Editor’s note: this review will contain some spoilers. I will try to keep them to a minimum, but they’re be there nonetheless. You’ve been warned.
Focus is an interesting thing. When strong shows focus on well-developed characters, they can reach incredible new heights. And when weaker shows try to do the same with less developed characters, it can elevate them or sink them. I’ve never considered AMC’s The Walking Dead a strong show with good characters. It’s a fun show, certainly, and growing strong the farther away we get from the show’s first two seasons. That said, an entire episodes focused on Hershel was quite a gamble, but I’m pleased to say it’s a gamble that paid off.
The infection has been building up to quite a threat this season. Daryl left with the lion’s share of healthy people to try to bring back medicine, leaving only a handful of people at the prison to try to maintain order. Hershel decided that he needed to be with the sick people, despite being one of the only people in the group with medical knowledge. I’d argue that he’s too valuable to risk, but I digress.
Hershel is completely dedicated to caring for the sick, and a big part of that responsibility is keeping up their spirits. This means he needs to keep the grisly task of destroying the brains of the recently deceased to the sidelines. Other than tea, keeping people positive is really the only thing Hershel can do at this point, at least until the away team arrives back with the medicine.
Helping him, at least for a little while, is Sasha and Glenn, although the arduous work quickly takes its toll and both end up close to death for their troubles.
This all comes to a head when Hershel is left on his own, and can’t keep tabs on the dying. After a couple red shirts reanimate, chaos erupts. Luckily, Hershel has a shotgun and a bit of ammo, but he’s also got to worry about the sick people being threatened by the zombies. With a bit of manuevering and some timely help from Maggie, he’s able to dispatch the zombies without too much collateral damage. This gives him enough time to dramatically save Glenn’s life as the poor guy struggles for breath.
Meanwhile, the fence outside is in rough shape. Rick, Maggie, and (later) Carl to their best to buttress it, but it’s too little, too late. With Maggie gone to help her father, Rick and Carl have to kill off a pretty sizable horde of zombies.
While this part of the show was a lot of fun, there were a few things about it that really annoyed me. First of all, those fences were incredible important to the survival of the group, and we’ve had loads of foreshadowing throughout the season that they were in need of maintenance. Despite this, all they did was occasionally kill off zombies at the fence until it was too late to do anything else.
And when Rick and Carl were left to defend the prison, what do they do? They run to laundry carts outside to their stash of guns and ammunition. Those weapons are often the deciding factor between life and death on The Walking Dead, which makes them absolutely precious. I cannot for the life of me imagine why anyone would leave all their guns outside in the elements when they might need them at a moment’s notice. I suppose the argument is that they have multiple stashes around so they can quickly access them, but this just seemed stupid to me.
At the episode’s conclusion, Daryl and company arrive back in camp with the meds. Daryl, naturally, looks for Carol, to which Hershel responds that she’s okay, but that he needs to talk to Rick. This sets up quite the conflict in the next episode, which should be interesting.
Despite a few missteps, this was one of the stronger episodes of the season. Hershel is far from my favorite character, but the focus on him this week worked really well. Also, the song they played in the background at the end of the episode was super cool.
I agree about the guns, unless maybe they have so many that they can afford to have some outside?(from Woodbury) still, it seems careless, specially for a cop. Anyways, I liked the way Carl stepped up to help Rick, he was probably my least favorite character, but the more mature version is starting to grow on me.
One thing that I always wonder during the times they are driving is how surreal it must feel for them: sitting in a car, with AC, music, feeling comfortable…everywhere else it’s painfully obvious that they are in a post apocalyptic world, but for a brief moment inside that car they can feel as if they are in their previous life, going about their daily business, it must feel weird.
When you say he’s your least favorite character, does that include the dead people like Lori?
And I completely agree about the surreal nature of driving in that situation. Well said.
Maybe not as bad as Lori and Andrea, but pretty close, I just didn’t care for him.
Yeah Farmer Rick would rather check out pea pods then talk to Daryl or Tyresse. Can’t say I blame him, he pulled a leaders move and he’s not even part of the council. As for the weapons outside in the crates, that purely a production thing I’m sure because well that would be stupid. Out in the open, maybe some in the base of a tower some in a cabinet here and there. Not stacked up in a apple box er’ whatever.
