Apologies for the lateness; I’ve been up to my eyeballs in zombies. Turns out my preferred weapon of a middle-sized hatchet with saw on the opposite end is the correct weapon. Plus, it doesn’t need as much care as a samurai sword. (The rubber handle keeps its grip, even through buckets of blood.)
When we last left our survivors, a prison was entered, Rick was bad ass, Daryl was bad asser, Carl obeyed his Pa, Michonne had pets on a leash, Doc done got bit, his leg was hacked off at the knee, and some Alives were locked in the kitchen of the prison. I hope someone thought to pack some ‘Tussin – that’s always good on a wound.
Rick stares at the blood coming out of Doc’s stump and rightfully says they need to get him back. Well, you’re barricaded for a reason, Sheriff. Meanwhile, the marooned prisoners (for that’s who they are) behind the chained fence/wall would like to know who the hell they are, thank you very much. Daryl gets right to the point, “Who the hell are you?” Good question.
As they let these unknown people out from behind the cage wall (bad idea, who the hell knows why they’re BACK there!) there’s a little information dump from both sides to catch them each up to speed. One, they’re prisoners (duh). Two, that Doc was bit, hence the leg-putation. Three, they now want to kill Doc, which means that they know that once someone is “bitten,” things go Very Bad. Four, they think Rick and Co. are terrible rescuers. They’re not wrong.
T-Dog, meanwhile, decides enough with these clowns, opens the doors back to the hallway (you know, the hallway they ran out of because of walkers) and is all tra la la [STAB!] to a walker in riot gear as it shambles inside looking for a #2 with cheese. I have a note: Riot Zombie! And then “Dibs on that band name.” So. You know. Dibs.
The prisoners stand shell shocked; our band of brothers (and sister) shrug and head back out with Doc on a rolling table, leaving Doc’s bloody leg on the floor as a souvenir. (Am I the only one that always quotes Top Secret when I hear that word? Souvenirs…novelties…party tricks…) Daryl leads our group back through the prison maze, because he’s awesome under duress. He even arrows a walker at point-blank range and has the presence of mind to squelch that arrow right back out and back into his quiver. Seriously, Daryl Dixon for Zombie President.
The prisoners aren’t completely stupid and eventually follow these guys out.
Protip: When stragglers try to join your band, you no longer have to outrun zombies, just the new folks. Watch for things that could trip you, of course. A turned ankle means your brains turning in the Undead’s putrid gut sack.
The rest of our group is safe in their lockdown cells, see that Doc’s been hurt, and mobilize. (I’d like to think they’ve practiced emergency drills for just such an occasion. Be sure to add that to your To Do list, folks.) Beth innocently asks if her papa is going to die. I mean, come on. Probably. Wait, I mean, oh, sweetie, it’s going to be-
Nope. These are End Times, gang. Tough love is the name of the game. Doc Hershel? It’s gone rain on yo head. By rain I mean death, and by yo head I mean you.
Meanwhile, Daryl loads a fresh arrow into his crossbow because homeboy is awesome. Also, he’s got his eyes trained on the door he just came through, because he’s expecting the worse.
Protip: Always expect the worse. And always shut the damn door behind you, what the hell?
The prisoners inch out, have a mini-stand off with Daryl, and Daryl snarks at them that the state of Georgia has seen fit to offer them a pardon. Just gotta have a final gauntlet with some hungry walkers, and freedom is yours, hoss!
Lead Prisoner is all, “Who you tryin’ to get crazy with, Ese? Don’t you know I’m loco?”
Daryl goes, “Yeah, you sound like a sad version of my brother. Maybe you heard of him, One Handed Mother Trucker? Anyway, move along, now.”
Move along…where? Daryl invites them to step outside and find out. These prisoners have been locked in that small room (surely it smelled of shit and piss, right? Was there a sink? I didn’t see anything like that on my iPhone’s screen… ETA: meat locker! Thanks, commenter Beth!) for months, now, and are kind of crazy at this point.
