Here are the four things to remember before watching this episode. Or, um, reading this recap…
The zombies have found the survivor camp. And killed a bunch of them.
Amy died at the end of the last episode. From a zombie dismemberment.
Did Shane lie to Lori about Rick’s death? Back in episode three, Lori started to wonder if Shane purposely misled her when he told her Rick was dead. Maybe Shane knew Rick was really alive, but thought he could get into her pants if he told her otherwise. We don’t know for sure yet, but misdeeds like this seldom tend to turn out well.
The promise to Morgan and Duane. Rick said he would radio them every morning on the walkie-talkie, and when a man gives his word, he sticks to it.
RICK, WITH A WALKIE TALKIE
Here we go. It’s dawn after the zombie attack. Rick’s in the new makeshift graveyard that overlooks the Atlanta skyline, on the walkie-talkie to Morgan and Duane.
This is the first morning he’s had the walkie-talkie in his possession since he lost the bag of guns so long ago, so he’s giving them an update of all that’s happened—they shouldn’t go to Atlanta because it’s overrun; instead they should come to the camp, near the huge rock quarry outside the city; but even the camp isn’t safe after last night’s attack; finally, he reminds Morgan to take care of his son.
That last piece of advice sounded like it was more for his own benefit than for Morgan’s, since he’s probably losing his handle on things from being distraught over the recent events. Not to mention he’s probably had no sleep.
I hear ya dude. I’m still jet-lagged from my Thanksgiving flight and I just had some pad thai, so I’m super drowsy.
He gets no response. To wrap up, he promises he’ll try again tomorrow.
Back with the others, Andrea hasn’t moved from Amy’s body all night. Lori approaches and gently suggests they should take care of Amy’s body before she comes back as a zombie. She promises they’ll be gentle.
Then they cut to Daryl pickaxeing one of the bodies through the head so it won’t reanimate.
Then they’re throwing all the bodies onto a huge bonfire because I guess they forgot about that whole zombies-hunt-by-scent thing.
This has been the main activity since the attack, but now, everyone’s worried about the Andrea situation. They need to deal with Amy’s body the same as the others. Rick volunteers to tell Andrea what’s what.
And, she pulls her gun on him, the one Rick earlier showed her how to handle properly. Ain’t nobody gonna be burning her sister’s corpse. Rick backs off.
A lot of this episode consists of the characters all debating what to do next. This time, it’s more discussion of how to deal with Andrea. Daryl reminds everyone that Amy’s body is a ticking time bomb, and he should just crossbow her from long range. As he hick-says, “Hell, I can hit a turkey right between the eyes from this distance. [Go Brett Favre].” (Brackets added). Lori won’t allow it. Andrea’s been through enough.
Hahaha…women. So sensitive.
Daryl, Morales, and Glen continue to dispose of the bodies. They start to drag the body of that unnamed survivor who got his shoulder eaten up last week toward the burn pile, but Glen objects. The fire is for zombies. Humans who died are to be buried. Daryl points out how that’s stupid, because both are infected either way.
I get it, it’s a horrible situation and who knows how I’d act, and this is the theme of the show, blah blah blah, but seriously, Glen’s being a sanctimonious little prick
Maybe Daryl agrees with me, because suddenly here he gets angry and shouts at them for abandoning Merle. The zombie attack is karma for that, maybe? It’s pretty loosely tied in.
OUTSIDE THE RV
Meanwhile, Jacqui notices some blood on Jim’s shirt. She asks him point-blank: was he bitten during the attack? He denies it, but he’s a terrible liar, so she gets him to admit it. He asks her not to tell anyone, but immediately on hearing that she starts shouting to the others about it.
So it looks like they have a second situation to deal with. Everyone circles around Jim. He picks up a shovel to defend himself. They quickly disarm him and pull up his shirt. He has a nasty, festering zombie bite. All he can do is murmur pathetically that he’s OK.
So again, everyone discusses how to handle this. Daryl again takes the most violent and unsympathetic option, that they should just pickaxe Jim in the head right now, while he’s still alive. Dale, surprisingly, agrees.
But Rick and Shane can’t stomach doing that. Rick even has an idea—they should all go to the CDC, if it still exists, and see about getting Jim a cure. And even if there is no cure, at least they will all be in a safer location.
Even though he doesn’t want to kill Jim, Shane thinks going to the CDC is stupid. If any governmental structure still exists, it’s the army base at Fort Benning. Problem is, that’s 100 miles in the opposite direction, and may not have any disease research going on.
