Review: ‘The Walking Dead’ – ‘Infected’

Senior Television Writer
10.20.13 155 Comments


A review of tonight’s “The Walking Dead” coming up just as soon as I have other plans involving dirt and cucumbers…

The time jump between seasons allowed Scott Gimple and the rest of team “Walking Dead” to show just how far Rick’s group has come, and how relatively stable life in the prison has been, without having to actually spend week after week depicting that stable, boring, season 2 on the farm-esque life. So that makes sense. But in the process, the show had to skip over introductions and/or character development of the folks who have joined the group, as well as leap past some significant character arcs.

So when the zombified prisoners rampage through Cell Block D, it’s a terrific action set piece – action has been a “TWD” strength, no matter the showrunner, as we see in both that sequence and when the walkers are trying to crash the fence – but it involves the deaths of a bunch of people I don’t know and/or don’t care about. We at least met Tyreese’s ailing girlfriend Karen in Woodbury last year, but she barely qualifies as a character at this point; any investment in her health comes from my affection for Tyreese, and if I’m being honest, most of my affection for Tyreese is really affection for Chad L. Coleman’s work on “The Wire.” He’s more fleshed-out than she is, but only to a point. Similarly, whatever emotion I felt for the girls whose father was bitten arises from the evolution of Carol, and from the fundamental awfulness of the situation.

On the latter point, it’s probably for the best that we only spent a couple of episodes on Farmer Rick before he decided to take up his gun again (and possibly join The Council), but in the process we had to leap past what should have been a bunch of interesting steps in the attempt to steer Carl away from sociopathy. There are acknowledgments here that it’s something Rick has been working on, and that it’s a big deal when he picks up the rifle to save Michonne(*), but it still feels like that story got sacrificed for the sake of the new status quo.

(*) Speaking of Michonne, note her pained reaction to Beth’s discussion of people who lose their children. We still know virtually nothing about her pre-apocalyptic life, but that sure seemed like a hint.  

We’re once again dealing with some level of human-on-human plotting, since someone is baiting the walkers, and hopefully when we find out who it is, it’s someone I will recognize, be able to name and perhaps identify one or two behavioral characteristics.

What did everybody else think? And how are you feeling about season 4 so far?

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