(Raise your hand if you play Fallout. Remember the Vault with the Garys? Holy shit, that is some creepy stuff, there. Did you ever notice the claw marks on the glass windows to the locked ladies’ dormitory? Gary…)
Anyway, these guys are Section 8. Rick and Daryl get this, try to keep them separate from the Women-Folk (Michonne would not have a problem protecting herself here, I’m just saying) and slowly the prisoners figure out that there aren’t things like hospitals anymore. Or EMTs. Or anything resembling civilization.
We learn that a “riot” broke out at the prison (hence the SWAT gear on some guards), one guard took pity on these five guys and locked them in the storage cage of the cafeteria, threw Ese a hand gun (oh my god.) and told them to sit tight. Ten months ago. Specifically 272 days ago. Yosemite Sam corrects Ese, “274!” and is told to STFU, and that means something, but I don’t know what, yet.
Another of the prisoners, T-Dog 2.0, asks when the National Guard is coming. What part of “anything resembling civilization” didn’t you get, dude? Yosemite Sam audibly gulps and asks, “For real?”
Yeah. Oh, and a good half of the entire population is most likely dead or Undead. Probably more. But don’t take Rick’s word for it, help yourself outside, blink at the sunlight (good call, actors – it’s been 10 months of no direct outside light) and see the dead and shambling bodies for yourselves.
T-Dog 2.0 asks a smart question: Is this a disease? Yes. And you’re all carrying it, so as soon as you’re dead, you’re Undead, capice? Ese is not having any of this. He’s the leader here, okay? This was his prison, he was there making toothbrush shanks since before you were polishing a Sheriff’s badge, bro. Rick tries to defer to him as an equal (big mistake) to keep the situation non-FUBAR, but Ese wants to assert his dominance.
Look, Rick and Daryl are willing to give them their own cell block, but C is theirs, fair and square.
Protip: In the event of an apocalypse, “fairness” is as antiquated as running water and cell phone service.
Ese cottons on quickly to the sitch and tells Rick that there’s hardly any food left, so they should just move along. Yeah, that should work. These guys aren’t gaunt, and in fact, one of them is called Big Tiny – he looks like he’s eaten a whole cow recently. There’s food available. So if they want Rick and Co’s help at clearing out a cell block of their own (and they want this, whether they know it or not) they’re going to give up half of the available food. Rick also says that if – once they’re settled – they come anywhere near Rick’s group, they’re dead.
Meanwhile, Carole needs gauze to save Doc’s leg. Yeah, that’s about it. Gauze. Carl inches out of the shot. God dammit, Carl.
Ese leads both groups back to the food where they were locked up, and Rick, Daryl and T-Dog are seriously vapor-locked by the sight of all of those 10# cans of beans. I can’t blame them. Raise your hand if you expected Ese to somehow double cross them right there. (He doesn’t.) Rick wants to know what’s behind a freezer door: Putrescence! Mmm, turned over meat locker, that’s a special smell. Like a skunk’s taint after eating asparagus and rolling in dead badger, I’m guessing. (With back notes of Hobo Foot wafting against the nostrils.)
A palate cleanser is offered by a shot of Glenn and Maggie being the cutest couple that ever adorb’d in the Apocalypse hugging and being generally supportive of one another. Maggie is smart and realizes they shouldn’t have brought the only doctor on a hall sweep —
Protip: Create sweep teams that consist of your solid fighters, and do NOT include people who are the only keepers of Specific and Life Enhancing Knowledge like doctors.
— seeing as that will possibly end in his horrible, agonizing death. But Glenn survived Atlanta. They’re made of sterner stuff. They’ll get through this, too, no matter what. Heck, even Beth is taking up tailoring – they’ll all keeping busy. (Sure, it’s to take off the right leg of her dad’s pants so he won’t trip when he runs from walkers, but I applaud her setting out to learn a skill set.)