Daryl gets sick of all the talk and takes his pickaxe toward Jim. Rick intervenes.
“I make the questionable decisions around here, compadre.”
This is the scene from all the trailers, where Rick declares that they will never kill the living. Even though he and Rick disagree on many things, Shane says, not this one.
Daryl throws down his pickaxe. Rick escorts Jim away.
THE CAMP, LATER
Back to Andrea. She’s still lingering over the body. Now Dale comes over to try his luck at comforting her.
He pays his respects, and tells Andrea the story of how he lost his wife: a few years ago she got cancer. He dragged her to every doctor and got her every test, surgery, chemo, until finally she accepted her fate. But he never could. He’s been enraged ever since, felt cheated. Yet since his wife’s death, Amy and Andrea were the first people he cared anything for. Andrea softens up.
“OK, Rick, GRAB HER!”
Andrea then tells a story of her own. Today would have been Amy’s birthday. Birthdays in their family were always a week-long affairs, but Andrea always missed Amy’s. (Like all twenty-some birthdays? OK…) So, Andrea has always felt guilty about not being there for Amy and today was supposed to change that. She places the mermaid pendant on Amy’s chest.
Then there’s another quick cut to Daryl splitting a skull open.
THE FIRE PIT
Do you want to see what the zombies did to Ed? Here you go:
“I want my baby back, baby back, baby back…”
Carol walks up, and Daryl offers her the pickaxe to do the honors on her late husband. She accepts. It’s tough emotionally, but with enough resolve she’s able to swing the pickaxe.
And they show it hit:
Then she swings like five more times.
Sometimes a character can say so much without any dialogue. Maybe by clobbering her dead, abusive husband’s skull with a pickaxe.
And finally, Amy returns back to life, zombie-fied. It seems like some vestige of her human self remains, though. But not much.
“I love you, Andrea. But I am going to have to gnaw your face off.”
All the others gather around to see if Andrea needs help, but they stay far enough away to let her do the honors. She pulls out her pistol and blows Amy’s head clean off.
Wooooo! I never get good gunshot grabs
Rick and Shane dig some more graves, off by themselves. But things are tense, and Rick stops and asks Shane what’s the matter.
Something been bothering Shane—he thinks Rick hasn’t been a great leader. The decision to go back to Atlanta meant the camp was without a lot of its manpower. They couldn’t defend themselves from the zombies as well, and they can all see the results.
Rick counters with the obvious: if he hadn’t retrieved the guns, the zombies would have overrun the camp anyway.
Then Daryl pulls up in his pickup, which is laden with bodies ready for burial. Daryl’s got an objection, too. As all the others show up, he berates Rick for not burning all the bodies, and for being a weak leader, by not setting up rules or being consistent.
Rick, unfortunately, blurts that there are no rules. Lori steps in as the voice of morality. They are abandoning what makes them human if they don’t take time to mourn their losses.
This is the “safe spot” where Rick took Jim to lay up. Things are getting worse for him. Either he’s on acid, or the zombie virus is taking over his mind, as he has a bunch of hallucinations of scary zombie figures. Here:
Short scene. Andrea personally places Amy’s body in her grave, then climbs out and is comforted by Dale.
Now Rick has some time with his family. They give the kid playing Carl something to do this week, namely to ask Rick if they’re going to be safe now. Rick promises he won’t leave them ever again.
Then Rick takes Lori aside to discuss things. Does Lori think it was a terrible idea to go back to Atlanta for the guns? She honestly can’t say. Half of her says they really needed guns, the other half agrees with Shane, that this decision might have doomed them. She knows what Rick wants to hear, but can’t bring herself to say it.
Then he asks her what she thinks of the idea to head for the CDC. Lori can see the group’s point, that it’s a terrifying idea to go back where all the zombies are. But it could mean their survival. Can Rick reassure with some certainty in his voice, she asks?
He can’t, really. And he can’t fake it. All he can say is that he loves her. They embrace.
I dug the hell out of this scene. They really played it so that the strain of these events weighs on Rick and Lori and makes them erratic.
And next, Rick seeks out Jim’s opinion on matters. Jim assumes they’re going to be disposing of him one way or the other. Rick reassures him that isn’t the plan, but Jim scoffs. You can’t plan in times like these. “That’s God laughing while you plan.”
So Rick lays out what he wants to do, to get Jim some help.
Jim throws up a little in a bucket.
Seriously, I had to watch this scene like ten times because the dude playing Jim mumbles so much.
