The Walking Dead: Inmates

Back by popular demand, Ms. Hillary Bauer will once again be offering Episode-by-Episode reviews and recaps for TV’s most beloved Zombie Apocalypse Thriller: The Walking Dead. So hold on to your butts folks, there are walkers abound!

Here’s Review #10:

There are two types of episodes on The Walking Dead: quiet and contemplative or frantic and confusing.  Last week fell into the former with only a few characters working through their feelings, while this week’s episode fell firmly in the latter.  Basically “Inmates” boiled down to the entire cast running around in the woods yelling like angsty teenagers.  There were a couple of exciting surprises though!  And I mean “fun” exciting, not just “someone’s gonna die now” exciting.  (Although there’s plenty of the killing type too.)  So let’s go get the band back together!

Actually, the band is staying pretty aggressively not back together.  We didn’t even get through the “Previously on” before everyone in my viewing party had to pause and try to remember what the hell happened during the prison raid.  Who ended up with whom?  Who got shot and where?  Who shot them?  Eh, obviously I spend a lot of time thinking about and picking apart The Walking Dead, but nobody can claim that this show doesn’t get a little too convoluted sometimes.  Better to just start the episode and see what happens…

The actual episode opens with a very optimistic, and very wrong, voice over monologue from Beth.  Flashback Beth’s optimism about the prison being their forever home is a stark contrast to the visual of her and Daryl running through the woods fending off a decent sized pack of zombies.  (There should be a specific word for a group of zombies.  It’s too bad that a “murder of crows” already exists.)  This pairing is really strange.  Have Beth and Daryl spoken to each other more than once?  Are we sure they know each other’s names?  In any case, Beth just won the lottery because it is immediately apparent that if Beth didn’t escape with the strongest fighter in the prison, she would be lunch meat twenty yards from the front gate right now.

Beth apparently doesn’t realize just how lucky she is.  Later that night, the odd couple are sitting by a fire and Beth is antagonizing him about not wanting to run into the Forbidden Forrest in the middle of the night for other survivors.  To be fair, Daryl’s angsty silence is even annoying me and he’s my tv husband.  Beth storms off into the woods and Daryl sits for a second before reluctantly following his brat companion at the same leisurely pace I use when I have to go to the dentist.

HULK SAD

HULK SAD

The next morning, Daryl finds fresh looking human footprints (I guess “walkerprints” are more draggy and drunk looking).  Beth is hopeful that they might belong to Luke or Molly which means they’re alive.  Oh honey, we don’t know who those people are so they are definitely not alive anymore.  Then, finally, Daryl opens his mouth and we hear from someone other than Beth.  For real though, I think she’s had more lines in this episode than in the cumulative series leading up to it.

Daryl’s first words aren’t particularly cheery ones though.  He drop the truth bomb that the footprints only mean that they were alive four or five hours ago.  Obviously, Daryl is being pessimistic about these particular people, but it’s actually pretty depressing in a general sense too.  They live in a world where your life expectancy can boil down to four hours.  If I only had four more hours, the rest of my life would this recap and leftover pizza.  Now I made myself sad.

(Keep in mind for later: as they walk away at the end of the scene, pay attention to the log with in the foreground.  It’s not just the close up nature porn that The Walking Dead loves so much.)

As they follow the tracks, Daryl and Beth continue to be polar opposites but equally annoying in their own ways.  Beth’s blind can-do attitude irks Daryl causing him to tread into “too mean” territory when he makes a jab about faith not saving her father.  So far, it feels like losing all of the people that brought him out of his shell has undone all of Daryl’s character development and now we’re stuck with the Season 1 version of my hero.  It might be my imagination, but I’m pretty sure they’re even showing his angel wing leather vest more.

The odd couple comes to the tree line and finds some railroad tracks where a couple of walkers are having a feast fit for a decaying king.  It’s not looking good for anyone on Team Faith.  Daryl takes out the walkers who have seriously obliterated these bodies.  That is the most completely I can ever remember seeing a zombie eat someone before getting distracted by something shiny and alive and abandoning the fresh meat that they already have.  I’m curious if this is intentional.  The competition for food must be getting pretty low as the supply goes down and the demand goes up.  Even if the zombies only have an animalistic level of reasoning, they would still know not to leave food on the table if they’re not sure where their next meal is coming from.

