He doesn’t want to call himself The Governor with this family, but why a whole new name? He could have easily just used his real name. But he picks a whole new name which is fascinating to me. When he gives them the name Brian, he has no intentions of spending any length of time with them. So, it doesn’t seem like there’s a long-term plan here to pull something over on these people. It’s all about who he wants to be. He doesn’t want to be The Governor and also doesn’t want to be himself. He’s trying out a third role that I feel was because the last two ended in failure. Perhaps a third incarnation will be successful.

One of the more interesting moments of the show is how The Governor, now known as Brian, comes back from the brink of despair. He could barely speak to anyone at the beginning of the episode. Mumbling and giving one-word answers. At the end, he’s speaking confidently in full sentences. He’s found some of himself again. This family he’s found has brought him back. Tara, a cocky and foul-mouthed young woman who likes to fist bump, isn’t afraid to call him on his bullshit. The daughter Megan bears a strong resemblance to his daughter Penny. At first he wants nothing to do with her, but he comes around. Much like Michonne did with baby Judith, he hates the idea of being alone with the girl, but quickly surrenders and lets her in. Lily even wants to be with him romantically. Unfortunately, knowing what comes I sure wish they hadn’t. The peaceful and merciful side of me thinks this is a great story of rebirth; however, my stronger more vengeful side feels The Governor doesn’t deserve this redemption. He should be dead or at least that man at the beginning of the episode that could barely even look at himself. He needs to suffer some more. Martinez showing back up at the end is a twist. He looks the same. Knowing what he knows about this man now known as Brian, could ruin everything.

We get to see a bit of The Governor’s journey this episode. But we also know he’s going to wind up back at the prison. So the middle needs some filling in still. He seems to be recovering and starting over with a new family. Is everyone finally going to get along? If there’s one thing we know by now, looking on the bright side never pans out.

Best of the Episode

Death of the father. My favorite moments of this episode happen to be the most gruesome. When the dad dies in bed, “Brian” tries to get them out of the room because they don’t know what happens next and he doesn’t want them to get hurt. When that doesn’t work and dad comes back, grabbing Tara’s hair, Brian has to beat him to death with the oxygen tank. It’s traumatizing for the family to say the least. Having know idea why Brian is pummeling their father/grandfather in the head with an oxygen tank is a shocking perspective.

Walker pit beat down. Also Brian in action. He falls in a pit full of walkers with Megan. He goes into a rage and kills multiple walkers with his bare hands. He gets a good throat rip in on one and uses a dinosaur sized bone to tear another’s head off by the jaw. It’s a spectacular display of testosterone and rage. It’s no wonder he’s still alive after all this time.

Out of the Frying Pan

Season 4 Episode 5 “Internment”

The Episode

Black and white basement viewThis is one of those episodes that sends you through the ringer. It’s dark, violent and emotional. We’re centered around Hershel and Rick mainly and the very different battles they are fighting. And don’t forget the big reveal at the end.

Hershel gets the man of the hour award for his efforts in keeping the sick alive. The ill are staying alive but it is clear their time is running out. A few have died but there are still many more hanging on. Sasha and Glenn look terrible. They are also getting close to the end. The deadly flu storyline is not one of my favorites but still important. I don’t rank it high because I personally enjoy the human conflicts more. The flu is just not very exciting. But it is practical. Although we’re dealing with an apocalypse that’s unlikely to happen (yes, I said unlikely and not impossible), there would definitely be situations like this and to keep this rooted in a somewhat realistic world, the flu is an event that would happen. So here it has been covered and we’re getting it out of the way essentially.

Hershel is our fearless veterinarian turned doctor. He is giving everyone the tea he made and he has one breathing tube to help the current worst case going. But it’s also what he does for their spirits that makes him impressive. While Dr. S who is dying explains the technicalities of what is happening, Hershel takes to heart their mental well-being. “A sad soul kills quicker than a germ” is the saying he quotes. He knows that if he can keep their morale up, keep them from seeing people die and giving them hope with the tea and staying busy with reading books that he may keep their spirits strong enough to keep fighting. Hershel is a calming presence with a humorous touch with his “spaghetti Tuesdays every Wednesday”.

