May 1, 2020
Walking Dead Recap: It's A Dead World, We're Just Living In It
To play catch up for a bit here, “The Walking Dead” is the hit supernatural drama on AMC, the network originally known for providing you with repeat showings of “Road House” on the reg.
Today the network is known for its top notch original content including “Mad Men,” “Breaking Bad” and “The Walking Dead.” It tells the story of a band of survivors during the zombie apocalypse and is based on a comic book of the same name. Currently in its fourth season, we’ve followed Rick and the group through thick and thin, bad and good, boring and exciting. It is like a trip to Hershey Park, only with zombies around each corner and a severe lack of chocolate.
If you’re fresh to the series –which I don’t know why you would be at this point — I would suggest traveling to Wikipedia and catching up to the rest of us brain dead bottom feeders before it is too late. For the rest of you, let’s begin.
The premiere last week spent a good amount of time setting up the placement for our characters and went light on the action, leaving this week to rectify it. Gone are the random encounters with women in the forest and their headless zombified husbands, replaced this week with mystery, intrigue and gruesome zombie death.
We start the episode picking up where last week’s mystery left off. The driving point of this episode: the enemy is coming from within and it is an unknown variable. As we saw at the end of the season premiere, a virus is spreading throughout the prison and Patrick succumbs to the effects. This episode begins with the fallout from this event as he goes to the buffet on some folks in Cell Block D. Elsewhere, someone has been feeding the walkers at the prison gates and it comes to face the group head on (literally) later in the episode. It’d be easy for the show to focus on zombies and the repeat offenders of the post-apocalyptic genre of media. Instead we get a new set of threats in a world that is already as threatening as can be.
Tyreese, played by Chad Coleman – who everyone just thinks of as Cutty in season three of “The Wire” – is trying to plant some roots and grow a bit in the prison. His budding romance with Karen shows his charm and provides a little emotional depth that wasn’t there last season (the same could be said for Michonne, who might cross paths with Tyreese at some point this season). They share a nice moment early in the episode, but doom is written in the stars. It always is in this show because it is naturally a show about pain, loss and coping. A race to normalcy in a world that won’t allow it. You know that as sweet as this couple looks on the screen, it isn’t going to last.
As Karen returned to her cell, stalked in the darkness by Zombie Pat, I thought about what I would do. Locked in a cell, mattress across the bars and praying to George Romero that the Sun rises the next day so I can go out again. I wouldn’t be taking a flashlight stroll through a prison during a zombie apocalypse.
Rick and Carl continue their “Green Acres” cosplay this week and it takes a dark turn as Rick finds that the pigs and the mystery illness might be connected. Rick is firmly in dad mode for the bulk of this episode, trying to give his son his childhood back and restore that pesky normalcy to his own life. Of course as soon as Pat starts chewing on the prison’s residents and zombies start ganging up on the prison gates, Rick is forced to ditch this role and return from the fringe. To drive this point home, they sacrifice the pigs to the walkers. This brings a tear to your eyes. We will always think fondly of you Arnold the pig. You deserved better.
Smiling Michonne is a nice a change to this season. The bad ass is still present, but we are getting more than a scowl and a sword. There is the clear bond with Rick and Carl at the gates, the desire to see the Governor punished for what he did last season and a hilarious/heartbreaking moment with a baby this week. There’s depth being chipped into here. She’s certainly the best character in the comic series and one of the better ones on the show. You got a glimpse of her compassion last season through Andrea (who we don’t miss and are proud to have replaced by characters like Carol) and it would seem like more of this is on the way for this season.
Zombies were a big part of this episode and that’s always a plus for a show centered around the undead. The best kill wasn’t really a kill at all, but more of a side effect of being in a crowd. When a chain link fence cuts a zombie’s head into pieces, you notice. That said, Black Friday is just around the corner and I am currently taking bets on how many folks will be trampled at my local Wal-Mart. You need that George Foreman grill! You want that George Foreman grill! Take the plunge…
Carol getting a second chance at being a mother is one of the more emotional bits of the episode. She’s there for the demise a father who charges her with caring for his two girls, Lizzie and Mika, and then forced to ensure his demise while the girls stand nearby. It’s a tough moment to watch, but interesting for a character like Carol who lost her daughter in season two (and that’s all we will say about that). The difference this time around is that Carol is stronger and much more hardened to the world they inhabit. It’s a different person from season two and certainly a much stronger one than in season one. Not just a homebody or a helpless female character, Carol has grown into a tough woman who understands the needs of survival. At the same time she still manages to keep her maternal instincts with her. She’s experienced loss in a major way through the show’s plot and it’s going to serve as an interesting road map throughout this season.
Carol and Daryl are the best couple on this series. No offense to Glenn and Maggie, who spent this episode taking photos of each other sleeping and killing zombies, but C&D are in control. And now they will kill Daryl.
The final note returns to the mystery and crushes all hope that life within the prison was safe and normal. Tyreese finds Karen and another who had come down with early signs of the flu dragged out of the prison and burned to a crisp. Is the same person who has been feeding the walkers behind it? Is it The Governor returning to finish the group and get revenge? Or can you just not trust anyone during a zombie apocalypse these days? We will find out.
Tune into “The Walking Dead” Sundays at 9pm on AMC to see if Rick and the crew manage to find the infected monkey in time to stop Donald Sutherland from bombing the prison and killing hundreds of innocent zombies.