Previously! This episode was slow to build, but then I could barely catch my breath. Let’s get started.
Rick speeds back to the jail, pissed. He glances down at the shitty Seiko watch Carol gave him. Yeah, as far as goodbye presents go, that one sucked. (But then, so was the one he gave her: a foot in the keister.) He whizzes down the highway, past a half eaten Walker some dogs are going to town on. 1) Dogs! 2) Did we know they’d eat rotten Walker meat? 3) I guess we do, now. 4) Why don’t they have any dogs at the jail? They’d be great for alerting them to Raiders, I’d think. (Unless they’d bark all the damn time at the Walkers, in which yeah. Not so helpful.)
Hershel is the only Doc on call in the Internment Camp, I mean, the makeshift hospital, and he’s starting to wear out. He has Sasha and Glenn making rounds with him, and they can barely stand on two legs, but they give it their all. One guy is choking on his own blood, so they intubate him and will all take turns squeezing the respirator.
Okay, ugly time. Look. I get it, we want all the people to live, blah blah, niceties, but come the hell on. Sometimes you’ve got the thin the herd. One person knows this, but we’re not there in the show yet. But come on! Sasha and Glenn are barely holding on. Which is when Hershel decides to have a council meeting, to push some legislation through: they will now have Spaghetti Tuesdays and Wednesdays (and wet t-shirt Thursdays), and okay, that was a good one, Hershel.
They put Sasha on squeeze duty as he and Glenn move on to check on the others. It’s bad. One man has died, and Hershel insists on loading him onto a gurney so they can give the man his Final Death, aka, blunt force trauma to the cranial region, away from the others. Hershel can’t bring himself to do it, so Glenn handles it. Hershel: you’re in a Zombie Apocalypse. Your hands are going to need to get dirty at some point. (Question: I can’t remember from the start of Season Three when they’re on the move: did he really never kill a Walker? Or did they just mean any of their own who have turned there at the prison?)
A lot of energy is expended to keep GenPop relaxed and comfortable and unaware of what happens if you die in the prison: blunt force trauma to the cranial region. Really? These people are living in End Times, I think they’re all aware. (Yeah, yeah, hope is important, but come on. Let’s not wear Glenn out to literal death to keep Lizzie from getting scared. Also, get your ass back in your cell, Lizzie.)
Maggie comes to the visitation window to talk to her dad through the glass. Glenn was supposed to be there, but the Doc put him to rest after a hard day. He controls the conversation well to keep Maggie from panicking over Glenn, which is sweet. But it quickly becomes apparent that her fears are well placed when we get a look at Glenn, who is hiding behind the door. Wow, he is looking terrible. DO NOT KILL GLENN, SHOW. DO NOT.
Maggie keeps occupied by clearing the fence.
Rick pulls in, she gestures towards the fence, like “Buddy? These crow bars and wishes ain’t cuttin’ it,” and says they need to do more than prop up a two-by-four against it. Also, where the hell is Carol? To Rick’s credit (because I wasn’t sure if he would) he tells Maggie straight up: “Carol killed Karen and David, she thought she was doing the right thing, I sent her off with supplies.” He then says not to say anything to anyone because he wants to talk to Hershel himself.
When asked if she would have done the same, Maggie says yes. She thinks it was the right thing to do, but she doesn’t know if she would be able to do it. Hmm. That’s a bit of a wussy answer, Maggs. She goes back to head-stabbing Walkers, so, you know. She’s not so much of a wuss.
Rick heads off looking for Carl, makes sure he didn’t kill any kids who were trying to surrender, then hands over the fresh fruit and veggies from his run. He wants Carl and the others to stay put a while longer, which is smart, because they’ve not gotten medicine to anyone yet.
WHICH BRINGS ME TO AN IMPORTANT PART: he and Carol found medicine. He has it. It’s in his bag. Why isn’t he rushing straight to the hospital to deliver it? Side note, it’s pretty safe to say that Carl seems to be immune to this Eye Bleeds thang, as he was there with Rick (who along with Daryl also appears to not be getting sick) when shit went down, and is not sick. Immunity, he has it.