It doesn’t help that he’s spouting nonsense. What he actually says next is, “Watch the mangroves. Their roots will gouge the whole boat. You know that, right? Amy’s, [or maybe “Emmy’s”] there swimming. You’ll watch the boat, right? Said you would.”
Yeah, who knows.
OUTSIDE THE RV
While that’s going on, Shane approaches Lori. He’s decided he can’t sway Rick himself, so he’ll try to get her to talk him out of the CDC plan. Going to the CDC is dangerous, he says. They should just stay at the camp and “hang more tin cans.” (He really says that!)
Plus, she knows it’s crazy, he says, and THEN he accuses her of letting her guilt over past adultery cloud her judgment. Ouch.
She tells Shane he’s being a schmuck and that nobody’s life will be put at risk without their agreeing to it. And bringing her marriage into the equation is Shane’s fault, not hers. It’s a habit he needs to break.
And then Rick comes out of the RV at this point, and hears that last sentence, about breaking habits. He asks what they’re talking about, and Shane quickly covers—he was just telling Lori he needs to see a clear plan from Rick.
Then he quickly reminds Rick they have to go on a perimeter sweep together.
They both walk through the woods with shotguns, checking for any danger. But they continue to debate the plan to go to the CDC. Shane thinks it’s crazy to expose Lori and Carl to so much danger, but Rick maintains it’s the best option out of a lot of shitty ones. Shane would understand if it were his own family.
That hits a nerve with Shane. He thinks Rick doesn’t appreciate all he’s done for Lori and Carl, especially when Rick was gone. And rather than punch Shane for being an idiot, (which I probably would have done), Rick tries to apologize.
Then, a twig snaps. Something could be nearby. They both ready their guns and fan out into the underbrush.
By himself, Shane looks down his gun sight…when he spots Rick a few hundred feet off. He realizes he’s aiming right at Rick, like he’s going to shoot him in the back. Something takes hold of him. He looks like he’s actually contemplating doing it. But then his sanity returns, he realizes what he’s doing, and lowers the shotgun.
Unfortunately, Dale saw all of this. Shane tries to bullshit his way out of it, saying basically he didn’t realize it was Rick at first, but Dale doesn’t buy it.
And to over compensate, Shane gathers all the survivors around the campfire and announces he’s rethought his position and now supports Rick. They will go to the CDC. Everyone has until tomorrow morning to decide whether to join the expedition or not.
Seriously, how is a group of people in a survival scenario like this not constantly power-playing against each other? They’re just waiting for each other to make decisions. Has reality TV taught us nothing about behavior?
THE CAMP AT DAWN
The next morning, Rick makes another broadcast to Morgan and Duane. This time it’s mostly instructions—don’t go to the quarry, go to the CDC instead. If Morgan and Duane DO reach the quarry, Rick has left keys inside a red car, should they need it.
Most of all, Rick frames this as an act of desperation. He needs the CDC to be there.
The shortest scene ever here. Jim snaps awake and looks around. That’s all. He seems sick, but not much worse than before.
Everyone prepares to depart the camp. Shane explains the CB radio instructions; they will be traveling convoy-style, with the RV at the head of the column.
Morales steps forward. He and his family have thought about it overnight, and they will not be going to Atlanta. They have family in Birmingham and will take their chances there. Nobody can talk them out of it, so Rick gives him a shotgun and some shells and wishes them luck. One less dude to kill zombies, I guess.
Everyone gets in their vehicles and pulls away. We get a montage of all the different vehicles. Shane’s the only one driving one by himself.
SIDE OF THE ROAD
Unfortunately, shortly after, the RV craps out. Remember how Rick and the others were supposed to bring back the moving van from the mission to rescue Merle, so that Dale and Jim could strip it for parts? Yeah, that cost them. The RV’s radiator hose is shot to shit.
Luckily, Shane sees a gas station off in the distance. He volunteers to scout it out for supplies. T-Dog offers to go, too. The others will guard the RV. They are vulnerable and in the open. Could this radiator mistake cost more lives?
Rick goes inside to check on Jim. Things are not good. Jim says his bones feel like glass, and the bumpiness of the ride puts him in agony. They should just leave him behind. He wants to be with his family.
Rick assumes Jim’s delirious again, since Jim’s family died long before this, but Jim insists he’s not. This is a rare moment of clarity for Jim. He knows what he’s asking. It’s on him. And he seems to know Rick pretty well, because he reminds him it’s his decision, not Rick’s failure.
OUTSIDE THE RV
Rick brings this latest development to the others—what to do about Jim?
