AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 4, Episode 2: “Infected”
Directed by Guy Ferland
Written by Angela Kang
* For a recap & review of the Season 4 premiere, “30 Days Without An Accident” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Isolation” – click here
Someone is feeding rats to the walkers by the fence. My bet? The empathetic little girl from last episode who believes the zombies are “just different.” Elsewhere, there’s romance. With Karen (Melissa Ponzio) and Tyreese (Chad Coleman) spending time together, falling in love. They take it slow, even in this post-apocalypse life; a really romantic gesture, if there ever were one.
And in the darkness of the bathrooms that sick, dead boy from the Season 4 premiere comes back from the dead. Ready to walk the open halls of the prison, ready to infect everyone else. He stumbles into one of the cells and starts feeding on an unprotected neck. Uh oh. It has begun!
Before the terror begins we get more romance. Glenn (Steven Yeun) takes a mini Polaroid of Maggie (Lauren Cohan), the morning after in their little tower together. She doesn’t like the photograph, of course. But he cherishes it, and will for a long time. Something tangible in this fucked up world to hold onto, to help remember the good in the times of bad.
Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Carl (Chandler Riggs), Michonne (Danai Gurira) – everyone’s going on with their regular day, none the wiser of what’s started happening inside the prison. Part of Rick’s not using his gun isn’t just for him, it’s for his boy. He wants him to be someone else, to not become a hardened killer.
Then everything inside goes to shit in the cell block. Gunfire blazes, people start running. Carl winds up taking a gun out to help Michonne when she’s in trouble; he’s a damn fine shot, too. She ends up injuring a leg, but no bites. And walkers are seriously crowding the fence with all the noise. The integrity of their home is starting to waver. Daryl, Rick, Carol, everyone tries protecting the kids and those in trouble. However, they can’t stop those already bitten. All that’s left for them is mercy.
In the aftermath there’s nothing but loss. Some people turn, others mourn. It’s a brutal experience for all involved. The two little girls – Lizzie (Brighton Sharbino) and Mika (Kyla Kenedy) – they lose their father, who asks Carol to look out for them: “Like they‘re yours.” She promises to guard them. Such a heartbreaking moment. The girls are called to their father’s side to say goodbye, before Carol has to put him down before he turns.
Rick and the others find the young kid who died, which started everything in the cell block. They discover it’s a bad strain of flu, as Dr. Caleb Subramanian (Sunkrish Bala) and Hershel (Scott Wilson) ruminate on the cause, its effects, and what they need to do next to prevent a full-scale outbreak.
Right now all they know is those possibly exposed must be quarantined from the rest. A separation of the sick and possibly infected. The main crew aren’t showing any symptoms; yet. Precautions must be taken. So, they decide on putting the quarantined individuals in the death row cell block.
But there are other issues, such as the fence nearly caving in with the wall of zombies pushing up against it. Everybody’s got more work to do than normal. It’s nice to at least see Rick in ass kicking mode again, even if just for the moment. At the fence, Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) notices the dead rats someone’s been feeding to the walkers.
Beth: “When you care about people, hurt is kinda part of the package.”
Inside, we also see more about Michonne, that she has a sensitivity to the crying of children. There’s absolutely a reluctance in her to be near a baby, to hold one. With Judith in her arms she all but breaks down, then finally hugs the child against her. A sad story lies in Michonne’s past.
We start seeing the two worlds of Rick collide. He has to reconcile wanting to be a peaceful farmer with the other part of life in post-apocalypse living, the death and the killing. He puts a plan into effect, using his pigs to lure the walkers away. As they feed on the helpless animals, it’s like a metaphor for what needs to be done in this nasty world. That it isn’t about growing plants, nor is it about raising livestock and breeding new life; it’s about death, sacrifice, doing whatever they have to do in order to keep living another day. And the sacrifice of the pigs gives the others enough time to reinforce the fence.
Meanwhile, Carol is trying to prepare Lizzie and Mika for the real world, trying to get through to them about the realities they face going forward. She does so in an honest yet touching way.
Carl also tells his dad about what Carol’s been doing under his nose; dad isn’t mad, he’s beginning to realise the kids need to face things head on. He knows this for his own son, too. He can’t shield Carl from reality, or else it will eat him alive. So he gives him a gun again. Then he puts his holster back on, gun at his side. A new dawn for the Grimes family and the crew at the prison. Not that there aren’t tough times coming with the sickness lingering.
When Tyreese goes to find his lady, he only discovers blood. Trails of it leading into the halls. Out in the prison yard, he finds burned corpses. One of which is Karen. Who killed them? Who burned their corpses? All I know is Tyreese is going to rage.
Such a solid follow-up to the premiere of this season. Everything is messed up, and in the same vein there’s more hope again. Also, mystery when it comes to whoever’s burned Karen and the other dead body next to her. “Isolation” is the next episode. Lots of intrigue to come, many intense moments will happen.