What a great episode – tense, tightly wound and focused on Hershel. The prison has been a break, a lucky break according to Hershel but such things don’t last anymore. I usually prefer the episodes that focus on philosophical questions and character development but the action in this episode was so well done, I was on the edge of my seat for most of it.
In the isolation cell block Hershel is working desperately to keep people alive until the medicine comes. He refuses to give up hope or to give in to the brutality of the illness and its consequences, which are even worse after death. Caleb tries to warn him to triage, that he can’t save everyone, but I think that if Hershel gave in to that kind of thinking he would have lost hope and the ability to carry on. Going after the breathing bag on the zombie was the epitome of this.
Even though Caleb’s prediction came true, Hershel tried as much as possible to protect people, particularly the children, from having to watch the execution of those who used to be their friends. It was particularly difficult to watch the father being attacked by his son. He knew his son was dead but couldn’t bring himself to leave him or kill him before he turned. Lizzy saved Glenn’s life but hopefully is learning that walkers are not friendly little pets. It was creepy watching her swish her boot in whatever goo was on the floor. Children do tend to do such things but the goo isn’t usually made up of blood.
Outside the cell block the herd or “clutch” of zombies is even bigger and seriously threatening the fence even with reinforcements. When Maggie leaves because of gunshots, Rick has to ask Carl for help. Eventually, we get to witness the weirdest father/son bonding moment ever. Rick finally realizes who his son has actually become. I won’t say much about the gender thing here except that while Carl is being recognized as a “man” through a walker massacre, Bethy is still hanging out with the baby. On the other hand, Maggie saves both her dad and Glenn through a heart wrenching race to get into the isolation block. She doesn’t doubt herself. She shoots a walker in the head even as her dad is yelling at her that she might hit the breathing bag.
The possibility of a safe haven is being destroyed on all fronts. There is little question that whoever survives this horrible illness will be on the road again. We really didn’t need the Governor’s return to make that happen. I enjoyed this episode all the way until they panned over to his face. I know that there are lots of people who enjoy the mayhem he creates but my response was –seriously? I think it’s just lazy writing. They could have gone in so many interesting directions but instead they have looped back, and after what I thought was a great episode, I am feeling disappointed again.
Bits and Pieces
We found out that they call large gatherings of walkers a "clutch". If any stable situation will draw large numbers of walkers, then how will they ever find a place to rest?
There are still dogs running around and they are eating the walkers.
Rick did tell Maggie and Hershel about Carol. My big question is how will Daryl react?
Things I could live without : The guy’s gurgling death from the flu. For some reason it was worse than watching someone turn. The skeleton zombie -- will they all eventually turn into skeletons? Do they have to have some flesh to keep moving?
Every dad I know makes terrible dad jokes. Apparently Hershel is no exception.
Hershel: “I hereby declare we have spaghetti Tuesdays every Wednesday.”
Rick: “Don’t doubt yourself. We don’t get to anymore.”
Carl: “Dad, you can’t keep me from it.”
Rick: “From what?”
Carl: “From what always happens.”
Caleb: “Not everyone gets to live.”
Rick: “They see you keep going even when all the choices get taken away.”
Hershel: “You just caught a break. You needed some time. You got lucky. We all did.”
Sasha: “I don’t believe in magic or luck. I do the math and I don’t gamble. But I don’t know if I’d be here right now if you weren’t so damn stupid.”
Daryl: “You’re a tough son a’ bitch.”
Hershel: “I am.”
“A sad soul can kill quicker than a germ.” Steinbeck.
We are going to have some very sad souls with threats on every side. So much for resting and not using a gun.