Infected || The Walking Dead - S4 E2
Prior to last week’s season premiere of The Walking Dead, fans were treated to several short teasers on AMC alluding to some kind of great tragedy in the cell blocks. Perhaps the most gruesome of these (and my personal favorite, due to nothing more than shock value) showed a single bloody handprint on the wall. As the camera panned, however, more and more of these handprints were revealed, until nearly half the wall was covered in blood. As if that weren’t bad enough, the camera then moved outside the jail cell to show a trail of blood leading around a corner and out of sight.
This week, we finally find out what the heck that was all about.
While last week’s episode may have had plenty going on, most of it was nothing more than exposition. We were reintroduced to all the characters and given a little bit of context for their story this season. This episode, on the other hand, acts as the inciting incident. This is where things get interesting.
The episode doesn’t exactly start out with all action though. Rather than pick up where we left off with walker Patrick on the floor in the shower, we return to find someone feeding live rats to walkers through the fence. Weird, right? Either this person 1) has a sincere death wish, 2) is on the Governor’s team and trying to cause problems at the prison, or 3) is creating a distraction. There could be more options, of course, but those are my theories. Whatever this person is trying to accomplish, it’s working… there are now more walkers pushing up against the fence than the team can handle.
From here we see Tyreese and Karen having a moment together. Once again, Tyreese reveals himself to be highly sensitive to all things death-related. In a world where this sort of thing has become somewhat commonplace, it feels weird for someone to be so shaken by it at this point in the show. I’m sure the producers felt this would give his character a little more depth, but ultimately it just makes me feel like he’s being a wuss. That might sound harsh when talking about any other show, but this is The Walking Dead. Death is nothing new here.
And really, the only redeeming thing about these two characters is their relationship, which causes the viewer to empathize with them and maintain interest. That’s why, when Karen almost gets eaten in the following scene, we hold our breath and prepare for the worst. Instead, walker Patrick wanders past her cell and decides to snack on a random mustachioed man. Before we know it, the number of walkers is beginning to multiply.
Back in the watchtower, Glenn and Maggie have their own moment as the sun starts to come up. Glenn accidentally wakes Maggie, and (believe it or not) the two of them actually smile for once and have a good laugh together. It’s an interesting milestone for the two of them, considering how depressing they’ve been since last season.
The moment doesn’t last forever though. Glenn leaves to go on a perimeter check, and before he knows it there are gunshots being fired inside the prison. The mayhem that ensues is devastating, although it makes for one heck of a scene. Michonne finds herself pinned under two walkers and narrowly escapes with nothing but a twisted ankle. Rick and Daryl display some classic zombie-killing action as walkers feast on members of their group. It may have been a relatively short scene, but it was still hands-down the best of the night.
In the aftermath, Carol goes to amputate a man’s arm, only to find out he’s been bitten on his neck as well. Before he dies, the man asks if Carol will look after his two daughters, to which Carol agrees. Lizzie, the older girl, is the same one who argued with Carl last episode about the walkers having names. When Carol goes to talk to the two girls about their father passing away, Lizzie begins to cry—but not for her father. She cries because someone apparently killed “Nick,” one of the walkers on the other side of the fence. In the words of her little sister, “She’s messed up.” Yeah, no kidding!
Following the traumatic events in Cell Block D, we get our first glimpse of a council meeting at the prison. Composed of Carol, Daryl, Sasha, Glenn, and Herschel, the council is the governing body that makes the tough calls in place of the Ricktatorship. In this case, they are trying to figure out what to do about the aggressive flu strain which appears to be spreading through the close quarters of the prison. To protect those who are most vulnerable, they decide to segregate the children and elderly people from the rest of the group, and Cell Block D is quarantined.
Meanwhile, Michonne’s character gets some much-needed development. Beth has been looking after Judith while Rick is out, and Michonne has been keeping her company. At one point, the baby spits up all over Beth’s shirt, and Beth asks Michonne to hold her while she cleans up. Instead of taking the baby like any normal person might, Michonne gives her a firm, “NO.” Then, after a little hesitation, she agrees to hold Judith while Beth runs off. Michonne holds the baby at a distance first, and then begins to cry as she holds little Judith closer. From the looks of it, Michonne has experienced the loss of a child at some point. Personally, I can’t wait to find out a little more of Michonne’s backstory. Nice move, Producers!
As the episode nears its end, the walkers around the perimeter become too much for the fence to hold. The fence begins to topple, and the group quickly realizes they won’t be able to kill all the walkers fast enough. Thanks to some quick thinking, Rick devises a plan involving the remaining pigs that weren’t killed from the sickness. He and Daryl get in truck and create a trail of pigs for the walkers to feed on, effectively drawing them away from the fence. Rick gets blood on him for the first time this season—and with that, the farming days are over.
To end the episode, we see Tyreese heading towards Karen’s cell with flowers in hand. To his surprise, Karen isn’t there—instead, Tyreese finds a trail of blood leading down the hall and outside. He follows the trail to find two bodies, burned side-by-side… one of which is none other than Karen.
The peaceful times are finished at the prison. There’s now an aggressive flu strain to worry about, a murderer on the loose, and much, much more. To top it off, there have been several improvements with character development since last season. The Walking Dead has gained some serious momentum with these past two episodes, and I can’t wait to find out where it takes us next.
On a side note…
- You know something is about to go down when someone’s flashlight starts to flicker (and of course hitting it always does the trick).
- Carol comes across as borderline psychotic in this episode. While I would have no problem with her teaching children how to use knives, her speech to Lizze about being “weak” definitely crossed a line.
- Rick is back to looking all disheveled and crazy again. If Lori makes an appearance this season, I’m done.
- Glenn and Maggie are totes adorbs. Just saying.
- Herschel’s prosthetic leg looks mysteriously like a real leg when he’s walking… I wonder why…