The Walking Dead: The Grove

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 #14:

This week on The Walking Dead, I CRIED SO MUCH.  I should have known better.  As soon as The Walking Dead makes you like a secondary or tertiary character, they’re doomed.  I would like to start by saying that, for the record, I have been calling Creepy Lizzie, Creepy Lizzie since the first time she was on screen.  I am an excellent judge of character and I always knew that she was messed up in the head.  I even referenced the homicidal triad, for God’s sake.  Well, unfortunately I was more correct than I wanted to be and I have a lot of feelings about it.  Let’s just delve into what is indisputably one of the most upsetting 44 minutes of television The Walking Dead has ever given us.

We start off in a farm house with a kettle boiling and a weird phonograph playing in the background.  So we have a working gas line and some sort of power source.  Does that mean flashback?  Generally, The Walking Dead doesn’t do flashbacks, but last week they did for some reason, so who knows.  We pan over to a shot of the backyard and there are two bodies running around.  One of the figures is moving very deliberately and we can hear a child laughing.  But the other is stumbling around in slow motion, so it’s unclear if it’s a walker (which would mean it’s present day) or a clumsy playmate.  Either way, the music makes it eerie.  Can I put in a request for “G.U.Y.”?

We’re spending this week with Carol, Tyreese, and the little ladies, so we open on them taking a break at night on the railroad tracks.  Carol is keeping watch with Lizzie by her side while the others sleep.  Carol tells Lizzie to get some sleep, but Lizzie insists that she can take Judith and help if anything goes wrong.  She also weirdly insists on calling Carol “ma’am” which sounds awkward and forced.  Lizzie asks Carol if there will be other kids in Terminus, to which Carol responds “maybe” in her very best mom voice that parents bust out when they want to be noncommittal but not crush dreams.  Props to Melissa McBride for having the mom voice down to a T this episode.  If she wasn’t talking about zombie apocalypse logic, I feel like I would be learning from her right now.

Carol specifically answers Lizzie’s question by saying that there might be kids if their parents kept them safe, like Tyreese kept Lizzie safe.  To which Lizzie responds, “lol, I shot two people and saved Tyreese’s ass.”  She does show some remorse, but not for killing them.  Lizzie is specifically upset that she shot Tara’s army girlfriend in the head.  It’s not an odd thing to feel bad about on the surface; I probably would too.  But, as will soon be revealed, Lizzie apparently just feels bad that the dead lady couldn’t come back as a zombie.  We’re only about four minutes in and Lizzie is already being a little freak.

Lizzie asks Carol if she had any children (a question that seems like it should have come up sooner).  Carol tells Lizzie about her sweet Sophia who “didn’t have a mean bone in her body.”  And that’s what killed her.  When Carol says that she misses Sophia every day, Lizzie asks if Carol would miss her.  Carol answers that she won’t have to miss Lizzie.  So say we all, Carol.  So say we all.

The next day, Carol and Tyreese wonder how far out they are from Terminus.  Tyreese thinks they may be three or four days out.  Seriously?!  At the rate time has been passing in the second half of this season, we aren’t gonna get to Terminus until 2016.  They also talk about Lizzie and how she has people killing down pat, but she’s really confused about walkers.  She just thinks they’re… different.  Generally I’m all about inclusiveness, but I might not be open-minded enough to include decaying flesh in my rainbow of togetherness.  Tyreese asks Carol if Mika is the same.  Carol says that she’s worse because she “doesn’t have a mean bone in her body.”  Foreshadowing, you are a cruel bitch!

The group keeps on keepin’ on down the railroad tracks for a bit chatting about when Carol used to read The Adventures of Tom Sawyer to the kids.  Mika decides that Lizzie is more like Huck Finn because she’s ok with dead rabbits.  (Those poor baby bunnies!)  The group takes a break so that Carol can find some water.  That leaves Tyreese alone with Lizzie and Lil’ Ass Kicker, when they see a walker stumbling in the distance.  Tyreese goes to see what’s up when the walker falls on the tracks and is rendered immobile.  Tyreese goes to kill it anyway, but Lizzie stops him saying that she knows that sometimes they have to kill the walkers, but sometimes they don’t.  Tyreese looks a little bewildered, but lets railroad walker be.

This scene is oddly reminiscent of when Hershel expressed the same idea to Carl earlier in the season.  Hershel watched Carl gun down a teenage boy in season three.  So when he and Carl were alone in the woods, Hershel took the chance to give Carl a little life lesson and stopped him from killing a walker who posed no threat to them.  The difference is that Hershel was trying to get across a message of general non-violence, while Lizzie is coming to bat in defense of walkers and only walkers.

Carol and Mika are off in search of water, but really it’s just a cover so that Carol can try to talk some sense into Mika.  Carol tells Mika that she needs to toughen up, because being able to run wasn’t enough to save her Sophia.  Mika says that, unlike her sister, she would have no problem killing walkers if she was a better shot.  Her hang up is killing other people.  Even when the bad people came into the prison and killed basically everyone she knew in literally the entire world, Mika couldn’t pull the trigger.  She even says that she feels bad for them, because they probably weren’t killers in the pre-apocalypse.  Damn, Mika.  That is one hell of a moral compass you have for an eight-year-old.

414 ponytail

Why does she keep just a tiny bit of her hair in a ponytail?