Sidenote: I really appreciate that they showed Daryl actually retrieve an arrow.  How many arrows did he bring to the apocalypse?!

The next group we check in on is Tyreese and three young girls wandering around in the woods.  It sounds creepy but it’s not.  Tyreese’s day care includes Lizzie, Mika, and, drum roll please… Lil’ Ass Kicker!  Duh, they weren’t going to kill the baby.  They have two and a half seasons invested in that little thought experiment of joy and there is still way too much that they haven’t explored about having a toddler in Zombieland.  Plus, what would we assume that Beth is doing off screen when they finally get reunited?  Hopefully they find each other soon, because Tyreese is holding that baby like a bag of groceries.  Lizzie keeps the conversation light and casually asks if everyone else is dead.  Tyreese doesn’t answer, but makes a face like he wishes he was.

The day care sets up camp for the night and Lizzie is sitting on a log looking at some adorable bunnies.  Wait, what’s she…is she taking out a knife?  What the hell, Lizzie?!  She’s just casually slicing the adorable log bunnies and she’s enjoying it.  If Criminal Minds has taught me nothing else, cruelty to animals is totally part of the Homicidal Triad.  Plus, we know that she can light a camp fire so if Lizzie starts wetting the bed, then I’m gonna go ahead and call serial killer.  I said from the very beginning that she was off.  Also, I’m going to go on record as predicting that the mysteriously dropped plot line of the dead rats at the fence was actually Lizzie.  Now she’s just graduated from gross animals to adorable ones.  Let’s hope nobody picks up a pet dog along the way…

The terrifying bunny incident does serve a plot purpose though.  Remember when I said to take note of the log that Daryl and Beth walked by?  Well, that little bit of white sticking out of it was Lizzie’s dead bunnies.  So now we know that the tracks that Daryl and Beth are following actually belong to Tyreese and the day care.  It seems like kind of a confusing choice to put Daryl and Beth’s adventures in hiking ahead of Tyreese’s group in the episode.  Except of course to give something for over-analytical nerds to find when they re-watch the episode to write their blogs.  Whatever, I found it and I’m proud.

Lil’ Ass Kicker moves along the plot in pretty much the only way a baby can and starts crying.  This, of course, brings on the walkers and forces the day care to move on.  They walk along and find some grapes, when Tyreese realizes that Lil’ Ass Kicker has kicked something out her ass and needs a new diaper (yup, poo joke).  They hear movement in the woods but it turns out to be just some crows moving around.  Even though it’s a false alarm, Mika is apparently more afraid of birds than zombies and takes off into the woods by herself.  They specifically show Mika hurting Tyreese’s arm which is making me a little bit nervous.  That scrape is getting an awful lot of attention.

Tyreese and Lizzie catch up to Mika who is actually pretty adorable.  Mika is as close as you can get to what it would look like if a child from our universe was plopped into Zombieland.  Even though she’s lived there as long as everyone else, she’s been sheltered.  Mika is old enough to remember the world before walkers so when she is confronted with real life monsters, she reacts the same way a real life child would react to the Boogie Man; she freezes up.  Except, when you hide under the sheets from a creak in the closet, you don’t get eaten.

Mika and Tyreese make up, but the moment is interrupted by screaming in the background.  Tyreese sets the girls up to that he can leave them in relative safety while he goes to see if he can help.  He hands Mika a gun and leaves her almost in tears.  Then Lizzie gives Mika the same advice Carol gave her at one point about tucking her shirt behind her knife so she could reach it easier.  No!  Lizzie is trying to screw up Mika as badly as she is.

As soon as Tyreese is gone, Lil’ Ass Kicker starts up crying again and the girls panic.  Then Lizzie has the brilliant idea of smothering a baby.  I repeat, Lizzie is currently smothering. a. baby.  The worst part is that she is so into it, she’s actually blocks out the rest of the world.  She is so oblivious that she doesn’t even hear Mika yelling about the two walkers coming toward them.  Mika panics and fires the gun.  Clearly she doesn’t get the head shot because, well, she’s eight.  Things are not looking great for the day care when we cut away.  I knew that they were going to obviously fix it somehow, but I really couldn’t come up with anything at this point.

Tyreese tracks down the screaming that is coming from the same group that Daryl and Beth found earlier, except this time the group is looking decidedly less like hairy strawberry ice cream with toes.  The situation still isn’t good though and since we know how it’s going to end up, there’s not much suspense here; just watching people get demolished which is almost as good.  Tyreese hears the gun shot, panics, and goes into overkill hammer mode.

