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The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead is a drama about a zombie apocalypse. It is based on the 2003 Image Comics series. AMC 2010-???


Episode 2 - Infected

23 October 2013

Credit AMC

Synopsis: Patrick attacks his cell block and others begin to turn. The Walkers are put down and Carol encourages Lizzy and her sister to kill their dying father. The belief is that an infection may have spread from the animals. Rick is shaken by being called back into action but is soon taking the lead. As Walkers begin pulling down one side of fence he kills the pigs to draw away the threat. An injured Michonne weaps when she has to hold baby Judith. Karen is quarantined along with another symptomatic resident and Tyreese finds them both dead.

The Unknown: I find it necessary to begin with "The Unknown" because my own relationship with The Walking Dead seems to have shifted permanently and it's clearly going to affect my reviews. For a collection of reasons I can't see any hope for these survivors. As I discussed last week it seems inevitable that the prison will fall and most of the new characters will die off leaving whatever core exists around Rick and Carl. I know I always knew that but the weight of depression has made it very hard for me to invest in any of the show's ongoing arcs when the characters seem like such hostages to the necessity of the Walkers winning every battle.

I know for many of you, and those who stopped watching, this moment has already come. For me it makes it tricky to write reviews when my modus operandi is to discuss my emotional reaction to what I'm seeing. I don't want to repeat this refrain every week but I needed to clarify the position I'm in. It means that I am going to sound less complimentary of the things the show does well because I have trouble that any of it means much.

The Good: Of course The Walking Dead has always been slightly hard to assess because it is trying to depress you. There is no other reaction appropriate when Rick kills off innocent pigs to save the prison. In terms of provoking an emotional response from a viewer it doesn't get much better than animal cruelty.

The story of Rick slowly reassuming leadership of the group was told adequately. Andrew Lincoln really does look tortured and physically worn down by trauma. The sad knowing look he and Darryl shared as they brained the victims of Patrick's morning stroll was quite affecting.

Carol's transformation from victim to ruthless survivor was even stronger. Her refusal to coddle her new children was startling but makes perfect sense. As a woman who was bullied by her husband and lost her daughter she has understandably become pragmatic to a fault. Her lack of tenderness around Lizzy and her sister was startling and disturbing. But that was the point.

Michonne's intense emotional response to holding baby Judith was an interesting moment. Michonne is a character crying out for flashbacks but as long as they are not allowed the writers will have to get creative in fleshing out her past.

Another cliff hanger is evidence of sensible planning to keep viewers hooked. Tyreese has so far been portrayed as quite the gentle giant. His almost naive affection for Karen doesn't yet quite convey who he is.

More Unknown:
Who killed Karen and David? Surely Carol isn't that hardcore about protecting the group? Or is the unnamed Asian man or Dr Bob taking pre-emptive medicine to an extreme? And who fed the Walkers? Was it Lizzy? I guess it would be pretty hard for the Governor to be inside the fence at this point so I guess it was her.

Patrick's attack on the cell block was initially just as tense and horrible as it promised to be. However the cut away to our survivors took away the tension. It would be nice to know a little more about the layout of the prison. It seemed odd that Beth had heard nothing yet about the events next door. The reaction to the infection was interesting too because no one jumped to the conclusion that we all did - that everyone needs to lock their cell door at night.

It would be nice to know the arrangement between Beth and Rick with regards to baby Judith. Is Glenn creepy for taking photos of a sleeping Maggie?

Best Moment: The sacrifice of the pigs was classing Walking Dead wasn't it?  A deeply emotive sight that makes you question whether you really want to keep watching.

It seems like Scott Gimple has started well with his new assignment. There has been a solid focus on character and a number of interesting developments around the prison including two cliff hangers. It may all be too late though if the emotional palette of the show is infinitely bleak.



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  • Derek, I had that exact reaction to Michonne pushing away the walkers: "What are you doing, woman?!?! You have a swooooooord!"