Just as Carol is telling Mika that she has to change because things don’t just work out anymore, a cozy farm house jumps out at them and yells “eff your lesson, Carol!”  They gather up the rest of the group and decide to catch their breath on the cute little farm if only for a few days.  They have well water, pecans all over the place, and the potential to hunt deer.  I’m allergic to nuts and grossed out by well water and hunting so it’s not my idea of Mecca, but it’s pretty sweet digs by their standards.

Carol and Tyreese go into the house to clear it of zombies, leaving the three girls outside.  Lizzie is obviously distraught, so Mika tries to work out why big sis is upset.  It’s not that she’s worried about Carol and Tyreese or the dead baby grave she’s staring at.  Lizzie is upset that Carol and Tyreese are likely going to find a walker inside and kill it.  That makes sense.  Who cares about dead babies anyway?  As Mika tries to get across to her sister than walkers are just corpses that can move (what’s so confusing about that?), a walker makes his way out the side door and goes after Lizzie and Judith.  Mika to the rescue!  It takes three bullets, but she manages to land the head shot before Carol and Tyreese come running out.

Carol praises Mika for saving the other two girls and then turns to the visibly shaken Lizzie.  Lizzie won’t say why she’s upset, but she does confirm that it’s not because she was scared.  This walker loving attitude has really come out this week.  Sure she’s been crazy all along, but Lizzie has never cried over someone killing a walker before.  I feel like it’s getting a little too heavy handed.  Mika goes to her sister and tells to “look at the flowers like [she’s] supposed to,” and then they count to three together.  Sooo, apparently people did know Lizzie was crazy before the zombies.  That is not an eight-year-old talking; that is a tool learned in long term therapy.  I kind of feel like this is something that dad could have included in his dying declarations.  “Take care of my daughters.  P.S. Lizzie has a pretty serious dissociative disorder.”

That night, everyone is playing house and playing out what I assume happened in all the Little House on the Prairie books since they seemed too boring for me to actually read.  Carol and Lizzie are cracking open pecans that they apparently felt like gathering after the near death scare that afternoon and talking about their feelings.  Lizzie promises that she’s trying to hate walkers as much as everyone else, but sometimes it’s hard for her.  Then Mika runs in with a doll that she found and proudly names her Griselda Gunderson.  It’s really adorable so I feel like kind of a jerk for making fun of Mika… but what the hell you doin’ naming your doll Griselda?!  Anne.  The appropriate name for a red head raggedy doll is Anne.

414 gresilda

I guess she’s creepy enough to be a Griselda.

The next morning, Carol is boiling water on the stovetop which is probably a big deal considering she probably hasn’t been able to use an actual burner in at least two years.  I have one that works, but I probably haven’t used it in two years either.  She hears laughing outside and sees Lizzie frolicking with a walker.  Hey, it’s the opening scene!  Turns out it was a walker after all and not just the uncoordinated kid in the neighborhood (aka me as a child).  Creepy Lizzie side note: she calls the walker Griselda.  If the doll didn’t need a new name before, it does now.

Carol rushes outside and pushes Lizzie aside so that she can stab zombie Griselda in the head.  Lizzie goes full on tantrum and freaks out on Carol yelling about how zombie Griselda just wanted a friend and how would it be different if Lizzie killed Carol.  Carol presents her counter-argument: death.  Tyreese hears the commotion and just looks out the window with the “bitches be crazy” face that has been rightfully stuck on his face for 90% of the season since the prison raid.

Carol is out hunting deer with Mika, who is carrying a gun that is literally 2/3 her size.  They see the smoke from a fire that they smelled earlier.  Mika says that it’s still burning because the smoke is black.  Science.  You guys!  Remember a couple of weeks ago when they showed us how close Team Tyreese was to Daryl and Beth with berries and dead bunnies?  The fire is the still house burning down!  I was pre-tty proud when I pieced that one together.  If I’m right.  If not, forget I said anything.  This is a good example of how close to another person you can be without being able to find them in Zombieland.

Carol gives Mika another toughen up talk and tells her that even though she isn’t as strong or cutthroat as her sister, Mika is smarter.  Carol’s tough talk is interrupted by a deer that she tells Mika to kill.  The way Carol encourages Mika in the mom voice is creepy.  It’s like she’s teaching Mika to play piano or do crafts.  But despite Carol’s gentle tone, Mika can’t pull the trigger on Bambi.  Mika reassures Carol that it’s ok because they have millions of peaches for free.  Apparently Mika plans on being the only vegetarian in Zombieland.

Mika goes looking for Lizzie and finds her feeding a mouse to the railroad track zombie that she stopped Tyreese from killing earlier.  It’s super creepy and weird.  But then it gets even creepier and weirder.  Lizzie says that she can hear them and they just want her to change and be like them.  At this point, I’d allow it.  She offers her hand to the walker and I would be totally ok with a walker Lizzie going off into the sunset.

But Lizzie’s sacrifice is interrupted by some more terrifying walkers.  A group of crusty, smoldering walkers comes out of the tree line and sends the girls running.  Apparently Lizzie only likes her zombies chilled and decaying.  The girls run back to the farm house screaming, which brings Carol and Tyreese running.  Mika gets stuck on the fence, but after Lizzie frees her from a near biter attack, the two join the adults in shooting up the field.  Mika, who earlier declined to use her gun, is avid to join in on the walker killing; but Lizzie is just kind of shooting in no man’s land, which draws Carol’s attention.  After we’ve spent a metric eff ton of ammunition, the fire zombies have been put down and we get to have a mini group hug.

