Scott Porter is an excellent actor, so the subplot of his descent into hell on earth was fantastic, even if it was mostly shots of his face looking scared or sad or determined. (I still wonder why Herschel isn’t even taking the most basic precautions of wearing a facemask around all the sick coughing people, including his two assistants, Sasha and Glenn.) Poor Herschel didn’t even get to have his dark night of the soul in peace, though, because Rick came back with more moral dilemmas for Herschel to assuage. I bet Herschel really misses those days when his patients couldn’t talk!
The real problem with the epidemic subplot, however, is that it looks like no one who’s had more than ten lines seems likely to die. The actor who played Dr. Caleb was really good, but since I’ve “known” him for about five minutes, his death didn’t have nearly the impact that Andrea’s and Lori’s and even Merle’s did, even if the writing went out of its way to make us dislike Andrea and Lori. (More on that later! And sorry, Dale, I really don’t miss you at all!) If the show were really ballsy, Glenn or Herschel would collapse from this flu and we’d get to see how Maggie copes with that. (After all, Rick told her how tough she was now, though if he’s so sure he was right to abandon Carol, I’m curious as to why he thinks only she and Herschel need to know that he unilaterally decided to do this.) So far, the only thing the epidemic has done is decimate a bunch of anonymous tertiary characters and provide a way for Carol to be ousted from the prison, so I hope the return of Daryl, Michonne, Bob and Tyreese with medical supplies will put a swift end to this particular plot.
And this brings me back to how I’m still annoyed, even after a week, by Rick’s unilateral decision to expel Carol from the prison. Given this show’s problems with writing well-developed female characters, I don’t feel that it can afford to lose one, especially to a plot-contrivance like having her murder people who are in isolation. (Sorry to keep harping on this, but it really bugs me!) And given that the show has now rid itself of every female character who was in season 1, after making sure that they did/said things that encouraged the audience to dislike them, I have to hope that Sasha will survive and (and Tyreese for that matter) get a lot more development than we’ve seen so far. Maggie is still awesome, and Michonne has gotten more and more interesting since the show decided she could talk, so I guess there is hope.
Also annoying me this week was Lizzie, who seems completely oblivious still to the whole “zombies want to eat your brains” thing, not to mention the fact that she doesn’t listen to people telling her what to do; I think Carl needs to sit her down and talk to her about how he had to shoot his mother in the head. He may be a little bit psychotic, but at least he’s clear on the fact that the Walkers aren’t friends of the people. Apparently, Lizzie has taken over Carl’s mantle of Most Annoying Pre-Teen on the show.
Despite my complaints (and my sadness at how little we saw of Daryl and Michonne), this was another excellent episode. The action scenes were truly breathtaking this week - I often fast-forward through a chunk of the zombie action because, to be honest, I find it a little repetitive, but I was riveted both by Herschel’s lonely battle within the isolation ward and Carl and Rick’s desperate flight after the Walkers broke through the outer fence, though in their case, I was certain that neither of them would fall prey to the zombies.
And then there was the surprise revelation at the end as we cut away to the Governor watching the prison. I loved the concept of the Governor last season, though he spent way too much time being cartoonish-ly super-villainous with his many minions, and I think it will be fascinating to see how he works on his own, and whether he can exploit the divisions within the prison group for his own ends. He’s clearly been orchestrating the zombie pileups outside the prison for some end. I can’t imagine any of the remaining prison crew getting involved with him for any reason (even if Rick tells Daryl the truth about Carol, Daryl has first-hand experience of the Governor’s wanting to kill him and it seems that he has bonded not just with Carol but with many of the prisoners, and of course, Maggie, Glenn, Herschel, Beth and Rick would want nothing to do with the Governor either. But I do wonder about Carol, and whether she will find her way to the Governor and/or be bitter enough to help him.) Things just got even more interesting!!
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.