(All images used in this post are screen caps from AMC’s The Walking Dead, unless otherwise specified.)
Those of you who actually read my recent pre-season post, “What Happens After”? may remember my telling you about The Law of Kirkman, which basically states that Kirkman will do as Kirkman pleases, and Kirkman and Co. can, and will, play with our emotions.
Nothing personal; it’s just how he do…well, he and Gimple and the rest of the WD gang, anyway.
I have wondered lately about how the whole Kirkman and Gimple relationship works…are they like Batman and Robin, or are they more like The Tick and Arthur? Maybe they really complement each other and are actually more like The Wonder Twins, with special rings and shit…I don’t know, but what I do know that they are pretty much kicking my ass right about now.
Back after mid-season finale, when Chris Hardwick asked Robert Kirkman on that night’s Talking Dead about the possibility of Baby Judith still being alive, I really thought Kirkman was scoffing and laughing at us sentimental fools: “There was a lot of blood in that car seat!” I thought, “Oh, man, poor Baby Judith’s a goner for sure…” My WD buddy’s friend, Neil (the originator of The Crazy Carol Theory) even read some interview where somebody from the show said that it was “unrealistic” for the story line to keep her alive.
Now I know that what Kirkman and Co. were really doing was bluffing… and playing with our emotions. Now I know why Chris Hardwick yells, “Kirkman!!”
Yesss, Precious, the Kirkman is tricksy, yes it is….it tricks and teases us, yessss it does, Precious….
(Despite my mock protests, I am loving every minute of Kirkman and Co. slapping us up like the baby bitches that we are.)
In Season 4, Episode 10, “Inmates,” Kirkman and Co. proved once again that they are masters of their domain by throwing down five game-changing plot developments in a single episode…Baby Judith is alive, whabam! Carol is back, whabam! Glenn wakes up at the freaking prison, and after indulging himself in a brief tearful moment in his old cell, looking at a polaroid of Maggie, he squares his shoulders, gathers supplies, suits up in riot gear to make his escape through the horde of prison walkers, and finds Tara having an existential crisis moment in the fenced garden area..whabam!
And to top it all off like two crazy cherries, Lizzy is a major psycho (as we all suspected), and at the episode’s end, a catalytic and iconic character from the WD comic series, Sgt. Abraham Ford, enters the arena with the line (to Tara), “You got a damn mouth on you, you know that? What else you got?”
All I can think of to say is, “Thank you, Kirkman, may I have another?”
“Inmates” opens in a haunting sequence showing Beth and Daryl running for their lives through the woods, pursued by a large group of walkers. Beth’s voice comes over the slow-motion, dream-like sequence, reading aloud a diary entry from their early days of the prison, when Lori was still alive and expecting her baby any day…Beth addresses the diary like an old friend:
“Hey… I know it’s been awhile…I gotta be honest. I forgot about you. After the farm, we were always moving. But something happened…something good…finally. We found a prison…Daddy thinks we can make it into a home. He says we can grow crops in the field, find pigs and chickens, stop running, stop scavenging…Lori’s baby’s just about due…she’ll need a safe place when it comes…the rest of us, we just need a safe place to be.”
Still running through the woods, Beth is surprised by a walker…She points her pistol and tries to shoot, but is out of bullets. Daryl is there, shooting an arrow through the walker’s head, bashing another walker’s head open with the swift upswing of his crossbow, and planting his foot into the third walker’s belly and shoving it down to the ground. This gives just enough time for him to do a quick touch-check with Beth, grab his arrow from the walker’s skull, and then they must run, run from the walkers, who seem to keep coming and coming.
Beth’s voice-over continues, “I woke up in my own bed yesterday…my own bed…in my own room. I’ve been keeping my bag packed, keeping my gun close…I’ve been afraid to get my hopes up…that we can actually stay here. The thing is, I’ve been starting to get afraid that it’s easier just to be afraid. But this morning, Daddy said something…”If you don’t have hope, what’s the point of living?” So, I unpacked my bag….and I found you. So I’m going to start writing in you again.”
Finally free of the walkers, hidden in the underbrush, Beth and Daryl collapse onto the ground, exhausted and winded. They have been running since the prison’s collapse, and the shot pans in closer to them, as Beth’s voice-over continues:
“And I’m going to write this down now, because you should write down wishes to make them come true…we can live here. We can live here for the rest of our lives…”
Early next morning, before sunrise. Beth and Daryl are sitting on opposite sides of a tiny fire. Daryl’s face is stony, and it feels like he may be shutting down inside, retreating back into his former persona of a lone tracker/hunter. Beth sits forward, looks at Daryl.
