For those who like to speculate about each upcoming Walking Dead episode, I posted some teasers earlier about tonight's show (appropriately titled "Infected"). Trying to guess ahead usually means I get several things wrong, but this episode pretty much had everything I'd hoped it would: zombie mayhem, a mysterious and creepy side story, and a frightening contagion sweeping the prison. Plus, we got a devastatingly sad glimpse into Michonne's backstory, and a look at what a zombie's face looks like when pressed through a chain-link fence (hint: REALLY GROSS).
Let's get to the recap -- and as always, spoilers ahead!
We start with a shadowy figure at the fence, feeding rats to the walkers. This seems like a TERRIBLE idea, Unknown Person Holding a Flashlight! No time to ponder who's behind the zombies' fourthmeal, though, because now we're checking in with Tyreese, who's making me horribly uncomfortable by serenading Karen. "I've got you ... under my skin ..." he croons seductively, and oh my god, Karen, no jury would convict you if you just drove a piece of rebar through his skull right now.
Also, as it turns out, kiiiiiind of an ominous song choice.
Karen turns down Tyreese's suave offer to shack up for the night and goes meandering through the spooky prison innards with a piece of shit flashlight, which lends to a legitimately frightening horror-movie-like scene as she peers in the shower room and we all wait for Patrick to bite her face off. She makes it back to her cell in one piece, though, because Zombie Patrick gets distracted by her neighbor, who he promptly gnaws into.
One zombie becomes two zombies, and all breaks loose in cellblock D before Daryl, Glenn, and Rick take down the walkers. One of the community members, Ryan, has been bitten in the arm, and Carol swiftly moves to amputate before she discovers the bite on his neck. Since Ryan's a goner, she brings in his daughters Lizzie and Mika to say goodbye, and it's all really sad and messed up until Ryan up and dies, at which point everything gets a lot MORE messed up when Lizzie says she should be the one to keep him from turning. "Are you sure?" Carol asks. FUCK NO SHE'S NOT SURE, CAROL. MAYBE DON'T EVEN LET HER STRUGGLE WITH THE NOTION OF SHOVING A KNIFE INTO HER DAD'S SKULL, WHAT DO YOU SAY.
The prison council bats around ideas for what Patrick was sick with. A fast-spreading flu, maybe. That means practically everyone's exposed, but they decide to try and quarantine the infected individuals. Cue Karen to walk by, coughing. Hershel advises that she be kept in cell block A with another sickly resident. Personally if I knew a sick guy had just died, reanimated, and started zombie-ing out on everyone I don't think I'd be eager to share a cell, but whatever. You'll be fine, Karen! See you later, I'm sure!
Lizzie and Mika stare out at the walkers at the fence. Carol gently tells them how they'll be able to bring flowers to their dad's grave, then changes gears in order to chastise Lizzie for being too much of a pussy to stab her own father's brain: “Honey, you’re weak.” Damn, Carol, that shit is cold. But Lizzie's not even like, hey lady can I have like one second to grieve before you attack my character? because she's weirdly weepy about the zombie she named in last week's episode. “What if they kill Nick?” she sobs.
Daryl and Rick are digging a grave and kind of bro-ing out a little when Maggie runs up, shrieking. Walkers are glommed up against a fence, threatening to push it over. Everyone dutifully punctures some skulls for a while (side note: have you noticed how corny the CGI blood-splatters look compared to rest of the show's amazing special effects? Latex FTW!), then once the fence seems on the verge of giving out, Rick has a really tragic and almost unwatchable idea involving using wounded pigs as bait to lure the walkers away. It's beyond awful, and Rick's traumatized face makes it even worse.
RIP Oinky, Snortles, Pinky Von Squeakerton, and Curly.
Speaking of awful, we get a hint as to what sort of unspeakable loss(es) Michonne has endured when Beth foists a wailing Judith into her arms. At first Michonne holds her almost comically, like the baby's a spider-covered sack of flour, but then she folds the child to her own body and weeps brokenly. Oh, man.
Now we're back to Tyreese, who's walking the halls to Karen's quarantine cell with a picked bunch of flowers in his hand and a big old grin on his face. I bet she wants to have sex NOW, Tyreese! Or ... maybe not, since she's not there, and a gory smear of blood leads from the cell, down the hallway, and outside the prison. Tyreese follows, then stops in his tracks as he gapes in horror at something the camera isn't showing us yet. Something smoking. Another community-wide barbecue, maybe? No, that would be Karen and David's bodies, burnt to a crisp, with a gasoline can lying nearby.
Well, there's certainly a lot to ponder about after this episode, isn't there? Was it Lizzie who was feeding rats to the zombies? Who burned Karen and David, and did they do so to save the rest of the camp from infection? Was it Bob Stookey, who 1) seems like a troubled guy, and 2) was present for the cellblock D contagion discussion (when the doctor theorized that it was a type of fast-spreading flu)? Is it maybe possibly theoretically feasible it was Carol, whose impressive transformation from meek abused wife to badass protective fighter seemed to take a somewhat dark turn tonight?
What did you think about tonight's episode? Do you have any theories for who was behind the rats and the burned bodies?
Image via AMC