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The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead is a drama about a zombie apocalypse. It is based on the 2003 Image Comics series. AMC 2010-???

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Episode 4 - Indifference

6 November 2013

Credit AMC

Synopsis: Rick and Carol go searching for food and medicine. They run into a young couple who Carol encourages to help them. One of them is killed and Rick tells Carol she isn't welcome at the prison anymore. Meanwhile Tyreese struggles to get over his grief and Bob admits his alcoholism to Darryl. The group grab a van and make it to the veterinary college. They get the meds they need but Bob again reaches for a bottle.

The Unknown: Again a fascinating episode of television, at least from the withdrawn stance of a TV critic. The show feels tonally quite different to previous seasons. Although Walkers were present at various moments they felt quite periphery to the story. Instead we had characters slowly working through their emotional states and an exploration of the type of person who you need to be to fit in in the apocalypse.  

I thought the pre-credit sequence did a nice job of setting up Rick's dilemma over what to do with Carol. Based on previous seasons I assumed he might try to kill her. It was something of an anti-climax when he banished her and certainly when she calmly accepted her fate. I felt like the story built well but ultimately lacked any emotional payoff. As usual Rick was very good looking thoughtful and conflicted and Carol was excellent too drawing on how she's changed as a person to try and justify her stance. The young couple they meet were a fairly obvious test of Carol's morality and she strayed a little too close to Shane-territory for Rick's liking. 

In a way that's where the story failed though. The young couple were the first characters we've met in a while who didn't seem to have had their joie de vivre kicked out of them. To have two characters who saw the positives in the new world order could have been very refreshing but inevitably they were simply Walker bait. The death of the girl was merely there to demonstrate Carol's "Indifference" (see what they did there) to everyday empathy. When a show can use gruesome death as merely a casual plot point it just rubs me the wrong way. I know shows like Buffy and most police procedurals will have regular minor deaths every episode. But in those examples the deaths are an occupational hazard and don't reflect the very survival of civilisation.

That point added to my frown at Carol's exile. The first three seasons have left me with the impression that it's almost impossible to survive in this world. Every group will eventually fall and the Walkers will march on. However Carol's exile was presented less as a death sentence and more like regular exile. Considering the survivors live in a prison I would have thought perhaps a precious human like Carol might be asked to serve time rather than be cut adrift. Especially when you consider that Rick might return to find everyone dead at the prison.

It was also hard to believe Carol would take her exile as calmly as she did. I suppose that is who she has become. However it robbed the sequence of any emotion to see her so unmoved. It doesn't help that we still have no idea what her relationship with Darryl is. I have no idea whether that is the last we've seen of Carol. The lack of emotion makes me feel fairly confident that she is merely being diverted to join a subplot.

The motif of the season seems to be characters staring sullenly into the distance.  That's all the emotion we got out of Rick as he cast aside one of his oldest friends (in apocalypse years anyway). That's not to say that lingering looks can't be emotive or atmospheric. But it's hard to accept that that is the height of emotion we get to empathise with. Perhaps in the traumatic silence of this world that really is the wisest way to emote though.

I liked the simplicity of the Darryl (and company) story. They escape from the Walkers and run until they find a new car. They get it started and take the back roads. That's it. The focus on Tyreese and Michonne as they ponder their next moves was fine. The Bob story was a little more complicated. I liked the contrast drawn between him and Darryl at the garage. Darryl is hard enough to just keep living while Bob has sympathy for those who end their suffering before something worse happens to them. His admission that he needed to drink himself to sleep made sense but the rooftop struggle felt like a clumsy follow up. Did Bob's bag have to have only the alcohol in it? If it had been full of medicine as well then it would have made the discovery of the bottle more of an impactful moment. Instead having Bob reach for his gun to protect his "precious" was heavy handed and simplistic.

Perhaps I missed something but I was taken aback when Bob pointed out that the approaching Walkers were infected with the flu. Did he spot that earlier or did he really spot it in the darkness? That discovery does seem to add something to the flu virus as a story. If it is a pandemic being spread by the filthy corpses walking around rather than a random illness at the prison then that is some nice world building.

