Woah, that was an episode tonight. I haven't seen such sadness since the fourth season of "Mad Men", and if you think that comparison is off, brace yourselfs for this episode, because "Killer within" really delivers on the promise in three ways and really is the motif of this episode. Unlike the previous two episodes, we get both character arcs this time around: the Andrea/Michonne/Merle/Governor-square and the gang in the prison. I'm not quite sure whether this works out so well, because the Woodbury-parts drag on and don't reveal anything new. Yeah, Merle wants to search Daryll, big surprose, who didn't see that one coming? Andrea still falls in love with every abusive nazi she happens to find, the Governor has a crush on her and Mishonne walks around, swaggering hips, looking badass and raising concerns without doing anything because she loves Andrea. It feels like we didn't really need these parts, but perhaps we get a payoff in episode 5.
|Honestly, Andrea, your taste in men sucks.|
In other news, the prison storyline left me pretty shaken. It starts on a light note - guys, let's burn some bodies and call it a day - but it gets ugly pretty fast when the two surviving prisoners turn out to be trouble. They try to force on Rick's conscience to get into the group, who almost falls for it before Daryll tells him no. He truly is the born right-hand-man, and he excels at this job. His dry lines about knowing this type of guys and shutting up T-Dog, who seems to feel an urge to fill in for Dale, just hit the mark. So the two prisoners get some supplies and are to be sent off, but then suddenly all hells breaks loose, and no one saw it coming: zombies are flooding the prison from all sides, splitting the group instantly and rasing the stakes higher than they have been at any point before in these scenes. Carol is running with T-Dog, Lori is alone with Carl and Maggie, Hershel has Beth and Rick is trying to rescue them all with Glenn and Daryll.
|Never saw them running with that kind of desperation.|
To be honest, the action parts of the chase and kill-or-be-killed did not stand out per se. I never could get a grasp on the layout of the prison, not really understanding who was where in relation to the others. This is a minor flaw because the scenes are driven by something else, but next time the director should make it clearer who we are following at the moment to what point (if there is one; not all characters fled in panic, so at least here we should understand them, but we couldn't). But in the intense scenes in the prison corridors, we got two deaths that were necessary and well executed. At first, let's say goodbye to T-Dog: the character was messes up pretty badly, lacking any recognizable profile and saying stuff that could have been said by others without you even noticing. Let's hope the new black guy Axel gets more interesting stuff to do. And note how he keeps in line with the "only one black member per group" rule.
|You won't be missed, sorry.|
Not that Robert Singleton would be to blame; it was the writers who fucked T-Dog up. The same is true for Sarah Wayne Callis, who played Lori. Already a bit obnoxious in season 1, Lori became the prime target of audience rage in season 2, and rightly so. Again, nothing to do with the acting, but the writing for her wasn't exactly the best. T-Dog's noble sacrifice is swallowed by her heart-breaking demise, though: when she gets the baby in the midst of all that carnage and starts to bleed out, her ordering Maggie to perform a C-Section that will kill her and then saying goodbye to Carl, telling him to always do "the right thing" was devestating. Then Maggie really kills her, almost blinded by tears, performing the C-Section, and for a moment you thought the baby was dead. It falls to Carl to put a bullet through her gutted body. That's really hard stuff. So we have three "killers within" - the Governor, Lori's baby and the guy Rick shut out back in episode 2. Hard stuff.
|Your demise will have consequences, dear. Not like T-Dog and Dale.|
It's hard to say, but this episode should have taken place somewhere in season 2. It was exactly what was needed for the series to create that kind of urgency, threat and terror that almost faded away in the light of perfectly honed killer skills and the high walls of Woodbury. Had it happened back then, the time on the form wouldn't have felt like it dragged on and we would have had some serious character development then and there. But not to dwell on past chances long gone, this episode really delivered in the department of the prison gang and left several questions open: what will happen to Rick, who was already walking way too near to the abyss, after the death of Lori? What will happen with Carl? Somehow I see him as the saner of the two, taking his mom's final words very much to heart and essentially becoming Rick the Second.
|Before the Rickatorship, that is.|
The fate of Carol also hangs in the balance. The writers succeeded in letting evolve her arc into something interesting, and I don't have the feeling that her death would serve any purpose after the two we had in the episode, so my money is on her being alive. It will also be interesting to see how the two prisoners will fit into the group. They surely announced clearly enough that they're willing. And I can't help but think that the prison and Woodbury aren't really that far away from each other. The two groups will meet soon, and my money is on Merle finding them and really throwing Daryll in some kind of conflict. This season gets better and better, and I can hardly wait for next sunday.