A Collection of Caliginous Choppings

Tidbits of the Dead: Isolation

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The Walking Dead’s third episode, “Isolation” features a lot of screentime for two diametrically opposed characters. While it was a bit low on zombie action, I think that the huge horde that Daryl and the others encountered more than makes up for the lack of gore this week. Also, this episode did something that hasn’t been featured in quite a while, by pulling two scenes directly from the pages of the comics. Let’s run down the trials and tribulations of these characters, starting once again with my season four favorite.

  • Carol (Melissa McBride) — If the other episodes this season haven’t proved that McBride is a certifiable star of this show, then I think that “Isolation” has boldfacedly made it clear that she is. Even more than Michonne in this season, Carol has shown that she is a zombie ass-kicker. Additionally, unlike Michonne, she is balanced enough to show genuine emotion, as evident from her tenderness with the Sophia surrogate Lizzy, and her frustration over the water situation. The revelation that she is the person who killed Karen and David adds even more nuance to her character. I mentioned last week that she is reminding me a bit more of Shane, and that fact was nailed home by her admission to taking the lives of two other characters, even if they were sentenced to die from the deadly virus spreading through the prison. Unlike Shane, Carol is a bit more rational, and doesn’t suffer from anger issues. Given that she is an admitted murderess, she probably doesn’t have much time left with the group, especially if Tyreese finds out. Also, given how much contact she has had with the sick — hugging Lizzy and killing Karen and David — I wouldn’t be surprised if she also comes down with the sickness herself.

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  • Tyreese (Chad L. Coleman) — He was the other character prominently featured in this episode, and he is finally starting to seem like a main character on the show. The fistfight with Rick comes straight from the comic book, and I thought that it was well executed here. Tyreese and Rick aren’t as buddy-buddy on the show as in the comic, so I’m interested to see how their relationship progresses from here, given Rick’s stronger allegiance to Carol. While I don’t expect Rick to give up that Carol is Karen’s killer, I do think that Tyreese will find out eventually, maybe around the midseason finale. “Isolation” also featured an absolutely epic zombie hammer mauling scene which echoes the comics. COMICS SPOILER: Tyreese is accidentally locked into the prison gymnasium and when the others come back to find him he has managed to kill all the walkers locked in there with a fury of hammer blows. This was thematically recreated whilst trying to escape from the car surrounded by an absolutely massive number of the undead. I have read the plans of a few armchair zombie apocalypse devotees who would intend to suit up with chainmail or some other bite-proof armor and wade into the thick of the dead wielding a chainsaw or blunt object of death. That’s a great visual, but the sad reality is that you’d more likely fall and then be trampled to death by the inhuman creatures. Either that or pass out from exhaustion before even making a dent in the mass of inhumanity. One glimpse of how Tyreese looks when he makes it back to the others, should make one see the folly attacking the dead head-on.

  • Rick (Andrew Lincoln) — What will Rick do about Carol? In season two when he had dangerous disputes with Shane, Rick tried to keep him close. Judging from the promo for next week’s episode, Rick will be taking Carol outside the prison with him in search for some medicine. Perhaps he should deal with the issue quietly and let Carol get eaten by zeds. From a character standpoint, Rick doesn’t have it in him to do that to another person, much less a valuable member of the group like Carol. Also, it is a bit hypocritical of Rick to harp on Tyreese for losing it over Karen when he broke down for weeks, if not months, after his wife died. He may still not be fully psychologically recovered from that episode — and I think that there could be another Lori cameo in the future. While it was good to see Rick do some police work, it was unconvincing how easily he came to the conclusion that Carol committed the murders. Then again, I had Sasha pegged as the culprit.

  • Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) — She will pull through the sickness, if for no other reason than Tyreese will need people on his side when it comes down to a showdown about Carol’s actions. I really did suspect that she was the killer though. When she came out of the prison she paused for a moment in front of Hershel and Glenn before having a fake-seeming coughing fit and going off to see the doctor. At first I thought it was a masterful plan for her to get quarantined and then take out the others. Instead, it was just a bit of weak acting from the actress.

