The Walking Dead: Infected

Carol: “Are you okay?”
Daryl: “Mm-hmm gotta be.”

Well, The Walking Dead we know, love and cringe at is back in all its gory glory. The initial scene with Karen in the bathroom is one of the creepiest on the show yet. I had trouble watching it. And while I hate child zombies, pre-pubescent ones are just nasty. Patrick as a zombie/walker was horrifying. You can’t help remembering what an adorable dweeb he was but then he just walks in and starts eating a guy who is sleeping with no fuss. Did he know to rip out his throat so he wouldn’t make a noise? I was on the edge of my seat wondering who was next and the flash to Rick and Judith didn’t help. While I wouldn’t say I “enjoyed” this bit, it was really well done.

One of the things I appreciate about The Walking Dead is they follow up an excellent piece of horror with a return to an examination of the human condition. After the set-up provided by the premiere we can see the threats and issues that will plague our band of survivors this season. It is interesting that although one of the threats will be the walkers, it looks like the big bad this season will be something pre-apocalypse – contagion of a very human (and pig) kind. Although I’ve never seen or heard of a flu that kills this quickly or nastily, it is easy to guess that we are going to lose a whole lot more of our ‘red shirts’ after a quick introduction (or not). It also won’t take much to tear apart the peaceful, co-operative community that has been built in the prison. I’m really not sure if Karen and David were quickly disposed of after dying of the flu or if someone slaughtered them like the little piglets that were sacrificed to the walkers threatening the fence. And I don’t think Tyreese is going to care and Tyreese on a rampage is a problem all in itself.

The theme of ‘not coming back’ was evident in the struggle that Rick was having in keeping to his farmer idea of himself. He has purposely not carried his gun or engaged in killing the walkers. He didn’t like what being a part of that was doing to him or Carl. By the end of the episode it’s clear that he doesn’t really have a choice to engage or not. If he wants to keep the people he loves safe, he has to be part of the battle against the walkers. Although it seems you can’t go back to who you were maybe you can find a new way to maintain your humanity and survive. I think the best illustrations of this are Beth and Carol. They haven’t lost their kindness or caring but they are not hiding from reality either. Beth knows that people are dying but gives herself time to be ready to deal with it. Carol is willing to care for Lizzie and Mika as if they were her own but she will also make sure they know how to kill when they need to kill.

I find the children one of the most interesting parts of the show. How will children grow up in this world? I was fairly sure that Carl was working his way to psychopath status a la Governor but he seems to have mellowed and is working hard to please his father. Perhaps, even in a world as messed up as this one, children still look to the adults to model themselves after. Once his father became saner, Carl could as well. At the same time, children can lead in adaptation. The children are quite happy to learn about weapons and obviously have not told their parents. Carl encourages his father to take the lead again. He knows that he needs to.

There were some nice tidbits in this episode. We get to see the council in action and they are willing to make the hard choices of separating those who are sick. It looks like they have also developed a well-rehearsed plan for a walker breach in the prison. We got a little bit of Michonne’s back story. There was obviously a baby in her past. Quite possibly it was hers.

Bits and Pieces

So some crazy is feeding the zombies and drawing them to the fence. This would mean they have to catch the rats and go out at night on their own with a flashlight.

6 a.m. is rise and shine at the prison. I wonder why?

Things I could live without – zombie coming apart through the fence. Poor little piglets getting sliced. It’s bad enough that they are going to be eaten by walkers.

Things I could live without but definitely admire the special effects – the guy standing up and losing his intestines.

The zombies are acting very herd-like. After the gate was closed they went right back to the fence. Can they learn? Do they know they are bringing the fence down?

The group has a doctor now – Dr. S.

This group is really bad at quarantine. Carl hugs his dad and then goes back to Michonne and Maggie. Sasha joins the council who have all been exposed. You don’t wait until people start coughing!

Quotes

Tyreese: “It used to be that we all had acquaintances, people moving in and out of your life. No big. See them down the road sometime. Now a handful of people you know, that’s it. They might as well be the only people left in the world.”

Rick: “I got other plans involving dirt and cucumbers.”

Glenn: “Death row? I’m not sure that’s much of an upgrade.”

Mika: “She’s messed up. She’s not weak.”

Daryl: “For what it’s worth, where you see mistakes, I see when the shit hits, you’re standing there with the shovel.”

Beth: “When you care about people, hurt is kinda part of the package.”

Beth: “I just sing her what I like. I figure it’s better than ashes or cradles fallin’ out of trees.”

