If last week’s The Walking Dead was an episode to spotlight the Melissa McBride’s Carol character, then this week’s “Internment” served to illuminate Scott Wilson’s Hershel. This one had a lot of ups and down in my opinion. It was good to see a lot of Hershel, and I was actually on the edge of my seat at a few times during this episode. Unfortunately, I was also yelling at these idiotic characters a few times during my viewing as well. All in all, it was better than the average middle of the season episode and featured a good amount of zombie action, some characterization for some surviving (and dying) players, and the long-awaited return of an ominous character missing since last season.
Let’s take a closer look at who had the biggest impact this week:
Hershel (Scott Wilson) — spent the episode playing Florence Nightingale to the patients of the prison. He is first seen intubating another random redshirt — who you guessed it, wouldn’t survive the episode — with a very sick looking Glenn and Sasha. However, given that we know their names, odds are they are safe! Hershel decides that they will try to keep as many people alive for as long as possible until Daryl and the others get back with the magical medicine that’ll put any fear of sickness far in the past. Hershel and Glenn have been braining the dead ones away from the others, in order to keep up their dying spirits — mostly on the advice of some other unnamed redshirt who quoted this Steinbeck line to Hershel: a sad soul can kill quicker than a germ. No need to have this guy actually say the line as a living person, you know, to give the homeviewer a bit more of a feeling for his death. Nope, just stick that cold, sharp metal into skull and try to convey your own sense of loss for the senselessness of violence in this fictional world telegraphed into senseless violence on our TV screens.
I’m diverging a bit here. OK, I love violent films and shows just as much as the next guy. I really like this show too. The thing is, it already has plenty of senseless nameless killing with all of the zombies put down week in and week out. I just want to care for these humans before they are killed too. But I can’t. This show won’t let me. How are we supposed to give a shit about any of them if the producers don’t let us know anything about them? This season has introduced an irritatingly countless number of extras, and yet it is killing them off just as quickly as another unknown is able to mosey out of a prison cell. It’s so goddamned annoying. And I’m not hating on this just because I think The Walking Dead is a stupid show. I think this is a good show, and it has a lot of potential, but it is also really screwing the pooch in a lot of respects — especially in the of handling any newbies or non-comic series established characters. OK, end rant.
Hershel does some heroics, later on, wrestling an intubation bag out of the mouth of a walker while on top of a second floor jump guard. He also plays pied piper and finishes off the walker parade with some glorious shotgun blasts.
Glenn (Steven Yeun) — He plays Hershel’s second for most of the episode, but the virus is slowly sapping his strength. Glenn does CPR on and stabs a redshirt in the head. Near the end he collapses and begins choking on his own blood. Fortunately, Glenn is one lucky bastard, for three reasons. 1. Lizzie lures away a zombie that rightfully should have gotten its paws onto Glenn. 2. Maggie and Hershel get to him in time to intubate him with a questionably contaminated intubation tube. (I sure as hell wouldn’t want something in my mouth that had just been in a zed’s mouth, no matter how fresh that corpse was.) 3. He only gets really sick right before Daryl and the others show up with their magical medicine that will instantly cure all the sick people.
Maggie (Lauren Cohan) — She had a few moments of badassery this episode. I’m happy that we got the shot of her manning the prison fences solo until Rick came back. There was an ungodly amount of zombies piled against the fence, and notice how she was being proactive about it rather than running off like Rick did. Later she has a heart to heart with Hershel who was hiding how sick Glenn really was. Then at the moment when Hershel is struggling with the intubated walker on the jump guard Maggie has to make a tough decision to shoot and risk losing both of her loved ones (Glenn if she shot the bag, and Hershel if she missed the walker.) She ended up saving them both, so Maggie did good this episode.
Rick (Andrew Lincoln) — Maggie reinforces that he did the right thing about Carol. I’m still on the fence about that one though, because really had Carol simply communicated what should have been done to the others, it may have saved more lives in the end. But that’s in the past. Now we have a Rick who seems committed to living in this hellish future. He has a philosophical conversation with Hershel that seems like something we’ve heard countless times before. We’re changed, it won’t be the same, blah blah blah. This isn’t the beginning of the end of the world. There are dead people out there who want to eat you! You can’t be a farmer Rick, or as Carol said last week, “You can’t be just a farmer!” Rick seems to be on the decisive path of making up his mind and sticking to it, although he does flipflop once more before the episode would end: when he first returns he sees Carl, but wants him to stay put with the other children.
Carl: Dad, you can’t keep me from it.
Rick: From what?
Carl: From what always happens
Rick: Yeah, maybe, but I think it’s my job to try.
Later on realizes the stupidity of keeping his son locked away and has him help shore up the prison defences.
Carl (Chandler Riggs) — Turns out he is a crack shot with a machine gun. Of course, I was always under the impression that automatic weapons were foolish to use against zombies (see World War Z — the book, not the shitty movie). However, they work here just fine, despite the safer and smarter plan of picking off the invading zombie horde from one of the guard towers. If they had the ammunition, then why didn’t they just use it on the horde in the first place?
Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) — She assisted Hershel with the sickies. Good for her for helping. It’s not like any of the other no names were going to lift a finger. The writers wouldn’t let them.