Best Moment: I thought the opening sequence was very atmospheric and focussed in on Carol's crimes and Rick's dilemma. Although I think he made the right decision and can believe that Carol would accept it, it was still a flat conclusion.

Conclusion: It remains hard to make me feel anything but yet again I was sort of impressed with the commitment to characterisation. It would be weird to build up Carol as one of the most interesting characters on the show and then remove her from the story entirely.

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  • Sorry if I'm crass, but can't put this delicately... stop riding Lost's d**k. On the Breaking Bad's podcasts, you constantly say you hesitate to compare BB to Lost, even though everyone knows BB is the superior show. But when you talk about The Walking Dead, it's Lost this and Lost that. Lost is not the end all and be all drama.

    Anyway about this episode, it's highly emotional for me, it's got me slightly arouse. I give it 7 out of 10 thumbs up.

    Posted by Funkhouser, 06/11/2013 1:22pm (4 years ago)

  • This was quite a thought provoking episode for me. While the scenes with the scavenger group (Daryl & crew) were interesting, what's really stuck with me days later is the Rick and Carol story. I'm very torn about the decision to exile Carol. I understand why Rick is so mistrustful of her. Her explanation of why she did it could apply to anyone she considers a threat to the group. And Rick has two very vulnerable people to consider; Judith and Carl. What if a situation arose that Carol felt it would be better to kill or allow being killed Judith or Carl. With her pragmatic viewpoint could he be sure she wouldn't do it. So for him as a father this is a risk he can't accept. While he's probably worried about Tyreese's reaction to Carol's actions, I think his decision was more of a selfish one. I also see Carol's side in stepping up and making a hard choice in this unforgiving world they live in. However I do feel by her actions in the last episode (her showing signs of obvious stress) that she's not quite as certain about what she did as she'd like Rick to believe. I feel this is one reason why she didn't argue to stay and put her case before the group.
    In any case Rick's decision is still going to divide the group and cause conflict. Also I didn’t understand Carol bringing up Rick killing Shane. Shane was going to kill Rick no question, so self-defense was justified in my opinion. Unfortunately the audience is the only ones to see what happened and all the other characters have Ricks poor explanation of what happened.

    Viewer score: 75 / 100

    Posted by Beverly, 05/11/2013 7:55pm (4 years ago)

  • All right, it was a character focused episode. And by “indifference” I realized that The walking Dead is getting away from creating action and tension instead changed its tone in season 4 to focus on character and story more, at least for recent episodes. This episode stand alongside episodes such as 18 Miles out and Clear, where we just had few character who leave to a journey and in meanwhile reveal their souls, feelings and motivations by interacting with each other and encounter with things in their way. (Of course, it’s not as good as the other two).

    So, in this episode we saw Carol (star of the episode) and Rick together. And Dayle, Michonne, Tyresse and Bob in another group. The going and backing between these two was a good point. And keep the rhythm of events in a great level.

    As I expected and we were watching from the beginning of the season, Carol has become very important character. Of course, she has the potential because of her dark and painful past. Now, she’s justifying the killing of Karen and David. Exactly the way people like Shane and Governor think. So, the clash of her thoughts with Rick’s who is trying to stay away from conflict is the main point of the episode.

    Here we can understand Rick’s questions better: “Why did you kill?” and Carol couldn’t satisfy Rick with her answer.

    You can see this difference in their memories. While Rick dream about Sunday’s pancake with Lori, Carol don’t want to name Sophia. She has grown brutal and hard. And we know that Rick wants to avoid conflict with Tyresse and can’t stand her way of surviving around his children. So, exile is understandable. However it was very hard for Rick, and you can realize it when he keep looking at rear mirror.

    The episode was all about “facing reality” and “change”. Michonne gave up her hunt. It seems Tyresse let go of his blind rage.
    In the end, what will happen to Carol? Should we forget her or a subplot will focus on her? What Dryle will do?