10 comments:

Freeman said...

Tense episode. I liked it. The scene with the little piggies tugged at my heartstrings a bit there. Not only because I find pigs kinda cute, but because of how defeated Rick looked while doing it. He knew that this was his only choice, and he was only delaying the inevitable previously.

I feel like that new alcoholic dude is the one who burned the bodies, but we shall see. Karen seemed much more interesting in the previous season, but to be honest I couldn't get that invested in her and Tyreese's relationship before she bit the dust. I had no idea why he was so head over heels for her. She was very dull.

And yeah, I agree about the quarantining. Though to be fair Rick tried to sorta stop Carl from hugging him. Initially I thought one of the little girls was the one feeding the walkers, but now I ain't too sure.

I reckon the group gets up at 6 a.m. to preserve as much sunlight as possible. Doesn't seem like you can get much done in pitch darkness.

Carol is quickly becoming one of my favorite characters. Which is funny considering that when the show started she kinda seemed like inevitable zombie fodder.

Jess Lynde said...

Freeman, I'm with you on the pig thing. I thought it was kind of funny (or disturbing) that I didn't get that worked up about the dead people at the beginning, but was fairly upset by the poor piglets getting taken out that way. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized it was Rick's reaction to having to do it that really got to me. His obvious distress at having to dispatch them, and losing what they represented, was very affecting. (Plus, I we actually got more development for that connection than we did for most of the deceased people.)

Carol is starting to scare me a little. Her practicality has a bit of a frightening edge to it (or maybe it's just a too narrow focus). I completely understand where she's coming from and why she's trying to force the kids to face the world and develop survival skills, but I think she's being a little too harsh and maybe blinding herself to the potential dangers. She's really not handling Lizzie all that well. The girl is mentally unstable, and Carol is completely overlooking that. She seemed so pleased when Lizzie took the knife, but I was just disturbed. I've got a very bad feeling about where that all might be headed.

And asking Carl to lie to Rick (or hide things from him) just wasn't cool. I was glad he told Rick the truth, but also urged him to let Carol keep trying to teach the kids how to protect themselves.

For the moment, I think Lizzie is the most likely culprit for "walker feeder." And I agree with Freeman that Bob is a good candidate for "body burner." My big question on that one is the same as Doc's: were they already dead from the sickness before they were burned, or did the perp kill them? Given that the illness causes all that hemorrhaging, it's hard to tell if the blood trails were from shots to the head or death by flu (or shots to the death that occurred after death by flu).

I totally agree about them sucking on the quarantine thing. Rick should not have let Carl go back over to Michonne and Maggie. But re: the council meeting, Sasha was exposed in Cell Block D with all the others. She was the one head-stomping walkers. So everyone at that meeting had already been exposed.

Freeman said...

You're right about Carol. I was more creeped out at the knife hand off scene than touched. I dunno if that's what they were going for but that's what I took away from it. The little Lizzie girl couldn't possibly have done a 180 in resolution that quickly, so I'm thinking this may have consequences down the line. Her sister on the other hand is a pretty tough kid. I was amused when she was like "Lizzie, you're dumb dude."

It was an interesting dichotomy to Rick giving Carl his gun because Carl now seems more ready to have it. It certainly appears like he's matured since the events of the Governor and it looks like he has a better grasp of the true weight of a gun.

Paul Kelly said...

I'm going to have to stop watching the 'And Next Week on The Walking Dead' part. After having your gizzards roasted, puréed and generally stamped upon, it's depressing to watch a forecast of worse shit to come. I have no idea why I like this show, but I do. It feels like being in a terrible relationship. Everything's just awful all of the time, no matter what anyone does it always seems to fail, you lack the necessary impetus to escape... and everyone wants to eat your brain. Identical.

Anonymous said...

I liked it. It's such an intelligent show. The gore seems higher this year, that I don't like too much because it seems like gore for gore's sake, I don't think the show needs it but it seems they want to cater to a teen crowd that likes that kind of stuff. I think the little girl burned the bodies at the end, she's "messed up" so it would seem she could be the culprit. I hope they don't spend too much time on the mystery, the problem with the show is that there are so few episodes each season, that every episode is important, there should be no filler- this is no 24 episode show. But I loved it- was Rick hunky with his shirt off or what? He makes over-40 as sexy as under-30. He's a beautiful man with a beautiful bod- it's a crime he's single on the show, I do hope he and
Michonne hook up.

drnanamom said...

