Season Four, Episode Two
Early in the new season, we’re presented with a very dangerous issue inside the community at the prison: a deadly flu-like virus that can apparently kill you over-night. And just like that, the first two episodes are more interesting than the last handful of episodes from the very drawn-out third season.
There was a development in this episode that started with the season four premiere, which deals with certain individuals in the community pairing up as loved ones. This is the continuation of everyone trying to regain some sort of normalcy in their lives, but the virus put a gigantic halt in any progress that was made. Beginning with Tyreese and his lady-friend Karen, you just know the episode was setting up something to happen to her. But we also had more from Glen and Maggie, Rick and Carl, Daryl and Carol, plus the two little girls who lose their father, and Michonne who shows off the most emotion we’ve seen.
But as Beth commented on last week’s episode, it’s dangerous to have loved ones in the world they live in. They are on constant attack from the walkers and it’s a miracle if they go through a few weeks without an “accident.” You can sense a lack of urgency inside of the camp, and that slight letdown resulted in a terrible massacre when walker-Patrick invades the cell blocks late at night. Most notably is Rick, who has to come to terms to carry his gun again only when the council orders him to. And his hesitation before killing walkers shows how much emotional damage Rick has endured.
I’m impressed how quickly the group comes to the conclusion that Patrick was the first to die from the virus, and then infected several others inside the prison. Karen and another are experiencing coughs and are quarantined from the rest of the group, providing us with a great, touching scene when Tyreese and Karen separate. It might be just a cough, or it could be the virus that killed Patrick. The two of them look at each other for what might be the last time and it’s a real solid scene, full of sympathy at the chance of losing a loved one. Another scene-stealing moment was when Beth hands over Judith to Michonne and she gives a memorable performance being overcome with emotion. We learn a lot more from this speechless Michonne than we have the past season.
In addition to the tragedy inside the prison, the group faces a great threat when a herd of walkers begin to bring down one of their fences… which brings up the suggestion of having at least one person at all times killing zombies on the fence. They seem to have enough willing people to do the job. Why wasn’t there anyone on the fence when they noticed the walkers growing in numbers in one specific area? Beats me, but Rick is quick on his feet to attract them away from the fence with some fresh pork. Poor pigs, but they’re probably infected anyway.
The episode ends with the very idea that we knew was going to happen, but was hoping wasn’t going to come true. Karen’s death, but it wasn’t a walker who got her as she slept at night, nor was it the virus that eventually turned her. She was burnt to death outside of the prison walls. When Tyreese finds her, he’s mixed with sadness and a rage that will definitely bleed into the next episode. As the group seems to have things under control from the outside dangers, it’s the conflicts inside the prison that might end up tearing them apart.