A review of tonight’s “The Walking Dead” coming up just as soon as the color brings out my eyes…
“Indifference” sets a good chunk of the regular cast aside to focus entirely on the two expeditions, one of which ends with Rick banishing Carol for the murder of Karen and David, the other of which outs Bob as the worst kind of problem alcoholic there is: a problem alcoholic in the middle of a zombie post-apocalyptic hellscape. (Seriously, I give the “TWD” creative team some credit for finding a new angle on a fairly stock TV drama character – and also for letting Bob use a metaphor about dominoes, which is only a hop, skip and a jump away from D’Angelo explaining chess.)
Given the show’s problems with minority characters in the past – not to mention the entire history of black people in horror stories – when Bob, Tyreese and Michonne went out on the same run together, it wasn’t hard to imagine at least one of them not returning. But Tyreese survived being overwhelmed by zombies last week, and the group reluctantly decides to keep Bob around for his medical expertise. Instead, the one who’s not coming back to the prison – albeit who is still alive – is Carol, after Rick understandably decides she can’t be trusted anymore.
If this is the end of our journey with Carol (though I suppose she could bump into the Governor, or some other yet-to-be-introduced character, just like Andrea last season), then I’m again impressed the writers and Melissa McBride were able to convincingly turn this mousy nothing of a character into one of the show’s more vital, complicated figures. I’ll miss Carol, which is something I couldn’t have imagined saying for the first two and a half seasons or so. Her discussion with Rick about their respective dead spouses was a nice callback to who Carol was at the start of the show. If Gimple doesn’t have ongoing plans for her, it might be interesting to revisit her in a season or two, like our reunion with Morgan in “Clear,” to see what she’s become without Rick and Daryl to lean on.
Overall, “Indifference” was very much in the vein of season 4: mostly quiet and talky without dragging in the way the farm episodes did, and with some well-constructed action to liven things up now and again. Between the ceiling collapse in the premiere and the walkers in the vines here, it feels like the creative team is really pushing itself to find novel circumstances under which zombies might attack. I’m also glad to see a calmer, less rage-fueled Michonne; she’s another character who required rehabbing from the version we were introduced to, and the show’s found a better balance. I particularly like her and Daryl as kindred spirits. Tyreese’s suicidal despair was better fleshed out, particularly given the delay in getting the supplies, though I still don’t buy that he’d have been ready to die in last week’s episode, when he still felt he could save his sister. And I do like Bob. Like I said, it’s something of a stock character, but they’ve integrated him into the group and fleshed him out in a much quicker, more successful fashion than they have pretty much any newbie before him.
With the sky-high ratings, we’re in it for the long haul with “The Walking Dead” – and the renewal announcement for next season said Gimple would stick around as showrunner, providing some badly-needed continuity. So far, season 4 suggests the new captain has a pretty firm handle on the wheel.
What did everybody else think?