    However, I went back to rewatch and, if I'm not mistaken (or just trying to retcon), there's a VERY quick moment where she appears to reach for the sword a split second before they're in her face and she HAS to use both hands to keep them from biting her. I think we're meant to understand that she then didn't have the time/space to engage in a little Sword Fu before they were on her, but it was pretty blink-and-you-miss-it.

    Posted by Dzee, 22/10/2013 11:44pm (6 years ago)

  • I agree with your review. Thank you.

    For me, first of all it was a very good follow to the things that was set in the premiere. The attack of Patrick was like classic horror movies at first and then it shaped very tense and exciting moments when Rick and others came for help.
    I really love the attention on characterization in these two episodes. Robert Krikman had promised it and we can see this is happening for most of the characters. Emotional arc for Michonne is one of them that I hope writers continue it.
    Zombies are going to be a really dangerous problem for our survivors and prison scream that “I’m gonna break apart”. On the other hand, the disease has introduced very well and I hope they expand it. But I think it’s not the end and there are some other threats. What I really enjoy is the interaction between characters that would become very complicated as a result of the disease. They have no plan to stop or overcome it at least for now. I guess there would be some kind of a civil war (!) in prison. Because leaders can’t find any solutions. Of course these are just some guesses.
    The relationship between Rick and Carl is so lovely to see. I like that Carl understand the situation and completely do as his father orders. I want to see this relationship will be stable or not.
    I agree with flashbacks badly. The Walking Dead has so potential for flashbacks and I do not why they do not use it.
    The sacrifice of pigs was a strong scene that talked about Rick's feelings. Rick was entertaining himself with farming but he found out that it’s all gonna start again. The hardship situations is gonna begin. When he don’t know if prison fall where he is suppose to find as another safe home... .

    sorry for bad English...

    Viewer score: 80 / 100

    Posted by Reza, 22/10/2013 7:52pm (6 years ago)

  • It's really kind of a curious experience watching the Walking Dead so far this season because on one hand they have actually started to do what I want with the show. Characters are finally having personality, they are interacting with each other outside barking out zombie kill formations. I actually like some of these people now.

    On the other hand it turns out when you like people you'd rather not see their flesh get torn apart or their charred remains. Honestly that'd be fine if this had always been the case with The Walking Dead but because we are in the fourth season, I can't help but be mad at the show. It's incredibly illogical because it's not Scott Gimple's fault the other show runners didn't characterize the characters well but at this point I can't help but feel manipulated and the whole thing becomes predictable. When we saw Tyrese and Karen(?) snuggling up to each other early in the episode obviously Karen was going to die a gruesome death.

    Finally I'm really enjoying the new Michonne but what made the woman who wears a samurai sword on her back decide to push the zombies away with her bare arms?

    Viewer score: 65 / 100

    Posted by Derek, 22/10/2013 1:31pm (6 years ago)

  • This thing about locking doors. I wouldn't. It's a horrible place to start with and locking myself into a cell would be the last thing I did if I was under the impression the block was locked down. It's not as if you got anymore privacy by locking doors made of bars. Hanging sheets, as they did would be the way to go.

    Posted by Rob H, 22/10/2013 12:30pm (6 years ago)

  • For me, this was a perfect episode of TWD. This is what the comic is. Depressing, haunting and emotionally tiring.
    Since this show was announced I have wondered how the general public would react to it if it was done right. I guess we're about to find out now. Some horrible, horrible things happen to the characters in the comic while there at the prison. Just horrible.
    Whether it will make good tv and hold the audience's attention is another matter

    Viewer score: 83 / 100

    Posted by Rob H, 21/10/2013 8:20pm (6 years ago)

  • I really agree with all you've said here.

    I connected better this episode because at last the weight of the Walkers pushed the fence in as I presumed it must eventually, But I couldn't help think the diversion tactic took a bit long to pull off.

    Loved the character development and focus on Carol.

    The hints of more depth to Michonne are welcomed.

    Glad to see Rick coming back to leadership with Daryl's encouragement.

