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by Thom Yee

Images courtesy of AMC and Fox International Channels

Images courtesy of AMC and Fox International Channels

4×02:  “Infected”

So that’s why Rick let all those Woodbury people join his group:  so more people can die.  Clearly this disease is going to take some level of centrality in the story going forward, and in some ways it’s surprising that the topic hasn’t really come up yet.  I guess the timeline isn’t really clear (unless we’re using what seems to be Carl’s apparent age as an indicator, because he does look a lot older than at the beginning of the series), and we did acknowledge disease with the CDC season one closing arc, but at some point, if “we’re all infected”, some people are just going to drop dead and come back as walkers without ever having been bit.  And now we’ve got a whole town’s worth of people to use as disease fodder.

The aftermath of Patrick’s death and resurrection from last episode’s closing leads to havoc as the group must overcome a zombie outbreak from within the prison, and, in the aftermath, deal with the gamechanging development that an infection may have taken hold of the group, confined in close quarters behind the prison walls.  Meanwhile, Carol’s decision to secretly teach the children to use weapons and defend themselves from walkers leads to complications, even as clues are found that somebody may be deliberately working against the group from within.  Also, Michonne doesn’t like holding babies for some reason.

Walking Dead-Michonne

Michonne: “When I think about how much college would’ve cost for you, sometimes I wonder if you’re not better off growing up post-apocalypse zombie world.”

That’s the episode synopsis, and if you only read that alone, you could probably skip ahead to next week.  “Infected” is an episode that poses questions about the future of the group, but doesn’t give enough emotional content to really get us involved.  For instance, last episode, Tyreese’s apparently blooming relationship with Karen is disrupted as [spoiler alert] he finds her burnt carcass this episode.  I don’t really like where they’re taking Tyreese in general this season (i.e., making him a pussy), and absolutely no one cared about that relationship at this point.  As a source of internal conflict, Carol’s decision to teach the children to defend themselves feels like a non-starter — it seems only natural to teach the children how to use a knife and kill zombies in this kind of world, and before I found out it was a secret from the children’s parents, I just assumed that was the [sensible] way the camp decided to go with child education.  The idea of an internal traitor holds some level of intrigue, but, even if the details are different, it feels like territory already explored with last season’s “Killer Within” and the group’s discovery that Andrew was still hanging around the prison.

All that said, looking at the bright side would suggest that there’s been enough table setting done, and now it’s time to get into some meaningful and dynamic moments in episodes to follow.  Who knows where this traitor (or outside interloper) storyline will go, Rick and Carl seem ready to get back in the saddle (after two tired episodes of “farming”), and David Morrissey’s “the Governor” is slated to show up at some point this season (probably as the mid-season cliffhanger).  And maybe, if we’re really, really lucky and the producers have learned from past seasons, this infection storyline won’t be too drawn out.

The Walking DeadInfected” final score:  6


Items of Note: 

-Did Rick really need to cut the pigs open to get the walkers to go after them?  Or would they have ran away too quickly or something?

-Do the walkers have enough sense to not go after a too-fast target?

-So Michonne gets weepy around babies?  Then it’s official:  I now prefer the comicbook version of every single character.

-“I miss T-Dog”, said no one ever.


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