414 fire walker

Guys!  Guys!  They’re fire walkers.  Get it?!

Side note:  If it was the still house burning, Beth and Daryl’s middle fingers to the past kind of unexpectedly have turned into middle fingers to their fellow heroes.  Ain’t nobody got time for fire zombies.

Later that night, Lizzie and Carol are back at the table of truth.  Lizzie is distraught about having to kill the zombies at the farm fence, but is adamant that she knows what has to be done now.  Mika listens in on the truth bombs the table is dropping and says that she doesn’t want to be mean.  The cutest pacifist EVER.  The girls confirm that they aren’t sick of pecans, so Carol takes them to make her grandmother’s baked pecans.  Again, these would kill my allergic ass, but the sentiment is very sweet.  Plus, Carol gets to use the mom voice as it was originally intended and it gets to be adorable instead of creepy and unsettling.

Carol and Tyreese go out for a walk to talk about grown-up stuff.  Carol tells Tyreese that maybe they could just stay at the comfy farm house for a while before going to Terminus.  Tyreese goes on a very self indulgent tirade about him dreaming of Karen and his nightmares and how on bad nights, he sees someone killing her.  Yes, it is sad that your girlfriend died.  But I still maintain that Tyreese could not have been dating this woman for more than a couple of weeks.  Sir, you are complaining to a woman who lost her (admittedly abusive) husband and daughter.  At a certain point, relativity has to come into play.

Alright folks, now comes the serious part of the recap that you knew was coming.  Carol and Tyreese come back to farm house and find a bloody Lizzie, knife in hand, standing where the three little ones should be.  There’s really no gentle way to say this.  In a misguided attempt to show everyone that walkers aren’t so bad, Lizzie killed Mika.  We see Mika’s blood stained, white face; but almost as a recognition of how horrible this scene really is, The Walking Dead doesn’t make us see the actual wound or Mika turn into a zombie.  Lizzie pulls her gun on the two adults begging them to let Mika change.  Carol talks Lizzie off that particular ledge and sends her off with Tyreese before breaking down in tears next to poor Mika’s body.

In the argument of who got the short straw, Carol and Tyreese are in a dead heat.  Having to stab a dead child in the head or being stuck with a ten year old murderer are the options in the worst ever game of “would you rather.”  Tyreese takes Lizzie to her room and clears it of anything sharp as well as confirming that Lizzie was the one feeding rats to the walkers at the prison and splaying the rodents on boards.  (Called that one, bitches.)

The grown-ups try to figure out what they can do with Lizzie now.  Carol initially suggests that since they can’t have Lizzie and Judith under the same roof, Carol could go away with her.  Tyreese points out that that would be a suicide mission.  Then, lest Carol get too noble, they realize that Tyreese and Judith can’t make it on their own either.  Lizzie can’t be around other people.  Carol does what needs to be done and takes Lizzie out to a field where she can look at the flowers.  Lizzie is upset about all the wrong things and offers a teary apology for pointing a gun at Carol.  Carol tells Lizzie that she loves her and puts her down.

There are a multitude of reasons why this scene is upsetting.  Two children are dead.  Carol has now lost three charges.  But the thing that jumps out, at least to me, is the issue of untreated mental health disorders.  Lizzie had obviously been diagnosed with and was in treatment for a dissociative disorder pre-Zombieland.  Given the level of her pathology, Lizzie may even have been medicated.  Deprived of that support system, Lizzie would have been struggling in a state of immense confusion.  I’ve called her Creepy Lizzie from the start, but I send her off as Troubled Lizzie.

After digging graves for the girls, Carol and Tyreese retire to the farm house to apparently do a puzzle.  Carol slides Tyreese a gun and then tells him that she was the one who killed Karen and David to stop the spread of infection.  I kind of take issue with this.  Carol is a survivalist.  If she thought that she was never going to see Rick (the only person she ever told) again, she wouldn’t reveal this if Tyreese was her only hope of staying alive.  Luckily, Tyreese is a survivalist too and his reaction is perfect.  He does some serious face acting and goes through all the stages of grief in 45 seconds.  Tyreese says that he knows that he forgives Carol but knows that neither of them will ever forget.

No real cliffhanger of the week this episode.  Carol and Tyreese decide that staying at the farm house is outskies, so they decide to ease on down the road to Terminus.  From the preview, it looks like we get about 66% of our cast back though.

One more before the finale, 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

S04 E10: Inmates

S04 E11: Claimed

S04 E12: Still

S04 E13: Alone

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: Internment

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 #5:

Hershel, Hershel, and more Hershel.  I would actually like to know what percentage of the screen time for this week’s episode of The Walking Dead the man actually took up.  Although, that does kind of make me nervous for him.  This episode felt an awful lot like a swan song, so it may have been his Emmy push.  But before we get into that, let’s go kill some more people of Woodbury, finally knock down that stupid fence, and talk about why I’m not at all excited about the cliffhanger of the week.

I’m still so mad at Rick!  I don’t feel bad for him looking all tortured in this artsy driving shot (that The Walking Dead has used kind of a lot this year).  In fact, it makes me angry in a way which I don’t think that the writers intended.  Rick is too smug in his torment.  It’s like he wraps himself up in it like a cozy blanket of depression that people comment on, but still deal with.  The only thing I will say for Rick, he’s the least terrible driver on the show.  Not even a mangled zombie being eaten by feral dogs on the side of the road can distract him.  I see a dead squirrel in the middle of the road and the life of everyone around me is in danger.  Maybe Daryl and I can take lessons together.

Back in the death flu clinic, what’s left of the council has moved on to intubating the patients which seems really useless to me.  I realize the point is to reinforce Hershel’s never give up, never surrender attitude, but this is just an exercise in futility that nobody would realistically go along with.  “Here, Sasha, now just pump this bag for literally the rest of that guy’s life.”  Plus, they appear to only have one unit.  Why are we even pretending random curly haired kid is the lucky one when we know that thing is ending up down the throat of a main character?

Hershel makes some cheesy dad jokes about moving spaghetti night, right after they find some spaghetti.  His attempt at levity is entirely unsuccessful since, unfortunately, a room full of terminally ill people is a tough crowd.  Hershel and Glenn go on rounds, which appears to just mean walking around and looking at increasingly gross people.  They find someone that they didn’t get to in time with the magic intubation bag, but Hershel won’t let Glenn off him in Gen Pop.  I get the impression that Maggie and Beth sent some dogs to a farm upstate when they were kids.

Creepy Lizzie shows up and makes me more uncomfortable than any zombie on this show can.  She catches the undertakers wheeling dead Woodbury resident away to “someplace quieter.”  Heaven?  I basically assume everything that comes out of Hershel’s mouth is religious in a way that goes over my head.  He tells Lizzie to go get his copy of Tom Sawyer and read it by the end of the night.  Um, I have a feeling that she hasn’t been able to practice her reading for a while, so she might be a little below her grade level.  Plus, I know they’re in the South, but I’m pretty sure kids get a conversation about racism and historical mistakes nowadays before they get that assignment.

Maggie and Hershel come to the magic window of revelations, where I realize that Maggie is the only person on this show that gets increasingly attractive the more screwed up her hair is.  Hershel gives her one of his less impressive wisdom speeches, but does convince her she can do more good outside of the death flu clinic.  As Hershel leaves, he finds Glenn who lied so that he wouldn’t have to talk to Maggie.  I wanna slap this boy up the back his head!  I hate when characters pull the total BS of keeping their distance so that they don’t hurt their loved ones.  It’s not your decision and you’re hurting them already.  Now go talk to your fiancé!

The next day, Maggie is out at the fence poking zombies by herself.  Is there anyone left not in the death flu clinic?  If so, why aren’t they helping her?!  This stupid fence drives me crazy.  They have offered no good reason why they don’t have everybody down there at all times taking out walkers.  Lame ass plot device…

Rick arrives back alone (raaaaage!) and just starts yelling names in the most frantic way possible, confirming once and for all that Woodbury can eff off since he doesn’t ask about them.  Seriously, he had a pretty long car ride to figure out an entrance and this is what he lands on?  Maggie will surely side with me about everyone’s buddy Carol.  No, Maggie!  He was not right, and not even your perfectly tousled hair can convince me otherwise.

Rick swings by the quarantine daycare to check in on Carl and the other invisible children, and to drop off snack time.  Today the kids are having fruit leather, but only if they brush their teeth after!  Is this why Rick is running around like a chicken with his head cut off?  It’s not like he has actual medication to get to the clinic.  Anyway, Carl calls after Rick to ask when he can come out and play but Rick is still not having it.  Then he drops a douchey exit line about how he may not be able to protect Carl, but it’s still his job to try.  I swear, smugness oozes from this man’s pores.

The clinic has become Hershel’s playground where he’s romping around pretty well on his peg leg.  He goes to check in on Doc S, who has certainly looked better.  Doc S must know he’s having a bad hair day because he is in a crap mood.  If he turned into a zombie right this minute, he wouldn’t want to eat Hershel; he would just want to hurt his feelings.

Doc S was always a little pudgy, but relatively attractive.  This “face exploding” look really isn’t working for him though

Doc S was always a little pudgy, but relatively attractive. This “face exploding” look really isn’t working for him though

Doc S blurts out his opinion on the issue everyone has been tiptoeing around: knock it off with the damn tea and intubation bag and let some bodies hit the floor.  He even has a shotgun hidden under his bed to make sure he gets to be a complete bummer before he dies.  “The Hippocratic Oath” is probably not going to be his dying thought, unless there’s a “fuck” in front of it.

Right after the uplifting words of wisdom from Doc S, Hershel goes to tuck everyone into bed for the night.  A man stumbles out of his cell and dies in front of everyone, which obviously upsets Hershel.  Getting these dying people to stay in bed is like trying to keep down a bratty toddler!  Also, this is what he’s been trying to avoid this whole time.  He wheels the man’s corpse out of Gen Pop and, after a moment of hesitation, stabs his first lost patient in the head.  But where does he happen to be standing?  The magic window of revelations!

Unfortunately, Hershel is only having depressing revelations this week.  Rick happens to be standing behind him and they have a pretty bummer conversation about burning bodies (which they should have been doing all along), Steinbeck quotes, and the world never going back to the way it was before.  When it boils down to it though, Hershel is still very vehement that there’s a plan.  Except Rick, being the jerk that he is, decides to pick a moment where Hershel’s last sliver of hope is very exposed to tell him about Carol.  I think Rick actually enjoys bumming people out.

Maggie and Rick are outside finally trying to do something about the fence.  I’ve been begging for this all season so I should be happy; but I was not begging for THIS.  Whose idea was it to bolster the fence with wood that they’re propping up on a gravel path?  Not to mention that third graders have a better understanding of angles than these two.  Some of those logs are practically lying on the ground.  Humph, let’s just break the damn fence and get it over with.

