The Walking Thread

[Content Note: Violence. Spoilers are lurching around undeadly herein.]

image of Michonne (Danai Gurira) riding a horse and looking totally badass

So, here's the thing I hate about The Walking Dead. Well, one thing. Among many things. I hate that the show routinely uses metaphors so clunky that they could easily be used to crush the skull of a zombie (e.g. the zombiepocalypse has turned them into prisoners! and they live in a jail!), and yet simultaneously provides virtually no expository context for the contradictory decisions the writers lazily substitute for organic and logical character growth (e.g. Grimes takes away Carl the Hat's gun! Grimes gives back Carl the Hat's gun!). It is not evident to me why many of the characters make the strange and erratic decisions that they do, especially since the dangers to which they are reacting are constant.

The writers seemingly expect me to be reading characters' minds to discern their complex motivations and extrapolate Meaningful Commentary on vaguely drawn thematic topics (mortality? situational ethics? the effects of sustained trauma? white dude blues?), but I strongly suspect there just isn't any complex motivation for anything any of these bozos do, and the Meaningful Commentary is approximately as insightful as sticking the characters in a jail is subtle.


The episode opens with Karen and Tyreese getting all romantic-like, and Tyreese wanting the two of them to spend the night together. Karen says, "Not yet," and, as she wanders off into the jail by herself with a dodgy flashlight, we know that she will suffer the consequences of refusing a man's desire, because this is The Walking Dead, and, if you can't get with the patriarchy program, prepare to meet your fate, LADIES.

Karen goes to the showers, where she doesn't notice Zombie Patrick lying on the floor. When she leaves, Zombie Patrick shuffles after her, but he ends up in the cell of some random dude instead, because the harm that comes to Karen will be used as a plot-point to motivate her man-owner later in the episode. Obviously.

At this point, pretty much everything goes all to hell. There are zombies in the living quarters! Michonne almost gets eaten by two zombies! Carl the Hat has to use a gun to help save her, contrary to his father's inscrutable wishes! The zombies are piling up and collapsing the fence! Daryl and Carol STILL aren't making out! Everything is so terrible!

But they pretty much manage to remedy everything pretty fast—the old Grimes Gang runs through the residential cell block smashing skulls; Michonne is rescued and just has a twisted ankle; Carl the Hat gets his gun back as his dad decides, again, for an indeterminate number of seconds until the writers need Grimes to behave in precisely the opposite way once more, that he can't treat his tween son like a child who hasn't been through a viciously intense living hell whose innocence can be reclaimed if only he never touches a weapon; and Daryl and Carol look at each other longingly, I think?—except of course for the part where there's a highly contagious killer flu inside the jail. Oh shit! Cover your faces, secondary characters!

The council meets and decides that people who are sick need to be quarantined. As if on cue (!), Karen walks by coughing her guts out. She is told she has to go to Grimes Jail Sick Bay, and she says, "Rick from Accounting is coughing, too!" (Or something.) So Tyreese takes his lady-property off to Grimes Jail Sick Bay to get settled in, while someone else runs off to get Rick from Accounting. Or whoever.

Meanwhile, Daryl and Grimes are digging graves for the dead bodies of extras (RIP Nameless Unpleasantvillagers) that piled up during the zombie attack earlier, and Daryl tells Grimes he should get in on the decision-making again, and Grimes says, "Uh, Daryl, maybe you haven't noticed, but I am like a full-tilt bad decision-making machine. No one should let me near a decision ever. WHAT ARE YOU EVEN TALKING ABOUT?" But Daryl says that Grimes is always lending a hand in tough situations, which is true, although being a person who Shows Up and being a person who Leads Well are actually two separate talents altogether, so Daryl isn't really making a good point. Still: It's enough to convince Grimes!

Bad Decision Making: Exhibit A.

So the two of them execute his plan to use the pigs as bait to lure the zombies away from the fence while Glenn and Maggie reinforce the weak spot. It's a perfect idea in that: 1. It breaks Grimes' brain a little bit more, which is definitely what everyone needs. 2. The zombies immediately go find another spot in the fence at which to congregate. Oh well. At least we all got to feel An Emotion watching Grimes kill his pigs.

In other news, Hershel's beard is looking particularly lush this week.

In other other news, Michonne apparently lost a child at some point, because she is upset by listening to Baby Zombie Whistle Grimes cry, and even more upset at being obliged to hold her. And I yawn dramatically at the lazy storytelling that incorporates every garbage trope possible into the background story of this strong, tough, smart woman: The childless mother trope; the rape survivor turned superhero trope; the Strong Black Woman trope. Michonne is not a human being. She is a pile of tired tropes with a sword glued on.

In other other other news, Carol is still secretly teaching kids how to defend themselves with weaponry, and she has this incredibly weird conversation with Carl the Hat about it, in which she says she doesn't want their parents to know because they might not understand. Speaking of NOT UNDERSTANDING: Why in zombie hell is learning how to defend yourself with weaponry not a REQUIREMENT of residency at Grimes Jail?! Not only should every child know how to defend hirself; every adult should know, too. If they had, maybe Daryl and Grimes would have less digging to do! It doesn't make any sense to have designated zombie slayers who are ALSO the night watch and the supply runners and everything else. SPREAD THE WORK AROUND.

Let us all note that "concentrate responsibility for everything into as few hands as possible" is one of the EXCELLENT DECISIONS that Grimes made as leader of this ragtag group of control freaks.

The episode ends when Tyreese goes to check on Karen, but instead of finding Karen, he finds a bloody trail leading out to the jailyard where there are two burned bodies. Karen and Rick from accounting are literally toast. Tyreese is pissed. Shit's about to go down at Grimes Jail!

If not next week, then definitely in one three-minute action sequence that is guaranteed to imperceptibly raise your pulse!

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