If there ever was a time to use the phrase “calm before the storm”, it’s the first two helpings in season four’s ‘Walking Dead’. Last week the band of survivors had to reset the scoreboard as they experienced the first accident in 30 days. This week they are paid a visit by a new enemy, a Captain Trips-like flu bug that has to potential to be very, very bad.

When someone’s out at night, feeding Mickey Mouse to the walkers at the gate, you know bad things are bound to happen. As to the rest of the group, Tyreese is huddled with his new squeeze, Karen, lamenting over Zach’s death in last week’s supply run. While they and others wind down from the day’s events, the walker formerly known as Patrick claims its first victim, an all-nighter of a snack.

The following morning finds Rick and Carl continuing to strengthen their relationship. Though the bond over menial tasks in helping the duo, Carl asks for his gun back—taken after last year’s events that found the younger Grimes falling into psychopathic territory. A bit later they say bye to Michonne, who’s ready to continue her search for the Governor while Glen and Maggie also have a moment together in the Prison tower. All quiet on the prison front…

Michonne returns to the camp after hearing gunshots

Until sounds of the boom of shotgun blasts are heard and everyone but Maggie, Carl and Michonne hustle to the cell blocks. The latter is injured when she’s let back into the camp, saved when Carl blasts a walker off of her. Inside, things are much worse. Several members of the camp are killed and reanimated as walkers. Daryl, Rick, and Glen take point in restoring order, though Rick still refuses a gun. The tension created throughout is visceral and though all the main characters survive, you can feel that it’s not the end of things.

As Carol deals with a dying survivor that’s been bitten and his two daughters (Lizzy and Mika), Herschel and the others discover that Patrick and another survivor died from a sickness, one that’s highly aggressive and contagious. Rick relays the message to Maggie, Michonne and Carl, telling them to stay away while the Council deems it best to separate those showing signs of infection to Cell Block A. The first to be transferred is a sick Karen who says that David from the Decatur group was also coughing.

Outside, Daryl and Rick are burying the bodies of the slain. Daryl tries reaching out to the lost former leader. He gives Rick credit on his past

Daryl and the others do the best to alleviate the walker breach

decisions, how Rick’s strength is what led them to where they are now. Rick’s biggest fear in where he’s been and what he’s had to do is losing Carl. They aren’t able to finish their conversation as Maggie calls them over to the fence cluster. The sheer weight of the walkers is bowing the fence and the group furiously attacks the walkers, jamming the ‘herd weapons’ into walker heads. They notice the dead rats responsible for the clustering and, despite the effort, it’s only a matter of time before the fence collapses. Rick pulls Daryl away and uses a previous plan; driving outside the gate, he takes three little piglets and slashes them. Their blood and mewling cries draw the walkers from the gate, giving the others time to reinforce the fence.

As the others work on the breach, Carol shows a harsher side, calling Lizzy weak for being unable to kill her dad though the younger Mika stands up for her sister. Later Carol asks Carl not to tell Rick about her teaching the children to fight. He’s in a bad position, not wanting to lie to his dad but also understanding Carol’s motivations. For her part, Carol reconnects with Lizzy, acknowledging the young girl just lost her father. After slipping a few daisies in the girl’s ear, Carol is surprised when Lizzy takes the knife from her hand and puts it into her own belt.

In the prison, an injured Michonne is berating herself for nearly being killed and endangering Carl and Maggie while Beth tries offering her a pep talk before a crying Judith pulls her into action. She’s singing to the youngin when Judy spits up on her. Beth hands her to a vehemently reluctant Michonne, though the woman finally relents. She holds Judy away from her, the child representing something from Michonne’s past she doesn’t want to remember. But it takes only seconds for her to embrace the lovely child, holding Judith close to her as she tears up.

Things end where they begin, with Carl and Rick spending time together on the prison grounds. Carl tells his father about Carol’s actions but agrees with her. Rick promises not to say anything and, after some thought, returns Carl’s gun. But he’s not done there. After shedding tears for the pigs—though it goes deeper than that—he removes his own belt and gun, returning them to where they belong…around his waist. He watches the fires of the pig pen and removes his sweat and blood stained shirt, tossing it into the fire. Gone is Rick the farmer and in its place is the Rick we’ve come to know, love, and respect.

The final scene closes the mysterious beginning of “Infected” as Tyreese finds a blood trail leading from Karen’s quarantined cell to her and David’s charred corpses.

Dead Connections

  • This was an episode that, from a personal standpoint, dealt with coming to terms with your past and facing the future. Rick’s reluctance to return to his leadership position lest he lose his son is juxtaposed with said son trying to be something he’s not. The past should be used as a guide on what you should and should not do but fearing the journey ahead because of the bad things is not a place to be. Michonne is in a similar boat, wanting nothing to do with baby Judith as the child appears to remind the warrior of something she once lost.
  • Speaking of the past, Carol is an example of how the past can forge someone into something greater. Her experience with an abusive husband and losing her daughter forced her to find the inner strength we all possess. True, the change may have blunted her soft skills in her initial dealing with Lizzy and Mika, they have forged her into one of the strongest people in the entire camp.
  • So, not only do we have a mysterious flashlight toting fool feeding rats to the walking dead but we now have to figure out who burned Karen and David’s bodies, though it did look like the two had died from hemorrhaging.

So what are your thoughts of last night’s ‘The Walking Dead: Infected’ episode? Let us know your thoughts and theories below.