AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 3, Episode 4: “Killer Within”
Directed by Guy Ferland
Written by Sang Kyu Kim
* For a review of the previous episode, “Walk with Me” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Say the Word” – click here
This episode starts with a dead deer carcass being dragged off by someone also holding a jerrycan. Two walkers end up coming across bits and pieces of the deer. Then across the concrete someone runs, axe in hand. They chop the lock from a gate then lay a fresh heart on the ground before running off. Mysterious, eerie. Foreboding.
Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Daryl (Norman Reedus), Carol (Melissa McBride) and T-Dog (Irone Singleton) are doing some work in the prison yard. They need help, but Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) are busy having sex up in the guard tower. Lighthearted moment when Daryl calls out to them, breaking up their little time alone. But things get back to seriousness, as prisoners Axel (Lew Temple) and Oscar (Vincent Ward) come outside. This breaks their previous pact. But the two men are sick of being stuck inside with all their dead former friends. It’s tough with bodies everywhere, blood, guts. People they were locked up with in there for years. Most of them don’t want to let the prisoners in with them. Although, T-Dog is a little more willing to work on it instead of essentially letting these men die. A bit of talk happens before things are settled.
Back at Woodbury, we find Michonne (Danai Gurira) checking the place out. She investigates everything. Including one of the National Guard vehicles, which still has blood on it. The Governor (David Morrissey) appears, constantly trying to sell the place: “We could use a soldier like you.” She is not at all impressed or convinced. Further than that, she’s suspicious already of what exactly happened with the National Guardsmen. Also, Michonne points out the bullet holes in the vehicle. Of course The Governor has an answer for everything. He’s a sly, greasy man. We know that there’s something wrong, underneath it all, having seen his virtual wall of floating walker heads. Nasty stuff. He’s all about the surface – appearance, identity. Whatever works is The Governor’s game.
The prison is stable for the time being. And so is Hershel (Scott Wilson). Inside, Carl (Chandler Riggs), Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) and Beth (Emily Kinney) try to help the older fella adjust to his new situation on one leg. Things aren’t exactly peachy, though, they could be far worse. That group, Rick, Daryl, all of them, they are a special breed of survivor.
At the same time, Andrea and Michonne are both survivors in their own right. It seems like Andrea is sliding into believing Woodbury might be a good place to stay after all. Michonne does not agree. Are they going to reach an agreement somehow? They’re better together, not apart.
Rick, Daryl and Glenn are leading some improvements on the prison yard. The plan is to, someday soon, plants crops in the soil; first, the bodies must be cleared. Getting fresh air Hershel admires their latest home. This is a refreshing sight to see. Not only does Maggie enjoy watching her father up on his own, there’s also a reaffirming look between Lori and Rick.
Then behind Carl and his mother, Hershel and Beth, a pack of walkers appear. Out by the fences, Daryl, Rick and Glenn rush fast as they can to help the others. All of a sudden, as is in the new zombie wasteland, a normal day has turned into the savage fight to survive we see now. Never can a day just go by without having to fight for your life, which is a brutal lesson these people are learning all over again. Worst of all? T-Dog gets bitten in the shoulder trying to secure a fence. His fate is sealed.
Meanwhile, there’s Merle trying to get information out of Andrea. He makes The Governor and Woodbury out to be the be-all end-all of human civilization, of course, but that’s to be expected. He rags on Daryl for becoming a part of the other group, following Rick, yet there Merle is sucking up to The Governor every chance he gets, to his face or to someone else.
The prison’s become a mess. Chaos and tragedy. In the tomb-like tunnels, T-Dog shuffles along bit promising to get Carol out of there, one way or another. Simultaneously, Carl manages to protect his mother for a little while with Maggie helping. But Lori’s pregnancy is about to make things fairly difficult.
Stark contrast with The Governor back at Woodbury, up on one of the walls cracking golf balls into the road down the way. One ball smacks a zombie in the face. Merle admires The Governor’s drive, again puckering up. Merle also suggests a scouting mission: he wants, needs, to find Daryl. Only the leader doesn’t find it that attractive of a plan. He doesn’t want to spare the men, nor does he want Merle gone either when a solo trip is suggested. Is this really under the guise of protecting Merle? Or is it selfish? The Governor feels threatened, thinking maybe Merle would run off and leave Woodbury. Shows how fragile of a leadership there is in him. A little later, The Governor meets privately with Andrea. Though she says they’re leaving, definitely. Goodbyes are said. Only I don’t feel like the two women are going anywhere. Not Andrea, anyways.
Rick is trying to track down his family. Him, Daryl, Glenn and the two prisoners rush through the prison to look for a way to shut down the alarm, ringing loud, drawing walkers from out of the woods towards the building. And Lori is stuck in a boiler room, Maggie and her son alongside, ready to give birth. The oldest Greene daughter is now tasked with helping to deliver a baby, a partially traumatized Carl trying his best to stay strong, on watch with his gun in hand. This is one of the most intense and rough scenes in The Walking Dead history. Quickly, things start to go wrong.
A sacrifice is made by T-Dog as he and Carol try getting through the prison tunnels. He suppresses several walkers, taking bite after bite in the arms, then the neck, all for Carol to run free and make it back outside. Always tragic character deaths in this series. Sad. I loved T-Dog; Irone Singleton does a great job with him, even if he doesn’t always get enough time onscreen. Either way, too bad to see him go.
Rick finally tracks down the culprit of all the mayhem in the prison – the prisoner he’d told to run after their confrontation with Tomas ended bloodily. After a bit of wrestling and fighting, Oscar ends up with the gun. Instead of shooting Rick, he shoots his former friend then hands the gun over to Sheriff Grimes. Unexpected, yet excellent. They’ve developed at least a tenuous bond to stay alive, as long as they’re in the same walls.
Troubled times ahead for the Grimes family, though.
Things aren’t going well for Lori and her birth. She needs the baby saved, there are complications, and insists on it, to Maggie’s dismay. It looks as if the mother may not necessarily make it out of this alive. She tells Carl “you take care of your daddy for me“, telling him he’s “so brave“. An emotionally terrifying scene to watch a young son and his mother in this situation. The advice she gives him breaks my heart. I don’t actually love Lori as a character, but these moments will kill you, unless you’re dead inside. Their goodbye is tender, full of tears. Lori doesn’t want Rick to have to kill her when everything is over, as she once said to Hershel; she asks Maggie to do the deed. And then Maggie cuts into her stomach, opening it up to get the baby out. It is a bloody, visceral minute or so before the baby starts to cry, alive and well.
Even worse is afterward when Carl has to shoot his mom in the head. He flashes back to when Rick told him about death, and “no more kid stuff“. The shot rings out while Maggie is around the corner, then Carl walks away emotionless. Such a savage world in which to grow up.
The mangled body of T-Dog is found by Rick and Daryl. They find Hershel and Beth safely, assuming Carol might have been killed, as well. And just as they stop talking, Rick hears a baby crying. Out Maggie and Carl come with the newborn child. No Lori. This prompts one of the most emotionally devastating scenes in the entire series; to date. Rick breaks down, literally crumpling on the ground. Everyone is shocked to their core. The end, for another chapter.
Next episode is “Say the Word”. More blood, death, despair. And what else?