When watching AMC’s The Walking Dead, you know you’ll occasionally have to say goodbye to someone in what is often a gruesome or heartbreaking manner; much less often, a standout character actually returns to the show. Tonight’s episode, “Internment”, featured both such events, along with a lot of character and heart amidst the chaos. This mysterious disease is proving to be the group’s toughest challenge yet, but if the closing moments of this episode are any indication, things are about to take a turn for the worse. Hit the jump for my recap and review, and to welcome back an old friend.
If you’ve been keeping up with our recaps, then you’ll know by now that last week’s episode saw the departure of Carol (Melissa McBride) from the prison on less than the best of terms. Since Carol is hopefully still alive until we see otherwise, there’s a possibility that her time on the show is not done just yet. While we wait to see if Carol ever makes a triumphant return, tonight’s episode answered another question that’s been brewing since the season began: When will the Governor (David Morrissey) return? Before we get to that, let’s take a look at the rest of the show.
Tonight was Hershel’s (Scott Wilson) time to shine as a never-say-die country doctor who was willing to do quite literally anything he had to in order to save his patients. While Hershel’s plot line could have gone the way of medical dramas a long time ago, it’s much more interesting to watch him struggle with the barest of supplies, the worst sort of conditions imaginable and a skeleton crew of assistants with any kind of medical expertise (who keep dying off). Even more interesting than watching Hershel’s Sisyphean task of healing a plagued group of survivors of the post-apocalyptic world of their physical ailments is his ongoing struggle to save each of their souls, not in the sense of absolution or confession, but by trying to prevent the horrors of this grave new world from corrupting their spirit. His stubbornness in both of these regards is going to get him killed eventually, but it’s also the reason that so many of them are still alive today.
Rick, meanwhile, is dealing with his own moral struggle, having kicked Carol to the curb for the sake of the group. Maggie (Lauren Cohan) agreed with his decision, and Hershel seemed to, but we’ll have to wait and see how the others react, especially Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Tyreese (Chad L. Coleman). Rick had only a little time to reflect on his decision, however, as the horde of Walkers outside the prison managed to topple the fence and break through. Rick and Carl (Chandler Riggs) engaged in a fun family shootout by mowing down dozens if not hundreds of Walkers; logic forces one to wonder why they didn’t just do that earlier when the Walkers were safely lined up along the fence, but what are you going to do.
The group lost a fair number of people this episode, but none of the main cast members fell victim. It remains to be seen whether or not Glenn (Steven Yeun) will recover now that the others have returned with antibiotics. However, the quarantined area for sick patients is now much less secure since Maggie shot her way in, but that’s something they can likely patch up in the future. It’s only a matter of time until more of the kids start to get sick or impact the plot in another unpredictable way, since they’ve been focused on a lot this season, with special attention paid to Lizzie Samuels (Brighton Sharbino). And while the illness is taking its toll on the group, another greater danger (and likely cause behind the whole epidemic) waits in the wings: The Governor!
The tell-tale eyepatch showed up sooner than I expected, which means that things are about to get even worse for Rick’s group. How much worse is anyone’s guess, but the prison may no longer be the safe haven that Rick and the others were hoping it was. It’s no coincidence that the episode was titled, “Internment”, conjuring the image of helpless masses confined against their will without any apparent cause or possibility of recourse. The prison may have sheltered them for a time and given them the break they needed. However, at the end of the day they’re all just prisoners of a stark and relentless world in which true Hell has come to Earth. But as long as they keep surviving, we’ll keep watching.
Zombie Kills: 35+ on screen, but so many more off screen during Rick and Carl’s defense of the prison.
Casualties: Mr. Jacobs, Patient #3, Patient #4, Henry, Blonde Woman (GSW), Man with Gun (bitten to death by his own brother?), Dr. Caleb Subramanian
Best Kill: Tie between Rick and Carl’s Shooting Gallery and Maggie’s Sure Shot
Best effect: Nothing we haven’t seen before, but watching that horde of Walkers storm the prison fences was pretty frightening due to the sheer number of them.
Odds & Entrails:
Carl: “Dad, you can’t keep me from it.” Rick: “From what?” Carl: “From what always happens.” Rick: “Yeah, maybe, but I think it’s my job to try.”
Dr. S: “If you’re not ready to lose one, you’ll lose em all.”
Hershel: “A sad soul can kill quicker than a germ. That’s exactly why I didn’t want them to see what happens.”
Hershel: “I still think there’s a plan. There has to be a reason.” Rick: “You think it’s all a test?” Hershel: “Life is always a test, Rick.” … Rick: “I need to talk to you about Carol.”
Rick: “You shoot or you run, don’t let them get close.”
Hershel: “I didn’t want you in here.” Maggie: “I know. I had to. Just like you.”
Carl: “Dad, everything’s going to be okay.”
Bob (Lawrence Gilliard Jr.) finally helping by administering the medicine. Yay, Bob!
Daryl on Glenn: “He’s a tough son of a bitch.” Hershel: “He is.” Daryl: “You’re a tough son of a bitch.” Hershel: “…I am.”