Things are starting to look pretty grim in the death flu clinic.  Hershel finds Sasha passed out in her cell and takes a little while to get her conscious again.  While he’s with Sasha, other people are dropping like flies.  A zombie barrels out her cell and gets the jump on Hershel which draws several people out of their cells to help: a young blonde who saves Hershel’s life and is promptly shot for her trouble by a man being bitten by his dead son.

Meanwhile, the man Glenn has been helping with the useless intubation bag has proven said bag to be useless and dies.  Glenn conveniently begins to decline quickly at that exact moment and passes out next the newly made zombie.  Lizzie helps Glenn in the creepiest way she can come up with and decides to lure the walker out of the cell by talking to him like he’s a dog.  She did save Glenn just now though, so I’ll give her a break this time.

Look at that sassy pose.  It’s almost like a creepy dance off.

Look at that sassy pose. It’s almost like a creepy dance off.

The fence crew hears the gun shots and Maggie runs inside to help the death flu clinic, but misunderstands how doors work in quarantine and is surprised by the locked door.  She eventually shoots her way in and helps to save her betrothed.  Hershel swings by Doc S’s cell to get the shotgun, but finds that the good doctor has become a zombie in the cell with the only weapon.  Take this knife to the eye as a parting gift.

Once inside the cell, Hershel actually throws the Bible out of his pocket so he can fill them with shotgun casings.  Maaay have just gotten a little heavy handed there, guys.  They manage to get the clinic under control and save Glenn (but damn if they didn’t scare me on that one).  Lizzie comes to the cell where Glenn and Maggie have just reunited and asks if it’s over.  Maggie confirms and Lizzie responds by drawing circles in Glenn’s blood with her boot.  Take a second to read that last sentence again.  Forget what I said before about giving her a break.  I am terrified of that little devil child.

On the fence, Rick has recruited Carl to try and hold up the Hoover Dam with toothpicks.  They obviously fail and DING DONG, THE FENCE IS DEAD!  But there is the problem now of the zombie flood coming at the Grimes men.  Luckily, machine guns are apparently easy enough to use that a thirteen year old can learn how to use one in eleven seconds.  (Disclaimer: I have no idea if they’re technically “machine guns.”  Not a big gun person.)  The boys come back and finish off the herd while they do a little father-son bonding over zombie poking.  Why didn’t they just take out the fence herd this way before?  I know they avoid firing weapons when possible, but this looked like it couldn’t have taken more than fifteen minutes.

The fighters (remember them) are back with the medicine, so now we can cure everyone who’s left with magical antibiotics.  Seriously, antibiotics just have to be in your general vicinity to work immediately.  With everyone back in the prison, Hershel is off duty for the first time in a while.  He goes back to Doc S’s cell and closes the eye that he didn’t stab him through earlier.  Sitting over the body of his dead friend, Hershel picks up his Bible and opens it.  He just starts crying and I can’t even handle it!  It’s like if you see someone break down for the first time and freeze up.  Is this a pat on the back or pour a shot moment?!

Of course they deprive us of Rick telling Daryl about Carol for the week, so all that’s really left is the cliffhanger of the week.  Hmmm, I wonder what that creepy music as we pan back to the perimeter could mean.  “The Governor?!  I thought he was gone forever,” said no one.  They are really going to have to win me over this time around.  His first pass around, The Governor really irked me, because he was just evil for the sake of being evil.  But I will try and keep an open mind moving forward, and see if they can round him out a little bit.

Until next week, my friends!

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

The Walking Dead: Indifference

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 #4:

Well, this week certainly was an angsty one, now wasn’t it?  Half of our heroes are all about fighting internal demons rather than physical monsters; while Carol and Tyreese really take this episode’s title to heart and have no fucks to give today.  Either way, there is almost as much judging going on as when Dale was still on this show.  Gah, sometimes I watch a clip of self-righteous Dale dying just to cheer myself up.  Which he would probably judge me for.  Rick does an impressive job picking up that mantle this week, so let’s go see why I hate Rick now.

The episode starts with Carol talking to creepy little Lizzie before she heads out with Rick for a supply run and a little emotional digging.  Carol tries to bolster Lizzie’s courage about killing her neighbors, but Lizzie apparently enters her pre-teen rebellious stage and tells “Mom” that even if she dies, she isn’t afraid because she’s cool with being a zombie.  Carol essentially responds, “No daughter of mine is going to be a zombie!  Now, don’t call me ‘Mom’ and pull your knife out.”  Sophia probably would have turned out toootally functional if she had lived.

We switch over to our fighters who appear to have outrun literally THOUSANDS of zombies off screen.  How much time is supposed to have passed since last episode?  I really feel like walking around that swarm should have been more of a project.  Anyway, Tyreese isn’t worried about time (since everyone is probably dead), so he decides it’s laundry time and won’t come when called AGAIN.  Forget what I said before about not killing off Tyreese.  Can we get Carol over here to knife him and save us from his douche-baggery?

The group sets out to find a new car and Daryl finds a rock.  I guess it’s a specific kind of rock that he picks up for someone in A block for some purpose?  Anyway, I may not understand Daryl’s occasional mumbling (or geology), but I do understand guilt trips.  Michonne teases him about having friends, but Daryl slams her for taking off so much and then goes to pout with his special pebble.

