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
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