Two episodes into the second half of season four of AMC’s The Walking Dead and each of the characters are being asked to make some tough decisions. After the disastrous failing of the prison to protect and unify the group of survivors, each of them have gone their separate ways via a chaotic scattering into the woods. While there’s some tension (and occasional comedy) to be found in these various odd couples, the real question that each individual must face is whether to go out in search of the others or continue on their own path. The character bonds formed over the previous three-and-a-half seasons are put to the test in this episode, and long-time fans with keen eyes will be rewarded. Hit the jump for my recap.
Last week’s episode focused on the pair of Carl and Rick, and the solo journey of Michonne. While the second half of the season might take its time reuniting the entire cast, we did get to check in on the rest of the survivors in tonight’s hour. “Inmates” was an interesting study in dichotomy, as some characters who previously relied on nothing but hope and faith were pushed to the breaking point, while others who had become distraught with the fate of the world seemed to find new purpose when faced with yet another challenge. Let’s take a look at them group by group.
Tonight’s cold open featured a narration from Beth (Emily Kinney) from one of her hopeful and optimistic diary entries from her past, brilliantly overlaying an exhaustive run through the woods from Walkers by Beth and Daryl (Norman Reedus). Daryl, always the killing machine, is still doing his duty, but he seems to be going through the motions without any real heart or hope left. Beth attempts to keep his spirits up and to get him to focus on tracking other potential survivors. Daryl concedes, although he’s not in the mood, but their search only leads them to further horrors (including a pair of vivisected rabbits stuffed into a log). When the pair comes upon a Walker feasting on a recently deceased human, Beth finally breaks down.
Before we get to the dead rabbits, let’s pay a visit to the other Greene sister, Maggie (Lauren Cohan). She’s paired up with Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) and Bob (Lawrence Gilliard Jr.), the former of which is patching up the latter. Those two are happy to camp creek-side for the night, but Maggie is very assertive in her wishes to go out in search of Glenn, who was last seen escorting a group of survivor’s into the schoolbus at the prison. Though the trio finds the bus rather quickly, it’s packed full of Walkers. While I understand that Maggie needs to search the bus to determine Glenn’s fate, it was kind of silly to risk their lives (and ammo) in dispatching the otherwise confined creatures. When Maggie discovers that Glenn isn’t among the dead but also isn’t on the bus, she breaks down as well.
Not a great couple of hours for the Greene family, but what about the other survivors? We find, in perhaps the strangest pairing, that Tyreese (Chad L. Coleman) has fled the prison with Mika (Kyla Kenedy) and Lizzie (Brighton Sharbino) in his care. Oh, and who else? Baby Judith! That’s right, friends; Little Ass-Kicker wasn’t eaten alive by rampaging Walkers, because that’s dark even for this show. All’s not great, however, as Judith’s cries continue to draw Walkers out of the woods at every turn. While Tyreese is distracted, creepy-ass Lizzie is apparently carving up rabbits and leaving a trail of them behind … when she’s not trying to smother Judith, that is. This little sociopath was likely behind the splayed rats back in the prison and who knows what other atrocities. While we’re busy being distracted by Baby Judith’s well-being and Tyreese’s decision to leave all three children behind … in the middle of the woods … in order to go save some screaming humans … none other than Carol (Melissa McBride) comes to the rescue! I knew she’d be back, but I didn’t think it would be this quickly. There was some great tension between Carol and Tyreese, who remains blissfully unaware that Carol has taken the blame for killing and burning Karen (Tyreese’s girlfriend) and David back at the prison. Lots to keep an eye on here, including Lizzie (Borden), Carol and Tyreese’s tenuous relationship, and that nasty wound on Tyreese’s arm.
Speaking of surprises, Glenn is very much alive (and looking better than the last time we left him, health-wise) but is stuck back at the prison and surrounded by Walkers. While I like the fact that he packed supplies and geared up in riot armor to bust out of the prison, it was incredibly frustrating to watch him wander into the cell with no apparent concern, looking pacified to the point of falling asleep. Luckily he got his act together and used his love for Maggie to get him in the mindset of escaping the prison yard. In an odd twist, Glenn links up with the Governor’s former soldier, Tara (Alanna Masterson). They work together to escape (Since when are Walkers distracted by fire?) after which Tara breaks the news to Glenn that Hershel is very much dead. This only serves to strengthen Glenn’s resolve, not only to reunite with Maggie but to carry on in Hershel’s memory.
However, three rough-looking strangers show up in a military truck and look like they might be a bit antagonistic to Glenn’s plans. Fans of the comic will recognize Abraham Ford (played by Michael Cudlitz), but that’s beyond my current knowledge of the story. I’m sure readers will know this character’s origins, but the rest of us are left to wonder if they’re remnants of a fringe military group, or perhaps inhabitants of Terminus, a sanctuary teased earlier in the episode (and in an previous episode, as well).
While we’re caught up with pretty much all of the survivors now, I’m happy to see the writing is keeping them separated. It’s such a simple decision but it lets each of them breathe on their own and grow into their own characters, rather than fighting for screentime when trapped in a group. The real question, as always, is which ones will make it out alive?
Casualties: Numerous red shirts
Best Kill: Maggie’s head bash.
Best Effect: Glenn’s POV-style helmet cam.
Odds & Entrails:
Overall, a pretty positive episode, considering that we find out that Carol, Judith and Glenn are all alive.
Daryl: “Faith? Faith ain’t done shit for us. Sure as hell didn’t do nothin’ for your father.”
Lizzie: “Grapes! Can we eat them?” Tyreese: “Sure. Grapes are good.”
Stranger: “Keep to the tracks.”
Carol: “Can’t go back to a graveyard.”
“Sanctuary for all. Community for all. Those who arrive survive.”
Check out the promo for next week’s episode, “Claimed”: