Maya Zach ’17/ Emertainment Monthly Staff
To make up for the relatively easygoing premiere last week, this episode of The Walking Dead, “Infected”, starts and ends brutally. It is chock-full of death, emotional moments, and character development. The episode is neatly bookended with the reminder that life can be snatched away practically instantly. In the opening scene, Karen (Melissa Ponzio) is thriving and getting cozy with Tyreese (Chad L. Coleman), but in the final scene all that is left of her is a charred, unidentifiable corpse.
On what would seem like a lighter note, Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) could not be happier in their relationship. Glenn snaps a picture of Maggie as she sleeps, accidentally waking her up. When she tells him to get rid of it, he grins at her and tells her that it’s not going to happen, “it’s mine.” This scene is so recognizable and clichéd that it gives the feeling that all is well in their world. The writers toss this in to give the viewers a sense of calm. But what does calm lead up to? The storm. This could very well be a symbol of Maggie’s impending death. Once she’s gone, Glenn will stare longingly at this photo and remember her in their happiest days.
Since Patrick’s (Vincent Martella) turn happens during the night, the entire cellblock is full of unsuspecting, sleeping humans ready to be devoured. Patrick goes from one living body to the next, rather than chowing down on a single person. By the morning, there is a full-blown epidemic within the prison. Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and the crew manage to kill the walkers rather quickly, but a dozen or so lives (of unnamed, throwaway characters) were lost during the night. Once the storm has passed, The Counsel comes to the conclusion that Patrick died from a strain of the flu; a strain that they have surely all been exposed to (and if they hadn’t already, they surely will be after Patrick coughed up a lung in their water supply).
Throughout the episode, the outermost fence is completely overrun by walkers, and the group only grows as the episode progresses. It becomes clear that the fence is going to topple, but rather than trying to hide behind the second fence, the crew keeps trying to take out the walkers one-by-one. Once they finally come to their senses and realize that the walkers will break the fence down, Rick and Daryl (Norman Reedus) drive out of the prison and sacrifice the pigs to the walkers. Since they are most likely infected with the flu (as was learned in the previous episode when Violet died), the group in the prison would not have been able to eat the pigs anyway.
After Ryan Samuels (Victor McCay) was bit, Carol (Melissa McBride) brings his young daughters, Lizzie (Brighton Sharbino) and Mika (Kyla Kenedy), in to see him one last time. Lizzie, the older daughter, wants to end his life herself, but she freezes. Carol takes walker-Ryan out before she can gather her courage. Later, Carol calls her out for being too weak. She is doing what she can to coach these girls on life and death in this post-apocalyptic world, but she isn’t doing a very good job. Since she lost Sophia she has become incredibly cynical (and hanging out with Daryl hasn’t help much, either) and lost her lighter touch. Though Carol is clearly the new parental figure for the girls, Carol needs them more than they need her. She needs to be reminded how to nurture the children as she raises them as her own.
Carl (Chandler Riggs) has seemingly stopped rebelling against his father, and is actually showing Rick respect. He is doing everything that he can to prove himself and earn his father’s trust (and his gun) back. However, he has stopped wearing Rick’s sheriff’s hat. Though he says it’s because the hat isn’t fit for farming, it is more than that. Carl does not feel like the child he was before and he will never really be able to forgive his father for everything that happened. By the end of the episode, Rick hands Carl back his gun and finally puts his own gun belt back on.
After Michonne (Danai Gurira) tears a muscle getting back into the prison, she can’t wrap her head around the idea that Maggie and Carl risked their lives saving her. It is sad to see that she has no sense of self worth. But more interesting is her reaction to Judith. When Beth asks her to hold the baby, she vehemently opposes it. But once she is actually holding Judy, she cuddles with her and a huge smile sprawls across her face, something that we have never seen before. The fact that she has such a strong reaction (both positive and negative) to the child must mean that there was a baby in her history. Could it be a baby that she lost too early? So little is known of Michonne’s past that anything could be true.
This episode has just about everything that a Walking Dead fan is looking for: action, romance, character development, death, and even Beth singing. It is not an episode that you would want to miss.