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  • Hershel (Scott Wilson) — He plays doctor this episode since Caleb/Dr. S is himself sick. Perhaps there will be a changing of the guard in respect to who becomes the main caretaker of the group. Hopefully this Dr. S will get some more screentime — thus far of the new bunch, he is second to Bob the Drunken Combat Medic — and Hershel will transition into zombiehood. Maybe not though, as there have been rumors since the second season that Hershel will be killed off. The Walking Dead likes their deaths to be shocking, and I don’t think that a flu bug is that, especially since we see it coming after getting a faceful of Dr. S’s bloody spittle. Ideally, I’d like to see Hershel go out like Dale did in the comics, but that would mean him staying around until after the group moves away from the prison.

  • Glenn (Steven Yeun) — I can’t see him dying. Then again, it would be a bit more shocking since we expect him to pull through the sickness. But he’s young and there is still more to play out between him and Maggie, so I’d say that he is safe.

  • Maggie (Lauren Cohan) & Beth (Emily Kinney) & Judith (Adelaide and Eliza Cornwell) — I think that Maggie will have to deal with a death this season. Her current grief comes from both her boyfriend and dad being among the quarantined. The way that these two sisters talk, they don’t expect their father to survive. As I said before, it would be shocking if Glenn died, but I don’t think that is in the cards. Also, it would be more shocking for Hershel to stay alive at this point. That leaves Beth. It is strange to see Beth acting as the emotional rock for Maggie. That poor girl has been through a lot, but she just keeps swallowing up the pain without letting herself mourn the deaths of those close to her, saying “We don’t get to get upset.” Could doing this culminate in a disastrous break-down? She suffered through depression and attempted suicide in the second season, so there is no reason that she might not try it again, especially considering that she is psychologically worse off now (having seen more first-hand death) than on the farm. Could she harm the baby? I don’t think so — Judith’s death — if AMC has the balls to kill a baby — would happen on a midseason or season finale. If Beth doesn’t go crazy then I’m thinking that she could end up wandering outside the gates, sort of like Carol in this week’s episode. The show can only have so many times with somebody narrowly escaping death outside of the prison. Someone will finally have to eat it. That could/should be Beth.

  • Carl (Chandler Riggs) — He had a nice father-son bonding moment with Hershel, but unfortunately, he hasn’t seemed to have learned his lesson of not putting walkers down. He did that in season two and Dale ended up dying. Carl is a character walking the fine-line between being too hard and too soft, but Hershel isn’t doing him any favors. Remember, Hershel is a man who kept walkers in a barn near his house. He was clinging to the erroneous belief that they were still people and afflicted with something that could be cured. Carl is growing up and becoming a man in a different world than Hershel has known practically all of his life. The undead aren’t like wild animals, which would leave people alone if left unmolested. Zombies left alone will just have to be dealt with later on, because they are, and always will be, a relentless scourge to humanity.

  • Michonne (Danai Gurira) & Daryl (Norman Reedus) — Interchangeable badasses, black and white. Michonne keeps getting dogged about her obsessive mission to find the Governor. Everybody seems surprised that she keeps coming back instead of going off on her own. She could probably go it alone if need be, but even as emotionally closed off as she is, she must realize that it is better in a group as there is strength in numbers. Daryl is firmly entrenched as a pillar of normalcy and rationality in the prison. Just look at how he was the coolheaded one in the middle of Rick and Tyreese’s throwdown. Compare this to how hotheaded and quarrelsome he was in the first season. Nobody has had a such noble and gentlemanly character progression during the end of the world than this hillbilly bushwhacker.

  • Bob (Larry Gilliard Jr.) — Combat medics have combat experience right? He seems so uneasy in dangerous situations. That could be because he is a spy for the Governor. Or maybe he just needs a drink. I’m sure there is a lot more that Gilliard could do with the character, but thus far the creative people in charge haven’t given him much. Just let him fall off the wagon and then see what sort of mayhem ensues.

