by Sherry Lipp
WARNING – MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD
The Walking Dead is not pulling any punches this season. Only four episodes in and we’ve been dealt a major blow. For me this was the most gut-wrenching episode of the series, and that is saying a lot considering what has come before. Never before I have felt as emotionally worked up as I did by the end of “The Killer Within.” During the first two seasons I wondered if they could possibly keep a show about zombies fresh episode after episode, season after season. They have more than proven they can, and then some.
Let’s start with the title of the episode – “The Killer Within.” The most obvious meaning in the title is that they are all infected with the zombie virus. However, that fact didn’t have a whole lot to do with this particular episode. So what or who does “the killer within” pertain to? The Governor, Rick, Maggie, Lori, Michonne, Merle, the two prisoners Axel and Oscar, Carl, or the prisoner they thought had died but didn’t? I guess in a way it applies to everyone, but I’m saying for this episode it applies most to Carl and the prisoner Andrew (Markice Moore). As Dave, an old acquaintance of mine, used to say, “Payback is a you-know-what.” Andrew, who Rick locked out in the courtyard in episode two, somehow survived and he wants revenge.
So Andrew has very quickly figured out how to lure the walkers into the prison. He opened the gate, sounded the alarm, and in they came. Little could Rick (Andrew Lincoln) have known that his actions would lead to this. Little did he know it would forever end his troubled relationship with Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) and force his son to make an impossible decision. And that is where “the killer within” moves to Carl (Chandler Riggs). As walkers invade the prison the group is separated. Maggie (Lauren Cohan), Lori, and Carl run deep inside the prison, where Lori goes into labor. As mentioned in previous episodes, she knows she is likely going to be unable to deliver the baby on her own. Of course Hershel (Scott Wilson)and Carol (Melissa McBride), the only two able to do the C-section, are nowhere near her. This leaves Maggie to perform the daunting task with only Carl’s hunting knife.
Of course she cannot survive. If she waits she will die in childbirth, along with the baby. If she tries to get back to Hershel she won’t be able to outrun the walkers. If Maggie performs the C-section she will bleed to death – but the baby will have a chance. This is the option she chooses. Carl has been living by the words his dad told him last season – no more kid stuff. As unhappy as the scene was, I was glad to see emotion in Carl. It seemed he had turned cold (not that I can blame him). He now has his mom’s words to live by – always do the right thing. Knowing his mom will turn into a walker, he is forced to shoot her as soon as the baby is born. What long terms effects will that have on him?
How will Rick live with the guilt that his actions set forth a turn of events that eventually led to Lori’s death? His reaction to the news was the most heartbreaking of all. Even in the situation they were in, knowing that death could come so easily, time was still wasted. They never were able to work things out or even say goodbye. It will be interesting to see what that does to Rick as a character.
Of course we did not only lose Lori this episode. T-Dog (IronE Singleton) was also lost in the walker battle. Though his death did not have the same emotional impact, I am sorry to see him go. I always felt he didn’t get enough to do on the show, so we didn’t get to know his character. I was hoping maybe we get a little more with him this season. What is cool is that he had a heroic death. He sacrificed himself to save Carol, who seems to have disappeared. Daryl and Rick seem to think she died as well, but I’m thinking she may be lost somewhere further inside the prison.
In the meantime, Andrea (Laurie Holden) and Michonne (Danai Gurira) made their preparations to leave Woodbury. Michonne can’t get out of there fast enough, but Andrea seems to be taken in by the Governor’s (David Morrissey) charms. I have been trying to put myself in their shoes. Granted, they do not know about the creepy fish tank heads or the murders, but I like to think I, like Michonne, would be suspicious. Maybe I would be like Andrea though. Maybe I would be so ready for a warm bed, shower, decent food, and the safety of the walled-off town, that I would not notice the strangeness about it. So Andrea is not quite so ready leave. She also tells Merle (Michael Rooker) what direction he can head in to find Daryl.
I guess I can’t blame her totally for that. She thinks he wants to find his brother. However, I can’t help but think he is more interested in revenge against Rick than seeing Daryl. I have a feeling Merle might be a lot like Daryl imagined him to be in his hallucination (“Chubacabra” season 2), where Merle was none too happy Daryl was a part of the group. I know a Dixon brothers reunion is inevitable, but the thought of it makes me uneasy. I kind of feel like there can only be one man standing at the end of that. Of course, that uneasiness makes me anticipate it as well. Uneasiness is what makes this show so good.
I’m just going to say that I think “The Killer Within” is one of the best episodes of The Walking Dead to date. It’s an emotional roller-coaster ride for sure, and as sad as I felt at the end of this one, I can’t wait to see what happens next.
Photos: Gene Page/AMC