    Love the unkowns; who's feeding the walkers and why? Is the flu still a threat? I had gotten the impression that perhaps the water had run out when the kid passed out and they'd have to begin to deal with a water shortage too.

    Which leads to the bad, as you pointed out not thinking to lock the cells. Not thinking to post internal guards to increase security.

    Why don't they set walker traps like the Governor did to help reduce the numbers drawn to the prison?

    Like you I want some reason to hope. Maybe let some one die who doesn't turn or show us a walker dying of something other than a bludgeoned or speared brain.

    Viewer score: 64 / 100

    Posted by Yogabon, 21/10/2013 8:06pm (6 years ago)

  • I bumped this up to a 66, earning an extra point for a few genuine emotional moments.

    I agree with your assessment that unless there's some huge plot development around the corner, the fate of all of the characters seems to be inevitable. But I suppose we can then simply consider this then to be a show about people faced with inevitable death and adjust our thinking from there.

    Even in a world doomed to end, relationships will still take root and conflicts will still present themselves....we are all humans after all so we will do human things, even in the face of impending death.

    I think the sacrificing of the pigs was one of the best moments, although not THEE best moment. But it was an emotional moment and maybe it says something (not necessarily in a positive way) that the sacrifice of pigs can be more gut wrenching than the death of humans....but more than the death of pigs, that scene was really about Rick's reaction - with the sacrifice of each pig, you could see him going further into the heart of darkness.

    For me, the most gut wrenching scene was the one with Michonne. While she might be a perfect candidate for more flashbacks to flesh out her backstory - when you have a scene as good as this one, it's really all you need. With the visual of her crying while holding baby Judith - you just know that she had kids at some point, and probably saw them die. She also knows that Judith is sick and perhaps not long for this world, making it all the more tragic.

    The scene where the daughters could not plunge the knife into their dead father was the third emotional scene. While the impact was lessened as we did not know the father and we barely know the daughters, their reaction was still well done, and it can be tough for young actors to convey that sort of emotion.

    If Carol's stock has been raised, then Tyreese's stock has been lessened. I'm not liking his character so far this season. He's not so much a gentle giant as he has been a gentle giant who is also a wimp! He's needed - and he needs to toughen up.

    Viewer score: 66 / 100

    Posted by Jeff K., 21/10/2013 7:37pm (6 years ago)

  • [First a note re: pronunciation and spelling. It was just meant to be "Dee" and pronounced as such, but I typo'd the "Z" and didn't notice 'til it posted. So, "Dee" but I'll keep the funky spelling for continuity!]

    The Good:
    - The Patrick attack. I get why the cutaways would lose you, but I thought those made the scene MORE horrible: the initial silent kills were punctuated by the serenity of the rest of the prison. The survivors were completely at ease but WE knew that Patrick's kills were eventually coming to a tipping point of total chaos. It faintly reminded me of watching Giles finding Jenny in "Passion" from Buffy (while -- I have to stress this -- NOWHERE NEAR AS GOOD as that near-perfect episode).
    - A "regular" flu killed Patrick. Again, a nice nod to SOME realism, as living in close quarters, without good sanitation, and few meds WOULD lead to nasty bugs, quite apart from THE Zombie virus.

    The Bad:
    - Okay, it's too much for us to ask that they LOCK their doors during the dreadful zombiepocalypse, fine. But they can't even CLOSE their doors?!?!?! A sheet - a SHEET - is all that stands in the way of a depressing life and instant silent death? They'd at least HEAR a cell door creaking open, even if it was unlocked. At this point, I'm rooting for the zombies.

    - I don't look forward to the inevitable reveal of Random Woodbury Extra #5 as the person who is feeding rats to the walkers. It reeks of cheap mystery. No one we've seen has any real motivation to screw over our survivors, so it's either going to be some random extra we've never met before or the possible alcoholic from the first episode.

    Viewer score: 66 / 100

    Posted by Dzee, 21/10/2013 6:43pm (6 years ago)

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