Lizzie (Brighton Sharbino) — I’m glad at least one new character got some good screen time. Psychologically damaged little Lizzie lured a zombie away from Glenn, saving his life. Although, it is not made entirely clear what she had planned to do to get rid of the zombie after that. She trips and falls, but fortunately Hershel is able to bound up the stairs (on one leg) and save her. As with Daryl, I think she will be most affected by Carol’s absence, although seeing how Hershel and Rick tend to baby the minors, they’ll probably hide the truth from the children about why their edged-weapons instructor is no longer a part of the group.
Daryl (Norman Reedus), Tyreese (Chad L. Coleman), Michonne (Danai Gurira), and Bob (Lawrence Gilliard, Jr.) — They return safely! Hooray! Daryl says and does little, but you know there will be hell to pay when Rick tells him what went down with Carol. (Hopefully this dramatic moment happens on screen, though I can see AMC just having a pissed off Daryl heading out after her to start the next episode.) Tyreese comforts his sister. Given how he doesn’t seem close to any of the Woodbury people, and the poor history with the original prison group, Tyreese is much less connected to everyone than in the comics. If (when) he bites the bullet, I think that this will dampen the impact of his death. Michonne is on walker duty, cleaning up the corpses. You gotta do something to stay fit. Bob the Drunken Combat Medic administers an IV. Hope he didn’t accidentally put vodka in that syringe, yukyukyuk!
The Governor (David Morrissey) — Hells yes! He’s back! Next week should be interesting. What I hope they do is have an all Governor episode to fill in the blanks of what’s been going on with him since last season. Why not? They have plenty of time to fill. Might as well show us how he’s been managing on the road and whatever happened to his missing lackeys Martinez and Shupert.
The Newbies (An Unnamed Legion) — Well, I already ranted a bit about them above, but why not some more? Here is photographic evidence of 15 other people in the prison beyond the mainlisted cast.
This is our first redshirt. Here he is being intubated because he can no longer breathe on his own. His name is Henry. But he didn’t get this name until he died and tried to attack Glen. Then he chased after Lizzie. Hershel threw him over the second floor railing and onto the jump guard. Maggie shot him in the head. Long live Henry.
This is Mr. Jacobson. He is the only other redshirt to get a name in this episode. He dies and then Hershel and Glenn take him into another room away from the others. They put a sheet over his face. He wakes up as a zombie, and then Glenn stabs him in the head.
This is Dr. S or Caleb. Besides Bob and Lizzie, he has been the best established newbie character this season. He was the only one with the foresight to close his cell door before he died. He was also smart enough to bring a shotgun into the internment with him. See how he’s bleeding from the eye? Later Hershel would stab him through that eye. That’s foreshadowing folks.
This guy likes Steinbeck but nothing else is known about his literary tastes. He collapses and dies in front of everybody, but Hershel takes him in another room before stabbing him in the head.
These redshirts stand up on the second floor and look down on Hershel while he tends to the Steinbeck fan.
This guy does likewise. At first I thought he was the same as the guy on the left in the picture above, but they do appear to be wearing different clothes. Nothing is none about how he survived Woodbury, or even if he was from Woodbury.
This kid appears to be about Carl’s age. He is probably only a fraction as badass though. Don’t expect him to wear any sort of awesome sheriff’s hat anytime soon.
This sickly guy is one person we get the best shot of. Which leads me to think that he’ll probably die violently in the next episode. He seems a little bit like Axel to me. Remember how the prison used to have prisoners inside?
This gal can be seen behind Hershel as he is loading the Steinbeck guy onto a stretcher. I think that she might be the one who dies and initiates the zombie attack on the first floor, but I could be wrong.
Here is another random woman. I don’t think she is the one who dies since she looks pretty spry here in this tiny-ass picture. Maybe she is the back-breaker woman, but her hair doesn’t look blonde enough.
Here is the bloody mouthed zombie that falls on top of Hershel. She gets her back broken with a well placed stomp from the blonde woman, which saves Hershel. Perhaps she is the grieving mother of the child that died a few episodes ago. Perhaps she harbored feelings for Daryl that she kept suppressed for respect of Carol. The world may never know . . . All we know for sure is that she ate a facefull of shotgun buck.
This guy actually had some lines! No name, but some lines! I had high hopes for him since he was smart enough to close the door to the cell holding him and his son. Only, actually he was pretty dumb. His son was dead, and although he had a gun, one can’t be certain that he was going to use it on his son. Instead he tries to shoot the zombie on Hershel, only to get bit by his zombie son and ends up accidentally shooting the blonde. Despite his obvious ineptitude he made it a year and a half into the zombie apocalypse, so that’s a win!
This young redshirt dies, reanimates, eats his dad and then gets shotgunned by Hershel.
The blonde girl actually does something consequential, but ends up getting shot for her troubles. Is she alive or dead? No zombie is shown eating her, but no one is shown tending to her gunshot wound either. The group could use more go-getters like her, so maybe Rick or Daryl should strike up a conversation with her, learn her name, more about her, etc. (Or more likely, just never see her again.)
Zombie of the Week
There was a bunch in the horde, and the bloody mouth girl and intubated Henry looked good, but I really liked this jawless guy whose forehead Rick shoves a steel rod into.
Come back next week as the Governor kills off all your favorite redshirts, this time played by entirely new actors! Until then, have a cry about killing your nameless comrades, and have a listen to this tune featured in the show: