The Walking Dead: Isolation

In the coming weeks, Ms. Hillary Bauer will be offering Episode-by-Episode reviews and recaps for TV’s most beloved Zombie Apocalypse Thriller: The Walking Dead. As an aside, this blog is in no way endorsed by the corporate fat-cats at AMC… But it probably should be! *Wink!*

Here’s Review #3:

Plot twists can take several forms.  Terrible plot twists are either so obvious that you figure them out forty minutes before the big reveal, or they’re so random that you didn’t see it coming because there’s been zero actual lead up to it and it doesn’t make sense.  Then there’s the type that drops your jaw.  You don’t guess these kinds because, even though the signs are there, they’re subtle and you don’t realize them until after the fact.  This week, The Walking Dead had my jaw on the floor in the best way possible.

However, the cliffhanger of the week did put me in a tricky position.  This recap can go down two roads: a straight recap feigning ignorant bliss, or a look at the foreshadowing leading up to the last two lines.  It’s such a significant game changer, that I can’t UN-know it at this point.  Plus, there wasn’t a lot of plot this week; it was really a character study episode.  So I’m gonna put it on the table:

Carol is a murderer.

There’s really no way around it.  What you really need to look at is the motivation behind her drastic action.  Just last week, I was singing the praises of Carol’s character development and, even though it means Karen’s ghost may come back to haunt me, I stand by this plot decision.  Even if it means breaking Carol for a little while, I’m really interested to see where this twist takes us.  But for now, let’s look at what already has gone down.

As far as I’m concerned, this episode should have been named “Crazy Tyreese is Crazy.”  He is just totally unhinged, and I’m not sure I’m digging it.  I know that Karen and David died a horrible death, but Tyreese is freaking out on three characters that have lost a wife, daughter, and brother between them.  (Carol’s there.  Awkward.)  Tyreese and Karen have only known each other for a couple of months.  Their entire relationship could probably be abbreviated to a minor key version of “Summer Lovin’”.  Not to mention that he doesn’t even know that his sister has death flu yet.  A fact that actually seems to upset him less.

Try to corner the market on depression in this group.

Try to corner the market on depression in this group.

The City Council calls a meeting to figure out a more detailed plan of attack than quarantining people to minimize the spread.  They essentially land on keep quarantining everyone.  Except now we’re locking up the kids too since they’re high risk and fragile.  Glenn takes a jab at his future father-in-law and implies that Hershel should go in time out with the kiddies since he’s old and fragile too.  They also decide that it’s worth hitting up a veterinarian school that’s pretty far out there to look for antibiotics.  For some reason (can vets sense each other?), Hershel knows where the school is and offers to go with the fighters to show them.  Jab #2: Hershel has one leg, womp womp.  Hope his ego can take a hit better than his decrepit old man body.

Rick and Carol are out pumping water to bring to the death flu clinic and realize that it’s clogged up outside the fence.  After Rick decrees that fixing the pipe will have to wait for tomorrow, Carol asks if Carl is upset about being quarantined.  Of course he is, because it’s Carl, but Rick emphasizes the importance of caution.  Carol responds, “Always better to be safe,” while looking at Tyreese in the distance.  Then she sends Rick off to talk to him and rejects an invitation to join him.  Hindsight is 20/20.

Rick goes and apologizes to Crazy Tyreese for bashing his face in, and Tyreese admits that he may share the blame.  Um, duh!  You threw the first psycho punch, bro.  Rick goes into detective mode and admits to not knowing the male burn victim very well.  None of us did.  Did they even cast an actor for him?  Tyreese gets the crazy eyes (I’m assuming the swollen shut eye is being crazy under there too) and says that he’s starting to think that murder is a-okay in Zombieland, and I start to worry about Carol when the truth eventually comes out.

Ya know what, Carl hasn’t been pissy on screen yet this week.  Let’s go do that for a while!  Carl is mad about having to go to quarantine day care, but decides to deal with it as long as he can play Sheriff and shoot sick kids if he has to.  While on patrol in the quarantine, Carl finds Hershel sneaking out the back door alone and unarmed to try and find some herbal remedies in the woods.  Carl realizes he can’t stop the old man and insists on going with him, so now Carl has made one honest to God good decision on this entire show.  Hershel still isn’t too keen on the whole idea though, seeing as Carl killed a teenage boy in cold blood the last time they went for a jaunt.  Luckily, wise ole Hershel manages to keep Carl from shooting anything this time and talks about peace and serenity or something wise like that.

Getting ready to go out on the med run, Daryl and Michonne talk about the good times they’ve had killing zombies and getting the band back together, but decide that they could use some more man power.  Who should we invite?  Glenn and Sascha are dying and Rick is out because he’s sticking close to Carl and Lil’ Ass Kicker.  (I’d like to take a moment to thank Daryl for referring to the baby by her real name.  I never know who they’re talking about when they call her Judith.  I just had to look it up again.)  How about we ask the guy who screwed up the only run he’s been on and the least emotionally stable man in the prison this week!  Seriously, how are any of our original characters still alive?

