Previously On: Daryl and the Gang are en route back to the prison with meds, and Rick gave Carol the heave-ho for rudely killing and burning Tyreese’s girlfriend and stuff. NOT COOL CAROL.
If we were ranking tough sons of bitches on The Walking Dead, there would be no doubt that Hershel Greene would occupy a top position, and after the events in this week’s episode, “Internment,” even Hershel knows it. He is a tough old coot, and in a series where we are used to seeing people rise from the dead, it’s nice to see Hershel bring them back from the brink of death before they turn.
Let’s give that man a Dave Grohl power-riff salute!
The episode opens with a touch of possible foreshadowing: Rick, cruising along in his car, heading back to the prison, passes an immobile walker on the side of the road, which recalls the hitchhiker walker from the episode, “Clear.” The last time we saw a similar scene, Morgan (who I believe we’ll see again this season) reappeared, which hinted at another reappearance this episode, which we’ll get to in a moment.
Meanwhile, back in the prison. it looks like an apocalyptic episode of E.R., as Glenn, Sasha, and Hershel are intubating a guy to keep him from aspirating, and Hershel is playing Clooney with the wisecracks: “I hereby declare that Spaghetti Wednesdays will happen every Tuesday.”
The scene is not good in the prison; the ill are dropping, and it’s all Hershel can do to snuff them out permanent-wise without the other sick people seeing it and losing faith. “A sad soul can kill quicker than a germ,” he tells Rick later. But Rick reminds Hershel that they’re also witness to Hershel rallying, putting his own life at risk. Hershel is a goddamn Peter Cetera song come to life, although his assessment that there’s a master plan at play, that they’re all being tested, sounds a little John Locke from Lost to me, perhaps introducing into the series something that’s rarely spoken of: The whys and hows of the zombie outbreak.
When Rick returns, Maggie’s the first to find out about Carol, and Rick doesn’t soft-pedal it. “I couldn’t have her here,” he says. Maggie agrees with the decision, but doesn’t know if she could’ve done it herself, although Rick reminds her that they know no longer have the luxury of doubting themselves. Rick also brings fruit leather back to the camp, and for some reason, insists that Carl tell everyone to brush their teeth after eating it, because in a zombie apocalypse, oral hygiene is obviously of the utmost importance. Doy.
Maggie wants into the quarantined area to help out, because those Greenes are heroes, that’s why, but Hershel isn’t about to let her. “If she saw me, you couldn’t keep her out,” says Glenn, who may be flattering himself a bit. Dr. C, meanwhile, knows he’s a dead-man walking, and encourages Hershel to triage. Hershel insists he’s not giving up on anyone, but Caleb knows. I mean, look at the guy. Tea is not going to save him at this point.
Sasha is on the brink of death herself, after passing out and banging her head. She’s the first of many that Hershel saves that day. “I don’t know if I’d be here right now,” she says, “if you weren’t so stupid.” Amen, Sasha. See? Stupid decisions don’t always work against the characters in The Walking Dead.
About midway through the episode, all hell breaks loose. The intubated guy turns and Glenn chokes on his own blood trying to save him. Another sick woman turns and escapes her prison cell. A dad’s sons turns, and feasts on his own father’s arm (THAT’LL TEACH YOU TO GROUND ME, DAD).
Dr. C turns, too, and lunges at Hershel. There are walkers on the loose in Cell Block D, and the only guy who can help is tired, aching coot with a prosthetic leg, and he’s too old for this sh*t.
Maggie eventually breaks in, but while she’s trying to get into the quarantined area, a zombie cluster overruns the fence, leaving Carl and Rick alone to fight them back. Turns out to be a great father/son bonding moment for Rick and Carl, and Carl gets a quick lesson in the use of automatic weapons. He’s a quick study, too. Five seconds of instructions, and Carl is mowing down walkers LIKE A CHAMP.
Meanwhile, Hershel is about to go Django on some walkers.
He starts picking them off. He lures them away from the children before he kills them because Hershel cares THAT MUCH. With Maggie’s help, he also intubates Glenn …
… then the moment we’ve been waiting for the entire episode finally arrives. “Dad, everything’s going to be OK,” Carl says to Rick. Daryl, Tyreese, and Michonne return with the medicine.
HOORAY! EVERYONE’S SAVED.
Wait? Really? That medication really was a magic bullet? For a threat as menacing, terrifying, and lethal as the one that’s plagued the prison this season, it seems almost anti-climactic for it to all end with a shot of medicine.
Now that it’s all over, I expected that Hershel would take a header onto a couch, like Terry Jeffords at the end of last week’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Instead, he cracked out a Bible and rocked some sobs to the “Oats in the Water,” by Ben Howard. A good cry is what Hershel really needed after all that, and it’s refreshing to see that, even in the midst of the zombie apocalypse where everyone seems to have grown numb to the pain, at least one man can still feel enough to cry.
But, there are still corpses to be carried off, and while Michonne and Hershel are taking care of that, and while Rick and Carl are bonding over two peas in a pod like two peas in a pod (SEE WHAT THEY DID THERE?), we see hidden back in the forest: The Governor.
Zombie Kill of the Week — It wasn’t actually a kill, but I had a good laugh at seeing Rick play running back, and bouncing off his tackles in escaping the zombie horde. GET OUT OF MY WAY.
— I think there may be something broken in Lizzie’s head. She names walkers. She cries after a walker is killed. She lures walkers away like she’s playing with a dog. And what was up with her running her boot through the puddle of blood? Plus, all that time in the infected area, and she didn’t show any symptoms. Oh, and she doesn’t care about Tom Sawyer. There’s definitely something amiss with Lizzie. Some people are still clinging to the theory that Carol was only covering for Lizzie, and the way that Lizzie acted in this episode, the theory is beginning to gain more traction. Plus, how is Lizzie going to react to the loss of her “mom” (DON’T CALL ME MOM) next week?
At the very least, she’s the new Carl.
— How is Daryl going to take the news about Carol? Do you think he’ll lose it, and go after her? Maybe it will hasten their romance. “You sent Carol away, Rick? But … but … I love her.”
— With the Governor already on the premises, that rules out the possibility of Carol bumping into The Governor out on her travels, which increases the odds that she’ll see Abraham and his gang.
— I saw an interview a couple of days ago where Kirkman said the show spent so much time on The Governor last season, they didn’t want to focus too much on him in season four. There are three episodes left in this half season, and that may be the end of The Governor’s run.
— There’s definitely a breach in the fence now. Is this going to be a problem going forward? Also, one quibble: If Carl and Rick were going to get the weapons out, why didn’t they do that BEFORE the fence gave in?
— Not to be a buzzkill, but showrunners know that the best way to milk a character death in a dark drama is to make him a hero first. Hershel’s days are counted.
Next On: The Governor tells campfire stories to the walkers.