Piers McCarthy reviews the fourth episode of The Walking Dead season 4….
Daryl, Tyreese, Michonne and Bob had an electrifying run-in with a mass of zombies last episodes. It was a nod to the inestimable ruin outside of the prison – something I’ve been hoping Season 4 will explore. Episode 4 – “Indifference” – starts off with Carol letting Lizzie know that her and Rick will head out on a supply hunt. It’s a welcome relief to know the episode won’t stay locked in the prison (pun intended), with further excitement at the knowledge that Daryl and co are similarly away from the prison.
Major spoilers follow
As Lizzie and Carol’s conversation takes over the soundtrack, we follow Rick as he gears up for the expedition. As he passes through the prison, he looks in on Karen’s old cell, imagining Carol killing her. Frightening himself at the thought, you also see a lot of worry in his eyes. Carol has been changing as much as the infected have. Whereas the virus takes the humanity out of the body, Carol too seems to be losing the human touch, and her soul. Cold and apathetic, she’s as dead to the group as the walkers are. “We all change” she says. No shit.
“Indifference” is all about the exploration of the walker-infested world. We watch Carol and Rick look for medicine whilst cutting to Daryl and his group doing the same. Breathing fresh air into the show, after focusing for so long on the stuffy prison (and comparatively confined town of Woodbury), this is the sort of story we need to see.
There’s not much to say about this week’s episode, as it follows a very simple and straight narrative of finding supplies and heading back (add finding a car to the Daryl group and that’s the gist of it). We do get the introduction of two new characters when Rick and Carol investigate one house – the young pair emerging from one of the rooms with fruit. Perhaps it’s because they don’t seem that interesting, or The Walking Dead is keen on killing off all but the main group, but Sam and Ana don’t last long. 30 minutes in and so ends their short stint on the show, leaving us with only the cool image of Ana’s severed leg acting as a legacy.
The “Walker Win” of the week was a lot tougher to choose this time round. There isn’t a great deal of mind-blowing effects or that many walkers, to be honest. However, two scenes did make use of the undead cleverly. The first involves Daryl, Bob, Tyreese and Michonne hacking through overgrown weeds and wood to get into a gas station. As Tyreese yanks the door open, he’s unable to see the walkers behind it. Suddenly grabbing hands and snapping walkers come out of the bushes. There aren’t any memorable kills but the image of the walkers coming through the greenery looks great. The next part that works wonders is Daryl et al rummaging through a school. Attempting to leave quietly they make their presence known to a few zombies who, in part, alert a heap of others. Darkened corridors – lit only by their torches – and a bust door imply danger. The Walking Dead never plays up to the horror genre it’s a part of, but this incident is nail-bitingly scary. Of course they get out but for a moment it’s worrisome.
The escape is bittersweet once Daryl, Tyreese and Michonne discover Bob has only taken a bottle of brandy. Daryl is furious at his selfishness, but you can still empathise with Bob – he’s trying to cope with an addiction. It marks another iffy relationship in the show as Daryl is by no means impressed with Bob’s actions.
Having cut back and forth from Daryl and his group to Rick and Carol, the episode finishes on the theme of relations. Rick is quick to note Carol’s indifference towards the death of Karen, Sam and Ana, lecturing her on the dangers of her ideals. It comes down to him warning her about Tyreese, whose rage over the death of Karen would end Carol if the truth came out. Carol, in the end, makes the right decision and leaves. It’s hard to imagine how Daryl will take the news, but things may be better with her gone. Carol had become a relatively destructive force in the group – things could have gotten worse. The last song – Sharon Van Etten’s “Serpents” – reinforces the message that “everything changes”, to the effect of what Carol said at the start of the episode. It can never be argued that The Walking Dead and AMC in general (think Mad Men) don’t think hard about thematic structuring; they are expert craftspeople when it comes to that.
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