Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Walking Dead S4E7 "Dead Weight" (11/24/13)

And yet again we are kept from the inevitable Rick and Daryl conversation about Carol because we're still following the Governor around.  However, as we shall see, this two-episode arc is not trying to redeem him but attempting to show just why he's the scary, violent, single-minded man he is.  We didn't get to see how his wife's death and daughter's zombification changed him the first time; this E7 shows us the second round.

Picking up right where the last episode left off, Martinez pulls the Governor and Megan out of the pit.  Lily and Tara are there too, along with several others of Martinez's new crew, including Kirk Acevedo (expanding upon his post-Fringe genre work here as the morally-ambiguous Mitch) and Enver Gjokaj (aw, so nice to see him again as Mitch's nice guy brother Pete.)  (Too bad they don't look anything like each other).  Martinez says the Governor (now known as "Brian") and his little family are welcome to join them but everyone has to contribute.  "No dead weight."

Martinez, Mitch, Pete and the Governor go on a supply run to an abandoned cabin in the woods, formerly occupied by a survivalist.  They find a couple of decapitated bodies, one chained to a tree and one chained to a chair in a field, each with a sign nailed into its chest: "LIAR" and "RAPIST."  It's pretty dramatic imagery.  They hear some banging in the walls and eventually get attacked by a couple of walkers.  Pete flails around rather uselessly so the Governor beats each walker's skull in with his flashlight.  Afterwards, as they gather supplies, they find some skunky beer and do some man-bonding.  The Governor doesn't like to talk much about his past but he seems to enjoy the company.

Back at camp, Martinez joins the Governor, Lily, Megan, etc., for dinner and they all get a little shitfaced on the warm beer.  I'm beginning to warm to him - Martinez - he seems like a decent guy now that he's not under the Governor's command.  In fact, he invites the Governor out to the field with the zombie pits to shoot some golf balls off the top of an RV.  They take swigs off a bottle of booze, whack golf balls badly and reminisce a bit ... until the Governor smacks Martinez in the head with a golf club when his response to "don't you think you can keep these people safe?" is "We can try, hopefully be prepared."  That's not good enough for the Governor.  Martinez cries out, skull cracked and bleeding.  The Governor pushes him off the top of the RV and then drags him over to one of the pits.  He pushes the still-conscious (and now screaming) Martinez into the outstretched hands of the zombies, repeating over and over to himself, "I don't want it, you hear? I don't want it! I don't want it."  But he does want it: he wants to be in charge so he can keep his new family safe.

The next morning, the people in camp (lots more than I thought) are upset that Martinez is dead - purportedly got drunk playing golf and fell into the pits.  Pete says he'll take charge for a few days until they can organize a vote for the group's new leader.  In the meantime, Pete, Mitch and the Governor go on a supply run.  As they walk through the woods, Pete asks the Governor for his advice on rationing, fences, guard duty, etc., the myriad details of being a leader.  They come across a camp of people who have fenced themselves with barbed wire.  This group seems well-supplied and Mitch wants to take their stuff.  Pete says no, they'll not rob these people.  The Governor keeps quiet.  Later, Mitch scoffs at the two meager squirrels they've managed to kill.  The Governor watches the brothers, then hears something and stalks off through the woods.  The brothers follow him back to that camp which is now destroyed and stripped of anything useful, conveniently enough for the plot.  Mitch rages at the lost opportunity; Pete mourns the lost lives; the Governor just watches thoughtfully.

That night, the Governor tells Lily and Megan to pack their things and get Tara: "We need to leave - it isn't safe here anymore."  He thinks things are about to go very wrong under the current leadership and they need to get out of here.  Lily trusts him and that night they go.  But they don't get far because they get stopped when the road gets swampy.  There are dozens of zombies stuck waist-deep in the mud (in the middle of the road?) and they can't get the car past.  The zombies aren't really a threat, trapped as they are, but again, it's a striking visual.  The Governor stares balefully for a while and then they go back to camp.  (There's only one road out of wherever they are?  That can't be right.)

In the morning, the Governor makes his rounds.  He goes to see Pete first and that good man lets him into his RV, saying, "I know, we need to talk about Mitch, don't we?"  Whereupon the Governor immediately knifes him in the back and chokes him to death.  Poor Enver.  I'd hoped he'd stick around a little longer.  Next, after rolling Pete into a nearby pond, the Governor goes to see Mitch.  He pulls his gun on him and tells him that he's killed Pete because Pete was weak.  Mitch can stay alive if he gets on board with the Governor running the show.  Mitch sniffles about it for a little while but yes, he gets on board.

Later, the Governor gets everyone organized, putting up fences and moving derelict cars around the camp, gathering ammunition, doing regular scouting runs.  The Governor knows it isn't enough, though, they're too exposed.  This is reinforced when a walker gets into camp in broad daylight and nearly snacks on little Megan.  Tara tries to pull the zombie off her niece - the rotting flesh of its leg disintegrates in her hands, eeeeuuw - but no one has the wherewithal to actually kill the zombie until the Governor runs up and shoots it in the head.  Seriously, these people are not well-trained.

The Governor goes back to the dock in the pond and looks down: zombie Pete is underwater, chained by one ankle below the surface.  Looks like the Governor isn't content with just collecting heads in aquariums this time.  Effing psycho.  The last scene shows him driving out from camp and walking up to the prison.  He watches Rick and Carl in their garden.  He pulls out his gun.  He sees Michonne and Herschel outside the fences.  Michonne is smiling at something Herschel says.  The Governor raises his pistol and takes aim.

Previously on The Walking Dead / next time on The Walking Dead

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Walking Dead S4E6 "Live Bait" (11/17/13)

Ah.  So this is going to be a Governor-centric episode, huh?  Can't say that I approve.  We pick up right after the Governor slaughters his followers and drives off with Caesar and Whatsisname.  That night, at their camp, the Governor is silent and unmoving, even when a zombie approaches.  Caesar kills it off before it can get to the Governor, but he gives his boss a disgusted look and in the morning, Caesar and Whatsisname are gone, leaving the Governor alone and on foot.

For months he wanders, alone.  He goes back to Woodbury, finds it abandoned to the walkers and burns it down.  By the end of his wandering, he looks a bit like a zombie himself: scruffy, unkempt, shuffling and staggering.  A voice-over accompanies the images, the Governor and an unidentified woman talking about what happened to him.  He glosses over some stuff.  He finds himself in front of a derelict apartment building and catches sight of a little girl peering at him from an upper floor window.  When he goes up to their apartment, he finds two armed women, the little girl and a sick old man.  He hands over his gun and they let him in.  And so this is the story of how the Governor becomes human again. Ugh.

The women are sisters (Tara and Lily? Yeah, we'll go with Lily), the little girl is the daughter of one of them, the old man their father, dying of lung cancer and sucking off an oxygen tanks.  The little girl is kind of shell-shocked and they've been holed up here since the shit hit the fan.  Food isn't an issue because their dad drove for a wholesaler and they've got his truck full of spaghettios and pepperoni sticks.  The Governor (who tells them his name is "Brian") plans only to stay for a day.  But they ask him about himself, feed him, ask for his help with the old man, and slowly he begins to make a connection with them.

He goes upstairs to raid another apartment for more board games for little Megan and finds the former resident, now a zombie.  Tara shot it but she doesn't know you have to hit them in their heads.  [How the fuck does she not know this by now?  It's not like the zombie apocalypse just happened yesterday.]  Later, Lily asks "Brian" if he would please go to the old folks' home a few blocks down to see if he can scavenge any more oxygen tanks.  He goes and finds a whole cartload of the tanks and IT'S SO SLOW AND BORING THAT I FAST-FORWARD until the zombies start attacking him.  He has to abandon the cart, just grabbing one tank so the trip wasn't a total waste.

When he gets back to the apartment building, Lily, who was a nurse before the ZA, patches him up.  She goes to fetch more gauze and little Megan approaches.  She asks him some questions about his eye - he tries telling her he's a pirate but she giggles, disbelieving - and he admits that he lost it trying to protect someone else.  She says she's sorry and all of a sudden, the Governor gets to be a father figure again.  Ugh.

