I have a confession to make: I’m not really a fan of zombie movies or the horror genre in general. So why, you may ask, do I love The Walking Dead? Well, it’s because sometimes, in the middle of all the gruesome special effects, the peeling skin and exposed intestines and general chaos and decay, this show tells a truly powerful and meaningful story. About how human beings cope with the worst things that could possibly happen to them. And how the things they do to survive wear away at what they once were, sometimes for the better (as in the cases of Daryl and Carol). And sometimes they change you for the worse, as in the case of whoever slaughtered the two sick people and burned their corpses at the end of the most recent episode.
When The Walking Dead gets that balance right, between the gruesome zombie action and the equally bloody battles between conscience and the will to survive, it can be superb TV (like the standout episode of last season, “Clear”) and like Sunday night’s episode, “Infected.”
The episode opened with a myserious denizen of the prison feeding rats to the zombies at the fence. My money is on the little girl who named the tears-of-blood zombie Nick, because, for some reason, she clearly doesn’t understand that Nick wants to eat her. (Also, if she really needs a pet, couldn’t she just tame one of the rats she’s feeding her undead friends?)
Meanwhile, Tyreese and Karen are making out in the library, because I guess it’s a room with doors instead of a cell with open bars. Tyreese tells Karen that there are no casual acquaintances in the apocalypse, because there are so humans left; he’s still shaken up by the death of Zach in the last episode. Tyreese tries to get Karen to come back to his cell with him, but she doesn’t want to move so fast. Aww, poor Tyreese doesn’t get any end of the world nookie tonight.
Instead, Karen takes a flashlight to the shower area where she splashes some of the water Patrick coughed into on her face. Something rustles behind her and she checks momentarily before continuing to her own cell, where she falls asleep in about 25 seconds. I’m jealous! (Also, why isn’t anyone locking their cell door at night? Seriously, guys, people have aneurysms, heart attacks, flu, whatever ...)
[Trouble ahead, trouble behind...]