In the hospital, Hershel checks on Doctor Caleb, who is doing really poorly. He doesn’t even want Hershel to examine him, because it’s a waste of time. He dispenses some really wise advice, which is something that just about everyone has tried to get across to Hershel since we met him in Season Two: this is the End Times, buddy. Shit is bad, and you need to take into account the fact that we are living in limited resources times and dole out meds and supplies accordingly. This dying doctor [Caleb points to himself] isn’t who should be getting attention. He’s hit the point of no return. Hershel is spreading himself too thin and it’s going to bite him in the butt. Hopefully it’s not a Walker who bites him in the butt.
Caleb points to his shotgun and handful of shells. He’s willing to take himself out when [not if] it comes to that. “No,” Hershel soothes, “you’re going to be…holy crap, you have the Eye Bleeds.”
“Yeah, dummy, that’s what I’ve been saying,” Caleb says, coughing up blood.
Doc moves through the ward, cell by cell, smartly shutting doors as people settle in, when someone staggers out, coughing up blood and clearly dying. GO GET THAT SHOTGUN, RAISIN EYES, AND PUT THEM DOWN. Everyone watches to see what Hershel will do: nothing. Sasha staggers out to help load the body on a gurney so Doc can dispose of the body properly and away from prying (and soon to be bleeding) eyes.
The fabulous song Oats in the Water by Ben Howard] starts playing and Hershel finds that he has to cover the body with a sheet in order to administer the Walker Death Blow. (Hershel, you’re getting on my nerves a bit. I need you to take this shit more seriously.)
Rick goes to the visitation window to chat with Hershel, and I’m seriously scratching my head at the lack of urgency with these folks. Time is of the essence, y’all! RICK WHERE ARE THE EXPIRED MEDS. Hershel goes on and on about how every life is sacred, he wants everyone cozy and happy in the Apocalypse, this is all God’s will (ugh) and I’m seriously getting itchy.
One good thing comes out of this conversation, even if it’s just lip service (more on this later): they’re going to have to be harder, more strict. There will need to be harsher protocols that they all abide by. They got cushy, got soft. This ain’t Tenpenny Towers in Woodbury where they can have ice cream socials and square dancing. Oh, yeah, also, Rick kicked Carol out. BYEEEEEEE.
Cut to Doc Hershel staggering back on his rounds, looking worn out. He’s locking people in their cells and it looks like Sasha has either passed out or died. Nooooooo! He rushes past an open cell with a clearly dead person, and for the love of Mike. This is how entire cell blocks go bad, people. And of course, the body turns into a Walker as Doc gets down and gives Sasha First Aid.
Maggie and Rick shore up the fence with poles from freshly cut saplings. This isn’t how you should do this, people. Question: Why aren’t they going to hardware stores and finding cement and new poles? Put someone on post hole digging duty, another on mixing it in wheelbarrows, and a few more on lining up new poles. Instead of every fifteen feet like it appears, put new steel every three or four feet. It’s not like it needs to look pretty, it needs to last.
A Walker grabs Rick’s ankle, Maggie chops off the Walker’s hand, and we see how important it is not to do this job alone.
Protip: A dry moat filled with spikes could come in handy here. Every so often you distract the Walkers and send a crew out on clean out duty to keep the bodies from piling up, Maybe come in every now and then with a Daisy Air rifle and pop one or twenty into those ripe melons? Anything to defend your walls should be done. (Also, shore up the sides of your dry moat with 1/4” Coreten Steel with angle iron cross members every 4′ with drainage holes for maximum stability.)
Sasha comes to with the Doc holding an IV bag over her head. She was sure she was going to die (and that he was, too). “I don’t believe in magic or luck. I do the math. I don’t gamble. But I don’t know if I’d be here if you weren’t so stupid,” she teases, and please tell me y’all heard that Walker groan when she said the word “luck?” Raise your hand if you thought Hershel was going to die right then and there. Now put your hand down, because I can’t see it, come on, now.
Glenn is on respirator duty with the intubated guy when he realizes the guy has stopped breathing. Uh oh. He does CPR and we hear raspy breath, but it sounds like Walker breathing to me, not “I’m drowning on my own fluids.” And of course, this is when it all hits and Glenn collapses, unable to get enough breath to call out for help.
