The Walking Dead has returned for the last half of season four. After the tense, emotional, absolutely nuts mid-season finale, the subdued nature of “After” feels like a welcome change, mixing quiet moments with some nice character development. Even though I usually don’t like the slow episodes, this one hit the mark.
But first, let’s check in with Dale.
Thanks, Dale! Now onward, to the recap!
We open with a survey of the wreckage of the prison, with zombies still pouring in like a flood of water. We also get a nice, juicy shot of The Governor lying dead in the grass, but there’s still part of me that worries that we’ll see him again. Frankly, I’m so sick of ol’ one-eye that I want better closure than just seeing him lying in the grass, face-up. I want this mofo to get torn apart, limb from limb, turned into a zombie buffet and then pooped out all over the land so there’s no way he can torment Rick’s Rebels anymore.
Outside of the opening sequence, the rest of “After” focuses on Michonne, Rick, and Carl. Michonne gets a hefty bit of character development here- probably more here than she’s gotten in every episode prior. We find out that her armless, jawless zombie pets were actually her brother and the father of her child- a child she lost to zombies. So much about her makes sense now. Her bringing the baby formula to Rick’s Rebels before joining them, and her weirdness towards Judith. While she reminisces about her past she makes herself two new zombie pets and then wanders aimlessly with a herd of walkers. Eventually she hits a point of clarity and snaps out of it, then slaughters the twenty-ish zombies around her. Awesome! She will definitely have to sharpen her katana after that. From there she sets out to find the missing members of her group- a nice reminder of how she’s grown since joining up with Rick’s Rebels. She ain’t just some cold hearted snake who values her own life over theirs.
Over with Rick and Carl, the younger Grimes gets huffy and angry at Rick, throwing around the full weight of his hormonally-shifting attitudes at him. He’s snarky, he ignores his dad, and he does the opposite of what he’s told- you know, teenager stuff. Meanwhile, Rick looks more beatdown that I have ever seen someone look on television. The man’s a huge, walking, swollen bruise. He’s so injured that, once he goes to sleep for the night, he drops into a friggin’ coma. Carl doesn’t pick up on the fact that his father is comatose and begins berating the sleeping sheriff, telling him exactly how much he failed at keeping everyone safe. He basically said you suck, this is all your fault, and I don’t need you, and then he runs off to make it on his own and quickly learns that he can’t. A group of walkers almost kill him, and end up piled, dead, reminding me of that scene in the Two Towers where Gimli gets covered in dead Wargs. The highlight of Carl’s solo career, however, is when he tries to bust down the door of a house the way Rick did earlier and bounces off of it like a rubber ball. Ha! Nothing says “you’re not a man yet” like that.
There’s also nothing like 112 ounces of chocolate pudding to make you see the light. Carl finds some snacks and chows down, then goes back to Rick as he wakes from his coma. They reconcile, Rick tells Carl that he is indeed a man, and then there’s a knock at the door. It’s Michonne! The Walking Dead knows how to hurt us a lot, but sometimes, when it taketh away, it giveth back.
- The Governor lying motionless in the grass.
- Michonne’s backstory.
- Carl not being able to bust down the door.
- The note Carl left on the door after escaping a zombie, but not without losing his boot: “Walker inside. Got my shoe but didn’t get me”
- Rick looking like he’s had forty kinds of crap beaten out of him, both physically and psychologically.
- Michonne slaughtering the zombies in the woods.
This is the Action Flick Chick, and you’ve just been kicked in the ass!
*Dale’s Deeds by Alex Langley, @Rocketllama.
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