At first, Tyreese all but laughs in Daryl’s face about going on the run and insists on guarding the death flu clinic.  Then Tyreese has an emotional conversation with Sascha through a window and changes his mind.  Before he and the other road trippers head out, Tyreese tracks down Carol for an intense conversation.  Even if you don’t watch the entire episode again, you should track down this scene.  Tyreese asks Carol to take care of Sascha while he’s gone, and she agrees.  Then Carol stops him and says, “About what happened to Karen… I am so sorry.”  Holy dialogue levels, Batman!

Carol then has the same reaction as I did rewatching this and knocks a bunch of shit over.  The first time I watched this, I thought she was just taking on too much responsibility as the camp caregiver, especially because one of her adopted daughters just had to go into the death flu clinic.  But this is obviously a full on meltdown that is far from over.

After an entire episode of “let’s make grandpa feel useless,” Hershel finds a way that he believes he can help with the crisis.  Unfortunately, it’s by making tea which doesn’t really make him seem any less old.  BUT, Hershel wants to deliver it to the death flu clinic himself and at least gets to up the nobility factor.  Maggie catches him before he does and begs him not to walk into what is starting to feel like his certain death.  Hershel drops one of his “wisest man alive” speeches and forces Maggie to see that he has to do this.

The death flu clinic is actually the most disturbing part of this episode.  It’s dark, dingy, and full of the dead and dying.  Plus, all that echo-y coughing in the background is super annoying.  I can’t complain too much though, I’ve been sick for a week and my cough would definitely have me bunking with the lady who claimed allergies.  Turns out Doc S is in rough shape, so it’s time for Hershel to leap into action with his magic berry tea!  Right after the good doctor coughs blood all over Hershel’s face…  If anyone knows to cover their mouth, shouldn’t it be the medical professional?  Actually, the saddest thing about this is that Hershel takes off his desperado bandana mask.  Adios, outlaw Hershel.

It’s actually been irking me for these first three episodes that The Walking Dead has been leaning on the Red Shirt cliché way too much.  For the non-Trekkies out there, the Red Shirt comes from Star Trek.  It’s a pattern that people noticed that when the away team beams out on a mission, whoever is wearing the red uniform is the one who’s going to die.  Generally, they’re an actor who has never been on the show before and the only one on the team that isn’t a principal character.  The Red Shirt is someone who is introduced for the sole purpose of dying.  Between Karen, Zach, Harry Potter zombie, and now it’s looking like Doc S (not to mention half of Woodbury), this season is already littered with them.  Knock it off, writers!  Now go kill someone I care about so I can mope!

Perhaps our away team looking for meds will deliver.  Daryl et al are driving down a pretty country road listening to Daryl talk.  For a fifty minute drive, he picked literally the three least chatty road trip buddies.  That means it’s time to play with the radio and raid Zach’s CD collection.  But before I can confirm that derpy Zach was totally into Weezer and other dork fodder, a weak voice comes through the radio.  Daryl gets distracted playing with the dial and starts hitting walkers right and left.  There’s a safety lesson here: let the co-pilot fiddle with the jams.

Turns out that we didn’t just run into a few walkers.  It’s the friggin Great Wall of Zombies!  Daryl tries to hightail it out of there in reverse, but gets caught up on a pile of downed walkers.  This would have been a pretty basic sequence of stabbing zombies in the head, if not for Daryl beltsanding off that guy’s head with the rear tire.  Even if he didn’t mean to, I’m still happy that it happened.  Everyone makes a run for it to try and get into the woods.

Everyone except Tyreese, that is.  Whatta ya doin’, man?!  Even awful PTSD man is doing better than you here!  The rest of our fighters decide he’s not coming and they have to soldier on without him.  Before they leave though, they see Tyreese get out of the car and disappear yelling in the middle of a mob of zombies.  Aw, crazy Tyreese was distracting the zombies so the others could get away.  Too bad he could never get out of that mess.  Wrong-o!  He comes stumbling behind them holding nothing else but a freaking hammer.  I’m sorry, is Tyreese post-apocalyptic THOR now?!  OKAY.

403 hammertime

To finish things up, we come back around to Carol.  Still in meltdown mode, she decides to go out and fix the water line by herself.  The zombies mostly seem distracted by the weird bicycle water pump thing that they’ve rigged up (can’t wait for the random engineer to pop up at some point), so she doesn’t look like she’s in too much trouble.  That is, until she starts fixing the nozzle in the loudest friggin way possible.  Rick saves her, presumably just so he can yell at her.  Because that’s how Rick rolls.

Jeezum crow, people.  Between Hershel, Tyreese, and now Carol, it’s like everyone has a death wish this week.  We are still watching a show about survival and not elaborate ways to commit suicide by zombie, right?  Maybe people will feel like trying to stay alive next week.

Check out Hillary’s Previous Posts:

S04 E01: 30 Days Without An Accident Review

S04 E02: Infected Review

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3 thoughts on “The Walking Dead: Isolation

  1. That’s a good point about characters with a death wish. Snap out it people! It doesn’t look good for Hershel, I’d be surprised if he makes it out of death row alive. I don’t mind the Red Shirts, there’s too many background characters. Let’s thin the herd! Great post!

  2. mamabau says:

    I agree that we still need to knock some people off, but can we stop giving them names, please? I spend half of the episode imdb-ing people I don’t care about.

    Thanks for the comment! I’ll definitely be reading your recaps too!

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