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'Walking Dead' Recap: Carl Says the Unthinkable to Rick

Posted by on Feb. 10, 2014 at 9:37 AM
  • 10 Replies

'Walking Dead' Recap: Carl Says the Unthinkable to Rick

by Linda Sharps 

Wakling Dead(Spoilers ahead!) Praise be, our long dark zombie hiatus finally came to an end tonight with The Walking Dead's much-anticipated midseason premiere, which was appropriately titled "After." Danai Gurira, who plays Michonne, recently described the second half of season 4 as having "a whole different tone" from what's happened thus far on the show, and tonight's episode certainly felt different in a lot of ways. For instance: never before has a Walking Dead character consumed 112 ounces of chocolate pudding in one sitting.

Stop reading now if you haven't caught up with tonight's episode -- otherwise, let's get to the recap!

We start out pretty much right where we left off, in the wake of the devastating prison attack. A lingering glimpse at the Governor confirms he's dead as a door nail, and sadly, as Michonne picks her way through the carnage, we get up close and personal with Hershel's severed, zombiefied head. He has weird glowing eyes for some reason, probably to make us feel even worse about his fate. Go gently into that good night, Hershel! Here's a katana to send you on your way.

Michonne makes a couple of new leashed walkers by hacking off their arms and ripping out their jaws, and throughout several more scenes of her trekking around with these guys, I have plenty of time to wonder why, exactly, their presence makes her invisible to other zombies. (I can't remember, was this ever explained in the comics?) Or why being mutilated -- much like every other half-rotted, grievously-wounded zombie out there -- somehow makes them so conveniently docile. Every time she stops, they do too, just dopily standing there like they're particularly stupid Golden Retrievers in remedial obedience class.

We get some backstory with Michonne, but it's frankly pretty vague. In a sort of half-flashback, half-hallucination, we learn she used to have a boyfriend and a son and they lived in a sweet-ass yuppie pad where she served rich person snacks to their visiting buddy while they exchanged good-natured snooty banter. Also the four of them were maybe living in a camp together at one time and her boyfriend lost his will to live and the son died and she was forced to turn the boyfriend and friend into armless zombie pets? Not sure on that last part exactly, but we do know that Michonne is willing to do whatever it takes to stay alive in this world (as evidenced by her singlehandedly dispatching like 20 walkers like she's the goddamned Fruit Ninja) because despite being a loner for so long, she knows what the point of survival is: being with other survivors.

Okay, while Michonne's out having a little epiphany, what's going on with Rick and Carl? Well, one thing's for sure: Carl's being a straight-up bitch. While Rick staggers around half-dead from a punctured lung or whatever he's got going on, Carl cannot even, you guys. HE JUST CANNOT. They stop at a store where there's a kerfuffle when Rick manages to get his axe stuck in a walker's skull, and he's like OH SHIT I HAVE NEVER EXPERIENCED THIS BEFORE I MUST BE WEAKENED FROM MY BUSTED RIBS AND WHATNOT, which is kind of maddening because, hello, seriously, how does this not happen every single time someone chops into a zombie head?

Trivia: Google now autocompletes "human skull thickness" for me because I've searched it so many times after watching The Walking Dead.

Anyway, the two of them find temporary shelter in a nice big home, and Carl wanders into the teenager's bedroom to get briefly excited about a trove of electronics before remembering that he lives in the zombie apocalypse. Derp. Rick succumbs to his injuries and slips into what's basically a coma, but Carl is fresh out of fucks to give. He berates his unconscious dad for being some kind of pussy vegetable farmer instead of protecting everyone, and wraps it up with the dramatic declaration that "I'd be fine if you died!" (Can I just pause to share the probably-unpopular opinion that I think Chandler Riggs is a really mediocre young actor who shouldn't be tasked with monologues?) Then Carl embarks on a series of near-miss zombie adventures, where despite the fact that he almost gets killed at least three times, his cockiness never gets knocked down a peg because winning!, and he ends up sitting on a roof eating a massive Costco-sized barrel of chocolate pudding.

