SPOILERS AHEAD! Stop reading if you don’t want details on The Walking Dead episode that aired on November 4.
It’s been its own four-letter word for most of The Walking Dead, often spoken through clenched teeth the way Seinfeld used to spit out Newman. But after the extraordinary Season 3, Episode 4, "Killer Within,” Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) is a very different four-letter word: Dead. Gone. Over. She is no longer the Lady Macbeth hypocrite who can’t keep an eye on her wandering son. She is now Mother Martyr, putting herself second to the fate of her possibly doomed baby. Meanwhile, her child soldier son Carl (Chandler Riggs) now has no shot of being anything other than completely screwed up. He was protected by his mom when his dad put down zombie Sophia. He put down zombie Shane (Jon Bernthal) to protect his dad. And now he’s put down his almost-zombie mother to protect them all. This is a lousy childhood.
But even if that baby is truly “Little Shane,” as Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) joked on the Season 3 premiere, it’s clear Carl is Little Rick — from the hat to the steel hand in a time of crisis. Rick (Andrew Lincoln) — poor Rick. He fell apart in an aching pile of pain after the death of his wife. But those are natural human feelings. It would be worse if he were desensitized in the face of such a tragedy. (Like Carl? Is it too late for Carl to be anything but numb?) Do you think Lori should’ve followed her first instincts and ended her pregnancy back on the farm on Season 2? Not only is her second child entering a world even more effed up than our own, the baby is doing it without his or her mother.
And T-Dog (IronE Singleton)? Let’s pretend T-Dog made it to the coast, like he wanted. There’s a nice breeze on the coast. He finds a little civilization out on the ocean, like in Waterworld. There are no walkers out there and he even finds a special lady friend. Maybe it’s Michonne (Danai Gurira), who also wanted to go to the coast. Let’s pretend T-Dog got that. He deserves that. He doesn’t deserve the fate he met on Episode 4. It was a heroic end, but he shouldn’t have had to become the next Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn) to get screen time. But now he is just the latest group member to be bitten right after standing up for a human outside the group. Seriously. You stand up for outsiders, you get eaten by a walker. And he didn’t even get his own episode to die in! He’s secondary to Lori’s drama. T-Dog. He just can’t win.
Read on for a full recap of the comedic highs and tragic lows of the powerful Episode 4:
MYSTERY PERSON IS STIRRING UP POOP AT THE PRISON
The first shot is of a red gas tank and a dead animal being dragged off by … someone. The prison still has walkers hanging out on the grounds. They are given the dead deer to chew on. Mystery person rips through a locked fence and leaves an organ (heart?) on the ground as bait.
AND NOW FOR SOME SEX TO GO WITH THAT VIOLENCE
Rick, Daryl (Norman Reedus), Carol (Melissa McBride) and T-Dog are doing some work on the grounds. They want Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Glenn (Steven Yeun) to help, but the duo are busy with their clothes off in the guard tower. Daryl: “You coming?” Hee hee. Levity! So necessary this episode.
THE PRISON GUYS ARE BACK
T-Dog notices the two human prison guys wandering around. They had an agreement, Rick reminds them. The pasty guy with the mustache, Axel (Lew Temple), said they can’t live with those bodies. Rick tells Axel and Oscar (Vincent Ward) their deal was non-negotiable. Oscar said Rick’s group is no better than the others. They would rather hit the road than go back in the prison. Take T-Dog with you! Head for the coast! T-Dog wants to bring them into the fold. He’s the new Dale, making arguments to save instead of kill. No one else seems to be on that side. Carol said, “They’re convicts, bottom line.” T-Dog said they probably have less blood on their hands than the rest of them. Daryl said he grew up with guys like them and he could’ve been one too, but he doesn’t want the guys around either. Rick says, “We’ve been through too much. Our deal with them stands.” Poor T-Dog. He has no traction with this group. He’s been overruled before. No one should stand for that.