The old man dies and his family mourns.  When Lily mentions that he's been for some time now, the Governor gets concerned, asking them to leave the room.  Because these idiots have (luckily) been so sheltered that they do not know that everyone zombifies, no matter what.  The old man reanimates, grabbing Tara and gnashing his teeth.  While everyone else screams, the Governor bashes the zombie's head in using an oxygen tank.  This traumatizes little Megan again, obviously, seeing her grandpa get his head crushed.

The Governor decides that since he's ruined things with the little girl, it's time for him to move on.  But they refuse to let him go without them and they all pile into the food truck to find someplace else.  Which is okay for a while (the Governor and Lily even hook up after Tara and Megan fall asleep) until the truck breaks down and they have to go on foot.  Which is okay for a while until Tara twists her ankle just around the corner from a small herd of walkers.  They drop their packs and make a run for it, the Governor carrying Megan (who has decided that he's not so scary when compared with dozens of zombies).

They burst out of the woods and into a field, the Governor and Megan well in front of the limping Tara and Lily.  The Governor can't see where he's going very well, however, and he falls right into a big square pit.  There are three walkers trapped in there.  Megan screams and screams and the Governor kills them all with his bare hands (because he suddenly has no weapons?), including the best/ickiest kill of the episode when he uses a thigh bone to rip a zombie's upper jaw off its face.  He picks up little Megan and clutches her, saying that he was never going to let anything happen to her.  Then a gun-toting Caesar (remember him?) peers down into the pit and is all, holy shit, lookee who we have here.  And the Governor repeats to the little girl in his arms: I won't let anything happen to you.  Because that's a promise he'll for sure be able to keep.

Here's the thing about this episode: WTF?  The Governor is a terrible, horrible, very bad man.  We know this because we've been watching this show.  Yes, he once was a loving husband and father, and horrific things happened to his family, things that changed him.  But horrific things have happened to EVERYONE on this frigging show and while, yes, everyone else has also changed, most of them have not turned into monsters.  And yet this episode draws us into the Governor's life outside of any interactions with our regular cast and attempts to humanize him.  We as the audience are now supposed to sympathize with this guy?  Is this supposed to start an arc of redemption?  As a dedicated (if skeptical) viewer, I just can't get on board with this.  The Governor is a bad man and the show's writers are crazy if they think that a couple of episodes like this are going to turn him good again.

Previously on The Walking Dead / next time on The Walking Dead

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Mini book review: Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

Ooh, I said to myself, Doctor Sleep - a new Stephen King book!  A sequel to The Shining, where we finally get to see what happened to little traumatized Danny Torrance after his alcoholic dad went crazy, tried to kill him and his mom and ended up perishing in the furnace-explosion blaze that razed the Overlook Hotel!  [Oops.  SPOILER, but hell, The Shining was written in 1977 and if you haven't read it by now, it's your own fault.]  I said, to myself, I can't wait to see what happens and be terrified all over again!

Here's what happens:  Dan Torrance grows up and wrestles with his own alcoholic demons.  He uses his shining to ease hospice patients until one day he meets Abra, a little girl whose own shining far surpasses Dan's.  Abra is in trouble because the True Knot, a group of supernatural beings who travel the country in fleets of massive RVs, wants to suck the shining right out of her, just like they've been doing to other special (and thus now missing) kids throughout the centuries.

Here's how much I was terrified: Not at all.  For all that this is a pretty big book (the "large print edition" I ended up with from the library had 778 pages!), the treatment of the characters is pretty lightweight.  King usually excels in getting you to connect with his characters but this time, he just doesn't get into their heads; for example, he spends a huge number of pages talking about how a new member gets inducted into the True Knot ... and then scarcely mentions her again for the rest of the book.  The True Knot themselves are not that scary - from the first moment you meet them, they are clearly a group in decline - and their leader, Rose the Hat, is a missed opportunity for a charismatic villain.

