'The Walking Dead' Season 4 Episode 4 Recap: Rick Is the New Carol
This week's episode of The Walking Dead was titled "Indifference." This accurately describes my feelings on the episode. For the most part, "Indifference" was slow, uninteresting, and disappointing given the dramatic and brutal tone that Season 4 has thus far set. But it provided some interesting character shifts that, hopefully, will set the scene for high drama.
At the start of the episode, we see Daryl, Tyreese, Michonne, and Bob trying to get an abandoned car to start at a gas station. There were many parts of this episode that didn't need to exist and this was one of them. The entire sequence at the gas station felt like filler: no plot point was advanced, and nothing really interesting happened. The only thing that we learned from the 30 minutes of gas station is that Tyreese really wanted to hug that walker, and that Bob is an alcoholic (Hello, Bob). The episode is driven by an inability to let go. Together, the characters try to overcome that. Tyreese couldn't let the walker go, Bob couldn't drop his bag full of booze, Rick ended up letting Carol go, and Ana let her leg go (albeit unwillingly).
The Fantastic Four's journey ends with their grabbing the drugs from the veterinary school. From the coloring to the tense corridor violence, the school could have been a location from The Last of Us (which is a good thing). The moment after Bob saves his booze bag, Daryl gets angry and puffs his chest out in Silverback Gorilla fashion. Distracted with insignificant things, everyone manages to ignore the fact that the Walkers are crawling through the window behind them. When I say everyone, that includes the director and production crew who also managed to forget about the Walkers and leave that sequence unfulfilled. The group then leaves the vet school with about three minutes left in the show. The entire vet school plot ended up being disappointing and slow. It was paced oddly, the walker fighting sequences were over quickly, and the scenes of Michonne and Tyreese sitting at a gas station waiting for Daryl to fix a car were depressingly long.
On the other storyline, Carol and Rick decided to go out for a supply run and make passive-aggressive comments to each other. The run culminates in Rick and Carol killing a single walker and meeting the Children of the Fruit. Ana and Sam are introduced as instant Red-Shirts in The Walking Dead, and the point of those two characters is confusing at best. Maybe they were meant to demonstrate that Carol retained her humanity (and was not a sociopath), or to allow Rick and Carol time to air their grievances? Personally, I'm leaning towards the latter. This lull allows Rick and Carol to think about their pasts, and it is shocking to see how disconnected Carol is from everyone that she's lost. She doesn't acknowledge Sofia as her daughter, and writes off her boorish, abusive husband quickly. Rick and Carol's Excellent Adventure ends with Rick kicking Carol out of the group (because of all of those pesky "murders") and looking stoic as he drives back to the prison in his lime-green Hyundai. This is a sad development, Carol has become my favorite character on The Walking Dead, and I hope that this isn't a permanent banishment.
All criticisms aside, I did not "hate" this episode. At best, I was "indifferent" (ha, puns!). This episode felt like filler. It seemed as though both the Rick and Carol plot, and the Fantastic Four plotlines could have been shortened to allow for any sort of plot development. Hopefully, this episode could just be the "calm before the storm." As Lizzie put it, "I think that a lot of people are going to die." I really hope that she's right. This character episode seems to be setting the stage for a bloodbath in next week's "Internment." Is it wrong to want about 80% of these background characters to get the axe ... or bullet, hammer, or bite?
A Few More Things:
For someone in the sick ward, Lizzie doesn't look very sick. Could Carol be covering for her? Lizzie accidentally calls Carol "mom." Carol puts her foot down instantaneously. The group had a Dodge last week and a Hyundai this week. Does the Walking Dead oscillate between automotive sponsors? We learn that Carol was murdering people to save lives! That's definitely more palatable. For a new character, Bob has been in a surprising three major zombie fights. Bob: 3, Zombies: 0. The fruit duo seemed sketchy, but it turned out that they were okay. Apricots are a sign of goodness. I was as invested in the Steven Seagal movie marathon commercials as I was in the Daryl-Michonne-Bob-Tyreese storyline. (The Glimmer Man holds a special place in my heart. I am aware that it is a terrible movie.) With Rick kicking Carol out of the group, the Ricktatorship has been restored! Long live Rick. Members of the Atlanta group left: Rick, Daryl, Carl, and Glenn No sight of Glenn or Maggie this episode. For anyone keeping track, still no Governor. Just thought that you should know.
The Governor needs to come back, soon. Hopefully he and Carol team up to form the evil version of the Wonder Twins.
If you were let down by "Indifference," watch this short film set in the zombie apocalypse. It's really good, I promise.