Well that was one gory, boring, exciting, confusing gross-out of a memorable episode, wasn’t it? Just when it had me going “Meh,” it lurched up like a walker itself and started shambling right and left in impressively gnarly fashion. The first half was pretty unmemorable, the second half memorable indeed. But it also included some things I don’t want to remember.
Poetic opening shots are in this season (along with episodes that start with the letters “in”; this is the third of five if you’re keeping count). This week it’s fallen leaves swirling about as Rick’s car passes by. Nice. Then more of Rick brooding behind the wheel. A clever little aside, too, as we pass a helpless walker being set upon by wild dogs. I guess the whole eating thing works both ways, but he didn’t even remotely look fresh enough for a dog’s time. Of course, starvation will lower any animal’s standards.
Back in the prison’s quarantine wing, Hershel is intubating some sick guy named Henry to keep him breathing. Who thinks Henry is going to be a walker stumbling around with a breathing bag hanging off his face before this episode ends? It’s a lead pipe cinch.
Maggie mans the fence line alone, stabbing walkers without end as they mass in ever more threatening numbers. Remember the weak “fence coming down” scene from two episodes past? I’m thinking the thing better come down for real this week if they want to maintain foreshadowing credibility.
The first half of the episode is primarily Hershel wandering around the quarantine wing spouting down home homilies like Marcus Welby. M.D. It’s a bit tedious and more than a bit claustrophobic. Dr. Caleb has the best line of the night when he tells Hershel not to waste time on him: “Focus on the ones who can make it, because if you’re not prepared to lose one, you will lose them all.”
Rick helps Maggie put up log poles to brace the outer fence. And just as I’m thinking he’s getting way to close to that fence, wham! A walker grabs his leg. Rick falls down, but since he’s Rick, he doesn’t get bit before Maggie hacks off the walker’s hand.
This is where things go wild. Hershel finds Sasha passed out. As he tends to her, a dead woman in a nearby cell resurrects as a walker. She waits around, however, to conveniently coordinate her attack with one that, as a father myself, I won’t even recap. Simultaneously, Glen is coughing badly while trying to do CPR on Intubated Henry. Glen passes out. Intubated Henry then rises to, yes indeed, start lurching about with his tube still in and the attached breathing bag hanging off his face.
Things get kind of wild. Young Lizzie starts calling to Intubated Henry like he’s some kind of dog (she actually says “Come on, boy”). That leads him away from Glen. Hershel runs around, almost getting nabbed by Dr. Caleb, now also a walker. He kills Walker Caleb and dumps Intubated Henry down into a wire net.
It’s dark outside now. Rick and Carl are putting up log poles, and I’ll be darned if Rick isn’t still awfully close to that fence. In the dark no less. The man just doesn’t learn. He doesn’t get grabbed, however, because a log pole gives way first. Others follow domino style. Walkers are suddenly everywhere in the gap space between the inner and outer fence. They do look scarier at night, maybe because we’re desensitized to the makeup effects in daylight at this point, or maybe because it recalls memories of ‘Night of the Living Dead.”
Anyway, Rick and Carl escape through a guard tower and go for the automatic rifles. They get them and return to stand point just as the zombie masses topple an inner fence. It’s a shooting gallery of controlled bursts.
Maggie gets into the quarantine wing and shoots a walker. Glen is choking to death, which means Hershel needs a breathing bag. So does that mean he’ll wrestle Intubated Henry for it? You bet your sweet gag reflex it does. Fortunately, Maggie shoots Henry, too. So Glen is saved.
The surging walker masses entering the prison yard turn out to just enough to look unstoppable in poor lighting, but not enough to actually be unstoppable against a former Sheriff and his son locked in rapid fire. That’s fortunate. It's also a good television set piece. I won’t even ask about why the sound of continuous rapid fire doesn’t attract more walkers. Even more fortunate, Darryl and company arrive back with much-needed medicine and also to provide some helping hands not totally freaked out by the day’s events.
All in all, it got my attention. Hershel brings the day to a close by reading his Bible and crying. Who can blame him?
The next morning, the prison seems miraculously fixed. Enough so that Rick and Carl have time to wander around the vegetable garden, harvest a pea pod and eat it. Good for them.
Darryl tells Hershel he’s one tough SOB. Hershel agrees: “I am.”
And then, a few overwrought musical riffs later, we see someone watching them from the woods. It’s… The Governor.
Yeah, him. It’s supposed to be a big moment, and it is, but I’m kind of leery. This whole “Look, it’s the Governor!” scene simply reinforces his status as a comic book super villain. Do we really need one of those in a zombie apocalypse?
Hope for the best, I guess.
Will conservatives like his episode: Lots of good action, if you wade thorough the claustrophobia. A little mean-spirited in the scene I didn’t recap, though.
I suppose it turns on who you voted for as governor? Yuck, yuck.