Back at the house, Carl wakes in the middle of the night to see Rick twitching back to life and making a lot of walker-like noises. Convinced his dad has turned, he pulls out his gun -- but only briefly, before collapsing in tears. "I can't. I'm scared," he sobs. Rick wheezes, stretches out a hand, and tumbles from the couch.

"You're a man, Carl," Rick gasps. "You're a man." Carl gazes at him moistly, then opens his mouth to sing:

Cause we belong together now, yeah
Forever united here somehow, yeah
You got a piece of me
And honestly
My life (my life) would suck (would suck) without you

Not really, but pretty much the only thing that could make this moment more hokey is Kelly Clarkson.

Back to Michonne: she spots some muddy footprints on the road and follows the tracks (which somehow she knows were made by living people?) to Rick and Carl's hideout, where she weeps with relief and knocks on the door. Rick has a comically startled "Were you expecting anyone?" expression, but soon breaks into a huge smile as he says to his ungrateful-ass son, "It's for you."

Presumably, Carl was pleased. If he wasn't rushing off to crap explosively all over the floor somewhere, because seriously. SO MUCH PUDDING.

All in all, not even remotely my favorite Walking Dead episode, thanks to the mawkish dialogue and occasionally clunky exposition. It's frustrating how this show gets so many things right, but consistently has trouble breathing real life into its living characters, you know? Still, even when an episode falls flat for me, I always enjoy seeing where the story's going. I suspect I'll enjoy it even more next week when it appears we'll focus on some of the other survivors.

So, what did you think of this episode? Was it as good as you were hoping?

*Be sure to join us here on The Cafe every Sunday night as we watch and discuss the show together!

by on Feb. 10, 2014 at 9:37 AM
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Replies (1-10):
othermom
by Silver Member on Feb. 10, 2014 at 11:55 AM

I thought that it was a really good episode. I do want to know what happened to the rest of the people though. It was so hard for Carl when he thought  Rick was dying. I can understand why he said what he did. I think it was mostly out of fear. It was interesting to learn more about Michones past

ABCMomma0211
by on Feb. 10, 2014 at 12:31 PM

yeah i can't wait for sept to be here so we can blow everything up with SOA

elkmomma
by Member on Feb. 10, 2014 at 2:20 PM

I love pudding too, but DAMN that's just way too much to eat at once.

twdfan
by on Feb. 10, 2014 at 7:25 PM

 I think Carl's reaction to Rick passing out as based on his belief his father was dying. As far as blaming Rick goes, Carl's done it before, they all have, not that I agree with them.

 

The pudding....I swear when he first pulled it down I thought it was one of those big cans of Chocolate syrup, so I was relieved to learn it was pudding when he began eating it, though that would have totally made him sick.

 

Based on her nightmare and her 'conversation' in the store, I have gathered that: Her boyfriend's friend talked them into heading out, they found a camp where at some point the two men were killed, and the boyfriend ate the baby, she then turned them into her 'pets' to help protect her much as Rick and Glenn did in Season One with the blood & Guts in Atlanta.

Mishy2
by Michelle on Feb. 10, 2014 at 10:12 PM

 I love this episode I was looking forward to it returning especially the last few weeks. I think Carl was scared and thus why he said to his father what he had said. I was glad to see as well some of Michonnes past, and am glad to see that Rick is still alive, I was afraid he wasn`t for a moment

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Hottmomma607
by Trica on Feb. 11, 2014 at 1:03 AM
Love the ending! Michonne was in tears! Classic!
Carl is a little brat and needs a spanking.
Click_Queen
by on Feb. 11, 2014 at 1:12 AM

Carl is a dick

dmarie2101
by Bronze Member on Feb. 11, 2014 at 1:54 AM

i liked the episode, but this article sucks.

dmarie2101
by Bronze Member on Feb. 11, 2014 at 1:56 AM

aww i like carl. i started liking him at the end of season 3. i think bc rick gets on my nerves, and carl is being so petulant towards him.

Quoting Click_Queen:

Carl is a dick


korra2013
by on Feb. 11, 2014 at 2:00 AM
Carl had to get it off his chest. He was angry. It's hard enough being a teen let alone during a zombie apocalypse.
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