Well, finally, Season 4 of The Walking Dead continues. I can’t say that I’ve been too happy about the season thus far. I mean, the midseason finale was a pretty big letdown when it comes to the Governor’s character, even if we finally got to see the epic battle between him and the Atlanta survivors. What I can say that I like about the confrontation is the prison is currently overrun with walkers and now uninhabitable, putting our survivors into even more danger. It was about time for them to move on from that place, though I still lament the death of Hershel and am significantly worried for some of the other characters as well. So at this point, I think there’s still hope that I might come out of this season happy.
Making the situation even worse for our survivors, I’m sure, is that among them there’s still a potential murderous psychopath, whose identity has yet to be revealed and who spent the first half of the season luring walkers to the survivors by feeding them rats. And considering that we don’t know yet who this person is, I’m guessing that he or she survived the showdown at the prison and is still at large.
This episode picks up right where the last one left off, with Carl and a severely injured Rick escaping from the prison together. Spoilers after the jump.
Father and son take up temporary residence at an abandoned house after scouring a convenience store for food. Due to his injuries, Rick has trouble walking and breathing, but Carl doesn’t want to help his father. He constantly disobeys him, puts his own life at risk, and generally seems disinclined to take any of Rick’s suggestions or advice to heart.
The next morning, Carl wakes up and has breakfast, but Rick is still sound asleep, and nothing Carl does can rouse him. When two walkers come by the house, Carl takes it upon himself to get rid of them, instead of staying inside where it’s safe. While leading the walkers away from the house, a third walker comes up behind Carl and he almost doesn’t make it out of the confrontation alive. After felling all three of them—and having a brief moment where he freaks out over almost dying—Carl proclaims that he “wins”.
We’ve seen this type of behavior before from Carl, specifically in his treatment of his mother Lori. As much as I don’t like Lori, it was annoying then, and it’s annoying now. I do give Carl more leeway this episode, since he’s still recovering from the supposed death of his sister, and he’s angry at Rick for not protecting everyone. As far as our two survivors are concerned, everyone else at the prison is dead, just like Lori, and Carl thinks that if Rick had gone after the Governor instead of just trying to live an idler life, the midseason finale could probably have been avoided. And Carl is probably right.
Carl wants to prove that he doesn’t need Rick anymore and that he can take care of himself. And though he manages to get himself out of dangerous situations this episode, he stupidly puts himself in those situations in his attempt to be self-sufficient. Later in the episode, he comes across another walker in another abandoned house. However, there was no need for any danger. The walker was trapped in a room, and Carl, wanting to be tough, let it out, and he almost got himself bit again.
The next night, back at the first house with his unconscious father, Rick starts twitching in his sleep. As he stirs from the bed, breathing heavily, Carl assumes that Rick has died and turned. He prepares to shoot his father, but discovers that he can’t. At this point, he just wants what he assumes to be an animated Rick to end him. Thankfully for Carl, however, Rick isn’t dead and manages to call out his son’s name. Carl then spends the night crying, with his father sleeping with his head in his lap. The next morning the two of them have a good heart-to-heart conversation, and I can only hope that Carl will henceforth stop needlessly endangering himself in an attempt to be responsible. However, given his past history, I doubt that will happen. Right now, the only reason I don’t want anything bad to happen to Carl is because I don’t want to watch Rick deal with it.
Meanwhile, the only other person we see this episode is Michonne. I’m not sure why she separated herself from Rick in the last episode, since she’s the one who saved him from the Governor. This episode, she heads back to the prison to find Hershel’s decapitated head, since heads can still animate. She stabs the head to kill it again, then finds two walkers she can use as camouflage. In typical Michonne style, she removes the walkers’ jaws and arms, rendering them harmless, and sets out. Along her way, she finds fresh footprints, but instead of going after who left them, she instead chooses to go her own way.
This episode, we see Michonne’s guilt and inner turmoil start to eat her up inside. We discover that she used to be a mother and that her son, lover, and friend were all killed in a previous camp. Additionally, while traveling with the walkers, she starts hallucinating an older woman she used to know. Finally, unable to take it, she kills all the walkers in the small herd she found herself in and heads back to follow the aforementioned footprints. They lead her straight to Rick and Carl, and the episode ends with her knocking on the door to their house, and Rick telling Carl that it’s for him, after checking through the peep hole.
I really liked this episode, though I’m sad that the group has been split apart, and since it’s The Walking Dead, my fears that someone else is going to die soon is probably well founded. It was great to learn more about Michonne’s past, though, since until this point she’s been a fairly quiet, mysterious character. Even Andrea, whom Michonne considered a close friend, didn’t know that much about her. I think that ended up being my favorite part of the episode. It was heavily implied earlier this season through Michonne’s interactions with Judith that she lost a small child, and it was also heavily implied last season that the first two walkers we saw her with were people she cared for. This episode validates those implications as fact. However, I think what I like most about her flashback is that we see Michonne in an entirely different role than the one she is in now. We see her as a loving mother who is open about her opinions and feelings, and she’s actually quite talkative. It’s a drastic personality change for her, and it helps put into perspective the kind of trauma she must have gone through when she lost her loved ones to get to where she is now.
I can’t say that I was particularly worried at any point during her hallucinations while being surrounded by walkers. She is a big character in the comics, and though the TV show hardly follows the comics and kills people who are supposed to be alive still, the show hasn’t really delved too much into her character. Killing her now would be a little pointless, since we still don’t know who she is, so I imagine that she’ll be sticking around for quite a while longer. And since she’s my favorite character, that makes me happy.
My biggest issue with the episode is Carl. As I’ve said, I’ve seen him act similarly before, and I didn’t like it. However, recklessness is in Carl’s personality, so as much as I didn’t like it, I can at least understand what he’s going through and sympathize with his pain. While it’s definitely a plus to be self-sufficient in a post-apocalyptic world, I really just hope that this time he learned to stop putting himself in horrible situations that there was no need for to begin with.
At this point, though, Carl was just annoying. Just because I can sympathize with Carl, doesn’t mean he was not being an idiot. There are other ways to deal with his grief than by endangering himself, and Carl should be well aware of the threat walkers pose. This is why he was so annoying. He saw Hershel’s farm overrun, witnessed what it was like for Hershel to live with a missing leg, was around when Dale’s stomach was ripped open by a walker, and numerous other tragedies. So he has no reason to treat his current situation like it’s a game.
That said, the biggest downside to this episode is that Rick, Carl, and Michonne are the only characters to appear, so we don’t know what’s happening with anyone else at the moment. I really want to know what going on with the other characters, since I’m worried about them as well, and also because I want to know whether or not baby Judith is really dead. This episode in particular was a character-driven episode, and I don’t mind those. Normally, they’re my favorite episodes, because they really show how horrible it would be like to live in this kind of world. The only problem with the character-driven episodes is that they’re a little slow, and this is not a fast-paced show. I didn’t really want a character study this episode, because I wanted to learn more about the fallout of the midseason finale. Still, this wasn’t a bad episode, and I really liked it a lot. I think the actors did a really good job with their roles, and as much as I don’t like Carl, it was still interesting to watch him work through his issues.
I was a little disappointed, however, that when Michonne went back to stab Hershel’s head, she didn’t bother to stab the Governor as well, when the show implied that he reanimated as a walker. I’m going to be really upset if he reappears and bites someone, because at this point, while I think there’s hope for the show overall, I’m still annoyed about the Governor’s character and I just want him to be gone forever.
Anyway, the next episode looks like it’s going to focus on the other survivors from the prison. But I’ll check back in with you guys for the season finale.