Did someone order hell breaking loose? BECAUSE IT IS BEING DELIVERED. Doc starts checking on everyone, and one guy says his cell mate buddy is just “sleeping” and to leave him be. UH HUH. He shuts himself in with the sleeping guy, and for the love of pizza, why aren’t they actually locking these cell doors?
The woman who we saw turn before Sasha was resuscitated now shambles out all bloody and awful-
-and grabs Hershel. Well, it happened later than I suspected. Man from the sleeper cell (hurr) comes out with a gun (WHERE DID HE GET THAT AND MEET ME IN THE PROTOCOL BLURB IN A MINUTE) and aims to shoot the Walker. Some blonde woman gets out of her cell and starts beating off the Walker to save Hershel when OHO, I WAS JUST SLEEPING WALKER comes out and bites his Gun Buddy on the arm making the gun go off and shoot the Blonde Lady in the brain. And now Gun man is meat for Sleepy Walker’s undead gullet, way to go. [Slow clap]
Protocol: We do NOT give handguns to the general populace, people. We do not. That shit should be tagged and tracked, and definitely not hidden under some newbie’s pillow in a death cell, COME ON.
I am so angry right now, you guys, but I don’t have time to be angry because Maggie hears the shot, Rick tells her to go check it out, and he runs to grab Carl to finish the fence job. Hershel recovers, somewhat, sees that Lizzie is trying to lure Intubated Walker away from Glenn like it’s a damn puppy. She’s calling him Henry, like it’s still Henry inside (it isn’t) and of course is walking backwards which means she trips and ol’ intubation bro is on her like a shot.
Um, so I totally thought that because he still has the intubation tube in his throat that he couldn’t actually bite her, but still: DRAMA ENSUES. Hershel gets him off her, tosses the dude over the railing to land on a fenced catwalk/net sort of thing (to prevent suicides a la Oz is my guess) and okay, Hershel. You may be a bleeding heart, but you are a bad ass.
Hershel shoves her into a cell with another kid and tells her to stay put and it’s official: she is the “GET IN THE HOUSE, CARL” of Season Four. My “Goddammit Carl” tag is now “Goddammit Lizzie.” Oh, and Maggie is now taking her ax to the door protecting everyone healthy from the hoard of Walkers inside the hospital. MAGGIE: COME WITH ME.
Protip: Let’s have another lesson in protocol. Now, I know American TV loves the lone hero that bucks the rules and is a Saves The Day and all that jazz. But this is how good people get killed. Is it nice to be hard and firm with rules? No. But while “no man left behind” is a lovely thought, when you’re leaving that one man behind because that one man wants to EAT YOU AND EVERYONE YOU LOVE, you’re not being a bad person. If you have isolated potential risks, you have to follow the rules, even when they’re hard. This is what Doctor Caleb was trying to say. Pfft, Americans. (of which I am, but still! ‘Yippie ki yay, mother fucker’ is the last thing you say before being EATEN.)
Maggie is going nuts with her ax on the door, and it breaks off in the gap between the frame, fortunately. WHAT DO, MAGGIE? You do nothing, that’s what you SHOULD do. (Yeah, yeah, love etc. That’s for TV, okay? Remember that you can’t do this in real life. I’m here to save lives, people. Spock would agree with me.) Hershel is grabbed by Caleb, who is now a Walker. TIME TO KILL HIM AND GET HIS GUN. Oh, say, he does! Good job, Hershel. Now lock and load.
Carl and Rick take a moment to have father-son time, just bonding over shoring up a fence with the undead lusting after their tasty, living flesh a few inches away, and if they were girls, I’d think this was a douche/not so fresh feeling commercial. It’s that tender. Aaaaaand then the poles start breaking and maybe if you just took better care of your lady box, Carl, they wouldn’t be so angry and hungry. IF ONLY YOU SMELLED OF FAKE FLOWERS.
Shit, this is bad. The Walkers are pouring through the gap in the fence, father and son are separated momentarily, but they manage to get into the guard tower and into the inner ring of the prison yard. And of course this fence is also being pushed over, and this is PRECISELY WHY we kill every Walker we come in contact with. One less body on that fence, people, why am I having to shout this all the time? I am about to go into cardiac arrest over here, my laws.
