Episode 10 - Inmates
7 May 2014
Synopsis: Daryl and Beth pick up the trail of some of the children but find Walkers devouring their bodies. Tyreese is still alive though caring for Judith, Lizzie and Mika. The stress is getting to him though when Carol appears. Sasha, Bob and Maggie find the bus but its inhabitants all turned. Glenn is back at the prison and prepares to escape. He bumps into Tara and pushes her to help him.
The Good: Again I thought this was an admirable attempt to inject character moments into the narrative. In particular this was the most interesting Beth or Glenn have ever been to me.
Beth is still absent much definition but to hear an extract from her diary was a start. She also kicked off the theme that the spirit of Hershel will live on in the next generation. Bob, Maggie and Glenn all seemed to reference his faith in a better future to keep them moving forward.
The survival of baby Judith also implies that hope is, at least for now, going to be an important part of the show. When Lori first raised the problem that a crying baby would draw Walkers I assumed that the show just wouldn't have babies survive. To actually see Tyreese trying to care for three children while on the run was quite poignant. I felt for him as he struggled with the desperate scenario of keeping them all safe and sane for more than a day. Even though it seemed unlikely that the show would kill them off, the visual of the three girls alone as Walkers approached was inevitably gripping. I don't yet understand where Lizzie's Carol-inspired ruthlessness ends and her own psychosis begins. But to see her give in to a sort of trance as she tried to smother Judith's cries was almost-amazing television. Again, the show just doesn't seem capable of something so shocking but the mere suggestion of it was fascinating.
That sequence was one of many evocative or memorable images. Beth staring at Daryl after his insensitive remark as they both consider the thought that they are each others only company now. Maggie being forced to methodically slaughter and then search the bus for her dead husband. Glenn staring at the empty prison, their sanctuary now empty.
Maggie was very strong in the bus sequence and Glenn matched her back at the prison. Both gave very admirable demonstations of how to cry convincingly on camera. Glenn finally seemed like a man to admire and support here. With no one else to help him he had to devise his own plan and carry it out. It was a good demonstration of addition via subtraction. With no alpha males around suddenly we could see his bravery, his resolve and his competence.
The Bad: At this stage it seems like Scott Gimple is doing an admirable job with the poor plotting he was left with. A lot of the problems with this episode were related to the fact that we don't know or care about any of the former residents of Woodbury. They were an awkward leftover who have proved to be nothing but canon fodder. Beth weeps for children who I barely remember. Maggie weeps with joy that the fifteen recently deceased bus passengers were no one important. And in the height of indifference Tyreese and Carol don't even ask a dying man if he'd like to be put out of his misery. They just leave him weeping on the side of the road.
The bus massacre is a bit of a head scratcher. Everyone inside is dead but the doors are all locked. Did no one try to escape while people were being slowly eaten? It seemed really inappropriate for Bob to be smiling and upbeat. If the show wants to create a character who can laugh through the apocalypse that would be interesting. But Bob isn't that guy and just seemed like an ass hole for grinning after their home just got blown up.
The last time we saw Glenn, he was unable to stand, so the idea that he made it back to the prison and to safety is highly convenient. The fact that after a quick snooze he has enough energy to strap on riot gear and barge his way through a crowd of zombies is silly. His collapse on the road, only to be immediately rescued, did not help.
As I say, a lot of this is about the foolish handling of the Governor. The show introduced a load of new characters but only then blew up the Prison. So we knew that none of them were going to die. One of the main lessons Gimple and company should take from this is that there is no suspence in characters looking at dead bodies. We know that main characters die on screen, not off it. Don't build plots around that emotion, it isn't there.
The Unknown: Carol's return was very convenient but understandable. There's no way poor Tyreese could keep up the charade much longer. I hope that we don't get a drawn out story as we all sit around waiting for him to find out what she did back at the prison. I just can't see a way that that will play out well.
I enjoyed parts of this episode enough that I'm actually sad to see everyone headed down the same road. Being alone gave these characters time to shine. If in two episodes time they are all reunited at this Sanctuary then they may all go back to their former roles.
Best Moment: Two children are about to be eaten alive and one of them is smothering a baby. It's not often you get to see that on television.
Conclusion: Despite all the silly moments I think this episode was another step in a positive direction. It attempted to make us care about these people and that's very important.
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