“We should do something,” she says. No response from Daryl, so Beth says it again. “We should do something.” Daryl just looks up at her, says nothing. “We aren’t the only survivors…we can’t be….they could be out here…You’re a tracker, you can track…..c’mon, the sun will be up soon…if we head out now…” Beth stands above Daryl, waiting for him to answer. In response, Daryl does nothing, says nothing.
Beth has had enough. She snatches up her knife, says, “Fine. If you won’t track, I will.” She stalks off, and of course, after a moment’s hesitation, Daryl must get up and follow her.
While I was initially resistant to the possibility of Daryl and Beth getting together, seeing how they interact in these scenes made me realize that I actually like them together. Beth has a brave honesty about her, and she not afraid to speak her mind and call someone out if need be. But Beth is also young, with an artist’s sensitivity, and I think both her fire and her vulnerability would help to draw Daryl out a little.
Daryl has always had a youthful, childlike way about him, and I could see him being able to relate to Beth as a girlfriend…she is a good combination for him…she has a sweet innocence and openness about her, but she’s definitely seen some shit and has the strength and smarts to have survived this long. In that way, Beth and Daryl have a lot in common.
And, honestly, while there are many of us out there who consider Daryl Dixon our pretend boyfriend (or, one of our favorite pretend boyfriends), we can’t bogart the Daryl, people. The way I see it, the only thing worse than Daryl having a cute young girlfriend is Daryl not having anybody to love at all…he is way too hot for that. Daryl deserves love, something sweet to keep him going. At the very least, Daryl needs a hobby, and saving Beth from walkers seems to be becoming a full-time job for him. Beth is good for him, and if I’m right, I think love is blossoming already between the two. I smell lovers.
I really liked the scene when they find some signs of others, and Beth tells Daryl to have a little faith, and Daryl responds with some shitty remark, “Faith…faith ain’t done shit for us, and it sure as hell didn’t do nothin’ for your father…”
It’s too mean, and they both know it. Beth gapes at him, while he looks shamefacedly back at her. She blinks back tears, turns away from Daryl with the pretext of gathering grapes for the others, who will probably be “hungry” when they find them. Daryl gets this sweet, regretful (totally hot) look:
Then, in a gesture that is both tender and totally manly, he pulls a clean bandanna from his back pocket, shakes it out, and holds it out to Beth, who is still turned away from him. He gently nudges her arm with the bandanna, and after a moment, Beth slowly turns and takes the bandanna from him, and begins to put the grapes she is gathering into it.
I texted my WD buddy, I officially approve of Beth as Daryl’s girlfriend, to which she replied, in emoji, a thumb’s up, followed by two hearts. It’s official: We approve.
A few moments later, Beth and Daryl work seamlessly together to kill Pop Walker, who reanimated after getting chomped by the rails. In the times of post-zombie apocalypse (PZA), killing a walker together is like PZA foreplay. Beth and Daryl go down to the railroad tracks to find more walkers, crouched and eating human remains. Daryl makes quick work of the walkers, who are intent on their grisly feast.
When Beth surveys the carnage, she a child’s shoe that resembles the shoes Mika was wearing. Beth breaks down in tears. More shots of Daryl, looking super fine in his sleeveless vest, walking along the tracks, then looking back at Beth, at a loss for how to comfort her:
That night, as Beth and Daryl sit across each other at a small fire, Beth rips pages from her diary and throws them into the flames. We hear her voice-over, reading the last of her diary’s entry:
“We’re not going to die…none of us…I believe now…I believe for Daddy, if this doesn’t work, I don’t know how I can keep going…”
Unbeknownst to Daryl and Beth, the sites and areas they have been tracking were the ones traversed only hours before by Tyrese, Mika, and Lizzy…carrying an unexpected surprise survivor:
Baby Judith! I was alternately relieved and completely freaked out by the realization that Baby Judith was alive…it was like, “Oh, yay!” and “This sucks!” all wrapped up into one. My WD buddy texted, I am so over worrying about Baby Judith, and then she was gone, for like 10 minutes. I was a little worried at first, but I know how we are about this show…she needed to go process for a little bit. Been there, done that.
