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The Walking Dead: The Killer Within

T-dog: "It's going to be a long day."

Oh man, this episode was brutal. If you are looking for a feel good show that is uplifting and helps you get through those dreary November days, then you had best look elsewhere. This fantasy/horror show is viciously real. I’m not talking about the special effects which are well done, or the gruesome zombies which I don’t particularly like. I’m talking about the emotional drama, the exploration of loss and the examination of what it means to be human, good and bad. Sometimes I ask myself, “why are you watching this depressing stuff?” Well, it’s because it is one of the best written, best shot and definitely well-acted shows on television today.

The episode starts off nicely enough with the group teasing Glenn and Maggie for spending too much time up in the tower, and then Hershel makes it up and out on his crutches. Everyone is celebrating. And then you are whammed over the head and the hits just keep coming. The zombies are back with a vengeance and Andrew (the man Rick should have killed) is sabotaging the group. They are very quickly back to running and hiding only now, they are also separated.

Our little group has changed a lot. This is obvious when the two remaining prisoners, Oscar and Axel, ask to join the group and in Axel's case, beg. Nobody but T-dog will say yes. They don’t want any more trouble than they already have and for some it isn’t even that they are prisoners, it’s that they’re strangers. I wonder how long it would take us to devolve back into xenophobic tribes? It’s taken our group under a year. I’m not saying I disagree with them. Everyone you don’t know is a danger in this new world. It is extremely difficult to tell who is good and who is evil. It doesn’t help that the lines have blurred considerably with time.

Put this up against the very human sacrifices of T-dog and Lori. I was impressed with T-dog's care for Carol, even after he was bitten. He sacrificed himself to save her. Sure, he was already dead, but being torn apart by zombies can’t be all that much fun. Lesser men would have run. Lori actively decides to give her life for her newborn baby and the spirit of the group. She understands the importance of this child to everyone. She calmly says good-bye to Carl and convinces Maggie to cut her open and take the baby. Again, not a great way to die, and an illustration of true courage. It broke my heart that Carl decided to be the one to make sure his mother wouldn’t come back and it continued to break as they walked out to meet the others and he had to stand alone and watch his father fall apart. Someone needs to comfort him, if it’s even possible.

I remember watching the movie Sophie's Choice and wondering how anyone could survive such a decision, but the people in The Walking Dead are facing impossible to survive things almost every day. How does one live with the fact that they had to shoot their own mom? Well, figure that out after you figure out how to live with on-going terror, watching your dad kill his best friend, watching your mom get cut open and die, etc., etc. The acting in this show is so good that you can see that struggle in people’s faces and actions. Watching Rick try to come to grips with the death of Lori was one of those moments. Andrew Lincoln was superb. Rick has just broken. I’m wondering if he’s ever going to get back up.

You’ll notice that I’ve written quite a bit and I haven’t even talked about the scenes in Woodbury. They felt like a bit of a rest from the intensity of the prison, but it was also chilling to watch “The Governor” do his thing with Andrea. His is a slower, more insidious kind of evil. In some ways, zombies are cleaner. At least they are mindless. Michonne should just put her foot down and drag them out of there. She knows that it isn’t a good place to be, and she has made the Governor. I was a bit worried that she doesn’t hide her disdain for him very well. I bet there’s still a lot to come from that creepy little town.

Bits and Pieces

"The Killer Within" applies to Andrew, but it also applies to our new little baby.

Rick obviously should have killed Andrew. We’ll have to see if he also should have killed Axel and Oscar.

Hershel can still kick walker butt, even on crutches.

Loved the little discussion about Augusta. The Governor is pro-feminist? Not likely.

Gross thing I could live without -- T-dog being eaten by zombies.

Andrea is not happy that the group left her behind. I wonder how that is going to play out?

I wondered why Carol was wearing the weird headscarf thing. I guess we don't get to find out if she is alive until next week, or maybe longer.

What is this baby going to eat? I doubt the prison has any formula.


Daryl: “You coming?”

Oscar: “They ain’t no different than the pricks who shot up our guys.”

Rick: “You want to go back to sleeping with one eye open.”
T-dog: “I never stopped.”

Governor: “No amount of training can prepare you for the world today.”

Andrea: “Because your gut tells you there’s something off about this place, about the Governor.”
Michonne: “It’s kept us safe this long.”

Hershel: “It’s starting to look like a place we could really live in.”

Merle: “How come we never hooked up?”
Andrea: “You called me a whore and a rug muncher.”
Merle: “Got a way with words, don’t I.”

Lori: “My baby has to survive, please, my baby, for all of us.”

Lori: “You’re going to be fine. You are going to beat this world. You are smart and you are strong and you are so brave.”

Lori: “You got to do what’s right, baby. You promise me you’ll always do what’s right. It’s so easy to do the wrong thing in this world. So, so if it feels wrong don’t do it, alright. If it feels easy, don’t do it. Don’t let the world spoil you.”