BACK TO WOODBURY
Michonne (Danai Gurira) explores a truck/tank, grimace still intact. The Governor (David Morrissey) says they could use a soldier like her. Michonne questions the Gov’s story about the soldiers, including how the truck has bullet holes. Go back to the prison!
HERSHEL IS ON THE MOVE
Hershel (Scott Wilson) looks like crap, but he’s sitting up and they have crutches for him. He is functional, with help from Lori, Beth (Emily Kinney) and Carl With His Hat On.
OH MY GOD MICHONNE WANTS TO GO TO THE COAST TOO
The coast is the new Promised Land. Michonne is ready to leave and head for it. Her gut tells her there’s something wrong about this place and The Gov. “It’s kept us alive this long.” Andrea doesn’t seem sold. Please don’t make Andrea unlikable! She was already close to unlikable after her death wish but she had such great redemption on Season 2. Don’t push her backward.
RICK WANTS TO BURN WALKERS, GLENN WANTS TO BURY THEM
Glenn thinks a fire will attract more walkers but Rick thinks it’s worth the risk in the long-run so they don’t plant crops in walker-rotten soil. This may come back to bite him. Not that Rick’s decisions from the first two seasons have always been solid. Rick speaks with confidence, but that doesn’t mean he’s right. There are more walkers wandering around outside the fence. Glenn: “Man, can’t we just have one good day?” Preach it, baby.
WALKERS WITH THE FRAGILE FOLK
Hershel, Beth and Carl wander outside so Hershel can practice hobbling. Carl jokes about Hershel being ready for a race. Lori and Rick make eyes at each other from across the fence. They smile, so it looks like they may be back on good terms. Foreshadowing! A huge pack of walkers approaches Carl, Lori and that group as the others — Rick’s group — race to get back to help them. Carol actually shoots a bunch of walkers. Go new not useless Carol! Maggie, Carl and Lori go inside the prison, which is also infested with walkers.
T-DOG GETS BIT
Telling you. This is what happens when you stand up to The Ricktator. Dale did it and died. Now T-Dog. Never stand up for a fellow human!
WHY ARE YOU TALKING TO MERLE?
Merle: “How come we never hooked up?”
Andrea: “You called me a whore. And a rug-muncher.”
Merle: “Got a way with words, don’t I?”
Merle wants Andrea to come with him and look for the old gang. She was cut loose and still upset about it. They got left behind by the same people. Andrea, don’t ever let Merle equate you with him. And don’t ask him for character judgments about The Governor. “Yeah, he’s a good man,” from Merle is the best diss you could ask for.
PRISON HUMANS MIGHT COME IN HANDY AFTER ALL
Nice kills from Rick, Daryl and Glenn. Rick blames the two prison guys for setting loose the walkers. “Who else?” Well, the mystery person! The alarm goes off, attracting even more walkers. The prison guys say it’s the backup generators. Rick drags the two guys to help, so maybe they will stick around.
CAROL WANTS TO SAVE T-DOG
It’s the pact. She wants to pull a Hershel so he doesn’t turn. He thinks this is God’s plan. If God is Rick, maybe. Should’ve gone for the coast.
OH, NOW YOU’RE HAVING LABOR PAINS?
Timing was never Lori’s strong suit. Just to take stock, we have two new prison humans wandering around, a huge walker infestation, the prison group separated from each other, Hershel with one leg, T-Dog with a walker bite, and a baby apparently feeling too left out to miss the action. Totally Little Shane.
I’M SORRY BUT THIS IS SIMPLY NOT THE TIME TO PLAY GOLF IN WOODBURY
But that’s what we have to watch, when clearly we’d rather be following the action at the prison. The Governor plays some golf and talks to Merle. Merle wants to go out and see if his brother Daryl is still alive. Better hurry up. Gov thinks it could be like finding a needle in a haystack. Andrea told him where the farmhouse was. Merle volunteers to go on his own. Gov says he can’t risk it; he needs Merle around, giving him the flattery that the place would fall apart without him. If Merle gets more concrete information, The Gov will go with him himself. Run! Merle, you’ve seen what that can mean. Don’t put Daryl in even more danger.