But then, he’s stopped by the voice of an angel.  Tyreese looks up and sees the three girls aaaaand Carol!  I actually involuntarily screamed when they made the reveal.  The rest of my viewing party looked at me like I was insane, but I don’t even care.  The secret hero of The Walking Dead has returned and all is right in the world.  (Except for the zombies and the collapse of society and all that other minutia.  Whatever, my girl is back.)

Only one person in this picture hasn’t fired a gun.  Will somebody get the baby a gun already?

Only one person in this picture hasn’t fired a gun. Will somebody get the baby a gun already?

Tyreese stumbles over to give Carol a hug and struggles to find his voice so he can ask the million questions he has.  They’re quickly cut off by the loud sobbing of the last guy to get his neck chomped into.  Was that his version of the fake cough to get their attention, because he hasn’t been sobbing this whole time.  First of all, rude.  They’re obviously having a moment.  Second of all, this guy’s death is Shakespearean level long.  He had an arterial neck wound and he’s not only still sitting up, he has a good length conversation with Carol in a very strong voice.

He tells the group to stay on the tracks and they’ll take them to a kid friendly Mecca.  They trust his dying words and leave him there to die a slow painful death alone which seems a little harsh.  Another throw back to Daryl and Beth who eventually run into this guy after he turns and he puts up a hell of a fight before Beth stabs him in the head.  Turns out the whole ordeal could have been avoided if Carol and Tyreese had stuck around to take care of him.

Tyreese asks how Carol got out and she tells him that she hadn’t gotten back until the very end of the show.  The timeline of the first half of the season was so wonky, I had to think about the fact that Tyreese got back pretty much immediately before the attack so he wouldn’t have known that Rick was telling people that Carol was gone permanently.  Good for Carol though that she decided to blow off Rick and was headed back to the prison despite his unilateral banishment of her.  They find a map with the promised sanctuary marked on it.  I know they don’t have a lot of options at this point, but this seems fishy.  Plus, even if it all it’s cracked up to be, our crew has a knack for imploding safe havens.

I wasn’t kidding when I said that a friggin lot of stuff happens in this episode, because now we move on to our third group of weary travelers.  Somebody please explain to me why Carl the terrible got almost an entire episode while the rest of the cast gets jammed into one hour.  Whatever, writers.  Maggie, Sasha, and PTSD Bob are in what actually looks like the best shape which is saying something since they’re the only team with someone who got shot.  Regardless, they’ve found fresh water and are the only group that doesn’t have a kid weighing them down.  PTSD Bob’s wound doesn’t look too serious though and he gets the added bonus of flirting more with Sasha.  Ironically, PTSD Bob is the only person smiling in the whole episode.  Given, he’s the only character who wasn’t separated from a loved one, but I think I’m ready to give him a clean bill of health and just call him Bob.  Congratulations, Bob!

Sasha agrees with me that these are some primo digs and wants to camp out for the night, but Maggie is on a mission of love and wants to leave immediately to find the bus and Glenn.  Maggie takes off so smilin’ Bob and frowny Sasha have no choice but to follow so that they don’t split up.  They find the bus impressively quickly, but unfortunately it’s because it’s stopped in the middle of the road full of zombies.  Did literally nobody get off the bus?  There are bullet holes all over the bus from the prison raid so presumably people were injured, died, and came back.  I still feel like if I was stuck in a tin can with people turning into zombies, I would be working my way to the front of the bus.

Maggie needs to know if Glenn is inside so they decide to do check the “smart” way and let them out one at a time.  The plan works really well.  For approximately 90 seconds.  As if it wasn’t going to happen, the walkers band together to bust through the door and a zombie slaughter ensues.  Maggie apparently caught Bob’s PTSD because she freezes up and we get the wobbly camera and high pitched tone that PTSD episodes always look like on tv.  She snaps out of it in time to go into overkill mode on one walker to the point that I kind of feel bad for it.  Maggie grabs the walker by the ponytail and unnecessarily slams its head against the side of the bus before stabbing it anyway.  Maggie realizes that she kind of crossed the line there and apologizes to ponytail zombie so it’s all good.