I hear what everyone is saying about Carol but seriously, she cannot protect those kids if their parents turn in the night - nobody can except them and if they aren't tough enough to kill their own parents, they will die. I think that Lizzie might be a concern but she also may finally get that she can't get attached to the walkers (maybe wishful thinking). It would be natural for a kid to be curious about the walkers and it could have been Lizzie feeding "NIck". It would be a way to deal with your fear of them to try and 'domesticate' one. I like the juxtaposition of Lizzie and Carl. Lizzie is still trying to come to terms with things that it appears Carl has processed.

Jess Lynde said...

To clarify: I don't have a beef with Carol's classes or her goals. It's not a bad thing to teach these kids how to protect themselves, or to try to prepare them for the tough situations they may face. I just quibble a bit with some of her methods, and with her apparent inability to see that she may be playing with fire by encouraging some of these psychologically traumatized and damaged kids to arm themselves. As you all note, the juxtaposition with Carl is key. When Carl started showing signs of mental instability, Rick took away his gun, only giving it back once he showed he was better able to handle the responsibility. Carol, on the other hand, brushed aside Lizzie's obvious signs of psychological damage and was pleased when she took the knife. She's only thinking about Lizzie being able to protect herself and not about the possible blowback for the larger group.

It's a tough line to walk. Not giving the kids the means and education to defend themselves seems foolish. But putting weapons in the hands of young children, especially ones who are likely suffering some serious psychological issues, seems like a pretty dicey proposition, too. How do you weigh the relative risks? It's an interesting subject.

drnanamom said...

@ Jess. You have a point. What would be the solution I wonder? I think this just illustrates how all the rules have changed and people are adapting to that in various ways at various stages. I'm not sure I like psychotic children any more than zombie children but I imagine that would be an inevitable outcome for some.

Henrik Bennetter said...

Without spoiling it for those of you that haven't read the comic, I think I have an idea about where they're going with the sibling girls. If I'm right, it's already better done than in the comic.
Also, I kind of get the feeling that since we lost Andrea last season - Carol is the new Andrea (the tougher, not wishy-washy one, from the comic).

Elfie said...

Someone above commented about how love for this show is like being trapped in a terrible relationship. Sometimes you just want to let it go, but you're already in too deep. This episode was depressing, even by TWD standards. Firstly, I could go without the close-up gore shots (seriously, what kind of messed up mind enjoys gore like that?). Not to mention Zombie Patrick is seriously one of the creepiest things I've ever laid my eyes on. Good god, I'm going to have to look forward to nightmares on that. The zombie make-up and special effects improve each season, which sucks for people like me who are in it for the pathos and not the gore because they sure look brand new and uglier than ever!

The first thing that got to me were the little girls. I also found it amusing that I was feeling bad over a character death that I didn't expect to care about -- the father of the two girls. And the siblings and the way the little sitter was striving to keep her older sister from a panic attack was just so sad. Gosh. It broke my heart. As long as neither of those little girls turn into zombies or die a terrifying death, I'll be pleased.

Another thing that really got to me was when Michonne hugged the baby girl and began to weep. Maybe she did have a baby in the past, but maybe it was simply out of the stark reality of the situation. That innocent baby girl has no idea what encompasses her. Michonne probably realizes the inevitable fact that even if this girl does live to grow up, she is going to be surviving and suffering soon enough; just like the rest of them, in a nightmarish world. If I were holding that little girl in my arms and I was Michonne, I'd be sobbing too.

The piglets. Animal cruelty is where I draw the line, I cringed so hard I almost choked. Rick's expression throughout the whole thing also got to me. I had to keep reminding myself that they weren't actually harming those adorable little pigs. It's just a show. It's just a show. Right?

I'm not sure why they've come up with this flu storyline. I'm sick of all this depressing shit. These people have gone through enough already. I mean honestly, it's shitty enough that people turn into zombies when they die regardless of bite but now they just randomly get sick and turn overnight? Ridiculous. Especially considering practically everyone is infected and heavily unsanitary. If this were a plague they would all be dead by now. I keep thinking it's very careless how they're always covered in zombie blood and guts but somehow never get infected. Maybe I'm nit-picking but it just seems a tad too far.

I want Rick and Michonne to hook up. I also heard that something might go on between Beth and Daryl soon? I don't know if this is true or if it's just a fanon ship because I've not seen the newer episodes. Oh well.

Also, the storyline better not go like there's someone from the circle of trust who is going nuts and trying to sabotage them all because that would make no sense. Although I will admit I'm suspicious about the guy who almost got everyone killed in the last episode.