LORI’S BABY IS COMING
The alarms are on. Rick realizes someone is playing games with them. Lori, Carl and Maggie are stuck in a dark room. Carl does not want to help bring his little brother or sister into the world. Maggie takes charge. Go on, girl! Poor Lori. She can be a pain, but to give birth under these circumstances? Literally a fate worse than death. She’s covered in blood. Maggie tells her to stop pushing because there's a problem. Lots of blood.
T-DOG SACRIFICES HIMSELF FOR CAROL
People are forever saving Carol. T-Dog was already bitten but when he and Carol were cornered, he rushed into a hallways of walkers to save her. It’s like a reverse Shane/Otis move. Obviously T-Dog is a hero, it’s just a shame he’s getting such a great episode as they kill him off. Why didn’t they let him do great things before? Why did they not listen to him? They only listen to the people with the most authoritative voices (Rick, Shane) instead of the people with the most wise things to say (Dale, T-Dog).
CAN’T STRESS THIS ENOUGH — NOT THE TIME FOR WOODBURY
Andrea has a drink with The Governor and tells him Michonne wants to go to the coast. She says she hasn’t had liquor in a while and her tolerance isn’t much. Gov isn’t happy that Andrea gave Merle hope to find Daryl. Andrea tells him how she lost her family. Gov says he lost his wife in a car accident 18 months before all this started. It’s his daughter and him? They drink to better days. Is he going to get her drunk to keep her around? Where’s Michonne to slap some sense into her? Andrea doesn’t know what matters now. Apparently sexual tension matters. Andrea still plans to leave. Gov says his name is Philip. That whole scene could’ve been saved for another week.
BACK TO THE PRISON DRAMA
Rick fights the crazed prisoner he had left for the walkers on Episode 2 — Andrew (Markice Moore) — as Daryl struggles to keep the door shut. Daryl gets some good kills in as Rick fights the prison guy. Oscar, one of the two outside human prison guys, kills Andrew to show Rick his loyalty. Rick, don’t screw this up. You owe him now. Especially since it looks like Andrew is the mystery person who started this whole thing! Oh, Rick. That decision may come back to bite you too.
MAGGIE HAS TO CUT LORI OPEN
Lori does not want to lose her baby. Poor Lori. Poor Maggie, too, since she’s not exactly an expert at emergency C-sections.
ANDREA IS MAKING THEM STAY IN WOODBURY
Michonne, we’ve seen what happens to people who DON’T head for the coast. Leave now!
LORI HAS A BRAVE, BEAUTIFUL END
Carl is a man now. Lori loves him. She’s proud.
Lori: “You promise me you’ll always do what’s right. It’s so easy to do the wrong thing in this world. So if it feels wrong, don’t do it, all right? If it feels easy, don’t do it. Don’t let the world spoil you. You’re so good. My sweet boy. The best thing I ever did. I love you.”
This is heartbreaking. Lori may be a lot of things, but she doesn’t deserve this end either. Lori said when this is over, Maggie will have to “do it,” it can’t be Rick. Lori’s final words sound like “Good night, love.” Maggie rips her open, grabs the baby, who cries. Alive! Is it a boy or a girl?
CARL HAS TO KILL HIS MOTHER
Now that he’s said goodbye, he has to take the final step. We flash back to Rick’s talk with him on Season 2. OK, now our tears are flowing. It’s scary how stone-faced Carl is. Better to fall apart in grief, but there really isn’t time.
RICK MEETS HIS BABY
Daryl thinks Carol didn’t make it. Where is she? Suddenly, outside, they hear a baby cry. Maggie carries over Rick’s child. Maggie doesn’t say anything. Rick knows. Carl doesn’t cry. Rick just sobs, looks at Carl and says “Oh, no...” and just falls apart.
Wow. How do you feel about this episode? Lori? T-Dog? The baby? Do you think we needed all the Woodbury stuff?
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