As a rare treat, The Walking Dead attempts to give random people in Zombieland a sense of humor.  First, Carol and Rick find a station wagon with “Pardon our dust” written on the filthy windows.  A classic, to be sure, but not nearly as good as the gas station where some teenage hoodlums moved around the numbers to spell a word.  Like in elementary school when everyone figured out what “80085” looks like on a scientific calculator!

OIC what you did there.  At first I thought I was just having a stroke.

OIC what you did there. At first I thought I was just having a stroke.

In an attempt to get into the overgrown convenience shop, the fighters take on their greatest challenge yet: zombie bush.  Well, it starts off just a bush, but then Tyreese decides to take his frustrations out on vegetation and accidentally turns it into the most dangerous Chia Pet of all time.  When the walkers start leaping out of the vines, everyone starts killing them.  Except Tyreese, AGAIN.  He continues to be a complete and total a-hole and appears to be trying to hug his zombie, until the others save him.

Tyreese doesn’t have an answer when Michonne calls him on his bullshit; just a stupid, tortured stare.  But Michonne decides that enough is enough and pushes the point.  She asks him straight out if he was really trying to die, or if he even knows what he’s trying to do.  It’s a fair question, because I sure as hell don’t.  Michonne tells him flat out, “Angry makes you stupid, and stupid gets you killed.”  Apparently she needs to get some wisdom counseling from Hershel, because she makes a valid point, but it’s not necessarily the most helpful advice anyone has ever given on this show.

Inside the shop, Daryl and PTSD Bob find a battery as well as a pretty decent spread of auto supplies.  They also find an emptied out bottle of anti-freeze that the bush zombies drank “holding hands, Kumbaya style.”  Daryl and PTSD Bob disagree about whether it’s always worth fighting for survival, or if it’s easier just to go out on your own terms instead of watching everyone you love die horribly.  PTSD Bob pensively looks at a live zombie (oxymoron?) pinned next to a picture of all the shop people being happy before they drank the Kool-aid.  Then he unintentionally takes away a little bit of this zombie guy’s “death with dignity” decision by stabbing him in the head with the men’s room key.

Rick and Carol’s road trip has brought them to a cute little cul-de-sac neighborhood.  Even though the show runners are obviously going for quaint, this doesn’t seem like the greatest strategic move.  If walkers start coming at you down the street, you have willingly put yourself in a corner that requires a very slow 360 to drive out of.  They raid the medicine cabinet of one house and find a walker, as well as two pretty clueless burnout kids who didn’t know there was a dead chick across the hall.  Tweeker boy throws a peach down as a peace offering, but both Rick and Carol just watch it fall on a corpse.  I’m mostly just surprised that these kids didn’t hit the medicine cabinet when they first broke in.

It turns out that they’re a little bit cute though.  Mr. and Mrs. Tweeker talk about how they’ve been fairing in the post-apocalypse and they bust out their meet-cute!  It’s the classic story of boy meets girl, girl nearly gets trampled to death in a fire, boy saves girl and loves her despite her horribly deformed leg.  We even get a new name for zombies: skin eaters!  Someone calls them “deadies” too, but I’m pretending that one didn’t happen.  The Tweekers seem pretty non-threatening, so Rick goes into his “Riddle me these questions three” routine.  They pass!  Rick wants to leave them in the house until it’s time to head out since they’re pretty beat up, but Carol insists that they can help to cover more ground before nightfall.  Rick reluctantly sends the Tweekers off with a gun and his watch.

Rick and Carol have made the rounds and are swinging by a greenhouse the Tweekers mentioned.  They pick tomatoes and reminisce about their pre-zombie lives.  Actually, Rick reminisces and Carol tells some really awful stories about her abusive husband.  All I can think about during this exchange though, is why the hell are they picking around the green tomatoes?!  People are starving, but Rick and Carol are too good for under-ripe produce.  OH OKAY.  Well it turns out that they don’t have to worry about feeding girl Tweeker, because they find her wonky leg a ridiculously far distance away from the rest of her body which is being devoured.  Seriously, how did it get over there?  Was her dying act to throw her screwed up leg fifty feet in the air?

The fighters finally make it to the vet hospital and I get nervous about whether animals turn in to zombies too, because I watched Pet Semetary way too young and it scared me.  Luckily, all the puppies have already been completely eaten (a sentence I never expected to write).  They find the lab surprisingly quickly and without conflict, but then are really picky about what meds they take.  This is the same issue I had with the green tomatoes; there should be nothing on those shelves that they can’t fit in their bags.  Even if you end up with some obscure ones, somebody might get heartworm someday, you don’t know.

Their exit from the hospital is decidedly less graceful and they end up jumping out a window, which works like a charm because apparently zombies can’t get three feet off the ground.  They’re walkers, not climbers.  The zombies are obviously just stuck there so that we can have a dramatic moment between Daryl and PTSD Bob.  PTSD Bob had disclosed to Daryl earlier in the episode that he has a drinking problem that indirectly led to Zach’s death.  At the time, Daryl comforted him with a succinct “That’s bullshit,” but any sympathy is gone.  Instead of loading up on medicine, PTSD Bob filled his pack with liquor he found in the lab and when everyone finds out, they are NOT amused.  Daryl tells PTSD Bob that if he has a single sip before the medicine gets back, he will end him.  And I 100% believe that he would.  I’m pretty sure I would take my chances with the walker swarm if Daryl ever yelled at me like that.

