Walking Dead Recap: A Very Special Episode About Alcoholism And Zombies
We’ve all been there, we’re sure. Deep in our darkest moments, we’ve seen TWO entire groups torn to bits by flesh hungry zombies and survived to seek comfort in the bottom of a bottle, just like in The Walking Dead. It’s a common occurrence that regularly makes the rounds at AA meetings and something Darryl needs to think about before he decides to lock horns with D’Angelo Bobsdale again. A little empathy, Darryl.
Oh, and Carol is thrown from the group. Damn.
But before we dive into all of that, we need to get back to the start. Where are we?
We ended the last episode with Carol’s acknowledgment that she did indeed kill Karen and David, leading right into this week’s episode where we get to see the deed happen in a sort of quasi-Rick fueled flashback of sorts. He’s like a Vietnam vet at this point, with something like gasoline and blood stains triggering an entire murder recreation in his mind, knives to the back of the neck and everything.
All the while Carol is elsewhere, talking to Lizzie through the window of the quarantine area and pretty much laying out her entire point of view for the young girl. This leads to Carol and Rick heading out into the remnants of suburbia to bond a bit and to find stopgap medicine to buy time for Darryl and his crew to return. This of course is a recipe for danger.
Elsewhere, Darryl and his crew are heading through the woods in an effort to make their way back to the vet college and get the much needed medicine for the prison group. We didn’t spend too much time with the infected this week, but look for plenty of Hershel and the sick next week. This week we needed to get some character development and relationship bonding.
And a ton of zombie killing.
Darryl, Michonne and the others come to a seemingly abandoned garage with plenty of overgrowth, a van and a ton of walkers inside that the group decides to clear out. What follows is some sort of nightmare scenario where Tyreese, still in hulk-out mode, chops with abandon and unleashes a swarm onto the others through the vines. Sure, a few swipes with a sword later and the danger is averted, but it’s definitely one of the more jump-inducing moments so far this season. They eventually get the van running, but not before Bob voices his concerns for the group.
Things with Bob have been interesting, with the show sort of planting these seeds that he was hiding something. Are you a team player? Why were you in the liquor section of the store? And then he drops the fact that he’s been the only survivor with two groups to this point. Some of that dreadful foreshadowing?
They continue on to Mordor to get medicine while Rick and Carol are going house to house looking for supplies. But run into their own zombie trouble in the form of a deceased homeowner that tumbles down the stairs.
Of course Carol is the one to dispatch the ghoul. OF COURSE.
But that’s not the only surprise at the top of the stairs as they are joined by a well-meaning but stupid couple that have been hiding out in the bathroom. They throw some apricots at Carol and Rick, which we would have shot them on the spot for doing, but then everybody heads downstairs for some talk time.
It is there where we get some more subliminal warnings to the group (“We don’t wait for things to get bad before we leave”) and Carol proves her worth once again by fixing the guy’s dislocated arm. It’s all just a step by step process for building tension between Rick and Carol, leaving them with decisions on what to do with these young kids and how the group should be run. It’s something the show has been good at doing this season, planting seeds early in an episode for the things that will happen later. Vastly improved over earlier seasons where sometimes things just happened in order to push an episode out. Remember all the filler last season before the fight with Woodbury?
Payoff on these short term storylines has been coming weekly, although it isn’t exactly clear what the long term plans are going to be. It couldn’t be Carol feeding the zombies. We probably have to meet the voice on the radio at some point and the group will probably abandon the prison at some point. That’s about all we’ve got so far.
Back with Darryl, we finally reach the college and the group enters the labs to start gathering any sort of medicine they can get their hands on. And right from the beginning it seems that Bob has different intentions. It almost seems as if he’d been here before.
Of course, after a few zombie encounters later and confirmation that the flu-like sickness is indeed a widespread thing (it was only hinted at before with the zombie at the gates), we find out that Bob is a drunk. The only medicine he grabbed is half a bottle of liquor from the makeshift bed in the lab. And Darryl is pissed. Not to mention that the entire group risked their lives to get there and then save D’Angelo from falling off a ledge mere moments before.
Rick agrees to let the young folks help, which ends badly for the young lady at the hands of zombies, but it brings the Rick/Carol dynamic to a head as he finally decides to address Carol’s actions from last week, and he lets his emotions pour out in a stream of doubt you usually only see in heavily medicated college students.
They could’ve lived. They didn’t have to die. That’s the mantra that Rick spouts out. And it’s a good one for a second, at least until you remember the things that have happened with Rick in the past few seasons.
Sure, he’s always been a conflicted sort of guy. But he has killed plenty of people that weren’t zombies in an effort to keep his group safe. He’s turned people away, kept them locked up in another cell block and a pile of other things.
Carol believes she has done the same things. Were they tough decisions? Is it going to upset people? Yep. But that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t have happened. At the time, these were the only sick people and she was trying to stop the spread. To keep the group safe. To keep the children safe.
Her reward is exile. Rick punctuates his feelings by saying that if everyone were gone and it were only him and Carol, he wouldn’t want her around.
Rick, the dictator of the group, applying rules he doesn’t live by to another person and making decisions by himself. He helps her gather supplies and gas up a vehicle, sending her on her way away from the prison.
This isn’t going to sit well with an already irritated Darryl, who spent half of season two cultivating a relationship with this woman by searching for her daughter and recently lost his brother to a vicious psychopath that’s still on the run. It’s also going to reflect poorly on Rick in the end. He didn’t get real justice for the dead that Tyreese wanted, and he let one of the better members of the group just walk away in exile. This was a slower episode pace wise, but it raised a lot of fine character questions for the weeks to come.
Next week we find out that Rick and the Governor are really the same person, raising a lot of questions about our fascination with consumer culture and capitalism as a whole. Also the group finds out that they are on a television show, breaking the fourth wall, and realize that all the zombies are really just Tea Party volunteers. Find out if I’m right every Sunday at 9pm on “The Walking Dead.”