They walk past a miraculously set up and unused arsenal (yes, I know, bullets are gold in the end times as a finite resource), Carl gets a quick lesson in loading and using a fully automatic M-4 (damn, son), and they get to clearing out the horde tout de suite. Mozambique those Walkers, fellas. Rick is out, can’t get to a magazine, so Carl steps in with a safety shot and a fresh mag for Pops. Carl? You have become awesome.
It’s just as bad inside. Hershel tries to lure some of the quickly turning Walkers away from the sick and weak, Maggie goes to the visitation window and shoots it out (see: protocol rant above, because what if you got eaten, Maggie? You’ve just made a breach in the protective wall for everyone else.), and finds her Dad with a shotgun and a mess of Walkers.
She clears out ol’ Gun Walker, Glenn starts coughing up blood, clearly unable to breathe on his own, and she and Hershel realize that he needs to be intubated, STAT. Problem: only one intubation tube, and it’s in the Walker trapped on the chain link hammock. Hershel jumps over the rail to get it, Maggie shoots the Walker dead from underneath.
If you look closely, you’ll see that Hershel has rubbing alcohol or some other sterilizing fluid before he intubates Glenn. I thought for sure Glenn was dead because it sounded like they were gearing up to play Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings, but no, just not struggling to breathe anymore. WHEW. But still, I’m angry with you, Maggie. That was too close. Great television, not great in real life. Just making sure we’re all on the same page, there.
Lizzie comes out, because she’s the new young Carl who won’t stay put, and plays around in the muck on the floor with her boot. Yeah, let’s stop worrying about ruining these kids’ “innocence,” Doc. CAROL WAS RIGHT, GUYS. Teach them how to survive, stop wrapping them up in cotton.
Outside, Rick and Carl have actually killed every damn Walker and are going through the battlefield with a bayonet to the cranium for any Walker still chomping. Smart – saving bullets. A car races towards the prison, and it’s Daryl’s group! Yeehaw! Ty immediately wants to know about his sister, but they can’t say. He rushes to her side and finds her still living, whew number two.
Army Medic Bob starts administering drugs, Glenn first (membership has its privileges), and Maggie sends Doc Hershel to rest. You did good, buddy. The Ben Howard song starts playing again, and man, the music this season has been on point.
Hershel goes to Doc Caleb’s cell and takes out his Bible. (Where is your God now?) Instead of being able to read an inspiring passage, like the one about bashing your son’s brains in with a rock if they offend you or any of the other inspiring passages of the Old Testament, he bursts into sobs. Oh. Well, now I feel like an ass. I would actually like to see Hershel throw his Bible across the room one of these days.
It’s a new day, a new pod of peas for Rick and Carl to share, and new Walker bodies to load and burn. Michonne has that under lock, has a trailer loaded up with bodies like a cord of wood and asks Hershel if he’d like to come help. “Hell, yeah!”
Daryl (who Rick is avoiding) smirks and says, “You’re a tough summbitch.” Doc nods and moseys off, “Yep. I am.” Yes. You are. You’re a one-legged salty pirate, Hershel, and I like you, even if you’re too focused on Jesus saving everyone.
Daryl asks about Carol, and Hershel says she’s alive, but he needs to talk to Rick. UM, YES. YOU DO. But we don’t get to see this, this episode, boo. Michonne and Hershel pull out to make a rotten long pig bonfire away from the prison, Rick and Carl marvel over peas, and HOLY SHIT THE GOVERNOR IS IN THE WOODS WATCHING THEM.
Guys. My mind: blown. Okay, so, here are my theories and I have no idea if this is true, but here goes. The Governor is feeding the rats to the Walkers, luring more and more of them there to break in and weaken the defenses so he can take over. Carol is going to come back and take part (or all the parts) in killing the Gov, and this will put her back in everyone’s good graces and then she and Daryl will reunite and get married on a mountaintop with garlands of flowers and herbs and flutes playing and they’ll all live happily ever after.
Okay, I definitely don’t believe that last part. But a girl can dream…
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