The prison is overrun by zombies in the aftermath of the assault by the Governor and his gang against Rick and his group. Michonne is standing amid the bodies and rubble, when she comes across Hershel’s head and delivers the blow that ends any chance of his becoming a zombie (Hershel walker). The Governor is lying amongst the rest and his eyes open. He should, by all accounts, be dead, and one can only hope that he is. After warding off and finishing off the walkers who come near her, she chooses a couple of the Governor’s leftovers, cuts off their arms and jaws, ties them together and leads them off into the woods. She crosses the road where Carl and Rick had been and sees their tracks in the mud.
Rick and Carl are walking along the road, with Rick barely able to keep up with his son, having been shot in the leg. He asks Carl to slow down and then to stop, telling his son that they need to find a place, some food and supplies. Carl stops for a second then marches on at the same pace as before, not looking as if he really cares what his father wants. They come across a bar and Rick wants to clear it alone. Carl insists that he’ll do it himself. They walk in together and find a lone walker. Rick tries to stop it with an axe, but isn’t strong enough to finish it so Carl shoots it. Rick is upset because they have little ammunition to waste like that. The bar kitchen is pretty well stocked considering what’s transpired and the two gather whatever they can. When they begin to bag things up, Carl looks at Rick’s take and says “I win.” They walk farther down the road until they come across a neighborhood, and approach a house. When they enter, they make sure that it’s clear and Carl finds a bedroom which clearly belonged to a teenage boy. It’s filled with guitars and posters, a computer, CDs and a television set. His own teenage boyish joy is short-lived, though, when he realizes that the cables’ only uses are to tie the front door shut while Rick tries to push a sofa in front of the it. He tells Carl that the rope won’t hold, but Carl insists that the clove hitch knot will do the job. “Shane taught me. You remember him?”, Carl asks. Rick responds, “I remember him every day”, and then asks his son if there’s anything else he wants to ask him, noticing that Carl is holding onto a great deal of anger and resentment. Getting no answer and struggling to breathe, Rick goes into the bathroom, takes off his shirt and sees just how badly bruised he is.
Michonne is having a dream about her life at the beginning of the apocalypse. She’s in a beautiful apartment, with two men – one who is her husband or partner, and another named Mike – and is holding her baby son. She’s happy and moves about the kitchen, taking a katana and slipping it into a kitchen knife holder, as it becomes clear that the dream and her new reality are running headlong into each other. They talk about what to do, where to go in order to stay safe. Mike says that this isn’t life The men are telling her how valuable she is now that she’s so skilled with a sword. When the one man asks Mike what the question is, he says, “Why.” They then turn into zombies, with no arms and her baby is gone. She wakes up, sweating, confused and sad. The beautiful dream has turned into her nightmarish here and now.
Carl is also awake, and gets up to eat some cereal. He goes back upstairs to spend some time in the teenager’s bedroom. Some time passes and he goes back down to check on his father. He tires to wake his Dad screaming “Wake up, wake up, wake up” – giving us the feeling that he means it both literally and figuratively – then starts to shake him, but Rick is unresponsive. The door knob starts to move and Carl goes outside to see what’s going on. He finds two walkers trying to get in. He calls out to them and lures them down the street, taunting them by saying “Fresh meat. Right here. Come and get it. Lets’ take a walk.” As he’s walking backwards, another walker comes up behind him. They all attack him, and he barely manages to shoot them. After throwing up, he says, “I win.” This young boy, whose life has been turned upside down, is now playing the most realistic video game.
Carl then returns to the house and starts to tell Rick about what happened, “I killed three walker. They were trying to get in. I saved you”. Rick still isn’t moving or making a sound. Carl begins to rant at Rick telling him, “I don’t need you anymore. I don’t need you to protect me anymore. You couldn’t protect Judith, Hershel, Maggie, Daryl, Michonne, Glen or Mom. You were their leader. They counted on you. Now, you’re nothing. I’d be just fine if you died.” Now knowing what else to do, he venture back out onto the street and forces his way into another house. As he searches the rooms, a walker appears. Carl closes the door on its’ arm, but that doesn’t stop it. Carl runs to another room and tries to open a window to escape the walker. It catches up to him and I held my breath as the two fought, fearing Carl was about to be its’ next snack. Carl fires his gun until he has no bullets left, an only escape after his boot comes off in the walker’s hand. He closes the door behind him and writes “Walker inside. Shoe. Didn’t get me” in chalk on the door. He then retrieves a large can of pudding from the kitchen which he devours while sitting on the roof.
Michone is still walking through the woods, with her two walkers and keeps staring a female walker who looks somewhat like Michonne herself. When she can’t stand looking at her anymore, she cuts the woman’s head off. She then commences to behead every walker within her reach, even managing a two-fer. When none are left, she breaks down and cries. She returns to the piece of road where she saw the footprints and begins to follow them. She finds the same bar that Rick and Carl had found and goes inside. There she sees what’s left of the walker, along with the owner’s note, “Please finish what I couldn’t.” She sinks to the floor, begins to cry and talks to “Mike”. “I miss you. I missed you even when I was with you. Back at the camp. That wasn’t you who did it You were wrong, cuz I’m still here. You could be too. I know the answer. I know why.” She leaves the bar, and with a bit of flare, effortlessly removes a passing walker as a threat. It’s clear that she isn’t ready to throw in the towel just yet.
Carl is back with his dad, and Rick moves. Carl isn’t sure whether his father has dies and become a zombie, so he points his gun at him. Carl cries out, “I can’t. I was wrong.” He may be a snotty tween, but he’s still a little boy who, as far as we know, has only his father left to call family. Then Rick says Carl’s names. Carl tells him he’s scared. Rick and Carl talk, with Rick telling his son that he shouldn’t have taken the risks he did, but that he’s glad he found some more food. Carl says there was more but he ate it – all 120 ounces of pudding. Go Carl. Rick then says, “I know we’ll never get things back to where they used to be. I clung to it for you and Judith. You’re a man, Carl. You’re a man. I’m sorry.” Carl tells him he doesn’t need to be sorry.
Michonne has found the street with the houses and comes across the empty pudding can. She walks to the house, and looks in the window, seeing Carl and Rick through the window. She cries, then nods and smiles – overjoyed and relieved that she’s found someone from the group. As father and son talk, there’s a knock at the door. Carl looks through the peephole, sees Michonne and says to Carl, “It’s for you.” It’s nice to see that at least three of the group still have a reason to smile – and that they can smile at all.
So, only three of the main cast members appeared in this episode, but they filled up the hour with their storylines. Giving viewers a glimpse into the life Michonne had before all hell broke loose was a gift from the producers and writers, as we’ve only seen the fierce warrior side of her. If someone had told me that Carl could command the kind of screen time he did, I wouldn’t have believed it, and yet, that’s exactly what he did. The push-pull between a father and a son who should be just an angst riddled tween was worth the time spent watching it. Both of them reconciled the idea that, although Carl may have grown up to become a man and a killer out of necessity, he’s still a boy who needs his Dad.
Just to lighten the mood, I’m including this video – a spoof by the producers at Conan O’Brien’s show, where Norman Reedus (Daryl) attempts some crossbow training. (Sorry about the 30 second ad)
P.S. I’ve added another blogger to my blogroll – you’ll find it under Really!!? – Gary writes some of the best Downton Abbey recaps/reviews/analyses I’ve read. Please stop by his site when you get a chance. Thanks.