And Hershel deserved the episode, he’s the groups moral compass, and that was his first zombie kill of people close to himself.
And my Christmas wish did not come true yet, Glenn, you die now!
I’m sensing the next episode of the Governor side story and Rick’s explaination. Daryl and/or Tyresse won’t have time to go out and find her because the Governor is about to raise some hell up in there. Besides it gives Carol a good solid reason to come back and be slightly forgiven, If she can stop the governor.
What if she is with the governor? they share the “do whatever it takes to survive” mentality, they are both insane, granted Carol is only starting to loose it, but I’m guessing that’s how the governor started.
I just can’t buy into Carol going off with the Governor. She’s just a stern vigilante type where the Governor is just psycho. And further more I’d rather have Carol in my camp than him any day.
Ok, All right. I’m having issues. I was just on another zombie site talking about the whole Carol situation and up comes a theory that Lizzie actually killed Karen and David in order to prove to Carol she was strong enough (she’s also sick) and Carol was just trying to cover it up. Whats your thoughts?
The only issue I have with Lizzie killing the people is that she was pretty useless against the zombie this week, lured him along, fell over and screamed – didn’t quite understand what her plan was once the Z was lured away from Glenn? Is she really up to killing a human?
I agree with Mark here. I can’t see Lizzie killing people and preventing them from reanimating when she seems so passive when it comes to the zeds. I can see her feeding them, but that’s about it.
I don’t know if I’d say Carol is insane. I think she’s trying to be as coldly pragmatic as possible. Trading a little bit of humanity for a better shot at survival.
Yeah, but maybe that’s how you start to lose your humanity. I’m not saying she’s on the same level as the Governor, far from it, but I do see the governor starting out as regular guy who just wanted to keep his family safe and who then slowly turned into a psycho, just like Carol (who isn’t a psycho, yet).
Lizzie being the murderer would be an interesting twist, and the more I think about it the more it seems to make sense, this would also absolve Carol and render everything I said about her character moot.
Why is it you want Glenn to die?
I’m curious about that as well.
He was the first runner in the group and now that he has someone he doesn’t go out anymore. Pull your weight! Hershel volunteers to go out for pete sake. Ever since Maggie got attacked he’s turned into a real shut in wimp (in my opinion). Look I understand that happened to the one person that he was in love with but I’m sure it wasn’t the first. He lost family, friends, etc.. Thats why I thought he was going out so other wouldn’t get hurt.
Ok as always I like to give my opinion to anyone that cares read it!
Loved this episode, Carl coming of age infront of a slightly unhinged (in a good way) again Rick was done very well in my opinion. The Hershel stuff was good (although he made a few fundamental ZA mistakes that I thought he would have stopped doing by now), but I’m in no hurry to see another one. And the return of the Governor is wonderful.
Issues I have this week –
1) Day to night transition apparently happens in a split second with no warning (normally when you’re inside for about 2 mins). Just don’t understand the need to do this!
2) The (now deceased) Doc FINALLY suggested people shut themselves in cells – WELL ABOUT BLOODY TIME! hahaha!
Going forward I think we’ll see a Governor centric episode next week (hopefully a catch up on what he’s been up too). This will be followed by a wrap up of the virus and Carol leaving situation, with an attack of the prison by the Governor (and Carol showing up to save the day?!?!) for the mid-season finale.
I hope we don’t see a return of Carol for a while – my favourite thought said by a friend is Carol returning with a small army of zombie fighting children she has found and trained! Can’t see that happening though…
I should have mentioned the bizarre day to night thing. It was shocking.
A governor-centric episode might be interesting, provided they do it right.
I’m in on “Carol saves the day” idea. Just not Glenn (he jokingly said).
What if the Governor can convince the survivors from Woodbury who are now at the prison to join him?
Another great episode in what is turning out to be an awesome season thus far. The Herschel focus of the episode worked well, and was it just me or does he seem to be immune to the virus? Looked in pretty good health to me.
And the governor is back… the jury is out with me on how long they play this out for, I really hope they don’t overdo it.