Now that the bus is mostly empty except for some bloody rags and entrails, Maggie hops on to see if there’s any sign of Glenn there.  She finds one zombie that missed the party outside and stabs him before starting to sob uncontrollably.  Obviously this is a fake out since we only see the back of the walker and he has the same hair and build as Glenn.  It’s a little kitschy for my taste but then again, this is a zombie show.

So these people lived in the prison?  I guess I’m sad then?

So these people lived in the prison? I guess I’m sad then?

So, if the blackboard that I have devoted to keeping track of this episode is correct, that only leaves one inmate and one camper to check in on.  Phew!  Poor battered Glenn wakes up alone and suspended on some sort of plank above a sea of walkers.  How did he get there and why is he unconscious?  I guess we’re just not talking about it.

Apparently this is Glenn’s first day in Zombieland, because he makes rookie mistake after rookie mistake.  How much ammo does he have?  Who cares?  Go into the dark hallway before you light the lamp?  Super!  And then when he miraculously does make it make to the honeymoon suite, the first thing he does is lay down for a quick nap.  You’re better than this, Glenn.  He sees a picture of Maggie and rallies to set out on his own mission of love.  Aw, those poor star crossed lovers!

The one upside to being ditched at the prison, Glenn does get to gather supplies and suit up in some riot gear which makes him look incredibly tough.  He barges into the prison yard and the zombie swarm descends.  Glenn sees sad little Tara curled up in a tiny little box and starts to take off, but then he remembers that he has a heart of gold and goes back to help her.  He takes her gun and realizes that she didn’t fire a single shot in the raid.  Glenn invites her along, but Tara feels too guilty to try and save herself.  I really appreciate that Tara’s first reason for being a sad sack is that she feels guilty about the attack and not that she lost her girlfriend.  Her show of remorse and the fact that she chooses to go with Glenn rather than just give up makes me hopeful that Tara might have some good layers to explore.

Glenn makes a molotov cocktail and all I can think is, “But, why is the rum gone?”  After re-arming Tara, Glenn explodes a car which draws away most of the walkers.  Apparently zombies like fire and we’ve just never discussed it before.  They make it to the highway pretty uneventfully and finally slow down to have the awkward “so our people slaughtered each other” conversation.

Tara confirms that her sister is dead and then accidentally breaks the news to Glenn that his father-in-law is dead.  Glenn tells Tara that even though he doesn’t want her help, he needs it.  They seal the deal by bonding over some walker killing.  Tara holds her own especially when Glenn, still sick from the zombie death flu, collapses.  Just as Tara is working out some of her anger issues, we get the obligatory cliffhanger of the week.  Surprise!  Ginger G.I. Joe pulls up with his two cartoon character military buddies and we have to wait a whole week to see whether they’re new friends or new foes.

Until then, my friends!

S04 E01: 30 Days Without An Accident Review

S04 E02: Infected Review

S04 E03: Isolation Review

S04 E04: Indifference

S04 E05: Internment

S04 E06: Live Bait

S04 E07: Dead Weight

S04 E08: Too Far Gone

S04 E09: After

The Walking Dead: Too Far Gone

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 #8, the midseason finale:

I don’t even want to write a recap for this week’s episode of The Walking Dead.  I just wanna curl up in a ball and cry for the indefinite future.  Sometimes I feel like I should just give up on watching shows that always end with my face buried in a pillow yelling “WHY?!”  But then I remember that that’s the exact reason that I do tune into these shows every week.  It is not an easy task to make viewers care about fictional characters to the point that when the writers screw with them, it actually hurts.  The caliber of episodes in season 4 of The Walking Dead has been above average for the series, and the mid-season finale was no exception.  So fine, I will grant that this was a pretty awesome episode, but that doesn’t mean that I have to be happy about it.  Let’s work through the heart palpitations one by one.

We open on the Gov doin what he do: lying to people’s faces and being damn good at it.  He starts with a sheepish disclaimer about how what he’s about to ask of them is a doozey, but ultimately the only way that the group can survive.  Seriously, nobody is ever allowed to use the word “survive” on this show again; the Gov has used up the whole allotment.  The Gov tells the fighters about the nearby prison that is home to the scoundrels who maimed him, burned his home, and killed his daughter.  Why should they have the cushy cinderblock digs while all of the innocent people are on the worst camping trip ever?!  It’s a convincing argument, if you don’t happen to be listening to the speech as a voiceover while watching him kidnap a couple of fan favorites.

