A mere four episodes into the season, The Walking Dead delivers a shocking, season finale-esque episode where we lose at least two members of the original cast. Will the bloodbath prove fruitful for the rest of the season?
Let’s bitch it out.
One of the casualties will invariably have a profound effect on our characters going forward. Of course I’m talking about Lori Grimes (Sarah Wayne Callies). Rick (Andrew Lincoln) will no doubt be shattered, and this loss will significantly alter his leadership abilities. And perhaps that is what is most disturbing about Lori’s death. I’ve long been a member of the “I Hate Lori” club, but over the course of season three and her subsequent estrangement from Rick, I found her growing on me. This was more out of a reaction of severe sympathy for Rick, who has become increasingly gaunt and exhausted – I really wanted something positive for him considering all the flack he’s gotten for stepping up and being a leader. And what’s more positive than love?
Remember when Rick and Lori first reunited and they were spouting all these wonderful niceties about having a second chance and not wanting to waste it? Rick deserves that kind of happiness, especially now. The last intimate moment between Rick and Lori in the prison breezeway was utterly heartbreaking, giving us a glimpse into some of the problems they had right before Rick was shot and went into the coma that separated them during the initial phases of the zombie-apocalypse. It was a scene wrought with unsaid emotion, and now that Lori’s gone, there’s no chance of reconciliation: no closure; no final goodbye. There is no more Rick and Lori and frankly, I’m terribly sad about that. Rick is very clearly the point of identification for viewers and seeing him constantly go through one horrible thing after another is draining. My heart literally broke during those final moments of the episode when Rick realizes that Lori is gone. If Andrew Lincoln doesn’t get an Emmy nom for this performance, there is no justice in the world.
Although this gives ample material for Rick’s character to develop, I’m extremely uneasy and anxious about what path that’s going to be, because it can’t possibly be good. I suppose the silver lining is Baby Grimes – perhaps Lori’s sacrifice will be Rick’s redemption, and he can break-through his emotional barrier for the sake of this new life. But I anticipate a long, drawn-out grief arc for Rick that will take time to develop – after all Lori deserves that much. With theinevitable showdown between Rick and The Governor (David Morrissey) looming, I’m hoping Rick’s grief won’t hinder him and what’s remains of the Grimes gang.
Lori’s death will have other significant ramifications: most specifically with Carl (Chandler Riggs) and even Maggie (Lauren Cohan). Carl, of course, for witnessing not one but two motherly deaths: 1) having her insides ripped open and 2) shooting her in the head to avoid her “turning”. I would be scared for this kid, if it weren’t for the absolutely touching goodbye he shares with Lori moments before he finishes her off. In her insistence that Carl “is good” there remains a hope that he’ll continue to do the right thing moving forward. It’s odd that shooting his mother in the head is a symbol of hope for me, but there you have it. I also think the flashback to Rick’s heart-to-heart with Carl last season was effectively employed just before Carl pulls the trigger. Normally, I would harp on such tactics, suggesting that they’re emotionally manipulative and cheesy, but in this moment, it really works.
Maggie’s on-the-verge-of-a-nervous-breakdown reaction is also quite fitting. I wonder if she’ll be significantly damaged and wracked with guilt over her role in this drama. My money is that she’ll take on the role of surrogate mother for Baby Grimes in order to cope with her role in Lori’s death (and cowardly going back on her promise to Lori that she’ll ensure Lori doesn’t turn into a walker).
Although Lori’s death is significant, I can’t say the same for the other major causality in this episode. Poor T-Dog (IronE Singleton). Although he dies in a poignant act of heroism, (two if you count him closing the gate and getting bit in the first place), I’m still scratching my head why The Walking Dead choose this particular episode to kill him. It’s frustrating because I never felt like he was actually given a fair shot on the show, which makes his death even more unsatisfactory. T-Dog’s exit feels like a cheap ploy on the part of the writers to hammer home the notion that “no one is safe” (as if we didn’t know this already). Either that, or they’re ramping up the death count to have tongues wagging the next day.
Ultimately the coupling of T-Dog’s death with Lori’s takes away from his death. He’s simply not as significant a character as Mrs. Grimes. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised by this decision as it pretty much falls in line with his character continually getting the sh*t-end of the stick throughout the series. I also can’t help but wonder if Oscar (Vincent Ward) is meant to serve as a replacement for T-Dog as the “token black guy” in the group. (Although Oscar’s already infinitely more interesting in this one episode than T-Dog was throughout the entire series). My gripe here is that I feel T-Dog was never given the opportunity to be a full-fledged character, so losing him should feel more significant, but it doesn’t. It feels as though T-Dog died so that the writers could pat themselves on the back on how daring they could be, and even with our limited attachment to him, T-Dog deserved better than that.
- Carol (Melissa McBride) may have bit the dust as well. All that remains of her is a discarded headscarf that Daryl (Norman Reedus) finds (and strokes lovingly, depending on how you read their relationship). I’m thinking she’s probably survived. After all, how many more people can the Grimes gang lose? (Feel free to laugh at that)
- Turns out the prison saboteur is Andrew (Markice Moore), having survived Rick’s abandonment post-machte-ing Tomas (Nick Gomez) a couple of episodes ago. This revelation is not going to go down well for Rick, who will likely blame himself for the death of Lori because he didn’t properly dispose of Andrew in the first place.
- I mentioned it briefly, but hats off to Sarah Wayne Callies who really delivers a beautiful death scene. Her final line: “Goodnight, Love” (directed at Rick) is absolutely gut wrenching. Lori and Rick 4EVA!
- Michonne (Danai Gurira) and Andrea (Laurie Holden) are also sprinkled throughout the episode, but their scenes offer little in terms of development. Michonne becomes increasingly suspicious of The Governor while inspecting the new artillery from the massacred soldiers from last week, and Andrea continues to flirt with The Governor. As much as I appreciate the break from the carnage over on at Camp Grimes, the cutaways to Woodbury are momentum stalling. Side Note: It looks like Andrea is swiftly becoming my most hated character this season!
- Michonne’s katana is still locked up in The Governor’s china cabinet despite his reassurances to Andrea that their weapons are “waiting for them at the gate”. Obviously if the two were to leave Woodbury as planned, they would either be executed, or worse.
What did you think of all the carnage, Walking Dead fans? Are you happy that Lori is gone? What about T-Dog? Any guesses on what happened to Carol? Do you think Daryl will go on a mission to find her? Will Rick ever find out what Carl had to do? What do you think will become of Rick for the rest of the season? Sound off in our comments section below.
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The Walking Dead airs at 9pm EST, Sundays on AMC