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by Thom Yee

Images courtesy of AMC and Fox International Channels

Images courtesy of AMC and Fox International Channels

4×04:  “Indifference”

Mirroring its title, “Indifference” is a boring, downer of an episode.  It’s also an important one.

I’ve always maintained that if I were caught in some sort of post-apocalyptic world with clear and present dangers, where everything is worse, and there’s no chance of going back to the way things were, that I would give up pretty quickly.  What’s the point of survival if surviving is so bad, in continuing in a world where the living would envy the (non-walking) dead?  Right now, that seems to be the point where most of our characters are.  They’ve gotten past the point of base survival in the relative security of the prison, they’ve overcome the great human threat that was (and still is) the Governor, and now they’re facing down the fact that this life will probably just keep getting worse.  If it’s not the virus, it’ll just be something else.

That’s an important realization for everybody involved, characters and viewers, and one that brings the show just this side closer to reality.  However, it also leaves the show in a potentially fatalistic position so bleak that it’s hard to imagine where to go with the series.  That’s where it’s nice to have about 60 more issues of comicbook stories to draw off of and screw around with.

Walking Dad-Bob and Daryl

If you take one sip before those meds get to our people… I will beat your ass into the ground… just like almost all alcoholism stories are beaten into the ground.

“Indifference” deals exclusively with the direct aftermath of last episode’s dangling plotlines as we follow Daryl’s group’s relatively uneventful pursuit of medicine and Rick’s confrontation with Carol.  On the Daryl’s group side of things, the group gets the medication while confronting personal demons like responsibility and chemical dependence and, uh… being angry.  To be honest, this part of the story was pretty straightforward and, for the group, surprisingly successful.  There’s the whole Bob’s alcoholism B (or C) plot point that we knew was going to come up and be as banal as that plot wrinkle is in almost every story, but all in all, the group got what they came for (minus trading the Charger for the minivan, and nobody’s less happy with that trade than me).

More importantly, we explore the repercussions of Carol being the nefarious perpetrator of the failed kill-and-burn-them-before-they-infect-the-rest-of-the-group plan as Rick and Carol go for a supply run.  Rick’s reactions throughout most of the episode are relatively withdrawn as he considers the rightness of Carol’s actions, casually passes by corpses, and leaves people behind.  I’m not sure if what Rick goes through this episode was supposed to represent an arc or was reflective of his plan from the beginning, but by the episode’s end, he’s made his choice, and it’s one that might represent some sort of caring and hope even in a world like this.

This episode also marks Carol’s departure from the show, and it’s a moment that significantly elevates this episode towards genuinely meaningful.  Carol doesn’t get an easy out a la Shane’s it’s-him-or-me showdown with Rick, and it’s good to see the show move forward through hard choices that seem real rather than simple circumstances and forced truths.  And on that note, I’ll leave you with the touching moment when we lost Carol in the comics:

Carol's last stand

Right in the neck!

See you next week.

The Walking DeadIndifference” final score:  7

Items of Note: 

-Boy that Lizzie-Carol opening was a drag.

-I swear to God, Tyreese, if you dunk and squeeze that shirt in that water one more time…

-Michonne to Tyreese:  I know you’re pissed.  You have every reason to be [even if nobody watching this show really saw any of those reasons].

-Is that the same Hyundai Tuscon that Shane used to drive?

-There were also two guest stars in this episode, and I guess they represented naive hope, but they really didn’t get much more than five minutes of screen time.

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