The Gov goes on to tell his fighters about his hostages that he just happened to run into with the butt of his pistol.  So don’t worry guys, the campers can get their hands on the prison without shedding a drop of blood!  If there’s one thing that The Walking Dead is known for, it’s their steadfast policy of non-violence.  The campers buy the Gov’s spiel and I don’t fault them for it; even with dramatic irony on my side, the Gov has managed to razzle dazzle me into rooting for him a couple of times since his return.

However, when the campers go to dust off the tank, Lilly pops out from behind them looking decidedly less convinced.  Lilly has said over and over again that she’s perfectly happy building a new life in the camp, and has dealt with the Gov ignoring her over and over again.  But hearing him talk about killing other humans is where she draws the line; especially since the Gov himself just said that they aren’t all bad guys.  He quickly backtracks and declares them all guilty by association, but Lilly still isn’t buying it.  The Gov breaks out the big guns and says the three words sure to placate even the most uppity woman.  He seals it with a kiss and walks off before she can get another word out.

We head over to an RV guarded by jackass Mitch where an aggravated Michonne is yelling at the Gov as he goes about checking in on his prisoners of war.  In line with the Geneva Convention, the Gov offers Michonne and Hershel some food but is only met with death threats from our scrappy samurai lady.  Hershel takes the more pragmatic approach of reasoning with the man who has them tied up with a gun on his hip.  Hershel tries to sell the Gov on the idea that there must be a way that this whole thing can be resolved without any bloodshed.  (Oh Hershel, stay golden.)  The Gov insists that he’s poured himself over the situation and that there is no other way.

In yet another Governor mind-fuck, he sounds sincere about having tried to find a way to resolve the conflict without having to return to the prison.  The Gov is alone in the trailer with two people that he has no need to win over, even if he could, so there isn’t any reason for him to lie here.  Hershel senses this sincerity too, and appeals to what he hopes is the Gov’s rediscovered sensitive side.  Hershel calls the Gov on his vague threat against those who stand in his way and gets to brass tacks: Maggie and Beth are among those standing in his way.  He questions the Gov about how he can look another father in the eye and threaten his daughters.  The Gov looks over his shoulder, says “Because they’re not mine,” drops his mic, and walks away.  Damn son, that’s cold blooded even by Governor standards.

We continue our romp with the Gov to check back in with Lilly.  Why did I even get my hopes up about seeing back inside the prison this week?  The Gov is setting up the non-fighters with the supplies next to a river which he says will keep them safe from walkers.  Lilly keys in on that and asks why they can’t just build their camp by the river if it’s so safe, to which the Gov essentially responds, “jk, it’s not safe here.”  He goes on to insist that all of the safe places are already taken, so they have to take one from somebody else.  This is a weak ass argument if I ever heard one.  Is the Gov seriously making the argument that Georgia is completely full up?  It’s a state, not the Holiday Inn.

With Lilly put in her place, the Gov moves on to find Meghan who is making “peanut butter sandwiches” out of mud.  The apocalypse is rough, but if people start eating mud, I’m throwing myself into a zombie pit.  The Gov asks for a hug and lets muddy Meghan give him a big hug and mess up his jacket before he heads off for his day of killing.  These are the moments that confuse me.  The Gov obviously love this little girl.  Whether he loves her or the idea of her is up for grabs, but he’s obviously invested.

Back at the prison (yay, the prison!), we check in on everybody’s favorite couple, Glenn and Maggie.  Glenn isn’t looking so hot in his post-flu glow, but he’s alive so let’s pick our fights.  This scene does make me super nervous though, because they are being too adorable.  That’s the number one way to get yourself offed in Zombieland!  We also get to see Sasha and PTSD Bob talk and potentially flirt.  Sasha thanks Bob for bringing the antibiotics back, but he’s hung up on sulkily looking at a box.  Is it full of booze?  Basically all we know about his character is that he’s an alcoholic, so that’s the only guess I have right now.