She texted me, once she recovered, It was so much better for me thinking she was dead. I get it, I really do. My WD buddy and I are both moms, and worrying about Baby Judith’s survival brings it all a little too close to home.
I basically decided in that moment that it was time to start drinking in earnest, so I poured myself another glass of pinot noir…I am glad I did, because it was right at the scene where it’s night, and Baby Judith is crying (and teething up a storm, it looks like), and Tyrese is trying to calm the baby…Mika is fearful that the crying will alert walkers, and Lizzy looks down at the log she is sitting on and discovers:
And in a silent and horrifying sequence, Lizzy pulls out her knife and goes to town on the bunnies, while the camera holds the shot on her face as she makes quick work of them with her knife:
Well, it seems pretty apparent to me at this point that it was probably Lizzy who was creating the fucked-up rabbit dissection art and feeding rats to the walkers, back at the prison. A couple of my Walking Dead-Obsessed friends have been pretty certain that it was Lizzy who killed Karen and David. They think that Carol discovered what she did, dragged out and burned the bodies, and tried to cover up for Lizzy, getting banished by Rick in the process…fascinating, right? That would morph The Crazy Carol Theory into a whole new theory, The Crazy Lizzy Formulation. We all know that Lizzy is crazy…the question is, just how crazy is she?
Pretty freaking crazy, it turns out, as she and Mika are left by Tyrese to stand back-to-back in the woods, Lizzy holding Judith and Mika holding a gun, to defend themselves against potential walkers while Tyrese goes to help whomever is screaming, someone presumably under walker attack.
Poor Judith begins to cry, and Mika pleads with Lizzy to please try to keep the baby quiet. Lizzy puts her hand over Judith’s nose and mouth, and she starts to get that intent, crazy look as she continues to press down, beginning to suffocate poor Baby Judith. Meanwhile, a couple of walkers approach Mika and Lizzy, snarling and hissing. Mika’s eyes grow wide with terror and she points the gun up towards the walkers, shaking…
While watching this scene the first time, I actually typed the line, “Oh fuck, Lizzy, don’t kill the baby!” I would like to take this moment to nominate Brighton Sharbiro, the beautiful young actress who plays Lizzy, for a “Deadie” for a great performance in this episode, and, in general, for taking on such an intense and complex role as Lizzy.
Down by the railroad tracks, battling walkers, Tyrese hears the gun shot, and when he turns, he is surprised by yet another unexpected survivor:
I have to tell you, I don’t know if I have ever been so glad to see someone as I was to see Carol in that moment, holding Baby Judith (who looked super-relieved to be away from Lizzy, I might add). Carol looked a bit nervous when Tyrese rushed up to give her a big hug, but recovered herself quickly enough to lie about her whereabouts when the shit went down between the Gov and the prison peeps.
After the lies and the pleasantries are exchanged, Carol and Tyrese approach the poor bitten father, who is crying over the body of his son, who was bitten and killed by the walkers.
This scene definitely messed me up a bit, as the walkers definitely are scoring some mad kills and general scariness points so far in these mid-season episodes. The poor young son fought valiantly, but those damn walkers and their singular, undead purpose (to chomp the living) just keep coming and coming…the poor dad tells them to follow the tracks, that there is a safe place there to take the children…they leave him crying over the dead body of his son…he will soon die himself, and reanimate in a few hours as Pop Walker, and get rekilled by Beth and Daryl.
Carol, Tyrese, Judith, and the girls take Pop Walker’s advice and walk along the tracks for a bit, Lizzy and Mika walking ahead, holding hands. Lizzy spots a sign, and they read:
Lizzy looks at Tyrese and Carol, who give a smile back, but seem hesitant to believe what seems too good to be true.
Meanwhile, Bob is loving being alive, chilling with two fine babes, Sasha and Maggie, getting his shoulder wound cleaned and bandaged up by Sasha while Maggie morosely carves into a large rock and looks at the engagement/wedding rings on her ring finger. Bob allows himself a smile, which Sasha sees. “It’s ok, smile if you want to…I get it, you’re alive…” It’s actually nice to see Bob lighten up for a change.
Maggie is not giving a fuck about anything right now…she wants to go find Glenn. She tries a, “Nice spot, see ya, going to find Glenn now, and we’ll come back for you.” Sasha and Bob try to talk her out of it, but she will not be swerved from this plan. She is going to find the bus, and Glenn. Sasha tries to tell her, “We can’t split up!” as Maggie walks away. Bob gets up and begins to follow Maggie, and at Sasha’s “WTF?” look, he shrugs and cheerfully echos, “We can’t split up!”