Dale speaks up. Back when he agreed with Daryl about pickaxeing Jim, he was actually shouted down before he had a chance to explain himself. What he meant to say was not that Jim should be callously killed, but that he should be given the choice to decide his own fate. Looks like he has.
If they abandon Jim, Shane doesn’t think he can live with himself. Presumably neither does Rick. But Lori points out that it isn’t their decision. And there’s your answer.
OUTSIDE THE RV, LATER
So they’ve carried Jim out of the RV to a tree by the side of the road, and they’ve propped him up against it.
Everyone takes turn saying their goodbyes. Shane offers him one last chance to change his mind, but he declines. Jacqui kisses him on the cheek. Rick offers him a gun for protection. Even Daryl looks like he’s come to respect Jim for doing this.
And finally, the convoy drives away—this is the first time in the history of zombie stories that a gas station supply run was completely uneventful. I guess.
AT THE CDC
After the final act break, we meet somebody completely new.
Helpfully, he’s vlogging about what he’s been up to, so we get a dose of exposition…let’s see, Jenner is a CDC scientist researching the zombie virus. (Which has been named Wildfire).
One-hundred ninety-four days have passed since Wildfire broke out, and 62 since it went global.
No progress on solving Wildfire, probably because Jenner is the only remaining scientist here, and he’s sleeping poorly and generally going nuts. (Have you seen The Thing? This is all very much Kurt Russell’s “we are very tired” message).
And then we get to see him at work. He’s in the lab in one of those biohazard suits.
“Must cure Wildfire. Must win Nobel. Must cure Wildfire before it hits Oslo.”
But he falls asleep, which I suppose is a bad idea in a bio lab. Sure enough, something goes wrong, the alarms go off, Jenner is warned about some kind of poison gas in the lab, and he flees for the scrubber bath thing that keeps him from death:
Anyone wanna guess what I didn’t major in? Science
This is also one of those labs with flamethrower counter-measures that purge contaminants…I think they had those in Bioshock…and, sadly, this also destroys literally all of Jenner’s research.
“OK, OK, it’s not that bad…just gotta remember my Mozy password. Wait, WHAT’s MY MOZY PASSWORD?”
JENNER’S CDC VLOG
So he’s decided he’s gonna commit suicide now. Poor bastard.
He hints at there being someone to whom these messages are being broadcast, but we don’t learn who that is. All he has to say in this message, other than that, is that he’s gonna get drunk and see how far he can throw his empty bottles.
OUTSIDE THE CDC
And then, outside, Rick and the gang show up as night approaches. Looks like a war zone…concrete barricades, sandbags, dead soldiers and zombies, wrecked tanks. All standard. Jenner watches them all approach via a security camera.
Rick leads them up to the entrance, which is closed off by heavy metal shutters. The group starts to think this means the CDC is deserted, but Rick doesn’t give up.
A lone zombie shows up. Daryl crossbows it. More will arrive soon.
Daryl starts to scream at Rick that this was the wrong decision. Shane holds him off, but does press Rick—this is a dead end and they should go to Fort Benning. Andrea reminds them they have no food and no fuel.
And it looks like Rick is starting to listen, until he sees the camera move slightly. The others try to drag him away, suggesting he imagined it. Even Jenner, inside, prays Rick will give up and go away.
But Rick shakes everyone off and makes a final desperate plea to the camera. He knows somebody is in there. The group is desperate, out of supplies, and has women and children. Refusing to open the doors is killing them.
Lori drags Rick away. And behind them, Jenner opens the doors. Wha-BOOM
How cool is it that they made an entire episode out of “what the heck do we do next?” Wasn’t perfect, and it did lead to the same kind of scene over and over, but overall it worked for me. Everyone still had to make horrible decision after horrible decision. Euthanizing your sister, hacking up your husband’s corpse, leading your familyto its doom, and abandoning your friend by the side of the road? Yeesh.
Also loved the psychological realism. How many times have we seen a movie, particularly a horror movie, where a character keeps his or her shit together even though the whole world is going insane? Not this time. Seriously, I don’t care how badass someone is, day after day of pure torture plus no rest is gonna be a hindrance. And it doesn’t hurt the story or make me like the characters any less.
Maybe that’s my favorite part of the show, the fact that our characters actually have very little control over their fates. Almost nobody can really save him or herself—they’re always being rescued by some circumstance or other. (Except for Merle, I guess). Jim’s philosophy seems the most apt.
I could go on and on. Can’t wait for the finale next week. I was getting tired of them being in the woods all the time. Thanks for reading!