Welcome back Sheriff Rick
There’s a new virus to fear on The Walking Dead.
The mysterious cause of geek Patrick’s death in the season premiere last week was answered on Sunday’s night’s episode, “Infected.” A fast moving flu, think zombie-pig flu, is making its way through the prison, according to Dr. Subramanian, a new character affectionately known as "Doctor S" who migrated from Woodbury (and may hold answers to this season’s bigger mysteries, even if he doesn't have a Wikipedia page yet).
There was a purging of Woodbury characters early in last night’s episode, as Patrick’s victims helped him make quick work of a sleeping cell block D. It didn’t take long for Daryl to squash the zombie rebellion, with the help of a reluctant Rick, Glenn and Sasha’s boot.
Glenn has a machete, FINALLY!
The most disturbing consequence of the chaos and mayhem was Carol offering to let a young girl kill her father before he turned. But Carol acts like this is completely normal, as if it is a rite of passage for any almost tween in the new zombie world. But the young girl is unable to stab her dad in the head, so Carol appropriately chastises her as being weak.
Don’t worry, though, because by the end of the episode the young girl is drawn to Carol’s knife and is exhibiting the same crazy eyes that were blazing in Killer Carl when he killed his mom and shot a guy in cold blood.
The biggest internal struggle, although he wore it on his sleeve in a very overt way, was Rick’s battle to keep being the zen post-apocalyptic farmer. He can shed his gun belt and hat, but he can’t shed his innate desire to be a zombie-killing authority figure. By the end of last night’s episode, after Rick has spent some time slaughtering zombies on the fence and creating pig bait, he has snapped out of his peaceful trance and may be ready to create a modified Rick-tatorship or maybe he’ll be able to pull a Cincinatus (that reference is for all the George Washington fans).
Rick isn’t heading into battle alone though, as he has re-deputized Carl, who has a gun again. While this will inevitably lead to more Carl-killing fun, I just hope it ups his credibility with farmer’s daughter Beth and their awkward sexual chemistry can start burning again.
In the coming episodes the inmates are going to have to deal with the flu that is sweeping through the prison. They’ll likely impose some sort of quarantine system, which is enforced by prison bars, to ensure they don’t get caught off-guard by a zombie with the flu again.
The long-term problem for the inmates is the crazy person who is feeding rats to walkers and apparently burning inmates that get sick. Our suspicions are supposed to be directed at D’Angelo Barksdale, who has reinvented his backstory and is pretending to be a former Army medic. He is quiet and deep, which are obvious signs that everyone should watch out. But because we’re supposed to think it is him, makes me think it isn’t him.
This had me thinking about poorly written television formulas and what outcomes they produce. A particularly bad crutch writers will rely on is the misdirection (D’Angelo) with the final reveal that a very minor secondary was the bad guy. In this case, my aim is set for “Doctor S.”
I don’t know why he would be feeing rats to the walkers (maybe that really is D’Angelo), but it would make sense he is burning bodies. There must be some crazy doctor logic that would make him think that was a good idea.
If he is the one burning the bodies then he should be on the lookout for the revenge of Tyreese/Cutty.
The trailer for next week’s episode, “Isolation,” doesn’t offer many hints about the episode. The name does suggest they’ll be in some sort of quarantine, which just screams excitement.
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