Rick and T-Dog show up with their arms loaded down with food supplies, promise that there’s more to come, and smartly mention that possibly Doc should be handcuffed to his bed, just in case. Tres smart. Lori wants to know what’s going on with the prisoners. Well, they have a gun, they’re crazy, and if they make one wrong move, Rick is going to make sure they Cease To Be and Sing with the Choir Invisible. Lori approves, and way to finally get on the Apocalypse Train, sister!
Mm, hmm. Rick sees what she’s doing, and things are just too broken between them for him to be moved by her support, but thaaaaaaaanks.
“I know I’m a shitty wife and mother–” The tv viewing audience gasps, because we didn’t know she knew! “–but I need you to know that I know you’re not a killer. When you kill. Um, in your heart? You’re not? Your hands: killers. Clearly. No question there. Heart, not so much. Oh my god, I am terrible at everything; do what you need to do and I will smile and wait for you to stop hating me.”
It’s actually her best speech.
Time to clear out Cell Bock Not C for the prisoners. T-Dog hands out hammers, crow bars, metal bed legs, etc. when Ese is like, “Uh, I guess you forgot I had a gun?”
Daryl: Oh, are you in the magical land of endless bullets? Because so sorry, we didn’t realize. [pulls an arrow from another dead body]
Ese: I know how to kill men. Why the hell do you think I’m in here?
T-Dog: …tax evasion? No? Hey, I’m trying to not stereotype, okay? Also? THEY ARE NOT MEN. They are walkers. Big difference.
(Back in Cellblock C, Maggie takes a minute to say goodbye to her Daddy, and tells him to let go and let god. Let Jesus take the wheel. YOLO. Well, YOLOUYAAW. You only live once unless you are a Walker.)
Daryl takes Point with the group as they move in to clear out the new cell block. Yosemite Sam hollers, “Rassa Frassin’ Idgit Sumbitches!” when Daryl smacks him upside the head. Too late, walkers heard them and start moaning and shuffling. (Every day they’re shuffling…) The prisoners scream and start attacking. They gut shiv, they chest shiv, they eye shiv. They’re a bunch of eye dee 10 tees. (Write it out.)
Rick, Daryl and T-Dog look on, dumbfounded. They have clearly stumbled across the stupidest bunch of criminals ever. This is where they should have walked away and locked them in. Right? (Say like a 14 year old girl: riiiiiiiight?)
Carl shows up back at Cellblock C because he’s back to not obeying, it seems, and has a duffel bag of medical supplies. I want to yell at him, I do. But that’s helpful. God dammit, Carl. Oh, and NBD, he totes killed two walkers while doing so. Is this the season I grow to like Carl? Lori freaks out, like a mother would, but he’s a Man Now and had a tingle on his chest like a hair thought about sprouting, so SHUT IT, MOM. Beth tells him to shut it, because that’s his mom and Beth doesn’t have one anymore. He runs off to have a cry, and the hair rethinks popping out for another three years. Smart.
Daryl tells the Dummies that BRAINS ARE WHAT YOU HIT. He takes a walker out to show them, makes them practice. It’s hilarious. They’re all “Ehn, ehn!” stabbity, and finally get it figured out as a group of walkers round the corner in the dark. Rick reminds them to cut out that prison riot crap. What do they think this is, Natural Born Killers? Because they ain’t. (Which always makes me think of Scagnetti on Scagnetti. Hahaha. I, um, watch a lot of movies.)
Walkers keep coming, they keep stabbing, and Big Tiny backs away because he did not sign up for this shit. Two walkers creep up on him; he stabs one in the torso, kills another one, and the torso-stabbed one rips its hand out of its cuffs in order to grab Big Tiny, bites his shoulder, Big Tiny freaks (as one would) just as Rick and Ese round the corner. Rick takes another walker out, and Ese pops the biter in the head with a double-tap, and another one for safety. (Um, the second one is the safety, but whatever. I don’t think Ese should have the gun anyway.) He even holds his gun sideways so you know he’s hard core.
