The Walking Dead: Internment

Hershel: “Life was always a test, Rick.”

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.


Jess Lynde said...

Obviously, they had bigger issues to deal with back at the prison, but I was a little disappointed that most of the blowback from Rick exiling Carol is going to have to wait another week. I was really looking forward to seeing the fallout of that decision, and Maggie and Herschel sort of feeling gut-punched and then quickly having to move on didn't do it for me. How's Daryl going to react?!! I need to know! Is anyone going to give Rick grief about this? There has to be some dissent, right? Right? If everyone just rolls with it and moves on, I'm going to be really pissed.

That said, it was still a pretty tense episode, and I thought Herschel's story had a very nice arc. Him breaking down in the cell at the end got to me. I even liked the parallels between Rick and Herschel realizing they couldn't keep their kids from the danger, and that they were very capable helpers (although I agree, Doc, that Rick and Carl bonding over machine-gunning zombies felt a bit frakked up --- ah, well).

This week's minor quibble: The time-of-day transitions were a bit of mess this episode. It was very difficult to follow the passage of time, because it kept seeming really dark (like night dark) in A Block, but then in other shots it would seem brighter. Or it would cut from night dark in the cell block to broad daylight outside. The worst jump was between Maggie leaving Rick in the yard with light levels that weren't even dusky, and then mere moments later when he's getting Carl it's night dark all of a sudden. It was all rather jarring, and kept taking me out of the moment.

This week's major beef: Not the Governor! I'm with you, Doc. I groaned out loud when he was revealed at the end. Not this guy again. I was hoping we could put off his return for awhile longer. Sigh.

Billie Doux said...

I'm starting to love Hershel and this was a great episode for him. Maggie, too -- she just ran to the rescue. And I was oddly touched by the Rick/Karl zombie-killing scene. It felt like Rick was finally ready to accept Karl as an adult and a partner instead of constantly trying to protect him from stuff he can't protect him from.

I wasn't happy about seeing the Governor, either. Rats. So to speak. He's behind the rats, isn't he?

Jenna said...

That was the single most disturbing episode in the whole series. Maybe in the whole of TV. Watching the characters die from a disease they can't possibly fight - not my cup of tea.

Although, the scene with Rick and Carl killing the zombies was pretty badass. I particularly loved how well they cooperated. They are starting to feel less like father and son and more like partners.

Freeman said...

Ahhh, my favorite character returns. I suppose he's come along to totally derail this great season we've been having. I totally rolled my eyes when the camera panned over to him.

But enough about him. This was a nice and tense episode. It reminded us that Maggie is hardcore and her initial introduction was her riding around clobbering zombies on horseback. And I dug the scene with Rick and Carl. What better way for a father and son to bond in the zombie apocalypse? Raising pigs? Nah. It's nice to see that Rick is now able to see that his son is perfectly capable or handling himself. Heck, he's even a person that can have his back.

Strong episode for Hershel. He's definitely a much more effective moral compass than Dale or Andrea ever were. It'll be a legitimately sad event if he ever bites the dust.

Just sayin', if Sasha died and left us with Tyreese I'd be very dismayed. It seems like every season there's a character that crops up that I wish would just go away. Tyreese, you currently have that honor.

Why is the Governor back!? WHY!?

Anonymous said...

Am pretty disappointed they didn't kill off glen.. Easily the worst character.. This ep was awesome.. Am kind of in two minds about the governors return as well although i really enjoyed the character last season..

Henrik Bennetter said...

"Now THAT'S how an episode of The Walking dead should be!", he yelled happily - until the camera panned to The governor and then *facepalm*.

drnanamom said...

Henrik you wrote my feelings exactly. I was watching the episode and really looking forward to writing the review and then.....@Jess, I didn't even notice the wonky time transitions. I guess I'm at the point where I expect them to mess up details like that. @Billie and Freeman, I also have come to love Hershel and particularly loved when Daryl called him a "tough son a' bitch". Let's just hope that they do something unexpectedly clever with the governor and that Michonne finally gets to give him his due.

Jess Lynde said...

Billie, Jenna, and Freeman make some good points about Rick and Carl vs. the massive "clutch" of walkers. I certainly think Rick seeing Carl as a capable partner is probably a good thing --- you know, assuming he really is recovered from that burgeoning young psychopath track --- and I guess it does make sense as rite of passage/bonding activity during the zombie apocalypse.

But as I was watching from my couch and my non-ZA frame of reference, it just seemed really frakked up! I think it must be Carl's age throwing me. Kids that age shouldn't be using that kind of weaponry and casually tossing magazines back and forth with dad. You know, in the real world. If only the wonky time transitions hadn't prevented me from completely immersing myself in the ZA world! :)