Although this week’s episode of The Walking Dead is titled “Indifference,” I’d bet just about anything that you’ll react to it with anything but. Cue the heartache in 3, 2…
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WORST CASE SCENARIO | As the hour begins, Rick — haunted by what he learned last week — imagines Carol putting an ailing Maggie out of her misery. (Who knew she was his favorite?) Next thing you know, he’s chosen Karen and what’s-his-name’s killer to accompany him on a supply run. (Coincidence? Hmm… ) Before Carol departs, she reassures Lizzie — who’s still romanticizing zombieism — that she’ll recover just fine from the flu and coaches her again on survival tactics. “Yes, Mom,” the girl says. “I mean ma’am.” Carol doesn’t make a big deal of it, but she does make a deal of it. Don’t do that again, she tells her ward. Not even as a mistake
HELL ON WHEELS | Elsewhere, Tyreese makes himself such a road hazard to Daryl, Michonne and Bob that Michonne finally asks him point blank, “Are you trying to die?” She knows he’s full of rage over Karen’s murder. (Less so over what’s-his-name’s.) However, she’s quick to note, “Anger makes you stupid. Stupid gets you killed.” By and by, that logic — coupled with Daryl’s jibes about how it’s not so hard to get to know people when you stick around one place for a while — convinces Michonne to give up following the Governor’s (cold) trail. (Which has to mean we’ll be seeing ol’ One-Eye again any week now, right?)
FRESH MEAT | Raiding suburban houses for aspirin and string cheese (probably not their literal grocery list), Rick and Carol meet a young couple who, in spite of his dislocated shoulder and her bum leg, have managed thus far to elude what they call the “skin-eaters.” While the newbies set off in search of supplies to prove their competency to Rick, Carol encourages the jailhouse survivors’ former leader to step up anew. “You can be a farmer,” she says. But “you can’t JUST be a farmer.” (Perhaps to underscore that point, the girl newbie — who seems as likely to stab a walker in the head as kiss one on the mouth — is soon discovered being eaten. And, to add injury to insult, missing her bum leg.)
DRINK FOR THOUGHT | While scoring new wheels at a garage staffed by the walkerized family that ran it, Daryl surprises Bob with his lack of empathy for the undead, who committed suicide in the wake of the zombpacalypse. However, Daryl DOES cut Bob a break when he admits that he went on the ill-fated Big Spot run just to pocket some liquor — an endeavor that killed Beaver Casablancas, no less! So, when Bob risks his life not for the medicine the foursome finally scores at the veterinary school but for yet another bottle of booze, Daryl’s fury is damn near as scary as Tyreese’s. (Now that is gonna be one long-ass ride back to prison!)
HIT THE ROAD | Finally, the episode ends with a crushing blow. After Rick and Carol have one brutal heart-to-heart after another — about everything from their late spouses to Karen and what’s-his-name’s murders (“You don’t have to like what I did,” Carol offers) — he informs her that she won’t be accompanying him back to the prison. Carol has an answer for everything — why she did it, what Rick would have done in her shoes, the threat of Tyreese throttling her. But, in the end, none of it matters. “I won’t have you there,” Rick states with finality, his leadership hat clearly back on. Offering cold comfort, he tells Carol that she’s strong, she’ll meet new people, she’ll make it. All she says in response is, “Maybe.”
Okay, your turn. Were you surprised that Rick banished Carol? He may have saved her from Tyreese, but who’s gonna save Rick from Daryl when he finds out? Personally, I’m gonna miss Carol — and Melissa McBride — like crazy (assuming they’re both really gone). As the character evolved, she became one of my favorites.