They all look at Big Tiny as he touches his back and pulls his hand away, dripping in his own blood. Uh oh.
Back at Cellblock C, Carole uses way too much gauze on Doc’s stump–
Protip: Prioritize your damn medical supplies! You do not waste materials on the dying in the Apocalypse.
–and asks Glenn for help on “something.” AKA, she wants to talk about Ugly Things where the Gentle Ladies won’t hear. Glenn doesn’t want to leave Doc in case Old Yeller needs to be put down, but Maggie says she’s got this. Well…okay. They leave.
Rick, meanwhile, is looking at Big Tiny with Big Sorrowful Eyes (they’re so blue) and tells him he’s sorry. We all know what this means, including Big Tiny. He begs, we all cringe, and Ese steps up with his crowbar and goes insane on Big Tiny’s membrane (he’s insane, bashing brains! Checked his ass like a looter in a riot.) to the point where we’re all seriously uncomfortable.
Yeah, we get it. You learned it’s “go for the brains” and that you’re hard. Aaaaaaaand crazy cakes. He then goes back to hit Big Tiny again, just to be sure. WE GOT IT, DUDE.
Glenn finally hears what Carole wants: to catch a lady walker so she can practice a C-section, since that’s most likely how Lori is going to deliver. And because Doc’s not going to make it. Glenn is a comic book guy (like us) so he gets it: this makes sense. Let’s go all “I Am Legend” on these ambulating cadavers, sure. Abso-toot-ly.
They kill a lady walker; Glenn makes noise and wanders off so the other walkers will follow him, allowing Carole the chance to unlace the outside fence and drag her body in to be worked on.
Question: why lead those few walkers off (there were four or so) and not kill them? Just me? Kill all the walkers you can, dummies!
Daryl and Rick realize that Ese’s insane, got no brain, and he’s got to go. “Kill him if he looks at you funny,” Rick says. Daryl has problem zero with that.
They find the laundry room – fresh sheets! towels! – and a blocked exit. Rick tosses Ese the keys with the instructions to open only ONE of the double doors. That will control the flow of walkers. Guess what Ese does! Can you guess? Opens both. Walkers come streaming in, of course, Ese shrugs and says “Shit happens!” and hits one, then throws the walker – still biting – at Rick. Rick is pinned to the ground, Daryl takes it out, pulls Rick to his feet, and they finish killing the group of walkers.
Time for an epic stare down of former sheriff and current asshole. “It was coming at me, bro!” Ese says with an unapologetic grin.
Rick: Yeah, I get it. Shit happens. MACHETE TO THE SKULL MEAT, HA!
Yappy, the only prisoner that seems to have vocally liked Ese, gets all up in Rick’s grill, ready to throw ‘bows, but Rick easily knocks him down. Yappy goes running, Rick gives chase, leaving Daryl and T-Dog with the rest: T-Dog 2.0 and Yosemite Sam.
Yosemite cracks me up with his thick Georgia accent. “We have no affiliation with what happened!”
Rick chases Yappy through the cell block to an outside courtyard, crawling with walkers. Rick quickly assesses the situation, backs into the doorway, and shuts it, trapping Yappy with the walkers. Yappy screams, Rick wonders if he still has a soul or if that even means anything anymore (it doesn’t) and leaves.
Protip: Kill or be killed. That’s all you need to know until every walker is dead. Survival of the fittest is an ugly thing. Know what’s uglier? Being torn apart by the living dead.
Maggie is with her dad, watching his chest rise and fall, rise and fall, ri- Hold up, it stops rising. Oh, dear. Beth figures out what’s happening and freaks out, yelling for help. GIRLFRIEND, YOU NEED TO GET WITH JESUS HERE, OKAY? Lori runs in wanting to redeem herself and leans over to give a dead man in a zombie apocalypse CPfreakingR. Come the hell on!