Bob and Sasha have a little back and forth as they walk behind Maggie, and Bob says that he is done with just surviving…he seems to want to embrace truly living for a change. Maggie spots the bus, which has run off the road, and of course, is full of walkers. (Ha, it’s a busfullawalkers! Drink one if you got one!)
After stopping Maggie from charging right into the back of the bus to see if Glenn is on it, Bob and Sasha help her come up with a system to let the walkers out, one at a time…easier to manage, and less cleanup that way!
Maggie squares off with each walker as they emerge from the bus, one by one, looking majorly beautiful and badass in that fierce Lauren Cohan way she has…
One by one, the walkers come out, and one by one, Maggie takes them down:
The press of the walkers becomes too much, and Sasha and Bob cannot hold them…the walkers come flying out in a rush, and Maggie goes in some inner slo-mo moment as one walker comes lurching towards her. Bob takes it out with a single shot to the head, jolting Maggie out of her reverie. She then seems to take all her pent-up emotions out on the walkers, bashing one walker’s head into the bus again and again…
Maggie still has to know if Glenn is in the bus…so she goes in. The bus seats are covered in blood and gore, and flies are buzzing. I always try to imagine how it must smell…must be godawful. There is one male walker at the far front of the bus, hard to see, but with dark hair…Maggie fears it may be Glenn, and upon discovering it isn’t, slumps into a seat and dissolves into a mixture of helpless tears and relieved laughter. Poor Maggie!
And poor Glenn, who wakes to find himself at the prison! My WD buddy texted me, Wasn’t expecting that!
Glenn gets himself to his old cell/room, and takes a moment to process this…the interior of the prison actually looks pretty solid, making me wonder if it really was such a lost cause after all…it seems a lot better than the prison gang fending for themselves out in the wild. But, I guess the walls are probably breached somewhere, and the fences are surely shot to shit, so I guess it is time to move on.
Glenn seems to decide this as well…after taking a moment to process it all, he seems to invoke his inner badass, collecting supplies from around the prison (including the makings for a molotov cocktail, thanks to Bob’s bottle of liquor and a working lighter).
I love when Glenn invokes his inner badass…remember the interrogation room battle with the walker, then the battle with Merle, then the escape for himself and Maggie he orchestrated? I am a big fan of Glenn when he goes off.
I also love this part, when Glenn suits up in the riot gear and emerges to fight his way through the walkers and escape the prison:
After charging the first line of walkers, Glenn finds Tara getting meta in the garden. She is hating herself, mourning the loss of her sister, niece, and girlfriend…she cannot forgive herself for believing the Governor’s lies and blindly following in what turned out to be a suicide mission. Glenn isn’t having it, tells her he needs her help. He fashions a molotov cocktail with Bob’s bottle of liquor and buys them a clear line out of the prison.
Once they reach the road (a sign, riddled with bullet holes, warns motorists that hitchikers may be escaped inmates from the prison), Tara wonders how Glenn can trust her, and he basically tells her that he needs her to find his “wife,” Maggie. They are rushed by walkers, and Glenn manages to kill one but is struggling to fight off the others in his weakened state. Tara rushes forward and stabs one walker, then bashes another’s head open with repeated blows with the butt end of Glenn’s assault rifle. In the midst of this carnage, a super-style military Hummer-type truck pulls up…Tara looks up in alarm, and tries to cover her fear with mock bravado: “Hope you enjoyed the show, assholes!”
Leading with his massive chest, assault rifle in hand, Sgt. Abraham Ford steps around to the front of his massive vehicle, flanked by a man and a woman:
“You got a damn mouth on you, you know that?” he asks Tara. And then, with a smile at his own private joke, he asks, “What else you got?”
Aw, shit…it’s Abraham!
Until next week, gang….
West Indian Girl, “What Are You Afraid Of?”
Of Monsters and Men, “Dirty Paws”
Excellent synopsis. Much better than some of the professional sites I’ve been to! Your pics and humor highlight the episode’s best part. I also enjoyed how you wrote it in present tense. Perfect. Keep up the great work!
A big heartfelt THANK YOU. JACK FLACCO! Sorry for the shouty caps, but my heart is kind of overflowing right now…thanks, dude!