We can wait if you haven't watched this episode yet for some crazy reason...
Spoiler-proofed now? Onward!
Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times, you’re probably a writer for The Walking Dead... Every time I like a female character on this show, the show has them do something stupid, dangerous or grotesquely out of character and then kills them. (OK, I never really liked Lori until just before she died, but I really liked Andrea back in Season 1 and a lot of Season 2, and I loved Carol in Season 3 and now she’s been abandoned as walker chow, thanks to a unilateral decision by Rick. I’ve come to love Michonne, and now I’m already nervously anticipating some totally out of character moment which will cause her to do something that leads directly or indirectly to her death.)
We open with Rick changing the dressing on his hand and imagining the scene of Carol killing Karen and David. Meanwhile, Carol visits Lizzie and tells her she’s going on a run with Rick. Lizzie tells Carol that it’s only a matter of time before everyone in quarantine is dead. Carol reminds Lizzie about her knife-skills lessons, and Lizzie inadvertently calls her “Mom,” which Carol doesn’t want to hear. Meanwhile, Rick finds Carol’s roll of knives in the back of the car they’re taking on their supply run.
The other supply team is still on the run: Daryl, Michonne and Bob are still talking about bringing back the meds, but Tyreese is deep into the Slough of Despond and says there’s no hurry, because everyone at the prison is probably dead by now. You’d think he’d be a little bit hopeful because of his sister, but not so much...
Rick and Carol have one of several conversations on the road. It seems Maggie didn’t come, because Rick needed to leave someone behind whom he could trust. Also, I believe Maggie is now the lone able-bodied adult left at the prison. Carol says she killed Karen and David because she wanted to end their suffering. That doesn’t really explain burning their corpses, though. “I had to try,” she says. “Somebody had to.”
Daryl stops in the woods to pick up a stone that someone at the prison wanted as a grave marker (aww, that’s super-nice of Daryl!). Michonne tells him the color brings out his eyes and I sense that Carol is doomed because evidently the writers want to hook up the two most popular characters on the show. (Not that I’m against a Michonne/Daryl hookup, it’s just ... you know, I like Carol.)
Rick and Carol arrive at some kind of suburb that looks very much like the zombie-infested suburb where Andrea and Shane went in season 2. They find a dusty car with a clean windshield and front window and keys in the ignition. Another mystery! Rick tells Carol they’re going through medicine cabinets and first aid kits and also looking for food. Pardon me, but shouldn’t they have cleaned this place out long ago?
The Daryl and Michonne Show arrives at gas station, which has a sign spelling out h.ELL. Cute! They find a car that Daryl will hotwire as soon as they also find a new battery. (I’ve given up wondering how any batteries are still working three years after the zombie apocalypse, and why the car Merle hotwired last season still ran, and where the gasoline comes from, because that way lies madness.) Tyreese does some kind of stupid stunt with a zombie and ends up pinned by it; Daryl pulls it off, and Bob shoots it, while Michonne asks why Tyreese didn’t let the thing go. Yes, I’m still annoyed with Tyreese.
Rick and Carol break into a house that looks surprisingly good for its state of abandonment. A zombie sort of falls down the stairs at them, and for some reason, Carol freezes, so Rick has to save her momentarily before she stabs the zombie in the head. I guess the water-line thing last week and this week’s freeze is basically to show that Carol is dead on her own? They hear more noises from upstairs, but instead of zombies, a young man and woman named Sam and Ana come downstairs and offer Rick and Carol fresh fruit.
Carol bandages Sam’s shoulder; he tells her that he scratched it at the greenhouse around the corner. Sam’s shoulder is also dislocated, so Carol maneuvers it back into place (ouch!) proving her usefulness. They explain their backstory and Rick asks them how many they’ve killed.
Meanwhile, Daryl and Bob find a battery at the garage while Michonne discusses anger management with Tyreese, telling him that “anger makes you stupid, stupid gets you killed.” (Or having a uterus on this show.) He asks whether she’s not angry at the Governor, to which Michonne says that she’s not any more, but can’t answer Tyreese’s question about why she’s still hunting them.
Daryl has some of Rick’s CSI skills, figuring out from some dried vomit near a bottle of antifreeze that the former garage-owners must have been part of a suicide pact. Bob looks at the family pictures and then kills the zombie who’s pinned under a pile of rubble.
Carol and Rick are ready to leave Sam and Ana; Sam asks if they’ve passed Rick’s test. Rick tells them about the prison, but warns them about the flu epidemic currently devastating the place. Carol says that one of her girls has the flu, but “she’s strong, she’ll make it.” Even a flu pandemic sounds better than life on their own, so Rick tells them to wait for Rick and Carol to finish their supply run, and go back with them. Carol suggests that Sam and Ana could help instead, and Rick reluctantly agrees, giving them guns and his watch and telling them to meet back at the house in two hours.
Daryl and Bob have a conversation while fixing the car, and Bob reveals his intense survivor’s guilt as well as his alcoholism. (Daryl: badass and social worker!) Bob reveals that his addiction to wine led to the disaster at the Big Spot in Episode 1, and got Zach killed. “That’s bullshit,” Daryl tells him. (Also, the flu would have gotten a lot of them killed anyway.) While they wait for Michonne and Tyreese to join them, Daryl tells Bob “you ain’t gonna be standing alone. Not no more.” Oh, the irony!