Lori: “Goodnight, love.”


  1. I don't watch TWD very often (only when I'm waiting for something else to start) but I saw a lot of things on Tumblr about this episode and ultimately decided to watch it. I wish I hadn't, because even though I've only seen the Sophia episode and this one, I cried.

    But I still can't separate Andrew Lincoln as Rick and Andrew Lincoln as the placard and carollers guy from Love Actually.

  2. This episode was so sad and amazing.... yet I couldn't stop laughing when Oscar saved Rick by going all Donkey Kong and throwing a BARREL at Andrew. So, sooo awesome.

  3. An exceptionally upsetting episode in an upsetting series. It's funny that T-Dog's death made me cry because of his sacrifice, while Lori's ticked me off, even though I didn't much like her. It was pretty obvious that she wasn't going to survive that pregnancy, with the fear and exhaustion and needing a c-section and all. But at the same time, emotionally it felt like dying in childbirth was Lori being punished for cheating on Rick when she didn't even know Rick was still alive. If she had to die, I would have preferred that it happen another way. Poor Carl.

  4. I closed my eyes and shrieked when Maggie had the seemingly lifeless baby resting on her arm due to the possibility that it could be dead and bite her. I wouldn't have thought that they would do a baby zombie a while back but now I'm not so sure. I'm so glad they didn't.

    Still, this episode was packed with hardships even though it was a little more merciful than Lori's fate in the comics. No spoilers but I love the way the show zigs where the comic zagged even though they're basically on the same path.

    And here's my Comic Book Guy outrage moment for the episode: T-Dog screamed while his throat was torn open. It was shocking but that kind of made it ridiculous.

  5. I think this was the single hardest episode of television I've ever had to sit through. The Lori stuff was just so disturbing and harrowing. I really felt unsettled and questioning why I was still watching. But then just as you said, I realized that I continue to watch the show because it's exceptional, and magnificently produced television. WOW

  6. We can not be sure that Carl shot Lori. They never showed him do it. We only heard one gunshot. Until now they never had a problem showing how a main character dies, so this is suspicious.

  7. Billie and Nadim, as topher darling said, Lori's fate in the comics is much more shocking and sad that what you've seen. On the other hand, it didn't feel like she was being punished for "cheating on" Rick. I've ssen a lot of comments on how the show has some underlying sexism, and when something like that happens, it's hard to disagree.

    topher darling, I don't think the baby could've bitten Maggie because babies have no teeth. Though I know nothing of zombie babies physiology.

    As usual, Doc, a very enjoyable review. It really shows you're still disturbed by the episode.

  8. Gruelling. Just gruelling. I did like Lori -- probably because I'm a heterosexual man, and she was hot -- so I was gutted to see her gutted. And I too hope Michonne drags Andrea out of Woodbury ASAP, by the hair if necessary. I hate to see her being taken in like this. I think we can safely say that, no matter how many days they wait, Andrea's not going to want to leave. I'm starting to think Michonne may end up with an ally in Merle. Although ostensibly on 'The Governor's' side, I'm sensing a growing unrest. Mark my words: it'll all and up in carnage. When does anything ever end up any other way with this show?

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  10. Horrible, horrible episode. As in horrible deaths. Like you said, the acting is outstanding - it's really picked up this season due to the characters getting more to work with, storywise.
    Lori's fate in the comics...well, when I read it I felt so cheated. This way, at least, she died for a "cause". And those brief moments when I wasn't sure if the baby was stillborn... Let's just say I had tears of joy in my eyes at it's first sound.
    Let's just hope they get some hands on some formula - although I do believe women (regardless of having had a baby) can produce milk if a baby sucks long enough. It would probably take too long though.

    One thing which I think is a shame in the casting of the governor - David Morrissey sounds just like Liam Neeson. Which is just a bit strane as Liam is Irish and David is Scottish. Anyhow, his accent is...off. I keep waiting for him to pick up a phone and tell someone he'll find them and kill them.
    Sure, we have no background story on Philip the Governor yet - could be he IS from Scotland?

    Anyway, what troubles me the most still is the gut-feeling I have watching every episode of TWD. I keep thinking "Who's going to die now!?" I guess all bets are off.
    Horrible. And fantastic.

  11. It was kinda funny tdog dies just as a new token black guy shows up...

  12. Andrew Lincoln is one THE worst actors I have watched in a TV series and I have watched some bloody awful TV series.

    I'd rather see them kill of Rick and move Daryl into the lead instead of having to watch more of Lincoln trying to emote. The man is just a flat out poor actor.

  13. Gus, excellent point about the teeth. I apparently know nothing about human baby physiology. :) It couldn't very well gum Maggie to death.