    One more thing, if every sick people get back to normal, we can completely understand that Carol made a bad decision but what will Rick do if they can’t stop the disease and it spread more?

    Thank you for the review!


    Viewer score: 78 / 100

    Posted by Reza, 05/11/2013 5:59pm (4 years ago)

  • I still am hopeful, due to the change in tone of this season, that awesomeness is in store for future episodes, but we shall see.
    As for some walkers being diseased, I have been under the impression that such a connection was being implied since seeing the "burst-eyes walker" in the premier, and Patrick's face bleeding as he turned. The second episode seemed to confirm that people who died from the unknown disease would suffer internal heat and pressure to the point that blood would explode from every hole in the head.

    Viewer score: 61 / 100

    Posted by Matt E., 05/11/2013 10:20am (4 years ago)

  • Yeah, I didn't like the "goodbye, Carol" scene either. She seemed too blasé about it for it to work.

    The world of The Walking Dead confuses me. There's seemingly very few humans left. Given that, it never seems a good idea to be banishing group members the way that Rick discarded Carol.

    She has shown herself to be very useful to have around. Granted, she was definitely a bit of a warning sign with her behaviour but so much for giving her a chance. It just doesn't make sense to me.

    I sometimes think the show has too misanthropic a world view... The Grapes of Wrath this is not.

    Posted by Romit, 05/11/2013 2:50am (4 years ago)

  • Im glad you mentioned the tone. I've found every episode this season to be tension filled without anything actually happening on screen. The acting, writing and score all bring a sense of dread that I want to see in a realistic portrayal of such a dreadful world. Im also enjoying the newfound respect the writers seem to have for the audience. In the past a character would give a speech describing how he/she felt about the situation, instead of letting the viewer figure it out. I've lost count of the number of times a character would start with "before the world went to sh*t" and then follow it up with some justification for their actions. Daryl and Bob on the roof is a great example. Bobs problems with drink are clearly a problem for Daryl due to his parents and degenerate brother but they didn't insult us with a speech. Instead we got a confrontation with Daryl making his point through actions rather than words.

    There is so much I want to write about this season but cannot due to the way they are approaching the storytelling. In the past they have taken plot points from the comic and applied them to different characters under different situations in the show. To write about the comic versus the show is too potentially spoilerish as it may yet happen further down the line. I can see them sowing the seeds for these storylines but with different characters.

    I don't think you've done this with TWD Robin, but it would be interesting to see which character from the show your contributors most relate to as the attraction for a lot of people to this genre is "What would I do".
    Im a much (much) younger version of Herschel with elements of Bob.

    Viewer score: 72 / 100

    Posted by Rob H, 04/11/2013 10:59pm (4 years ago)

  • Maybe I have lowered my expectations but I really liked this episode and felt sad about Carol's exile.

    It felt good to be away from the prison. The flashing between groups was pretty well paced. The character development and focus was a welcomed departure from the first seasons and I have to wonder what this show would have been like had this been the focus all along.

    I felt quite a bit more during this episode than I have in a long while.

    I loved how Carol levels Rick a bit by calling him out on his true reason for waiting for the dislocated shoulder guy (name?) it was about the Watch not the Boy. That's really why he wanted to wait. Giving the boy the watch represented a leap of Faith for Rick, he'd hoped the boy returning the watch could mark a returning to a world he could relate to. The boy's survival wasn't the important point, it was his surviving to return it that was. Rick valued what the Watch represented more than the life of the Boy. Carol simply put it as, "It was a nice Watch", trying make it's return less poignant, more pragmatic.

    The musical montage and longing looks at the end worked okay for me. Enough so that I look forward to The Walking Dead's next episode again.

    The world of the Walking Dead is drawing me back in with this one. I'm willing to suspend my disbelief again, for now.

    Viewer score: 75 / 100

    Posted by Yogabon, 04/11/2013 9:33pm (4 years ago)

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