Which is why it weighs heavy on us when everything goes to crap. One unexpected death leads to another and another and before they know it everyone has turned and killing those that aren’t dead. When it’s all over, it’s only Hershel, Glenn, Sasha and Lizzie who remain. Daryl and crew have returned in time to save them and Hershel gets to collect himself. It’s a sad moment when Hershel, alone in his cell, holds his Bible and begins to cry. He has been physically and emotionally drained and it’s all too much at this point. There’s another great song that plays during this called “Oats in the Water” by Ben Howard.

Meanwhile Rick returns sans Carol and has a new problem to face. The fence walkers are building up again and they need to do something about it. But when they hear a gun shot from the sick ward, Maggie leaves Rick to go and help. Rick is overwhelmed and reluctantly gets Carl to come help him. That also goes to crap when the fence comes down and the walkers invade the prison. Father and son must grab some weapons and defend the prison.

Rick wonders if he was just fooling himself about building a peaceful life at the prison. I think yes to an extent but it’s only human to want that. Fighting all the time, living day to day, that is not what we are accustomed to doing. We want normalcy and to be able to see ourselves living for more than a day at a time. But what Rick and probably everyone and anyone in this situation would feel is how do you build that kind of life when every day something can knock it down?

There’s a moment the next day after the dust has settled with Rick and Carl picking peas in the field and eating them. Rick’s gun in its holster at his side in the background of the shot of him picking peas. Carol’s words from the last episode echo to me, “you can be a farmer Rick, you can’t just be a farmer”. Rick got his time out from having to kill. He’s now finding a way to balance the peaceful and the warrior. Maybe.

Just as things appear to be resetting back to zero, the final shot of the episode reveals the return of The Governor!!! I very much enjoy how the episodes are structured into making us feel what the characters feel. What I mean is, there have only been brief mentions of The Governor this season. Like he was their past and they are moving forward. Us as the audience are also left feeling like The Governor was so last season and that it’s done. And just when we all think that we’ll never hear from him again, we’ve got some new problems to deal with, he shows back up. We’re surprised to say the least, and so will the characters on the show. And they will definitely regret it.

Best of the Episode

End stage. The ill have reached the point of no return. One by one they all start dying and turning. The living are mostly too ill to defend themselves and so they die as well. It’s a harrowing turn of events for Hershel who is forced to start shooting the people he was just trying to save. Even more harrowing is when Glenn starts choking and Hershel has to climb out with his one leg onto a metal net to recover the breathing tube from a walker. Also, really try not to think about how disgusting it is that he pulled that breathing tube from the walker and directly inserted it into Glenn’s throat without sanitizing it. How is Glenn even alive after that?

Father and son shoot-out. I love this odd father and son bonding moment. The two just mowing down walkers like a video game together. And Carl takes really good instructions. Rick teaches him how to shoot and reload that gun he’s never used before in like .2 seconds. Carl is a natural.

Carry On

Season 4 Episode 4 “Indifference”

The Episode

There are two stories happening this episode. First is Rick and Carol going on a run together. The second is Daryl and his group on the medical supply run. I’ll cover the latter first. This group of four works really well together. They each seem to have some issues but there’s always someone there to help them. Daryl helps Bob and Michonne. He wants Michonne to stop looking for The Governor. He wants her to stay around the prison and really become one of them. Getting close to people is something Michonne still has trouble with, but it’s nice to see her trying. With Bob, Daryl helps ease his mind about the guilt Bob is carrying over the last run they went on. Bob is blaming himself about Zack. It would be really easy for Daryl to just say it was his fault. But he doesn’t. He takes a butterfly effect approach and points out how it was Daryl and Sasha who made the decision to go there in the first place. Then we also have Michonne trying to help Tyrese. They have a good discussion about holding on to anger and it getting you killed.