I absolutely love Stephen King books as a whole but this new Doctor Sleep doesn't come close to reaching the levels of such classics like 'Salem's Lot, IT, The Stand, Carrie or The Shining.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Walking Dead S4E5 "Internment" (11/10/13)

Welcome to the Herschel show.  Yes, Rick and Carl get to bond, but this episode really belongs to Herschel.

As Rick drives home, things are starting to get a little desperate at the prison.  Daryl and his crew haven't gotten back yet and while no one new has gotten sick, the folks in quarantine are getting worse.  Herschel has stayed locked inside the quarantine and is running himself ragged, feeding elderberry tea to those who can get it down, hooking dehydrated folks up to jury-rigged IVs, even intubating "Henry," who is pretty far gone, and instructing Sasha and Glenn to squeeze the breath-bag for him once every six seconds or so.  Sasha and Glenn are looking pretty bad themselves, although Herschel seems to be immune to whatever is killing everyone.  He even tries making some jokes to keep folks' spirits up.  He also insists that when the flu kills someone that the subsequent stabbing in the brain take place away from the cells: the sick folks need to keep their hopes up and watching their dead friends get killed so they don't come back as zombies is not conducive to hopefulness.  Maggie talks to her dad through the window, wanting to come in and help, worried about Glenn (who hides around the corner so she can't see how bad he looks) and concerned that Herschel looks so tired.  Herschel is pretty amazing: despite his age and his lack of a leg, he is determined and positive and caring, doing everything he can to help these poor, sick people.

Rick finally gets back and Maggie lets him in.  She's been out at the fence line, stabbing as many walkers as she can to try to relieve the pressure on the wobbly fence.  She's the only one out there doing it - she's the only one who can.  She notices that Rick is alone and shouts at him, "Where's Carol?  Where's Carol?!?"  He tells her that Carol was the killer and that he couldn't let her come back.  Maggie pauses, considering, and then agrees that he did the right thing.  He tells her to tell Herschel but no one else.  Rick checks on Carl, leaving him with some of the food he collected and instructing him to stay put, despite Carl's request to come out and help him with whatever needs doing.

In the quarantine, people are fading fast.  Caleb the doctor shows Herschel the shotgun he's got stashed under his cot, just in case; he says he himself is done for, waving Herschel's ministrations aside.  Herschel asks folks to lock themselves in their cells as he and Sasha take another body out.  She is exhausted, however, and he sends her back to his cell while he moves the body and spikes it in the forehead.  He has to pull a sheet over the man's head first - this is the first quarantine victim he's had to spike himself as Glenn and Sasha have done all the others.  Rick comes to the window to check in with him.  The sheriff encourages the older man, offering what support he can.  Then he says, "I need to talk to you about Carol."

The Carol conversation happens off-screen, though, and afterwards Herschel goes back into the cellblock to close the cell doors for the night.  Sasha has collapsed and while he's tending to her, a dead quarantinee wakes up as a zombie, just a couple of open cell doors down.  On the upper level, Glenn realizes that Henry has stopped breathing.  He tries CPR but collapses, coughing up blood and slime, lungs filling with blood.  Strangely, Herschel doesn't hear him, but little Lizzie does.  She shouts for Herschel but as the old man heads for the stairs, the first zombie lurches at him.  Things go to hell very quickly as other zombies awaken and start attacking various people.

Rick and Maggie are out at the fence to try to shore it up with braces.  They hear a gunshot come from the prison.  Rick sends Maggie inside to check it out, even though she points out that keeping the fence up is more important.  In the quarantine, Herschel manages to subdue the downstairs walkers while on the upper level, Lizzie leads zombie Henry away from the collapsed Glenn.  Herschel makes his way up the stairs as Lizzie trips; the old man manages to grab zombie Henry and throw him into some fencing.  They go to check on Glenn and he's in rough shape.  Herschel realizes that the breath-bag is still stuck in zombie Henry's throat and clambers over the railing to tussle with the zombie, trying to get the bag without getting bit.