The cul-de-sac crew is all loaded up and debating whether they should leave boy Tweeker behind.  There was no sign of him next to his lady, so he could be fine and on his way back.  Rick wants to wait so that boy Tweeker isn’t stranded alone if he is ok, but Carol insists that they have to leave him regardless.  Then she really gets on the “Indifference” train and says to Rick apologetically, “It was a nice watch.”  Unfortunately, the fact that this is her take away here isn’t about to help Carol out in their next conversation.

Rick and Carol have spent the entire episode discussing changed morality, acceptable losses, and how far is too far.  Even though Rick never asked Carol his three questions directly, he’s decided that she doesn’t pass anymore.  She’s killed countless walkers.  She murdered two people and now is indirectly responsible for the Tweekers’ downfall.  And he doesn’t think that the coldness of her reasoning for it is justified.  All this boils down to Rick deciding that Carol isn’t coming back to the prison.

At least Rick left you with your two favorite weapons.

At least Rick left you with your two favorite weapons.

Um, I am NOT ok with this.  I have so many problems with this that I actually had to remind myself that throwing my remote at the screen won’t actually hurt Rick.  Where does he get off being Carol’s judge, jury, and executioner?  Does he honestly think that this is any different than what Carol did?  If he is concerned about everyone not wanting her there or Tyreese wanting her dead, there should be some sort of trial.  Or he could just keep his mouth shut.  The bottom line here is that Rick is picking Tyreese, the unhinged man who attacked him for no reason, over Carol, who he has known since the beginning and who essentially runs the day to day chores of the prison.  I’ve been saying all season that I love, love, love what they’re doing with Carol and to take her away from us at this point is just cruel.

So there’s no real cliffhanger this week; just a montage of people being pissed and depressed while I sit on my couch and try to invent ways that Carol can come back and punch Rick in the face.  We’re only four Episodes into the season, so there’s still plenty of time!

Until next week, my friends!

Check out Hillary’s Previous Posts:

S04 E01: 30 Days Without An Accident Review

S04 E02: Infected Review

S04 E03: Isolation Review

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

The Walking Dead: Infected

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 #2:

Time for episode two!  I was a little wary of this episode going in after I saw the title.  I know it can’t be all walker killing all the time, but sometimes in the past, it’s felt like there aren’t a lot of zombies on my zombie show at all.  Remember when we just hung out and did laundry in a pretty comfy farmhouse for a season?  So, if this was just going to turn into an episode about a non-zombie health crisis…  But how wrong I was!  This was a downright gory episode.  Throw in a little animal cruelty and the squeem factor got pretty high.

Is it just me, or is The Walking Dead the darkest show on television?  Yes, the content is dark, but visually, I feel like I was squinting at the screen for the first ten minutes of this episode.  To their credit though, this show has successfully trained me to the point that I am completely freaked out by flashlights.  Especially when that flashlight is pointed at a rat getting its head cut off.  For what reason?  We don’t have nearly all the puzzle pieces yet, but this scene did immediately prompt me to burst into song.  Listen all ya’ll, IT’S SABOTAGE.  It’s purely speculation at this point, but this level of sneakiness smacks of the Governor.  Just working on how still…

Inside, Tyreese and Karen are canoodling (still in the dark) and honoring Zach.  Ok, pause for a second to remember who Zach is, realize we didn’t really care about him that much, and now it’s bed time.  Karen turns down Tyreese’s invitation back to his place and instead decides to wander around in the dark by herself with a flickering flashlight.

I take issue with this scene.  I know that they all feel complacent behind the prison walls, but I feel like all security protocol shouldn’t be thrown out the window.  First of all, how about a buddy system?  Even if Karen wasn’t feeling frisky, big burly man singing “I’ve got you” isn’t a bad roommate/bathroom escort to have in Zombieland.  Plus, are these guys serious with the shower curtains LITERALLY all over the place?  Modesty be damned!  I don’t want anything sneaking up on me Psycho-style.  And why is nobody locking their jail cells at night?  Even if you’re not worried about zombies getting through the fence, what if someone, oh I don’t know, dies of natural causes in the shower and comes back undead?  No sympathy for you, random sleeping man.  Enjoy your emptied out torso. (How sweet was it when he stood up though, right?)

A moment of philosophical quandary:  is Harry Potter zombie still Harry Potter zombie if he lost his glasses?  Welp, he’s dead now so I’m not learning his real name.  I am kind of curious about him though.  HP seems to be moving differently than the other zombies.  He’s faster and a little more deliberate.  Plus, he spends a long time eating the same person rather than getting distracted and moving on.  This might be my imagination, so I’ll leave it for now.

402 harry potter

Manners first.

Morning breaks, and Glenn and Maggie are being adorable in the honeymoon suite.  Except, how much film does Maggie think is left in the world that she can be throwing away pictures?  Polaroid film was impossible to come by even before the apocalypse.

Michonne is also being adorable as she’s getting ready to go out on another run and trading jabs with Carl about comic books and stale M&M’s.  This new, less guarded Michonne could potentially be getting a little heavy handed.  But I like the idea of characters like Michonne and Daryl going through positive growth, instead of just watching Rick swing through character transformations like a ballistic pendulum.  Somebody pointed out to me though, that giving Carl a new mother figure, could lead down the slippery slope of a potential Michonne/Rick hookup.  Please God, no!  It makes no sense.  Plus, I always shipped the subtext between Michonne and Andrea.

