Last week, after “30 Days without an Accident,” I was questioning who the enemy might be this season. I guess I should have been asking “what” it could be instead. Episode 4.2 “Infected,” provided us- obvious by the title- with some answers.
It also asked a big question right from the start: Who inside the prison is doing things that are very dangerous to the group? But more on that later.
We got a bit (and just one bit), of Tyreese and Karen’s new found relationship. We also got some classic horror movie tension as she moved about the showers and wandered to her cell in the middle of the night. Even though they might feel like the prison is a safe haven from what’s outside it, this is the zombie apocalypse! You don’t walk around at night, by yourself, ever. But walk around alone Karen did, and just narrowly missed being Patrick’s late night snack before he ended up finding someone else to tear into – literally.
Outside, Rick and Michonne seem, in the limited interaction we’ve been shown, to be settling into an easy-going friendship. I hope we see more of them together. Carl and his dad seem to be getting along really well also, though Carl did ask for his gun back. That request appeared to come out of a need to be useful to the group vs. some unhealthy “I want to shoot people” mentality. Though Rick let the question drop, more conversation was cut short when all hell broke loose in D Block.
Seeing Rick act so quickly (after being alerted), running from the yard into the prison, throwing down his farming gloves in the process, did my heart good. Even though we only got one episode of his new, gentler lifestyle, it was good to see him jump back in and get in on the action. I thought I saw a moment when he was running where he touched near his back pocket, maybe instinctively reaching for where he used to keep his holstered gun. I suppose he may have just been feeling for his knife, but later on he did mention not having the gun to Daryl.
The scene in the prison was as exciting as any action sequence we’ve come to expect from The Walking Dead. Even though now there are so many new faces we don’t really know the people who are getting killed, it still felt like our old favorites could be in jeopardy in the attack.
Once the immediate threat was over, we learned that a new one has begun. Some sort of flu, most likely carried by animals, has invaded the prison, making those who got sick before they turned end up as “popped top” walkers. And unfortunately, many of the prison group have been exposed. I’m not exactly sure how a powerful bug like this developed, even in the animal population, because now both the animal and human populations seem so small for something so virulent, but I’m willing to roll with it because it has the potential to provide some very good story down the line.
Back outside, I was a little confused about Lizzie; her dad died and I’m sure she was in shock, but why is she so concerned about “Nick” the walker? That oddity notwithstanding, was it really appropriate for her and Mika to be the ones to knife their father in the head (though it was ultimately Carol that did it)?
I enjoyed the little moment between Rick and Daryl – he wanted Rick to know how useful he is to the group- before the two were off and running again because the fence was bending underneath the weight of all those clustered walkers. Rick took a moment, then showed no hesitation in stabbing the walkers in the head, trying to lighten the load of the caving fence. When that didn’t work, though, Rick thought of a plan.
As Daryl was driving the truck and Rick was slaughtering, and then dropping the pigs to draw the walkers away from the fence, it was clear the weight on his shoulders grew heavier with each animal he threw to the zombies. Rick’s non-violent days of farming are over, probably for good, and the realization that they never could have lasted anyway spread over his face like the piglets’ blood.
Rick ends up giving Carl back his gun, and resigns himself to (after Carl spills the truth) the fact that Carol is teaching the children how to kill walkers without their parents’ consent. When Rick finally strapped on his holster, the scene provided a moment of dichotomy; I wanted to see it, but Andrew Lincoln plays the sadness of resignation so well, I felt bad that he had to do it.
At the end of the episode Tyreese sees two burned bodies, and the visible bracelet tells him (and us) one of them is Karen’s. It seems this is also the anonymous work of someone within the prison walls.
So, we now have two mysteries: Who is feeding rats to the walkers, and who burned those bodies (and is it the same person)?
Miscellaneous thoughts on the episode:
Most (surprisingly) poignant moment: This belongs to Michonne. As she initially kept Judy at arms-length, the pain of her previous loss (it seems pretty evident she lost a child) while she held the baby close was unexpectedly powerful.
Best lines of the episode:
Carol: (When discussing moving everyone who was potentially exposed from cell Block D away from everyone else) “We can use cell block A.”
Glenn: “Death row? Not sure that’s much of an upgrade.”
So far, The Walking Dead is bringing the action sequences, setting up an interesting storyline, and providing a bit of character development for our major players. I say let’s keep going in this direction as we see what happens next.