Back outside, Rick has enlisted Carl's help to shore up the fence but the weight of the walkers is too great and the fence collapses.  They run for the inner fence.  Once inside, they go to their stash of semi-automatic weapons (when did they get those? and why are they being stored outside where they'll get rained on?).  Rick gives his son a quickie lesson and they go back to the surging zombies.  As the walkers bust the second fence and move towards them, Rick and Carl calmly and methodically shoot the shit out of them.  There are a lot of zombies.  Luckily they brought plenty of clips to reload.

Maggie can't get into the quarantine because Herschel has locked it from the inside.  After scrabbling uselessly at the lock, she runs around to the visitor's window and shoots it out, climbing inside.  She runs into the cellblock and sees her father struggling above her.  She raises her pistol and Herschel cries out, "Don't shoot the bag! We need it for Glen!"  Maggie fires, finishing zombie Henry.  Herschel pulls the tube and bag out of the corpse and goes back to Glen.  While Maggie holds the unconscious Glen's head up, Herschel quickly rinses off the tube with some rubbing alcohol before stuffing it down the younger man's throat.  Glen's struggles for breath ease and it looks like they have saved him, at least for the time being.  In the creepiest bit, Lizzie comes to check on them, asking if it's over.  They reassure her and then ICK she drags the toe of her boot through the blood and mucus on the floor, like she's making designs.  ICK.

As Rick and Carl put down the last of the outside walkers, Daryl et. als show up.  Bob the medic heads inside with the medicine and he and Maggie prepare solutions for injections.  On the plus side, so many people have died that there should be plenty of antibiotics to go around for the remaining sick folks.  Maggie tells her father to go rest, now that the others are back.  He picks up his Bible but closes it without reading, bowing his head and crying quietly.

In the morning, there's clean-up to be done.  Michonne loads walker bodies onto a trailer.  Rick and Carl go check on their garden.  Herschel goes outside for some fresh air, reporting that it looks like Glenn is going to make it.  Daryl: "He's a tough sumbitch."  Herschel: "He is."  Daryl, smiling a little: "You're a tough sumbitch."  Herschel: "I am."  Daryl asks after Carol and Herschel directs him to Rick: "She's okay.  Just talk to [Rick]."  Herschel asks Michonne if she's heading out and she asks if he'd like to join her.  "Hell yeah," replies the old man, hero of the hour.

And as the camera pulls back, looking at the prison from the trees beyond, we see a man watching the prison.  That man is, of course, the Governor.  I told you he'd be back.

Here's a couple of things.  That conversation Daryl and Rick are about to have?  There is no way that's going to go well.  Also, I haven't always been a Herschel fan but he was great in this episode.  Also, regarding the chain link fence collapse:  why haven't they reinforced the fence before now, or added rows of stakes on the outside?  What have they been doing - just hoping that the chain link fence would hold up?  These people are stupid.

Previously on The Walking Dead / next time on The Walking Dead

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Mini movie review: Much Ado About Nothing (Joss Whedon version)

Have you seen Joss Whedon's passion project, Much Ado About Nothing, shot over three weeks on location at Whedon's house during a break in Avengers production?  Has anyone, outside of the festival circuit?  Despite having read too much about it, I was eager to see it, what with the cast being filled with Whedonverse regulars: Amy Acker (Angel, Dollhouse, Cabin in the Woods), Alexix Denisof (Buffy, Angel), Nathan Fillion (Firefly, Buffy, Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog), Clark Gregg (Avengers, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Reed Diamond (Dollhouse), Fran Kranz (Dollhouse, Cabin in the Woods), Tom Lenk (Buffy, Angel, Cabin in the Woods), Whatsisname (Simon on Firefly) - kind of like catching up with old friends.

This iteration of Shakespeare's clever play is a mixed bag.  It's beautiful, shot in gorgeous black and white, the characters swanning around Whedon's stunning home wearing lovely clothes and drinking cocktails and wine.  Seriously: I don't think Amy Acker's Beatrice is ever shown without a drink in her hand.  The problem, of course, lies with the fact that many of these actors have never done Shakespeare before and some of them struggle with it, reciting their lines but seeming not to know whereof they speak.  Clark Gregg is quite good as Leonato, and Reed Diamond and Acker acquit themselves fairly well. Fillion is very funny as the buffoon Dogberry but many of his line readings are mushy; similarly, Lenk speaks so softly that you can scarcely tell what he's saying.  Denisof as Benedick and Kranz as Claudio are passable but they play everything extremely angry ... until Benedick decides he's in love and then Denisof is just a goofball.