(Side note:  Are gay people really bad at fighting zombies?!  Thinking about Andrea and Michonne made me realize that I can’t come up with a single out character that’s been on this show.  I’m gonna pretend it’s because we’re in the South and all the queers are up in Massachusetts rebuilding society.)

Anyway, just as I start verbally begging Michonne not to go, I luck out and everyone starts dying!  We hear gunshots and Michonne turns around to come back, but at kind of a leisurely pace.  She practically stops to fix her outfit.  As punishment, she twists her ankle while flipping a walker onto the pointy fence.  In my head, I’m secretly pumped because now she can’t leave me for a while!  Maggie saves her and all of a sudden, I realize that I want nothing more in my life than for them to become best friends.

402 mag mich

Can we make this ship happen, pretty please?

Inside the cell block, things are pretty gruesome.  The Trojan Horse zombies have claimed more people and the number of bite victims is increasing exponentially.  Rick starts doing a pretty good job of evacuating people, but is crap when it comes to actual zombie killing.  He even gives away a gun that someone hands to him.  Luckily, Daryl picks up the slack and goes into ultimate fighter mode.  He even saves a couple of kids, because obviously Daryl is the post-apocalypse version of a St. Jude cancer researcher.

Carol is right behind him, cementing her place as the secret hero of The Walking Dead.  Sure, she’ll run Café Zombé and volunteer for story time.  But don’t get it twisted, she will cut your freaking arm off at the drop of a hat if it means saving your life.  Unfortunately for the man she tries to save in this battle, amputating neck wounds doesn’t generally work out so well and she realizes he’s a goner.  This man’s dying wish is that Carol watch after his two soon to be orphaned daughters, “like they’re [her] own,” which obviously strikes a nerve.  Carol accepts the responsibility and immediately starts dropping some knowledge bombs on these girls about life and death decisions and how sometimes that means stabbing daddy in the head.  No time for grieving in Zombieland.

What’s really interesting about this scene is the difference between meek, battered Carol from Seasons 1 and 2 interacting with her own daughter and how she speaks to her two new charges.  She clearly has no intention of letting these girls meet the same end as her Sophia.  As far as I’m concerned, Carol has had the most consistent and delicately handled character transformation of anyone on this show.  Hey, writers room for The Walking Dead!  More of this, please.

After the last of the bitten residents have died, there’s a very eerie scene that really brings home how messed up this massacre really was.  As they prevent all of the infected corpses from coming back as walkers, it has obviously hit everyone that these aren’t anonymous zombies that they ran into in the woods; these are the people of their community.  Glenn had to stomp on the skull of a woman that he may have had breakfast plans with that morning.  After real life tragedies, people always say, “You never think it will happen to you.”  This scene really has that feel to it.

While investigating what actually happened, Rick determines, after approximately 30 seconds of investigation, that some of the sick walkers don’t have any bite marks.  But how can this be?!  Thank goodness, a doctor that we had no idea existed is here to explain.  He uses a lot of biology words, but then pulls the classic sci-fi trick of breaking down terribly complex science to an easy to understand metaphor.  This dead guy is a shaken up can of soda that blew his top!

Turns out that the infection is actually an aggressive flu that was around before the zombies came.  If I was iffy at all about getting a flu shot this year, I’m officially shelling out the $25 now.  Now that we know what our contagion is, the City Council assembles to process the shit storm that has just occurred.  They decide that anyone who was in the cell block should be taken out of Gen Pop, and then a conveniently timed cough makes everyone freak the eff out.  It’s Karen.  Womp, womp.  Let this be a lesson, never be too happy at the beginning of an episode of The Walking Dead.

Daryl goes to take care of the dead and even though we literally just talked about how contagious the Death Flu is, he wears the worst possible gloves and mask available to bury them.  Also, I’ve got quite a bit of dystopian fiction under my belt, and I’m pretty sure that they should burning those bodies someplace off site instead of burying them next to the food supply.  Why isn’t our new doctor friend chiming in on this?!  Well, at least Carl has something to do with the crosses that he’s making in creepy, remedial shop class.

The worst funeral ever is interrupted by a mob of zombies that were attracted by all the hubbub and are now joining the effort to take down the already questionable fence.  Catching up on your reading and redecorating your jail cell are all well and good, but why has nobody thought about reinforcing that fence in the whole time they’ve been there?  Now all our main players are looking supremely boned.  Except, it is essentially all of our main players, so of course Rick is gonna get the crazy glimmer in his eye and save the day.

EXCEPT THIS SOLUTION IS NOT OKAY, RICK.  For real, this scene makes me the most upset that I have ever been watching this show.  He slices those poor little piggies so slowly and then throws them to be killed so terribly and it’s tearing me apart from the inside.  I don’t even care that they probably brought Death Flu to the prison.  I say the people should have died and the animals should have lived.  I would watch a show about adorable pigs frolicking with zombies.

I’m so worked up, I don’t even want to see the cliffhanger of the week.  Except it looks kind of interesting and confusing, so I’m back in.  Tyreese goes to bring Karen some flowers in the totally unprotected quarantine area, and finds a trail of blood.  He obviously follows the blood super duper slowly, because there’s probably nothing to be alarmed about.  Just your girlfriend’s smoldering body.

Or is it?!  I’m always wary of unrecognizable burn victims when there’s a saboteur on the loose.  It’s one of my mottos in life.

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S04 E01: 30 Days Without An Accident Review