Rick and Carol continue to plunder the houses of this subdivision for drugs; Rick asks Carol if she thinks it was right to bring Sam and Ana back to the prison, and Carol says it’s humane. Finally, Carol can’t stand it any more and tells Rick that “I killed two people, and you haven' t said a word about it.“ Rick doesn’t know what she wants from him (validation for her actions, maybe? Hey remember when Rick left the hitchhiker on the side of the road last season to certain death?). Carol tells him it’s about facing reality so they can live. She tells Rick he can be a farmer, but he can’t be just a farmer. ”You were a good leader. Better than I probably gave you credit for.“ Rick points out that ”I never murdered two of our own,” and Carol reminds him that he killed Shane...
(Okay, so I don’t really blame Rick for Shane, because Shane was going to kill Rick. But what about that hitchhiker who *might* have been a threat to the group? Sure, Rick didn’t actually kill the guy in cold blood, but abandoning him by the side of the road condemned him to die. Also, there was the dude in the cabin on the way to Woodbury, who Rick, Maggie, Daryl, Michonne et al. ended up killing albeit inadvertently when they crashed into his hiding spot.)
Carol says that Karen and David would have killed them all (inadvertently) and so she feels that she saved everyone. Except she totally didn’t, because everyone is sick anyway. Hmmm!
The other group has finally reached the veterinary college and begins their raid. Bob finds a bunch of books and someone’s bed, but doesn’t say anything to the others. I’m not sure what’s going on with him.
Rick and Carol continue to trade pleasantries, and by pleasantries, I mean that Carol tells Rick how she learned how to set her own dislocated shoulder from the Internet, because she didn’t want to lie to the ER nurses again about the fact that her husband abused her. Rick asks why Carol won’t say Sophia’s name, and then reminisces about Lori. They follow a trail of fresh produce which leads them to Ana’s corpse, currently being eaten by zombies. Carol seems weirdly disassociated from this , but can you blame her really, given all that’s happened recently? Does Rick think she should be weeping for this stranger she just met? Maybe Rick would understand her better if she hallucinated about her dead daughter like he did with Lori.
Bob tells Michonne to grab anything that ends in “cilin” or “cin” all of which are antibiotics. The gang now has to get out of the college, which is filled with zombies. They appear to be trapped, until Michonne finds signs leading to a stairwell. The door to the stairwell is locked, with zombie fingers poking through, and they debate whether they should get flu-infected zombie blood on them. (Maybe look for some Hazmat suits while they’re at the lab, is what I’m saying?) In any event, zombies coming from the other direction make up their minds for them, and they bust open the door to the stairwell.
Rick and Carol wait for Sam at the first house. Carol says it’s been too long and that they should go. Rick wants to give Sam some more time. (Hey, remember how Rick abandoned the guy by the side of the road because they didn’t know anything about him?)
At the college, our merry band fights its way through a hallway, and finally climbs out onto a ledge. The zombies grab Bob’s satchel which means they can pull him over, too, but he won’t let go, even as the others try to pull him to safety. Finally he gets the bag free, but it clanks against the ledge; Daryl pulls out a bottle of booze. He starts to throw it down, and Bob cries “Don’t!” with a hand on his gun. This is a huge mistake.
Daryl takes Bob’s gun away and puts the muzzle to his chin. Tyreese tells Daryl to let it go. Daryl presses the bottle to Bob and tells him that he’ll beat Bob’s ass into the ground if he takes one sip before giving the meds to the sick people back in the prison.
Rick and Carol are ready to go back to the prison, but Rick won’t let Carol in the car. “They might have lived,” Rick says. “Karen and David. They might have lived. And now they're dead. It wasn't your decision to make. When Tyreese finds out, he'll kill you. Damn near killed me over nothing.” Rick says he won’t have Carol around his children, to which she replies that she won’t go anywhere without Lizzie and Mika. Rick basically says she’s crazy, since Lizzie is sick and Mika is ten. He tells her they’ll keep the girls safe in the prison. (Yes, since they’ve done such a bang-up job with that so far.) He tells Carol she’ll find others and survive out in the wilderness on her own. Hmmm, that just seems like wishful thinking and Rick not wanting to actually face the fact he’s condemning someone to a slow death. At this point, I’m so annoyed with the way this show writes female characters that I kind of want Carol to find the Governor and come back to take what is hers with fire and blood.
Michonne is still awesome, though, planning the return route to the prison. Michonne gets in the driver’s seat and tells Daryl that he was right, and she won’t be going out after the Governor any more. That almost guarantees he’ll be coming back to the prison, doesn’t it?
Carol is getting a slightly better deal than the hitchhiker last season, because Rick loads up a car with a gas can for her, and Carol proves that she’s not quite as much of a sociopath as Rick believes, because she doesn’t take the numerous opportunities he gives her to stab him in the back. In fact, she gives him a watch her late unlamented husband gave her to replace to the one that’s now with the presumably zombified Sam. Then she gets in the new car and drives away. Awww, Carol, I will miss you. I have no idea why this show made you so awesome and then decided to undercut all that by having you randomly start killing and burning people.
Team Michonne-Daryl drives back home somberly, as does Rick, who keeps looking in the empty rear-view mirror.
Join me again next week, when hopefully at least some of our named characters will have recovered from the flu, and I find out that Carol’s murderous foray and forced departure were all just a bad dream of Rick’s.
Regina Thorne is an avid reader of just about everything, an aspiring writer, a lover of old movies and current TV shows, and a hopeless romantic.