Previously! We open with a full moon – a red full moon. That’s not ominous. There’s someone with a flashlight at the fence and hey, they’re holding up Templeton! Out there at night it’s a smorgasbord, orgasbord, orgasbord! But now that the terrific, humble pig is dead, there’s no need to send our rat Templeton out to the fairgrounds anymore. Instead, he’s fed to the Walkers by the flashlight carrier and blergh, poor little rat! This is not a good episode for critters.
(Be glad I went the Templeton the Rat route and not Lemmiwnks. Run little Lemmiwinks, run so far and fast! Before you get digested and fall out the Walker’s ass! Wait, I was supposed to not do that. Oops?)
The delightful Karen and Tyreese romance gets cranked up to sweet and passionate makeouts in the library after he confesses how tore up by Zack’s death he is. (Is he? Were we supposed to care? Am I a bad person for not caring? That kid had red shirt all over him.) These two are so adorbs that he even starts singing to her the Cole Porter classic, “I’ve Got You Under My Skin.” Oh, I see what you’re doing there, writers, with the deep in the heart of me, we’re all infected, love is a DISEASE.
Okay, they might not mean that last one, but they should. (I actually think they do mean that.) “I said to myself: this affair never will go so well…” There’s some foreshadowing for you, and we’re barely six minutes in.
He invites her back to his cell for what those doing a bid call a prison tick check, but she’s not ready for that just yet, gives him a good night kiss and then breaks Horror Movie Rule #1 by going to investigate a noise at night in the dark. She doesn’t see anything, shrugs (NEVER SHRUG. That’s flirting with fate!) and heads back to Cell Block D.
Meanwhile, Patrick Glavin with the bleeding and the staggering and the gloy hey-hey, follows her delicious people scent (new Yankee Candle: Prison Spice – with Bergamont and Vanilla! Not to be confused with Pure Human, which has more gardenia and sweat notes than the homey smell of vanilla) all the way back to what we’ll now call the Convenience Store. Everyone is nicely stored in individual cells with no cell doors to protect them. Patrick falls onto some snoring dude’s throat and the sounds of hungry nomming are a lot like the snuffly noises of a snorer.
Protip: Set up blockades, even within your prison life. Have guards stationed at intervals to man the locked doors. Even if you’re not expecting Walkers, you should always expect Raiders! Have these people learned nothing from The Governor?
Patrick, with no more worries about gluten or lactose intolerance, has been eating his fill all night long (all night!) when he hears someone cough in their sleep. Mmm, living flesh is so much better than mostly dead flesh, amirite? As he shambles off, Snoring Got Him Killed Guy has just turned and is hungry. Why, he feels like he’s practically hollow inside! (Because he is. Nice George Romero nod with the guts falling out.)
Rick passes the baby off to Beth so he can do stuff and thangs with Carl outside. Maggie and Glenn are sleeping in one of the guard towers (smart!). Glenn has found a Polaroid camera and snaps a cute picture of Maggie sleeping. That’s a keeper, no matter what Maggie says.
Michonne wants to head out again, itchy for some M&Ms and comic books. Rick and Carl see her to the fence before going to their garden (teeming with worms among the decaying leaf matter. Oho, a little more foreshadowing.). We learn a few things:
- Rick took away Carl’s gun, and he has to earn it back. Parenting in the apocalypse: you’re doing it right
- Carl doesn’t wear the Sheriff’s hat anymore because he’s a farmer now. Aww, he’s still little enough for dress up.
- The fence can’t take any morrrrre of this, Captain! There are lots of Walkers leaning against it to the point of it needing to be shored up every few feet. Uh, let’s get on that, guys? Surely there’s a Home Depot/Lowes nearby with some bags of cement and some fencing? Just dig some post holes on the safe side and string up a new fence. And, you know, put up some extra rails along the horizon for added strength?
Gunshots sound from inside the prison. Maggie is screaming for Rick to come on, Michonne turns back towards the prison as Maggie and Carol shout, “It’s not a break; we followed the plan!” Yeah, but your plan wasn’t complete, gang.
Michonne gets caught by two Walkers while trying to get back inside. She falls and twists her ankle, leaving Carl to grab up a rifle by the gate and blast one until she can get up and let Maggie handle the other. The Walkers all move back to the fence in search of better eating.
It’s absolute pandemonium inside because these are stragglers and Woodbury peeps, and they deserve to die. THERE, I SAID IT. People are screaming and running around like lunatics leaving Glenn, Daryl and Rick to take out the Walkers. Carol finds one guy with a bite on his leg, so she drags him into a cell to amputate, because she’s got her head screwed on right. And that’s when she sees he has a bite on the back of his neck. That’s not good. He begs her to take care of his girls Lizzie and Mika like they were her own. (Um, maybe not like they were her own, seeing as Sophia got herself eaten up.)