Elsewhere in the prison, we finally get to see Rick tell Daryl about kicking Carol out of the prison.  The whole scene feels like a cheat though.  It’s been a couple of episodes now since Rick pulled his dick move, but I’m still pissed and I still wanted Daryl to punch him in the face.  The pair goes to tell Tyreese the news, but are interrupted by Tyreese’s discovery of a weird art display.  Somebody has dissected a rat and splayed it out on a board.  Remember when somebody was feeding rats to the zombies through the fence and we never addressed the issue again?  Yeah, I forgot about it too.  But apparently we’re going to need to remember it in the second half of the season so the writers are reminding us.  I actually watched this episode with someone who had never seen The Walking Dead before so I was giving them the play-by-play backstory as the episode went on, but we got to this and I was like- “I ain’t got nothin for you about this shit.”

408 ratI hope this is relevant to the plot at some point, because otherwise it’s just gross.

Before Rick has a chance to tell Tyreese that he doesn’t think that the rat artist is the same person who killed Karen, an explosion hits that is so strong, it even shakes our camera!  The Gov has arrived at the prison and he finally gets to yell “Hey Rick, come look at my cannon!”  Even though Rick insists that the council is in charge of decisions now, the Gov insists on throwing our fearless leader into the limelight.  The other prison residents talk amongst themselves about taking off in the bus if things go south and start gathering supplies.  Mostly I’m preoccupied with the fact that I have no idea how many people are supposed to be left in this prison.  The Gov insists that he has more people, but there’s only like twenty guys with him.  Nevertheless, the Gov wants that prison and he is willing to wait hours to get it.

Back by the river, Lilly is standing guard on top of an RV when she sees a walker come out of the tree line across the rapids.  He starts to make some good progress wading into the water when Lilly gets an “oh fuck, oh fuck, oh fuck” look on her face and stands up, because that’ll help.  Meghan yells for her mother to come and help her dig up something buried in the mud.  Lilly yells back a couple of stock “Mom’s busy right now” responses as she pulls her gun and readies herself for the possibility of shooting her first zombie.  The walker is eventually swept away in the river and everything is clearly fine.

Oh wait!  We’re watching The Walking Dead.  I forgot for a second that once the dramatic music starts to swell, something has to jump out at someone.  It’s like Chekhov’s gun with zombies.  While Lilly was watching the red herring in the river, Meghan was busy digging up a flood warning sign which had apparently been holding a walker underground.  (I wonder if this dead guy was attacked or if he was just a guy who drowned in a flashflood.  I’m pretending it was the latter just because I enjoy the irony.)  The walker pushes out of the muddy Earth and grabs the unsuspecting kiddo.  Unfortunately for Meghan, she’s already used up all of her “get out of jail free” cards and the zombie gets a big ole bite out of her shoulder.

Well, that turn of events certainly dropped my jaw.  The Walking Dead is undeniably dark, but unless I’m mistaken, you can still count the number of named children that they have killed on one hand.  Meghan’s death is particularly interesting looking back at the Gov’s recent development.  Since his supposed rehabilitation, the Gov has insisted over and over again that nothing was going to happen to his new family, which clearly hasn’t worked out.  I had been on board with the idea that his rehabilitation had been a result of having something to fight for again, but maybe his entire on-screen existence has just been a lie.  I’m hard pressed to come up with any honest word he’s said.  Moral of the story: if the Gov tells you that you’re ok, you’re not ok.

The Gov and Rick are still at a standoff when the Gov acknowledges the possibility of a shootout.  He asserts that the campers would win (tank and all), before shooting a couple of walkers in the head.  Remember walkers?  They used to be on our show, like three or four weeks ago.  The shots are sure to attract more walkers, so the clock is ticking as Rick dives head first into one of his trademark inspirational speeches.  He talks about there being enough room for everyone between the different cell blocks and not dealing with each other until everyone has worked through their feelings.  But the Gov is vehement that none of that business is going to work after Woodbury or “after Andrea.”  Damn it!  I know that a lot of people weren’t crazy about Andrea, but Michonne and I liked her and that little comment has us pissed!

The Gov jumps down to hold Michonne’s sword to Hershel’s throat in response, and Maggie and Beth’s reactions make my insides turn.  Rick appeals to the group supporting the Gov (targeting in initially on Tara who has been making unsure faces back there for the entire episode) and offers them a home if they lay down their weapons.  We zoom in on all of our main characters’ listening faces and when we finally get to Hershel’s, I scream at my TV, “Don’t smile you old fool!  That means you’re dead!”  But the Gov is already pulling his sword back, and with the single word “Liar,” the Gov chops poor Hershel.

And then EVERYTHING IS AWFUL ALL AT THE SAME TIME.

