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Almost a perfect episode, really. Plenty of zombie-killing action, though I was never one of the haters that thought lack of action was a problem with the show. The problem has really been dull scenes and draggy subplots between the action scenes. No such problem here. I liked how much has changed since last we saw the group. Nobody really likes Rick; they just know he’s an effective leader. And when they have a chance, they go off in couplings and groups and leave him out of it.
Meanwhile, we’ve got romance in various stages for six of the characters (Glenn/Maggie, Carol/Daryl, maybe even Carl/Beth one of these days), with only Herschel and T-Dog left out. But that may change for T-Dog soon, once they meet up with Michonne, who is currently caring for a sick Andrea. Their scenes were good, because we know that not only is she a great fighter, she’s still got some compassion left, even if her holding two disarmed (literally) zombies shows how emotionally damaged she is.
The group wastes little time getting to the prison setting that should be their home for all this season, at least. There’s plenty of tension in clearing out the yard and one cellblock of walkers, with Herschel unfortunately being bitten, necessitating the removal of his leg at the knee. We’ll see if he can rebound for this or if the virus has already spread. It’s interesting to see how used to things everyone is now. While most of the women stay behind, they all know how to kill, and taking on a group of walkers is almost a bonding experience for them, or a good workout. It’s commonplace for the men, kind of a thrill for the women. Even Carl is a trusted walker-killer now, suitable for most missions.
The one storyline I wasn’t happy with is the Rick/Lori conflict. Early on, it seems she’s horrified at how hard-driving and inhuman he is, which is interesting, but later on, as Herschel checks on the baby, she reveals she’s sad because Rick won’t forgive her for cheating on him with Shane. It’s one of those problems with episodic television when time has passed: would Rick really have given her the brush-off for months? And if so, why would Herschel assure her that Rick would come around? I’m predicting it will be the birth of the baby where Rick relents and warms up to her again, which is pretty cliche and also pretty shitty. As we’ve seen, they’re no longer in a world of sentiment, and they’ve had to get used to trusting people they probably don’t like all that much, and they’ve seen a lot of people die. It’s time for Rock to let the anger and resentment go and just accept Lori’s faults like she’s willing to accept his.