Tyreese saves Karen (aww! Except for how the song says, “Don’t you know, you fool, you can never win?”) Daryl, Rick and Glenn dispatch the last of the prison Walkers when they find Patient Zero: Patrick, who is necking with some girl. By which I mean he is eating her neck. (Some boys just don’t have any finesse.) They do a cell by cell sweep to make sure they’re all gone when everyone tries not to tell Rick how stupid it is that he’s doing this with his pocket knife. You’re not peeling an apple, Sheriff.
Rick finds a guy with bloody eyes and no bite marks in one of the cells, and now he has all neurons firing. Guy at the fence! Patrick! Babe, Pig in the End Times! (The least popular of that franchise.) I didn’t see the pig with bloody eyes, though. It’s like everyone forgot that there are still things like cholera, SARS and the mumps what with the whole “turn into the undead” thing mucking up the world. It was just a few years ago where we were all terrified by the swine flu, Rick. (Also, thanks for nothing, Gwyneth Paltrow.)
Carol brings the dying man’s girls to say goodbye and to give Lizzie (the older one) her Knife Skills final. Lizzie has a panic attack and fails the test, so Carol tells the girls to look away so she can jam her pig sticker into the man’s ear. Smart. That’s a straight line to the old brain meat, Carol, good thinking. The girls are devastated; Carol holds them tight while mentally reevaluating her class’s syllabus.
Let’s talk about this new disease. What is it? Flu-like symptoms that moves quickly, Doc says. And viruses (most likely it’s a virus) move swiftly through close quarters. So they all do the smart thing and pull out the CDC’s guide on isolation and quarantine. Everyone in Cell Block D is in quarantine, and anyone showing signs of being sick will be isolated on Death Row. Fitting, if not a bit anvilly.
Karen coughs. Nooooooo! (Look, I have a thing for Melissa Ponzio, okay? She’s only five days older than me, cute as a button, and represents an often underutilized portion of the population: non teenage, non blonde females.) Karen also agrees to be isolated, even though she looks scared, and says that she heard another person coughing earlier. Smart and I like that she’s thinking of the group, not just herself.
Daryl heads out to bury the dead and nods when the Doc says to cover his face holes when doing so. Carol asks if he’s going to be okay. “Mm hm. Got to be.” Yes, yes you do, Daryl Dixon, because I will break up with this show and key its car if they get rid of you. Show? You will not be getting your records back if you lose Daryl Dixon.
Carol lays into Lizzie outside at the fence where the Walkers moan, hungry. It was weak, Lizzie not being able to kill her daddy. (Carol? You didn’t kill Sophia. I love you, but come on.) In today’s world, a girl has to be able to kill in a pinch. The little sister, easily the brattier of the two, calls her sister stupid, then tells Carol that she’s just messed up, not weak. Huh? Mika is at that awful age for little girls, the 8 – 10 years sneaky/bratty mark. Meh.
Daryl and Rick strengthen their bro-ship, and if there’s someone that can tell it to you straight, it’s Daryl Dixon. Rick needs his gun back. He’s not going to go crazy, they all believe in him, etc. And that’s when the fence starts to go. They race to where Maggie is trying to stab the Walkers dead to keep them from pushing on it.
Michonne gets some First Aid from Beth for her ankle. We get our first hint at a bigger back-story for Michonne when Judith starts crying and Michonne gets real stiff and upset. Huh. Okay, so we know that her arm less pets were her ex and her brother, and there was hint of abuse there, so… File that away.
Sasha joined the folks at the fence line to help clear it when she spies a pile of half-eaten rats. What the what, now? Someone’s feeding the Walkers? (My money is on Lizzie, she of the naming the Walkers in the previous episode. She probably read Warm Bodies and thought it was romantic.) More Walkers press up against the fence and we get a seriously disgustingly awesome shot of a Walker being pressed through the chain link.
Rick gets an idea. He needs the truck, though.
Quick moment with Carl – making crosses for his atheist buddy, just like a southern white boy – and Carol, who wants to know if he’s going to tattle on her. Carl doesn’t want to lie to his dad, but Carol thinks there’s no need to argue, parents just won’t understand.
Beth sings more Tom Waits while trying to get Judith to stop crying as Michonne does calisthenics in her cell. Beth wants to hand off Judith to her, but this is clearly not okay. Michonne holds the baby away from her, her face screwing up. She will not cuddle that baby. Nope. Not even if Judith starts whimpering. Nuh uh. Not gonna… Michonne’s lip wobbles, her face screws up for a completely different reason as she pulls Judith against her cheek, her face falling as she cries, really cries.
Let’s hear it for Tisch-educated Danai Gurira for selling that scene. Not one word of dialog, and yet we’re already forming a backstory for her and a lost child in our heads.
At one point Beth mentions that we have the words orphan and widow, but we don’t have a word for an adult who has lost their child. I think we do, and I think it is “Michonne.”
Outside, Rick rides in the trailer being pulled by Daryl’s truck in order to draw away the Walkers from the fence. RELEASE THE PIGGIES! It looks like it’s our last time for Ham and Eggs as Rick grabs a piggie, slices along the ham – that’s the actual butcher term for the hind leg – and tosses them to the hungry Walkers. They ride further towards the woods and repeat the pork cutlets (No fakin’! Bacon!) to lure more and more Walkers away. Rick looks so disheartened here. He’s back to doing the ugly work.
Was I the only one worried about all the damn blood splattering on his face? Blood, semen, snot, spit: these are all things you should avoid getting on your face when there is a pandemic sweeping through your living quarters, people.
Yeah, yeah, they were going for the more picturesque “he has more blood on himself” thing, but come on. Model good behavior, Sheriff. Also, when they were driving around, they should have had a clean up crew at the fence line, dragging bodies away towards the woods. No sense in leaving that dead weight up against the weakened structure.
Now that the fence is somewhat repaired, Carol has the girls there to learn a lesson about life and death. They have to be stronger, more willing to dispense death like a pig to a group of Walkers. She cuts off the blossom to some wild mustard (I hope they’re utilizing that!) and tucks it behind Lizzie’s ear and hands her a giant knife. It’s the Apocalypse version of a Quinciñera. Catorce-ñera? I didn’t catch how old Lizzie was. Sweet Thirteen, whatever. They sing, “Now that I’m a woman…everything has changed!” and Lizzie’s transformation into strong independent End Times woman is mostly complete.
Rick dismantles the pig shed (which came first, the pigs being sick or the people? My money is on the pigs) as he tells Carl they need to stay away from Judith until this whole swine flu thing is figured out. And that’s when Carl NARCS on Carol. (I actually approve.) He does think it’s okay that Carol’s doing this, just not that she’s keeping it secret. Rick pours precious gasoline all over the stack of wood and sets it on fire. He thanks Carl for telling him; it’s clear Rick isn’t going to stop her.
Looking tired yet resolved, Rick hands Carl a Beretta 92 FS (the preferred handgun of the military and law enforcement, btw). He then pulls out of a tool box his holster and his Colt Python, a beautiful piece of machinery with a 6” barrel (standard is 4”), made of stainless steel and featuring an adjustable rear target sight with red paint on the front sight for quick target acquisition. It, like the Beretta, has both double and single action capability. It has a wood handle made from the heartwood of a cocabolo tree, and probably retails for about $1100. (I applaud the symbolism in everything, show writers.)
In short, like Rick, this gun is a mother fucker, both literally and figuratively. This is a special gun for a special man. Modern standard issue would either be the Beretta or a 9mm handgun. Rick’s gun is the gun of an Old West Sheriff. It’s the gun of justice, of survival, for when all that stood between chaos and order was a good man with an even better gun.
Ol’ Sheriff Blue Eyes is back, and those eyes have never seen things more clearly than they do now. And what they’re seeing isn’t good.
He reaches out to touch Carl’s bare head and realizes that he has blood all over him. He peels his shirt off and tosses it into the fire. Refined by the flames, now he’s more pure, more sure, and harder than ever. And in the background, the constant moans of the Walkers drones on.
Inside, Tyreese has a bunch of posies in his hand, looking for love in all the wrong places, and humming “You’d Be So Nice To Come To Home To,” under his breath. He gets to the cell where Karen has been sequestered (we assume) and sees blood everywhere. Oh. There’s a drag trail that leads away, so naturally he follows it all the way outside. There are two trails leading out the door. (The guy Karen mentioned, is my guess.)
As the original Cole Porter song goes, “In spite of the warning voice that comes in the night, and repeats – how it yells in my ear! Don’t you know, you fool, ain´t no chance to win?”
Outside lie two charred, burned-beyond-recognition bodies. He staggers at the sight of them. “I would sacrifice anything come what might, for the sake of havin’ you near…” He drops to his knees and sees Karen’s bracelet on a burned-to-charcoal wrist.
Oh my god. Continuing with the Cole Porter, it’s clear that on the Walking Dead: Anything Goes. (And to poor Karen, “In the silence of my lonely room I think of you night and day.” Poor Tyreese.)
Yeah. This season is going to hurt.
So which do you think happened first: pigs sick or people sick with the flu? (My money is on the pig.)
Also, are you for or against tighter security inside the prison? I’m still for the extra guards monitoring the coming and going of bodies into populated areas. Also, there should be a decontamination chamber before coming or going, a la Karen Silkwood. Even if it’s just a vinegar bath. Loot the Lysol stores!
They need to step up their security/health guidelines, regardless.