“Infected” – The Walking Dead

dead1“Infected”, the second installment in the fourth season of The Walking Dead, was, if nothing else, a lively one. The body count was high. A big chunk of D block, new characters Patrick and Ryan (who leaves behind two little girls), and former Woodbury resident and survivor of the Governors’ ‘army massacre’ among the corpsified. Oh, and pigs. Like, all the pigs. It’s enough to make your Monday feel a bit anxiety-inducing, so here’s a .GIF of puppies.

Feeling a little better? Good, let’s continue. The idea of a plague (illness) during a plague (zombies) seems like bad writing, but I guess it’s at least reasonable. Modern medicine has pushed mortality rates way down and, historically speaking, right now is as good a time as any to be alive in North America. But, once shit hits the fan and hospitals disappear (as you can imagine they might when most medical professionals retrain and become the undead), then, yeah, the flu would be a pretty dangerous thing. I spent this weekend popping pills in a rainbow of colors in order to get over a strep throat. I experienced fever for the first time in my adult life and, after a bit of reflection following my bedridden viewing of “Infected”, solemnly thought to myself that, prior to the invention of antibiotics, that might have been something that could have killed me. Fever isn’t all that bad though… I made a new friend. His name is Eli, and he’s a kung-fu space hooker from the x’aa dimension. *Checks thermometer* Okay, maybe I’ll need a few more days to beat this thing.

I actually liked “Infected” quite a lot, and I generally like the direction the show seems to be taking. But, in typical Walking Dead style, it just seems to take far too long to come to the point. There were long stretches of “Infected” that could have been left on the proverbial cutting room floor, and the Pond Hopping Girls verdict would have been far kinder for it.

With that in mind, there were a couple of nice juicy veins of character development/revelation that was cool to see – Michonne and Carl.

Michonne hasn’t had much of her past revealed and, since the comics (I’ve been skimming in bookstores, brazenly making the world my library) seem so distant over all from the TV show, I think we will see a more or less original origin story worked out for our sword-wielding heroine. Also, she was doing that pelvic thrust workout thing, and I was firmly reminded of how she’s both very scary and scarily hot. As for that revelation – she breaks down into tears while holding baby Judith, which to me seems to scream loss of a child, and it was amazing to see a strong maternal reaction come from a character who’s so badass. Michonne often seems to act now as the counterpoint to Daryl, the tough but sensitive killing machine.

As for Carl, well he seems to be regressing. In sharp contrast to how much Chandler Riggs has grown, Carl seems to be happier with his role as a child within the prison community. He tells Rick about Carrol’s creepy kindergarten knife fighting school, and generally seems influenced a lot more by the example Rick’s been trying to give.

Unfortunately, Rick the farmer seems long gone, with Rick sacrificing his pigs to protect the fence, which (conveniently) was about to break down just when the plot required it. His reaction to this seems more profound than his reaction to killing people, but maybe he was just really, really looking forward to barbecue ribs. Rick’s gun belt goes back on, the boy is (to the strain of some very dramatic violins) given a pistol, and I’d imagine that Carl will soon be breaking out his hat again. It’s not a farming hat, after all. It’s a killing hat…

As for who killed Karen and David, I genuinely have no idea. I could posit that the reasoning behind it was to prevent the flu they seemed to be combatting from spreading, but that seems an extreme approach. If I had to pick a prime suspect, I’d go with Stooky, but maybe that’s just because I still see him as The Wire’s deeply untrustworthy D’Angelo Barksdale. Something really does seem off about that guy though. Maybe he’s the one who’s been feeding rats to the Walkers, but I’m going to lay that at the feet of the newly-orphaned Lizzie, chiefly due to her insistence that the Walkers aren’t dead, just different. A multicultural viewpoint if ever there was one.

I’m looking forward to seeing how all of this plays out, but it seems like such a shame that it’ll take about nine episodes for that to happen. – 

Quoteworthy: “We might as well be the only people left in the world.” – Tyreese, to Karen, before breaking into a chorus of “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” (That smooth bastard…)

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