These conversations they all have are helpful. Even though part of me is saying, “shut up and get the medicine already!”, we need these moments of dialogue to know where they are at mentally. Our newer character Bob becomes more fleshed out. He was all smiles when we first met him, but now we see he has a story. And it is also nice to hear from Daryl and see how much he cares about Michonne.

One of the more interesting pieces of the episode are Sam and Ana. Rick and Carol find these two hiding from a single walker in a house. The pair are injured and a bit too optimistic considering the circumstances. Rick and Carol continuously give each other garden fence and wood houselooks that say, “how the hell did these two survive so long?” It’s the beginnings of an attitude that our friends take on more openly over time, but here it just shows itself in glancing looks. But what’s most interesting is this destined for death pair is how they highlight the best and worst in Carol and Rick. Carol wants nothing to do with them. She thinks they are just dead weight. Rick, I think also feels like they would be a bit of dead weight but he still offers them the prison if they want. Rick wants the pair to stay safe in the house while him and Carol scavenge more. Carol says let them help even though one can’t walk right and the other just got his dislocated shoulder fixed. In the end, they should have listened to Rick. Ana is found being eaten by walkers and Sam is nowhere to be found.

empty roadRick makes a bold move with Carol at the end of the episode. In my first viewing I really could not believe it happened. As the two are packing up, Rick tells Carol she’s not coming back. Rick is banishing her. They debate it for a moment but ultimately Rick leaves without her and Carol accepts the decision. At the start of the episode, it seemed like this was going to be about Rick and Carol finding a way to carry on. Talk things out and find a solution. But by the time Rick makes his final decision, it is pretty clear that Carol is not going to change and Rick just doesn’t want someone like that around his family. Can’t blame him for that. She seems to embody the episode of the title very well. She has seemed to have lost a bit of her humanity. Oh that darn humanity! Always getting in the way!

I wasn’t particularly sad about this goodbye. It ends amicably enough. Carol even gives Rick a watch to replace the one he just gave to Sam. This just seemed like a very interesting and fitting place to leave Carol’s character. In a little over three seasons she went from meek little abused wife to a heartless killer. That seemed to be about where it should stop. As we know now it’s not, but it seemed like a good move at the time.

Last thing I want to mention is some symbols that have me perplexed. The first is the watches. This one goes back to Hershel and Glenn and with this episode there are two watch-giftings. As we know, Hershel blessed Glenn with his pocket-watch as a sign of peace and approval with Maggie. This episode, Rick lends his watch to newcomer Sam. It’s supposed to be brief but Sam disappears and so does the watch. Then Carol gives Ed’s anniversary gift watch to Rick as a goodbye present. I have to wonder what the deal is with the watches? Then there are the I’s. This episode is the third of four back to back episodes that are single-worded and start with the letter “I”. I have been wracking my brain as to what that means because it has to mean something. Doesn’t it? I still have no clue to this very moment. Perhaps it’s as simple as these four episodes being about the illness. It could be a way to mark them as a grouping of essentially similar subject matter episodes. That’s as close as I get to a real answer. If anyone happens to know the truth on either of these, I welcome a response!

Best of the Episode

Strike two with Bob. Daryl may not blame Bob about what happened at the store but I do. And now he gets them in trouble again when he won’t let go of his bag he snuck a bottle of alcohol into and he almost gets himself and the others killed who have to rescue him. Daryl definitely doesn’t take it easy this time. He gets right in Bob’s face about it. Bob does a great job of looking pathetic as well.

Rick and Carol’s good ol’ days talk. Carol reminisces about Ed and talks about her abuse and why she put up with it. Rick tells a great story about Lori and how she made horrible pancakes on Sundays because she wanted them to be a family that ate pancakes on Sundays. I love that story. Remember when things were that simple?