Eeuw. Some unknown creeper stands at the prison fence at night, feeding live rats to the walkers on the other side. No wonder the zombies cluster there if they're being fed. Who the hell is dumb enough to do that?
Here's a dead (haha) giveaway in a show as grim as this one: when anyone is at all happy, things are going to go to shit for them shortly thereafter. With that in mind, Tyrese and Karen are canoodling in the prison library. He asks if she wants to spend the night in his cell (in Cellblock C, I believe) but she says no, not yet. They kiss goodnight and she heads off to the shower room to wash her face before bed. For the first time in a really long time, I had to watch this show through my fingers, just for this scene, knowing that Zombie Patrick was in the shower room, just sure that he would lurch out at her. (Good job, show, with the suspense.) But Karen goes back to her cell (Cellblock D, I believe) unscathed and Zombie Patrick staggers after her, unheard and unseen. He pauses at her cell's door, then moves further down the line when he hears a cough. Inside the sleeping cougher's cell, Zombie Patrick kneels down and tears the sleeper's throat out with his teeth. Blood spurts up as Zombie Patrick chows down, and the dying sleeper can't even cry out because his voice box has just been eaten.
Here's something that I would do: even "safe" inside the prison, I would close my cell door for sleeping, just in case.
In the morning, over on Cellblock C, Rick gets up at 6 and wakes Carl so they can go do their farming. Because that's what they do now: no more guns, no more killing, no more life-or-death decisions - just compost and cucumbers. Meanwhile, on Cellblock D, Zombie Patrick lurches out of the bloodied cell, looking for someone else to chew on. The dead sleeper he'd been eating has zombified in the meantime and gets up himself, his intestines falling sloppily to the floor from the hole Patrick chewed in his stomach. Outside, Glen and Maggie wake up from their night in one of the guard towers, and Michonne saddles up for another one of her scouting/searching runs. (Do you suppose it's the Governor, hiding out in another part of the prison and feeding the rats to the walkers? Long shot, I know.) On the far side of the field, the fence is looking wobbly from the weight of the walkers; Carl asks Rick if he can help clear some of them out and Rick says no, cucumbers. The idyllic morning is then broken by gunshots echoing out of the prison. Rick runs for the cellblocks. Michonne hears the shots too and turns her horse around. Carl lets her in through the first gate but can't get the second one open in time - it's really a two man job - and two zombies sneak in, swarming over Michonne. Carl grabs a rifle and gets one of the walkers and Maggie runs out and offs the other one, then helps the limping Michonne to safety.
Inside Cellblock D, it is utter and horrific mayhem. There are zombies everywhere, many of them bleeding from their eyes and ears. People and children are screaming and running everywhere. Rick, in his new, pacifist role, will only help carry children to safety ... until he can't avoid it anymore and, with many an angsty look, starts taking zombies out with a tiny pocketknife. Daryl, as usual, is a big ol' hero, dispatching walkers with panache.
Carol helps some big, burly guy to his bed, noting the bite on his arm and preparing to amputate it to save him. Then she notices that he also has a bite on the back of his neck - and there's no saving that. She asks him if he wants to say goodbye to his two little girls, Lizzie and Mika. He asks Carol if she'll look after the girls like they were her own. Of course she will. She brings the girls in and their father dies. Carol tells the girls that she has to take care of him before he turns. Lizzie, the older girl, says she should do it because she's family - holy hell she's only about ten years old! - and Carol gives her the knife. Of course Lizzie can't go through with it so Carol does, sticking the knife into the man's ear while his daughters wail.
