The wrath of the deadly virus outbreak reaches its pinnacle this week on The Walking Dead. How did the show fare when we focus back on the goings-on at the prison as they await the life-saving medicine?
Let’s bitch it out.
‘Internment’ is a perfunctory episode that (hopefully) brings the virus outbreak plot to its rightful end. Last week we saw the medicine-seeking crew succeed in their mission and this week we’re amidst the eye-bleeding, blood-choking sick, waiting for them to return. Gallantly, Hershel (Scott Wilson) holds down the fort, caring for and shielding the sick from the painful reality of their imminent futures.
Wilson definitely gets the award for MVP this season as he delivers one of the strongest performances of the series. From how he tell Glen (Steven Yuen) to shut-up and help him in an effort to keep him distracted from his symptoms, cracking dumb jokes about spaghetti, to gently reassuring Maggie (Lauren Cohan) that loves her despite significantly increasing his chances of expiration by voluntarily joining the quarantine, Wilson shows us the depth of his talent. It’s incredibly heartwarming to see Hershel doing regular rounds among the sick in the dank cell block, urging them to drink tea and stubbornly willing them to keep on fighting. Hershel reminds us of fundamentally what it means to be human. He serves as an important contrast to last week where we saw Carol (Melissa McBride) subscribing to the “kill first, repent later” method, shrugging her shoulders all in the name of ‘what’s best for the group”. I wondered last week if Carol was justified in what she did, but seeing Hershel put his own life in danger all on the small chance that those infected might be saved – it’s difficult to see Carol on the winning side of things. Hershel’s actions to save the ‘sad souls’ are a poignant counterpoint to Carol’s methods.
But despite Wilson’s excellent performance, the episode does seem to drag on as we wait for the episode’s inevitable final moments when the medicine team arrives. I’ve said it before: there’s no way that we’d lose Glen to this virus outbreak, so although his brush with death is well executed, the suspense was lost on me. I will, however, give the show props in delivering one tragic death amongst the nameless prison folk – I let out a sad little whimper when I saw that Dr. Caleb (Sunkrish Bala) didn’t make it.
We need only see an eye-patch in profile to know that the medicine has, in all likelihood, wiped out the viral threat (isn’t that convenient?) so that we can focus on the next big threat that awaits us in subsequent weeks. As much as I want to know what the hell caused the virus in the first place and why I don’t particularly care for how quickly it was done away with, the outbreak dragged down the momentum we got in seasons prior. Ultimately the storyline was a convenient (and lazy) way to consolidate the prison group to only a few new characters and I for one, am anxious for us to move on to something more interesting.
- Rick (Andrew Lincoln) returns and quickly tells Maggie the reason why Carol is no longer with him. It’s great to see that he’s not keeping this information to himself as that would lead to inevitable, drawn out and yawn inducing ‘drama’. It’s interesting that he asks Maggie if she would have done the same, only to chide her by saying she should never doubt herself in this world. Essentially, that’s exactly what he’s doing – doubting himself. It’s only after he hears Maggie agreeing with his choice to banish that he’s able to boost himself atop that moral high horse.
- The stuff with Rick and Carl (Chandler Riggs) is liberating as metaphorically Rick’s fruitless efforts to shield and baby Carl collapse as the prison fences do. It’s sweet to see them bonding over machine guns as they take out the herd, but the subsequent sharing of the peas (from the pod!) was vomit inducing. Know when to quit while you’re ahead, Walking Dead.
- Speaking of the herd – was I the only one who was wondering why no one was addressing the problem that the fence broke come morning? Clearing the herd was one thing, but without that fence, the prison is totally open to more herds, unless I’m missing something…
- Lizzie (Brighton Sharbino) continues to freak me out as she swirls her cowboy boot in Glen’s blood/phlegm spit up on the cell floor. What the eff is up with this kid? She doesn’t even look (or sound) sick. Something is rotten in the state of Lizzie…
- Fruit leather and teeth brushing: The apocalypse is no excuse to neglect good oral hygiene. Seriously – where did that line come from? Did the writers place bets on what awkward lines could actually make it into the show?
What did you think viewers? Do you think the virus outbreak has finally been contained? What do you think The Governor’s (David Morrissey) plans are? Has he been the one feeding the walkers the rats, or does he have a man, woman or child (effin’ Lizzie…) on the inside? Share your theories in the comments section below.
A gentle reminder that we adhere to a SPOILER FREE zone here, so please keep any plot points from the graphic novels to yourself.
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9pm EST on AMC.