Sunday, November 10, 2013

TV Review: 'The Walking Dead'-4.05-"Internment"

Last week on AMC’s The Walking Dead dropped a bit of a bombshell on viewers, and it didn’t even involve any key players dying. Rick (Andrew Lincoln) actually made a decision, and that decision was to banish Carol (Melissa McBride), an OG member of his crew. What do they have in store this week as a follow up? Read on to find out.

For everything else going on in this episode, “Internment” really belongs to Hershel (Scott Wilson). The wise old owl of the group is at the center of the hour, both emotionally and action wise. You see the depth of his dedication, his true strength, and just how willing he is to put himself in harms way to help his fellow survivors. The entire episode is a continual escalation of tension, on a grand scale as well as an individual level, and will leave you hanging and ready for more.

When Rick returns to the prison, things are going from bad to worse. Really they’re going from terrible to even more terrible, but it’s all a matter of perspective. Threats are coming from all directions. The zombies outside the stronghold are about to break through the ever-weakening fence. Inside the walls, the sickness is getting worse, and the infected have less and less time. Though Rick is back, Daryl (Norman Reedus), Michonne (Danai Gurira), and the others are still out on the road, looking for meds, and otherwise unaccounted for.

With all of this going on, the whole Carol situation remains on the back burner. Rick tells Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and her dad, but there are other, more immediate matters to attend to. Without meds, Hershel runs back and forth, attending to his patients, unable and unwilling to give up on anyone, no matter how far gone. His compassion and humanity won’t allow him to quit, even though the situation looks hopeless to everyone, even those directly involved. He’s in for a harsh slap from reality.

For a moment, they achieve a delicate balance in the prison. Hershel makes his rounds, providing comfort and even moments of levity, Rick and Maggie work to reinforce the fence and clear off the pile of walkers. Things are bad, but they’re not getting worse. If you’ve watched The Walking Dead at all, you know exactly how fleeting such moments can be, and before awful long, everything goes straight to hell. Glenn (Steven Yeun), Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green), and many of the faceless new additions, are on the verge of death, and when they start to fall, it’s a domino effect, one toppling after another. If you know their name, or they were in the show before this season, they make it out relatively unscathed, but the faceless newcomers are screwed. At this point there can’t be many of them left since they keep getting wiped out in large sweeping chunks.

At the same time this is going on in the makeshift infirmary, the fence finally breaks, and the zombies flood in like the prison sprung a leak. Rick and Carl (Chandler Riggs) share a little father-son zombie slaughter bonding time, which they need. They haven’t had much quality together time, and what brings generations together like the wholesale slaughter of the walking dead? And Carl learns an important life lesson, one that will serve him well throughout his young life, how to fire a machine gun.

After everything calms down for the time being, and Hershel has a quiet moment to himself, you see the toll all of his heroics—and Sasha is right to call him a hero—and he finally breaks down. As an earlier conversation points out, after they make it past this, if they make do indeed make it, nothing is ever going to be the same, not for the group, for Hershel, for Rick, or anyone else.

“Internment” continues the season four trend of leaving you out on a ledge with a serious cliffhanger, and the final moment is a doozy this time around. Nothing has been said about Carol’s absence—there have been more urgent ways to spend their time—but at the end, when Daryl finally gets around to asking about her, the awkwardness index jumps a few notches. When your friends say, “I won’t tell you, you need to talk to this guy,” nothing good ever comes from that. This is like the post-apocalyptic version of “we need to talk.” Daryl is still the best character on the show, but he’s also an ass kicking wildcard, and there’s no telling how he’ll react when he finds out his pseudo-love interest has been banished by his best bro.

And if impending stress and weirdness between Rick and Daryl isn’t enough to throw a monkey wrench into prison life, the final shot leaves you with an interesting little nugget to chew over for a week. As the camera pulls back from the prison, in a nice nod to POV horror, the last thing you see is a stern looking, one-eyed gentleman you may recognize. Yes, we all knew it was coming, but the Governor (David Morrissey), the primary antagonist of The Walking Dead season three, is back in the mix. What exactly this means for the survivors, remains to be seen, but with all their troubles, not to mention their dwindling numbers, the last thing they need is an all out throw down with an unhinged psychopath and whatever makeshift army he has cobbled together.

What did you think of “Internment?” How is Daryl going to take the Carol news? Are you excited to see more of the Governor? Let us know in the comments. And here is a sneak peek at next week’s episode, “Live Bait.”

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