Last week on The Walking Dead, we witnessed a group broken and downtrodden. They are all rough, weary and looking for a piece of salvation. As an outsider looking in, it is hard to see how a prison can become that place of hope. But, the world of The Walking Dead is more like Bizarro World. What is up is now down and what is odd is now normal.
*WARNING: Some spoilers may follow. But, if you haven’t seen episode one, why are you reading about episode two? Go watch the episode, Mr. Spenny Spoiler!*
As Hershel lays legless and unconscious on the floor, our attention is turned to the small group of inmates that have taken up residence in the cafeteria. Emotions are high on both ends. Rick and his crew are worried about Hershel and know they must move him quickly. The inmates are worried about Rick and his group, fearing that they want to kill them and take their supplies. After a few moments of arguing, Hershel is placed on a kitchen cart and wheeled back to the cell block He is placed in a cot and left to fight for his life as the group can do nothing but hope and pray he survives.
The rest of the episode deals with the confrontation between Rick’s group and the group of inmates, led by a convict named Tomas. Rick and Tomas finally come to an agreement about the prison. After giving them half their food supply, Rick and his group will help the inmates clean out a cell block and the two groups will leave each other alone. But, that plan quickly falls apart when Tomas tries to kill Rick by throwing a “live” walker on him. Rick returns the favor with a swift machete chop to the head. After all is said and done, only two of the original five inmates remain alive to fend for themselves.
As for Hershel, things looked pretty bleak for him. After having his leg removed, he lost a good amount of blood. Also, no one knows whether or not the infection had made its way into Hershel blood stream or not. But, as the fighting between Rick and the inmates continued, Hershel took a turn for the worst. Near the end of the episode, Hershel stop breathing and Lori attempts CPR to revive him. Much to our shock, Hershel jumps and wraps his arm around Lori as she was giving him mouth-to-mouth. Unfortunately Hershel was not a zombie and Lori did not get her lips eaten off. But, she did save Hershel. So, that’s a plus.
The prisoners that Rick and his crew stumble across in the cafeteria had been isolated for some time. They say that a friendly guard hid them in there until help arrived. From their count, that was ten months ago. They have no idea that the world has ended and they quickly realize that the place they once locked them in and ruined their lives is now the only place they can see that will keep them safe and save their lives. What a feeling that must be? What a world that must be?
I don’t know. I’d probably take my chances outside. There would be nothing in this world that would make me stay any longer in a place like that, especially if I had been imprisoned there. But, I suppose that is why I wouldn’t survive long in the world of the undead.
Above all the rest, we have seen the biggest change in a character come from Rick. Where everyone else seems tired and dejected, Rick seems commanding and strong. Where once Rick would try to find a civilized way around an issue, he now will not hesitate to land a machete in your temple if you cross him. All the struggles of this new world have weighed heavily on Rick’s mind and spirit. He has placed himself as the head of the group, and by doing so, he is forced to adapt to this new world, for better or for worse. But, there is a very thin line he must walk when letting the world of the undead in. If he lets too much in, he’ll be as dead on the inside as the walkers are on the outside.
I haven’t read the comic book that’s covered this season yet. So, I can’t tell you what I think will happen or if this is even on par with Rick’s character in the rags. But, I do think that a character changing this fast will eventually burn himself out. It is certain that Rick will face personal tragedy this season and it will bring him down from the high horse he’s on. From what I’ve read about The Prison and the upcoming Woodbury, many of our favorite characters will not survive, and, when that happens, it’s hard to tell where the show will go from there.
One thing is for certain, in my opinion, season four should be the last season for The Walking Dead. I would rather watch the show end on a high note than end with Rick wrangling zombies to plow his fields. The stories we have now are great, and I wouldn’t want their greatness tarnished by a slew of boring dialogue and senseless killing.