‘The Walking Dead’ has always been about people, with the walkers being nothing more than scenery in the tale. No episode this season brings home that point better than ‘Indifference’. It reminds us that, no matter where we are—whether it’s a war, trying times with family, or a zombie apocalypse—our choices, both internal and external, shape us and those around us.

With all things quiet on Daryl’s group, Rick decides to go on a run to pick up supplies lost on the walker/sickness wave over the past couple of days, selecting Carol to go with him. He gets things ready, though the cop in him plays out the new knowledge of Carol killing Karen and David. It’s juxtaposed to Carol herself, who talks to her surrogate daughter, Lizzy, before leaving.  The conversation highlights Carol’s change; there is no true warmth in her, sternly telling the girl not to call her mom. In a way, her coldness seems to be rubbing off on Lizzy. For her part, Lizzy is the first real exposition in how a child would handle this brave new world (we see it in from Carl though in actions, not in words). Lizzy likens the walker metamorphosis to the change that she will see as she grows up. Carol mirrors this when she tells Lizzy, who admits to being afraid, you fight until one day you change. But if you’re not afraid of losing something, what’s the point of living?

Daryl and the others continue on their mission

Out in the world, Daryl and the others are reorganizing after escaping the herd. Tyreese is still not all there, his mind on Karen and his ill sister, Sasha. Daryl and Michonne have a bit of harmless flirtation going on with her noticing how Daryl now knows everyone at the prison. He brushes it off, saying it’s a product of being in one place for so long but it goes deeper than that; his cares have gone beyond the immediate group and has encompassed everyone that calls the prison home. They continue onto the Vet hospital and come across a small town and some much needed wheels, though the car needs a new battery and a bit more TLC before it’s ready to go. There’s a gas station right next to the car, overgrown with vines. They chop through the vines and Tyreese shows just how far out of sorts he is, nearly getting himself killed as his emotions once again overtake him.

Closer to the prison, Carol and Rick are foraging for food and meds when they run into Sam and Ana, holed up in a bathroom. Both are injured and have nowhere else to go and are a bit loopy (who wouldn’t be in this apocalypse) but seem to be okay. Rick isn’t quite sure about them but he does end up asking them his 3 questions. Afterwards, Sam asks if they’ve passed and he tells them about the prison camp. He and Carol are going to hit some more houses and tell the two to stay put. So grateful for a chance to be with someone safe, they beg him to let them help. He’s reticent to agree, citing their injuries as proof against them going out but their exuberance and Carol ‘s constant butting in on how they can help bends Rick’s ear and, against his better judgment, he gives them guns and orders to meet back in two hours.

At the gas station, Michonne and Tyreese are outside clearing away more of the brush when she comments on his anger. “Anger makes you stupid,” she tells him, “anger gets you killed.” Not to be outdone, he throws Michonne’s own actions back at her, asking what she calls her vendetta against the Governor. She says it’s not anger but when he presses about why she is still hunting for him, she admits that she doesn’t know.

Inside the gas station, Daryl is disgusted when he sees the workers at the station committed suicide. Bob defends their actions, pointing out they didn’t want to be victimized by what’s out there. When they start working on the car, he talks about his own losses as the lone survivor of two separate groups. He admits to his alcohol problems and dependency as well as his guilt for the accident that caused Zach to die. Daryl is there for him telling Bob he’s not going to be standing alone anymore.

Rick and Carol are searching for supplies and he wonders aloud if they did right by Sam and Ana. She brings up the fact that he hasn’t said a word about her admission on killing two of their own.

Rick and Carol find Ana’s corpse

There is a blinding cynicism in Carol, a coldness that is diametrically opposite to Rick’s foundation of hope and, for all intents and purposes, it’s the driving force of this episode. She tells Rick “You don’t have to like what I did; I don’t. You just have to accept it.” They continue their foraging and talk about their past and the loss of their spouses. Carol openly realizes her strength and Rick admits to still thinking of Lori and of the family she wanted them to be. They start back towards the rendezvous point and find Ana’s half eaten leg, the rest of her corpse being enjoyed by two walkers. They wait for Sam but he’s not there and when Carol tells him they need to go, Rick sees a person he does not know anymore.

The hospital quartet gathers supplies from the hospital and end up running into a group of walkers that died from the same infection they have at the prison. They end up getting out though Bob is nearly killed when he refuses to let go of his pack; a pack filled with liquor and not the supplies they were charged to get. Daryl is furious at Bob’s choice and, when Bob almost draws on him, Daryl wipes his hands clean of the man. “You should’ve kept walkin’ that day,” he callously tells Bob who’s more than disgusted with himself.  Daryl gives him the bottle but promises bad things if he takes a sip before they make it back to camp.

After packing up their supplies, Rick makes his stand. The entire episode has been the former leader/now farmer dissecting in his mind this new Carol. He comes to the decision that, for all she provides to the group, her actions have forever ostracized her from him and, with that, the group. He says his decision is for him and his family. Though he may not even realize it, Rick’s ‘family’ has become the group and his decision is that of a patriarch making the tough call, despite what the others may say. In a way, it’s very similar to Carol’s own decision.

The story ends with Carol following a new path, Rick strong in his decision though possibly second guessing it as he drives away, and the quartet quietly finding their own way back to the prison, supplies in hand. No matter the efficacy of the drugs they’ve garnered, nothing will ever be the same.

Dead Connections

  • I did not see this one coming. We are so used to losing survivors to death that we don’t even think on those that are sent away. Rick’s decision to ostracize Carol can be seen as both selfish and selfless, the right or wrong thing to do. The only certainty will be the repercussions it will have once the rest of the group is let in on her actions.
  • Michonne seems to have given up on her Moby Dick. Taking Daryl and Tyreese’s words to heart, it looks like she’s ready to settle down and take roots up in the new community. Does that mean something’s bubbling between her and Mr. Crossbow? I guess we shall see…
  • Speaking of the prison, we’ve yet to discover the culprit behind feeding the walkers at the fence. It’s only a matter of time before they strike again…