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Walking Dead: Indifference

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Walking Dead Indifference

This week’s Walking Dead left the prison behind for a pair of road trips, giving us a dynamic and strangely sad episode.

The episode begins with an unsettling sequence cutting between Rick preparing for a run to find food and Carol having a talk with young Lizzie, all set to a throbbing score. Lizzie has a weird philosophy, that it’s better to be something terrible than nothing at all, comparing dying and turning into a zombie to growing up and becoming an adult. Carol instills her ultra pragmatic attitude in Lizzie, telling her you can’t hesitate to kill people to save yourself.

I thought of something while watching the credits this week (I love the Walking Dead theme so much I always watch it, even if I’ve got the show DVRed). A classic zombie trope is corpses surging up through the ground, making graveyards really dangerous. We’ve never really seen that on Walking Dead, though, and realistically (a funny thing to say when we’re talking about zombies), a human corpse could not get out of a coffin and up through six feet of earth.

But can we assume that the virus has somehow been transmitted to them, probably via groundwater seeping into their graves? Does that mean there are millions of zombies in coffins groaning and clawing away in the dark for years and years?

The episode’s adventures are split between Ty, Daryl, Michonne and Alky Bob still raiding the vet school, and Rick and Carol looting suburbs. Let’s tackle the vet group first. They find a car near a store, both covered in kudzu. Ty busts a door open in his rage, releasing a few walkers. This was a cool scene with some great zombie makeups, and the final shot of all the vines with chopped up corpses hanging in them was sweet. It’s clear that Ty is mentally broken.

They repair a car and work their way to the vet school, finding all the supplies need fairly easily. Alky Bob takes some alcohol, which he uses to quell the demons that stem from being the sole survivor of two different groups. But he carries the bottle of booze instead of medicine. When Daryl finds out, he gets pretty pissed and threatens to chuck the bottle, which actually makes Alky Bob reach for his gun. Daryl doesn’t let him keep the gun.

There were some great tense moments in the vet school, with the team caught between some infected zombies with the bleeding eyes and some zombie regulars. Best of all, the small moments between people don’t feel like endless chatting the way it can back at the prison. Daryl and Alky Bob, Michonne and Ty, Michonne and Daryl, all had some interesting conversations. It seems like maybe Michonne is going to stick around a bit more now, but Daryl’s had a rough ride. Every time he lets his guard down, someone screws him over or lets him down. How’s he going to feel when he finds out about what Carol did?

Carol and Rick find a friendly couple in a house. We learn a bit about regional zombie naming conventions. Skineaters down here. “We call ‘em walkers.” They answer Rick’s three questions and want to join the prison colony (I’d have said, “Well, call me when the plague is gone.”). Rick wants them to hang tight until he and Carol finish their supply run, but they really want to help and promise to be super careful, so you know that obviously they’re both going to be killed within minutes. Sure enough they find the girl’s leg not long after, and the rest of her being chowed on by walkers. Or skineaters.

The girl’s boyfriend never shows up at the meeting place. Carol prods Rick into making some kind of decision or saying something about her admission to murdering two people. “You can be a farmer, but you can’t be just a farmer.” All of Carol’s justifications for the murders sound like B.S. to me. Rick was right, they were just sick and may have survived. We get a pretty deep look into Carol’s personality though, discovering that her pragmatic ways were born back when she was with her abusive husband. She knows how to reset a dislocated shoulder because she used to have to do it to herself.

Nevertheless, Rick knows her actions can’t be kept secret, and once known they will tear the prison society to pieces. He banishes Carol, telling her she’s strong enough to live on her own and giving her a car full of supplies. Now she must survive alone: Carol, Who Walks in Exile. She seemed pretty adamant about not leaving her “kids” behind, so I have a feeling she’ll turn up at the prison before too long.

The final scene featured Rick alone and Daryl’s crew making the long drive back home. Something about it felt particularly sad. There’s a heaviness about Carol having to leave the prison beyond what you might feel if she had just died, maybe because it acknowledges that some things can’t survive trauma. As Carol said in her opening monologue, “We change.”

It could be that you could never live in such a world if you still had any kind of empathy at all. The only option is Indifference.

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Posted by on Sunday, November 3rd, 2013. Filed under Dark TV, Headline. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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