Stress and bad times has a way of making people behave in the craziest ways and look no further than “Isolation”, this week’s ‘The Walking Dead’ episode.

Death is all around as Glen, Maggie and the other dig graves for the poor souls lost in the Cell Block D outbreak. But the two most egregious deaths—to Tyreese, at least—are the burned bodies of David and Karen, his main squeeze. He’s out for blood, demanding Rick do his job and find the murderers. His accusations are just that, as no one can truly know if David and Karen were still alive before being put to the torch. His bubbling emotions spark a confrontation with Rick who, after talking doesn’t work, resorts to fisticuffs. Rick nearly losses it, beating the large man senseless, before pulling away, shocked at his viciousness.

Ricks goes to see Herschel about his hand and the elder statesman of the group gives Rick some strong advice as the latter still isn’t sold on getting back into his leadership role. Herschel reminds Rick that he, like everyone else, has a job to do. The next morning, the council gathers, discussing the outbreak and how to further prevent things from going balls up. They need antibiotics to combat the sickness and Herschel says they can hit a veterinarian school about 50 miles away, as most wouldn’t think about going there for meds. In addition, Herschel suggests they separate the most vulnerable (young and old) to prevent further infection. Not long after the meeting both Sasha and Glen come down with the symptoms.

Still fueled by anger, Tyreese digs the graves for Karen and David, getting some help from Bob. After talking with Carol on the water pump issues, Rick wanders over to at David and Karen’s graves. The big man takes responsibility as well but he’s more concerned on how things are going in the prison. Rick tries to make Tyreese understand that he is looking into things but he irrationally believes that “murder is okay” in Rick’s eyes. He finishes their conversation by telling Rick “I’ll worry about what’s right.”

Carl is packing up his things to go into isolation, not happy about the decision. He tells Rick he may need to shoot someone, if they turn, further showcasing his maturation and willingness to do what needs to be done. Daryl and Michonne chat as he preps the car for their mission, telling Michonne to he’s glad to have her back. There are three of them going and Daryl feels like they need a fourth wheel. He finds Tyreese and asks him to go but the big man doesn’t want to leave his sister alone. After speaking with her, he realizes that standing guard won’t matter if they can’t get the meds so he decides to go.

During his isolation, Herschel sees something in a book that sparks an idea. He moves to go out when Carl spots him. The young gunslinger tries to get Herschel not to go out but, when that doesn’t work, he ends up going with the doctor. Herschel’s picking some plant leaves and talks to Carl about how the young boy has grown. He’s right as the once petulant psycho (said with the utmost love) is growing up right before our eyes. Herschel’s words reach him when, confronted by two walkers, he tells the young gunslinger “Don’t. You don’t need to.” On the quarantine front, Carol escorts a few more sick individuals into their cells when Lizzy comes to her with the symptoms. The combination of her new charge being ill, the issues with the water pump and the overall conditions fracture Carol’s strong veneer and she momentarily loses it, kicking down a barrel full of water.

Herschel’s new idea is to give the sick elderberry tea; it’s a natural remedy/combatant against the flu-like symptoms. Rick and Maggie are completely against Herschel exposing himself to the sick but the doctor in him refuses to play it safe. “The only thing you can choose, is what you’re risking [your life] for”. The words are powerful and so true; you can’t live your life in fear just because there’s danger out in front of you.

Separated because of the quarantine, Maggie and Beth talk (for the second time) about what’s going on around them. Maggie is losing it, but her younger sister tries offering her strength and a reminder of what their dad says about everyone has a job to do. Rick returns to his job as a cop, investigating the scene of Karen and David’s “murder”. He discovers something but ends up having to save Carol as she decided to fix the water pump on her own, nearly becoming overwhelmed by walkers in the process.

Daryl and the gang anticipating a deluge of walkers

On the road, Daryl, Michonne, Bob, and Tyreese are driving along when they catch a voice on the radio. They try to find it but run into a whole mess of walkers. And “whole mess” equates to a true walker herd, thousands upon thousands of the undead. They’re forced to abandon the car and flee. Tyreese stays behind until something within him snaps and he channel his inner Thor, blasting walkers with his hammer. The others get through the woods, thinking their friend is lost until he stumbles out into the clearing, exhausted from his hammer time session with the walkers. The four retreat further into the woods, away from the herd and towards their goal.

Back at the prison, Herschel is doing his duties as a physician, providing others the elderberry tea. He gets a face full of blood when Dr. S coughs on him but that doesn’t stop him from doing his job. Speaking of job, Rick confronts Carol for her stupid decision though he acknowledges how much she does, how much she sacrifices for the people around her. He asks her if there was anything she wouldn’t do and she says “no”. As she walks away, Rick asks the most difficult question…if she killed David and Karen. “Yes,” she answers with no shameand walks away.

Dead Connections

  • So…that was a bit unexpected. It’s amazing to see Carol’s growth over the series. She’s gone from a timid, worrisome woman to a strong warrior, a pillar of strength for the group. She’s becoming the practical voice of the group, doing what’s necessary and offering no apologies. Where things go from here now that Rick knows what she did is anyone’s guess.
  • Speaking of her actions, did she truly kill David and Karen before they died or did she just burn the bodies? Though she’s practical, I find it hard to believe she’d kill them in cold blood—though, based on the rapid development of the sickness, they would have been dead no matter what. Still, it poses an interesting question on handling harsh situations in the apocalypse.
  • The car scene where Daryl and the others catch the voice on the radio is eerily reminiscent of the ending to Stephen King’s ‘The Mist’ (the book, not the movie that butchered said ending). As he puts his son to sleep, the main character mulls over what he heard on the radio, a faint whisper, two words that speak of “Hartford” and “hope”. It’s the latter this group needs and their journey for meds is a microcosm of their continuing trek for survival and creating a better world.

What did you think of this week’s episode?