And yep, he bites her. She rears back and the blood pours off– Wait. There’s no blood. Doc snores and blinks. We see Carl in the doorway, his piece pulled and gasping in fear. Good work, kid. (Raise your hand if you thought he was prepared to shoot his mom?)
Protip: DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT put yourself in BITING DISTANCE to the potentially undead. Some people are too stupid to let live, I swear.
Rick has T-Dog 2.0 on his knees, interrogating him and Yosemite Sam to see if they knew what Ese had planned. (Ese, who Doth Cease To Be.) Yosemite was friends with that rassle frackin’ Big Tiny! He didn’t want him killed, he’s not friends with Ese, never was with that good for nuthin’ varmit!
T-Dog 2.0 is hard, though, and tells our guys that he’s never begged for his life and isn’t planning on starting now. Okay! ARROW’D! Well, they don’t actually kill him, but they should have. You don’t need questionable types on your Apocalypse Team, people!
Rick leads Yosemite into the newly cleared out cell block with T-Dog. There are corpses at every cell gate, cuffed and head-shot, Stalin-style.
Yosemite: Don’t leave us here! This is sick!
Daryl: You think this is sick? You don’t want to know what’s outside. (He says this kindly. I love him.)
Rick: This is your house. Or…go. You’re lucky.
Daryl: Sorry about your friends, man. (He leaves)
T-Dog: My advice? Drag these bodies outside and burn them.
Doc is still hanging on when Rick gets back. Carl tells him that Lori saved him and that Doc doesn’t have a fever. Doc stirs and opens an eye: it’s human. Whew. They unlock his cuffs (I still think that’s a bad idea – who knows if the Ash/Evil Dead stump removal process will work in this universe!) and he reaches for Rick’s hand. Even Carl smiles, and he’s a punk kid. Yay, you still have a doctor! Kind of!
Lori walks off, and Rick follows. But first, we see Carole staring down at the lady walker she wants to practice on. The make-up effects here are outstanding, by the way. Weirdly enough, the POV with the camera shifts to beyond the fence, watching her. It does this twice during the course of Carole pulling up the walker’s dress and beginning to make an incision on its abdomen.
Who watched Silence of the Lambs? When Clarice is in Buffalo Bill’s house (and Crawford and the FBI are at the wrong location) the POV shifts to the other side of the train tracks. Theories are that it was Hannibal watching her (and that he fired into the basement at the end, when suddenly the basement floods with light as she’s being tracked by Bill.) I don’t know if we’re seeing Michonne watching, another survivor (my guess) or what, but I always like to bring up Silence of the Lambs if possible. It’s a thing.
Rick finds Lori on an elevated walkway over a courtyard of watchers, thinking hard.
Rick: Whatcha thinkin’ ’bout?
Lori: I dunno, apocalypse stuff?
Rick: for the record, I don’t think you’re a bad mother.
Lori: OMG, don’t divorce me. Wait, there aren’t any lawyers. Don’t leave me. Also, I thought you were coming out here to Mozambique me.
Rick: (secretly puts safety back on gun, laughs nervously) What? That’s crazy!
Lori: There’s nothing to talk about anymore, is there?
Rick: (lays a hand on her shoulder, which is about all he can stand to touch her) We’re awful grateful to you for what you did. Saving the doctor and all.
He leaves, she presses her cheek to her shoulder trying to hold on to the warmth of his touch, and we’re left to wait and see if Doc Hershel can get her baby out alive, or if Carole’s zombie chopping skills will be necessary.
Until next week, guys! (Walk With Me, ep 3!) Keep your eyes peeled, the water purifiers close, and your machete closer. (And seriously: trust no one. The default in End Times should always be that interlopers should be put down, COME ON, SHERIFF RICK.)