  14. Hellblazerraiser: Not fair on Andrew Lincoln in my opinion. Sure, seasons one and two had some questionable scenes I'll give you that, but that had more to do with the script in my opinion. Surely you must notice a difference in his acting since then?

  15. Wow, lots of comments. I'm not surprised that people had lots of responses to this one. @billiedoux and zob, I agree that Lori's death was a result of bad timing but the little speech she gave seemed to indicate that at least she felt she deserved it. Maybe sleeping with Shane was the "easy" thing to do. It was also the thing that saved both her and Carl's life. She didn't know Rick was still alive! @ anonymous - I was going to say something about T-dog being conveniently replaced by Oscar, like there was a quota or something but I already tend to go on about this kind of stuff so I didn't but I'm glad you brought it up. @Gus and topherdarliing - you made me laugh. I just had this image of a zombie baby trying to gum someone to death. It is particularly disturbing to me that I find that funny. @hellblazerraiser I must agree to disagree with you. I think Andrew Lincoln nailed his response to Lori's death. It has literally knocked Rick down. Rick is a tough part to play. Thank-you for all the comments. One of the reasons I write reviews is because it feels like I am discussing show I love with other fans of the show.

  16. Yes, great comments, everyone. I wanted to add to mine that I thought Andrew Lincoln was terrific. I was more moved by his reaction to Lori's death than I was by Lori's actual death. I don't tend to react that way if an actor isn't doing a good job.

  17. Rick is definitely broken now. The business at the end of S2 made him snap and harden, but now his sanity has reached the breaking point. After everything he did to try to keep the band alive, to make a safe space for Lori to have the baby, and just when he was starting to reopen himself to the possibility of reconciling with her ... That closing was absolutely devastating. I sobbed profusely.

    I very strongly disagree with HBR about Andrew Lincoln. I think he's done great work as Rick throughout the series, and he was really great in those closing moments. He says so much with his body language and his eyes. The way he sort of staggered toward Maggie and then stuttered out a quietly desperate "where is she?" just slayed me.

    I think Lori dying in childbirth was inevitable in her mind. She had made her peace with it long before, and that's why it was a relatively quick decision for her to make. (I believe that's why she was trying so hard to make things right with Rick after letting them fester all winter.) I don't know that she thought she deserved to die, or that she necessarily wanted to die (she certainly didn't want to say goodbye to her son), I just think she believed that, under the circumstances and knowing the difficulties she'd previously had in childbirth, she would die. She just wanted to make sure the baby had a shot.

    My theory on Carol's headscarf: In reality, I'm sure it is just a writer's ploy to make the group believe she's dead. However, I can fanwank that she wanted to protect her hair because they were moving a bunch of bodies and planning to burn them all. Don't want burned walker scent getting in your hair! Or possibly she anticipated a long day of labor in the sun and wanted to protect herself from sunburn. :)

  18. Highlights from the comments:

    "Though I know nothing of zombie babies physiology."

    "It couldn't very well gum Maggie to death."

    I got spoiled on this episode, so I knew exactly what was coming. And yet it was still really, really upsetting--mostly, I think, because of Carl's and Maggie's reactions to the entire delivery scene. Props to the actor who plays Carl; he's really done a great job this entire season.

  19. Josie, my exchange with topher darling was a highlight of my week (it was a crappy week. Exam week.)

    I don't mean to say the series is not disturbing. It is, but the comic series is much more. It isn't even a competition. I won't say anything because it'd be a spoiler, but it's much more.

  20. The Walking Dead made me cry. Wow. I knew Lori’s death was coming, but I had no idea it was this early on the season.

    When Lori was helping Hershel on the beginning of the episode, I thought “you know, they should have her give birth on extremely tense circumstances, just like Sydney on Alias”. Then the rest of the episode happened, and tense doesn’t even begin to describe it.

    You all talked a lot about the acting on this episode, so I want to praise Sarah Wayne Callies for her job on this series. She made me like Lori more than I should have in the past two seasons, and, boy, she rocked my soul on her speech to Carl. What a moving scene. I didn’t have the impression she felt she deserved to be punished, it was her last opportunity to be a mom to her son and make sure he would grow up to be a good man. I cried so much. Maggie’s reactions were another powerful element on a powerful scene. She so didn’t want to do the delivery, and when she held the baby on her arms and it didn’t move, I was terrified that Lori’s sacrifice had been for nothing. That would’ve made the episode ten times more depressing.

    T-Dog’s death was moving too. What a brave man. But The Walking Dead would really improve if it didn’t show people’s guts being ripped off all the time. Those moments are so unnecessary. Speaking of not showing, I’m afraid Carl didn’t shoot Lori’s head and is planning to keep the zombie version of her mom around, just like Hershel did to his loved ones.

    The scenes on Woodbury were distracting and told us nothing we didn’t know already. Apart from them, this episode was perfect.


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