Even though they just watched him murder a one legged old man, the Gov’s people still stand by him and start firing at the prison population.  Tara is the only one who freaks out and lays down her weapon, despite asshole Mitch’s yelling and the pleading of her girlfriend that they have to go on fighting.  Amid the gunfire, Michonne manages to roll away and the Gov goes about chopping Hershel’s head completely off.  Just as the Gov finishes, he sees Lilly walking up with Meghan in arms.  Seriously though, how did she find them?  She just hopped in a car and instantly knew where the prison was?  Regardless, the Gov takes Meghan and doesn’t skip a beat before shooting her in the head.  Poor Meghan didn’t last long, but at least she deemed herself worthy of the double on-screen kill.  Respect.

408 megProps to Lilly for carrying around a ten year old like it’s nbd.

The Gov decides that if he can’t have the prison, nobody can and orders the tank et al to drive into the prison and “kill everyone.”  The Greene sisters are shooting through the tears when Maggie lays down cover so that Beth can get to the bus.  Before Maggie leaves her with the sick and feeble, Beth asks what she should do if all of the prison fighters don’t make it to the bus in time.  Maggie tells Beth to go without them because “we’ve all got jobs to do.”  AWWW, is it weird that I feel like Hershel was my daddy too?  Beth apparently got confused about what her job was though, because when Maggie finds Glenn and brings him back to the bus, Beth is no where to be found.

The walkers hear the commotion and start working their way into the prison.  A couple of zombies look like they’re about to get the jump on Daryl, but it’s Daryl so he’s obviously got this business under control.  He takes out the offending zombie and then props up the dead guy on a post in the greatest use of undead corpse in this or any show’s history.  I ain’t even mad that those bullets would have definitely gone through the dead guy’s body and taken out Daryl too.  He just strolls up and throws a grenade in the pointy outy gun part of the tank (that’s probably what it’s called) and renders the whole thing useless.  That’s right ladies and gentlemen, Daryl just took out a tank.  Add that to taking out asshole Mitch and I’m ready to have that crossbow wielding SOB’s children.

In her search to find Beth, Maggie runs into Sasha and PTSD Bob.  In the shootout, Bob manages to get himself winged but is happy that the bullet seems to have passed straight through.  The joy is short lived though as they watch the bus drive away.  The trio runs off to find another way to treat Bob, which leaves Tyreese on his own to fight the campers.  He’s not doing all that well when a shot comes from off-screen taking out one of the campers coming after him.  It’s creepy Lizzie and her Lord of the Flies army!  Except just as I’m coming around to Lizzie and her creepy ways, she shoots Alisha in the head.  Lizzie killed the lezzie!  Still hate her.

In the scuffle, Rick and the Gov have found each other and are partaking in a particularly nasty round of fisticuffs.  Even though Rick seemed to have had the early upper hand, the Gov quickly overtakes him and is in the process of choking Rick out when BAM, Michonne shish kabobs the bastard.  Michonne looks over him one last time before leaving him bloody and dying on the ground.  Lilly is the next person to find him lying there, but she’s not as happy with the profound walk away; she wants him dead.  So, not with a whimper but with a bang, Lilly shoots our dear Governor in the head and ends a season and a half’s worth of suffering.  Part of me is bummed that the last face the Gov sees is a character who has only been on the show for three episodes, but he did just shoot her little girl in the head, so I’ll allow it.

408 swordGo on and sing a round of “Ding dong, the witch is dead” in your head.

Newly released from the Gov’s chokehold, Rick tracks down Carl inside the prison perimeter.  The two Grimes men are relatively alright, but there’s still the issue of Lil’ Ass Kicker.  Neither of them knows where she is, so the blood soaked car seat that they find isn’t exactly a hope inspirer.  I don’t buy it though.  I bet my bottom dollar that when we do the “where are they now” round up after the mid-season break, somebody is gonna have a baby.

So that’s it, folks.  2013 has seen its last of The Walking Dead.  I know I’ll personally be crying from 9-10 EST every Sunday night until February, but I’ll meet you here same bat time, same bat channel when the dead come back to life!

Check out Hillary’s Previous Posts:

S04 E01: 30 Days Without An Accident Review

S04 E02: Infected Review

S04 E03: Isolation Review

S04 E04: Indifference

S04 E05: Internment

S04 E06: Live Bait

S04 E07: Dead Weight

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