This version suffers mightily in comparison to Kenneth Branaugh's MAAN, which for me remains the definitive popular movie version (even with Keanu Reeves as Don John.)  Still, it was fun to see all the Whedon-show alums and certainly a pleasant enough way to spend 100 minutes.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Walking Dead S4E4 "Indifference" 11/3/13

I'm torn on this episode.  It's slow, with So Much Talking, and, per usual, the dialogue is not particularly clever or compelling.  But there is a consistent theme running throughout - people change, people have to change - and some very slow but not inconsistent character growth.  It's not like when we were stuck back on Herschel's farm, rehashing the same shit over and over.  But still, it's a little talky for my taste.  Daryl is looking extra fine, however, so that bumps up the grade automatically.

Rick is troubled by Carol's confession that she killed Karen and David - her secret is now his burden.  The two of them are going on a supply run because their food was ruined in the cellblock D battle (and there is really no one left to go).  Before they leave, Carol checks in on Lizzie, down in the quarantine.  They have a strange, awkward conversation: Carol wanting to mother the girl but refusing to let herself; Lizzie insisting that she's not weak.  Meanwhile, Rick walks through the Tombs, imagining how Carol murdered the two sick people.  He's trying to figure out what to do about Carol.

Rick and Carol.  As Rick drives to a nearby town, Carol rationalizes that Karen and David would have drowned in their own blood and her killing them was a mercy.  Plus, they were the only two actively sick and she was trying to keep the infection from spreading.  Rick seems unconvinced.  When they get to the town, they find a car, stocked with keys in it; there must be other people around.  They start searching neighborhood houses, taking any food or medicines they find.

Daryl's crew.  They're on foot now, looking for another vehicle.  Tyrese is sullen and cranky, resistant to the others' overtures.  There's a nice moment between Daryl and Michonne where she teases him gently (she has a wonderful smile) and he pushes back about her continuing to hunt the Governor instead of letting go.  They find a minivan parked outside a garage.  It needs a new battery so they decide to check out the garage, but they have to hack through the kudzu covering the building first.  Tyrese is a seething ball of rage, hacking and slashing, and when three zombies lunge out at them out of the kudzu, he seems nearly suicidal: Michonne and Daryl rapidly dispatch two walkers but Tyrese grabs onto the third and won't let go of it.  He pulls it out of the vegetation, dragging it over on top of himself, barely avoiding its teeth, until Bob is finally able to shoot it in the head.  Michonne: Why the hell didn't you let go?  Tyrese doesn't have an answer for that.

Rick and Carol.  In one house, a pajama-clad zombie tumbles down the stairs towards the two of them.  Carol calmly stabs it in the head and then both she and Rick raise their guns as an upstairs door opens.  It's two newbies, a young couple who'd been hiding in the bathroom for a couple of days.  They got separated from their group and had been surviving on food they scrounged.  They've got a gun but are terrible shots; they've got knives but don't seem very handy.  The girl has a gimpy leg, from a badly healed injury.  The guy's shoulder is dislocated and Carol puts it back in for him. She is calm and efficient, considerate but not warm.  When Rick is impressed, she tells him that she learned to do that on the internet: she got embarrassed going into the ER after her husband knocked her around a third time.  The kids ask if they can stay with Rick and Carol, so Rick asks his three questions.

Daryl's crew.  Daryl and Bob investigate the garage, finding a battery that will work.  On the way back out, they find a fourth zombie, pinned under some wreckage but still moving.  Bob notes a snapshot of four friends grinning for the camera - the four zombies here - and then puts the trapped walker out of its misery with a screwdriver to the head.  Outside, Tyrese and Michonne clear the kudzu from the minivan.  She tells him that he needs to let go of his anger because anger makes people stupid.  He calls her out on her attempts to track the Governor, asking her why she's still doing that.  She looks at him, nonplussed: I don't know.