  • The Rest — Dammit The Walking Dead! You suck at showing us unnecessary extra characters. Tyreese stared down three sick people, but then later there were other different people suffering in the cells, and one had even already turned! Lizzy, one of the children, was sick and hugged Carol, but the rest of the youngins were absent. Some guy with an amputated arm was dying next to Dr. S. And there was some black woman who claimed to just have allergies. I don’t know who these people are, and the show hasn’t made me care. Hershel mentions that twelve people died in the zombie attack, as well as Karen and David who were murdered. That’s fourteen people (certainly not all from Woodbury?) who were simply meat for the grinder that is The Walking Dead. Personally, I wouldn’t be disappointed to see the rest of them go if they aren’t going to have any interesting interactions with the remainder of the group.

  • The Governor (David Morrissey) — Dammit you loveable psychopath! Where the hell are you? Could you run into the scavenging group soon?

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  • Zombie of the Week — The horde was definitely imposing and threatening as hell, but the most visually interesting zombie was the one Carl and Hershel encountered rotting away next to a tree.

Next week it appears that Rick and Carol will also be leaving the prison. I believe that means only Maggie will be left to man the prison gates. This could be the perfect time for the Governor to come sniffing back around. Daryl, Michonne, Tyreese, and Bob are all out on the road, and on the run from a huge horde of walkers. They will have to evade before going back to the prison. Perhaps Abraham(Michael Cudlitz)’s group could make the save. Anyway, the road trip episodes of this show are always a treat, and I hope that next week is no different!

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10 responses

  1. I wonder if some people are immune to the virus. Daryl isn’t sick yet and he had direct contact with Patrick. Same goes for Tyreese and Karen.

    28 October 2013 at 2:45 pm

    • Yeah, some people probably ARE immune. Considering how much time has passed between the last contact of Patrick and people like Daryl, Carol, and Carl, then those 3 are probably safe.

      28 October 2013 at 10:54 pm

  2. Pingback: Recap/Review: The Walking Dead 4×03: Isolation | Pixcelation Entertainment

  3. canadianscott

    Love the recap/review. I think we’ll see the Governor at the end of the first half of season, leading to the antagonist for the winter half.

    29 October 2013 at 1:12 am

    • Thanks, I’d love to see the Governor back again too. I get the feeling that he already has his claws in the prison landscape, but I think it is probably just one plant — Bob. Certainly he’ll still hold a grudge, but it remains to be seen whether he’ll attack with a small, covert group, or lead a larger better organized group attack on the prison one more time.

      29 October 2013 at 8:09 am

  4. I also think Glenn will survive. There’s a lot of story left to be told with his character and his relationship with Maggie. For some reason I also think Sasha is safe too. There’s a lot of potential with her character even if we haven’t seen that much of her. Great post!

    30 October 2013 at 1:25 am

    • I agree. Once things settle down I’d like to see a Glenn and Maggie wedding. And then I’d like the happiness to not last too long after that!

      Sasha is a wild card. She may end up surprising people in the long run like Carol. Or she may die soon to add more grief to Tyreese’s character. I’m leaning towards the second option at the moment.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      30 October 2013 at 8:33 am

  5. I found it amusing in this episode and the last when the group decided they should wear face coverings while dealing with sick people – but not when getting all hack-and-slashy with zombie heads, sending rotting blood and viscera spraying all over the place. In fact, when they were killing zombies at the fence a few episodes ago, IIRC they wear wearing aprons but no face protection whatsoever.

    I know why they don’t – the producers want us to see their actors’ faces, same reason TV characters never wear sunglasses. But there is no way in hell I would walk out the front door in a zombie apocalypse without wearing some combination of a carpenter’s mask, swimming goggles, motorcycle helmet, whatever.

    4 November 2013 at 4:04 am

    • Damn right Mitch. The thing is, there should be plenty of riot helmets with clear plastic fronts to let the actor’s faces be seen while at least providing some measure of protection. Although I would have to say that a bigger gripe for me is some much hand-to-hand zombie combat with nary a glove to be seen.

      4 November 2013 at 12:26 pm

  6. Pingback: Recap/Review: The Walking Dead 4×03: Isolation - Pixcelation Entertainment

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