As Daryl and Rick finish cleaning up, they notice that some of the walkers have no bites or other wounds - they just died, bleeding out of their orifices. After consultation with Herschel and some of the new guys who appear to be doctors, it is suggested that a horrible and aggressive strain of flu has descended upon the prison, causing pleurisy and the bleed-outs. Herschel the veterinarian says that birds and pigs can be flu carriers and they should do something about Rick's piggies. He also points out that this sort of sickness is highly contagious and the whole prison population could be at risk. A little while later, the governing council meets to discuss quarantine: anyone who might have been exposed will go to Cellblock A (formerly known as "Death Row," but at least it's clean) while anyone showing signs of illness will be housed in clean cells down in the Tombs for observation. Some guy named David and Tyrese's girl Karen have been coughing so off to the Tombs they go. Because that's not FORESHADOWING or anything.
Rick goes out to help Daryl dig some graves and Daryl tells him that he was glad Rick was there in the cellblock with them. Rick is all, I'm not much use without a gun, and I have no intention of taking it up again because whine-whine-whine I made too many bad decision and almost lost my son self-pity-more-whining. Daryl's all, look, you earned a break from the action but if you see anything that needs doing or fixing, we'd sure like to hear your opinion. Then Maggie runs up, screaming for them to help: the zombies are caving in the fence. The three of them, plus Sasha, Tyrese and Glen, race to the fence and start poking walkers in the head. Yes, even new non-violent Rick is back to killing zombies, although he grimaces before picking up a pike and getting down to it.
Inside, Beth wraps Michonne's ankle, feeling sad about the widows and orphans and "why don't they have a word for someone who has lost a child?" Subtle, show. Then baby Judith spits carrots up all over Beth's shirt and she thrusts the baby at Michonne so she can go clean up. Michonne protests at first, then softens, cradling the baby close and crying silently. Beth sees her and lets her have her moment. Nice acting by Danae Gurira. In another part of the prison, Carol finds Carl while he's making grave markers and asks him not to tell Rick about her teaching the little kids how to use weapons.
Out on the fence, Sasha finds the gnawed rats: "Someone's feeding these things?" But there's no time to contemplate this because the fence is totally caving in. Rick, stepping up and making a big decision in a time of danger, despite his earlier protestations, shouts to Daryl to get the truck because he knows what to do! What they do: Daryl drives the Jeep (why the fuck haven't they welded a top and sides onto that completely open vehicle?) towing a trailer; Rick rides on the trailer next to a big wooden box. They drive around behind the fence zombies and then they go chumming for zombies. Rick reaches into the box and pulls out one of his beloved piglets. He slashes one of its legs with his knife and then drops it to the ground, where the swarming zombies immediately pounce on it. They drive a little further from the fence, drawing more zombies off, and repeat with another piglet. Again and again, Rick's face and chest drenched in piglet blood, until all the pigs are gone. It's one of the most heartbreaking scenes of this whole damn show, actually, with the terribly sad music, the poor squealing piglets and (I can't believe I'm saying this) Andrew Lincoln's solid acting. On the plus side, the walkers have all moved away from the fence and Glen, Maggie, Sasha and Tyrese are able to shore it up.
Afterwards, Rick dismantles his pigpen and burns it up, trying to eradicate any possible infection. He tosses his blood-soaked shirt on the fire too - which makes sense because, as Carrie White can tell you, pig blood just won't come out. Carl joins his dad and tells him what Carol's been up to: Carl thinks Rick should let her keep doing it. Rick agrees with him, to Carl's surprise. Then, even more surprisingly, Rick opens his toolbox and pulls out Carl's gun, handing it back to the boy. He pulls out his own gun and holster too and straps them back on. Thus endeth Farmer Rick, I guess.
In the final scene, Tyrese walks through the Tombs, carrying a bouquet of flowers for his sick girl. But there's no one in Karen's cell, just a thick smear of blood on the floor, as though a body was dragged out of the cell and down the hall. Tyrese follows the trail of blood outside where he is staggered to find two charred and smoking bodies - one of them identifiably Karen; the other presumably David, whoever he was - a gas can on the ground beside them. My god is this show grim.
Previously on The Walking Dead / next time on The Walking Dead
3 hours ago