Rick and Carol.  It is agreed that the kids can go back to the prison with Rick and Carol - they do tell the kids about the flu ripping through the population - but they're going to continue to search the neighborhood, looking for supplies.  The kids are eager to help out, to be of use.  Rick isn't sure but Carol dispassionately points out that four of them can cover more territory more quickly.  Rick gives them a gun (fire a shot and we'll come running if you get in trouble) and his watch so they can meet back up in two hours.

Daryl's crew.  As he works on the minivan, Daryl asks Bob about the group he was with before.  "Which one," says Bob.  He was the sole survivor of two different groups and the guilt of that wracked him, caused him to drink to forget, almost kept him from joining the group at the prison for fear of it happening again.  Daryl gruffly pushes the self-pity aside, looking damn good while doing it: "You ain't gonna be standing alone, not no more."

Rick and Carol.  Carol pushes Rick to respond to her and they go back and forth about his abdication of leadership, whether what she did was right.  "You don't have to like what I did, Rick.  I don't.  You just have to accept it."  There's a lot more talking but that's the gist of it.  They have a nice moment outside as they gather some tomatoes from a backyard garden.  Carol talks about how she thought she wasn't strong when she endured what her husband inflicted upon her.  She's let all that go past, let Sophia's death go - "someone else's slideshow."  Rick talks about how Lori used make these horrible pancakes for breakfast on Sunday mornings, smiling because his wife wanted them to be the kind of family who had pancakes together.  They move down the block and pause at a blood trail.  They follow the trail and find the girl's leg, and then see a group of walkers feeding on someone fresh.  Carol, indifferent, says: "We should get back.  [The kid] is probably waiting."  The kid is not there.  They wait for a while and then Carol, coldly, says he might be okay but it doesn't matter because he's not here and we have to go.

Daryl's crew.  They make it to the veterinary hospital and start collecting supplies, getting everything on Herschel's list.  Strangely, they don't go out the way they came in, instead winding their way deeper into the building.  Zombies start following them, including bloody-eyed ones who look like they could be infected with that flu, and they have to run through corridors and up stairs, finally finding themselves in a dead end.  They break a window and climb out onto the roof of a covered walkway.  Bob slips, though, and his backpack dangles over the roof.  The dozens of walkers below grab at it.  Daryl, Tyrese and Michonne yell at him to drop the pack but he refuses.  Finally, they haul him back up on the roof.  His pack clanks and Daryl picks it up, pulling out a bottle of booze.  That's what Bob was so desperate to hold onto.  Daryl is angry that he would be willing to risk their lives just to drown his demons.  "You should have kept walking that day." Bob makes a move towards his gun and Daryl struts up on him, gets in his face.  Tyrese steps in, suddenly the voice of reason: Let him go, Daryl, the man's made his choice.  Daryl hands the bottle back, growling that if Bob takes one sip before they get the medicine back to the prison, he'll beat his ass bloody.  Back in the minivan, Michonne tells Daryl that she's done chasing the Governor (which probably means that he'll show up in the next couple of episodes).  Good, grunts Daryl.

Rick and Carol.  Back at the car, Rick has made his decision: Carol cannot return to the prison with him.  Tyrese will kill her when he finds out what she's done.  The others won't want her there, knowing what she did.  And if everyone else dies, if it's just down to Carol, Rick and the kids, he doesn't want her there either.  She pleads, just a little, crying just a little, saying that she had to do something.  Rick: No, you didn't.  He promises to keep Lizzie and Mika safe.  He tells her that she's tough and she'll survive.  They load up the kids' car with some of the supplies they collected and Carol drives off.  Rick watches her go.  And as he drives back to the prison, he keeps looking in the rearview mirror, looking for her.

I can't say I'm happy about this: I liked Carol and think she is one of the better characters.  But I didn't want to see the big ugliness that would be inevitable when Tyrese found out what she did.  I hope she's not gone for good (I also hope that her leaving isn't to start up that Walking Dead spin-off I've been hearing about).  Also: I think Daryl is gonna be PISSED.

Previously on The Walking Dead / next time on The Walking Dead