The Walking Dead Season 4 – Episode 3 – “Isolation”

walkingdead-isolationWarning: full spoilers for the episode follows

“It’s always better to be safe.”

Who would have thought the lengths to which Carol was willing to follow through with those words, especially considering the timing. What had appeared a simple lamentation of the unfolding events, only intensified as the episode went on. This Carol is completely unrecognisable from where she began, and in a smart route for the writing team, has at the very least been a part of a necessary evil, rather than actually becoming evil herself. While it feels like we’re not getting the full picture here, it does feel that it is a completely plausible direction for the character to be heading to.

“Isolation” was full of moments like this, where necessity to do what you believe is right is one of the only things people can do at this point, as the survivors in the prison find it is not all that it is cracked up to be. The group is starting to look a lot like it did at the beginning of last season, as the plague begins to whittle down the number of red shirts remaining. Logical choice would be to abandon the prison, as it can be hardly sanitary at this point, and as witnessed by the serene moment between Carl and Hershel, the outside world doesn’t seem all that bad, as a healthy colour green acted as a strong contrast to the drab palate back in the prison.

Hershel continues to be a real beacon of kindness throughout, as his scene with Maggie and Rick really drove home that there really isn’t much time left for anyone inhabiting this world, so it becomes what you do with whatever time you have left – especially when loved ones are involved. It feels like they may be building to a natural end point for this character (read: death), considering that he may not have much more growing to do in the series.

Rick and Tyreese however still have a ways to go, as both characters featured in their own kind of meltdown this week. The main difference between the two was that Rick’s actions made sense. There has been a running theme in his character throughout the series, with the seeds being placed in the very first episode – that he may not inherently be a good person. Troubles in his relationship before the outbreak, coupled with bursts of rage, over-controlling, and tendency to act violently suggests that the only thing holding him together is societal morals and the presence of others. So when Tyreese lashed out like he had, Rick’s rebuttal was understandably troubling, but made complete sense. it can be so easy for the man to become like the crazy lady in the first episode, that if something truly devastating should happen to the group, he may just end up there.

Tyreese’s anger problems felt forced however. He has known this woman for, at the very most, 30 days, and while the end of the world would have a certain bearing on one’s psyche I’m sure, for him to sit in the car at the end of the episode felt unnecessary. He had just promised his sister Sasha (for who I will be sorely upset if she dies) that he would help her get through this, so to then almost throw not only his life away and potentially the others, her only chances at survival, feels incredibly dumb. Yes, it does provide an opportunity to have a parallel for the particularly cool gym battle in the comics, but even the scene provided was a bit underwhelming. It doesn’t help that Coleman’s performance felt too one note this week, and I will definitely be looking for a less brooding Tyreese as the series moves on.

Besides the melodrama, the zombies continue to impress. It’s clear that the series budget has increased, as we were treated to not only a herd, but also more uniquely designed zombies as well. The herd provides a nice “oh shit” moment, but the real star is the moss covered zombie in the forest, who was expertly crafted, and reminded me of the human mushroom farm from the Hannibal TV series. The monsters continue to be the more consistent characters on the show, and seeing that this season so far has given us iconic versions of them, we can only wait to see how they top it next.

“Isolation” continues the upward curve of this season, and while the writers continue to struggle with charcterisation, the show has never looked better. Besides, we still need to find out who was feeding the zombies, and who the voice on the radio was, so there is plenty of mysteries to keep this show running for the foreseeable future.

Couple of observations

  • Again, I neglected to write more about Glen and Maggie this week, but they both seem to be relegated to the background – more-so than the others. But please don’t die in there Glen!
  • I also have noted that many people across the internet seem to think it was the crazy girl who killed Karen and David. Despite her overacting, her character could conceivably do something like that. Interesting to see how it plays out.
  • Why haven’t they locked everyone in their cells yet? People are dying then re-animating! It always amazes me how stupid these characters can be.
  • It wasn’t Stookey who burned the bodies like I had thought. Still don’t trust him though.
  • Someone else pointed out to me that there were no onscreen deaths this week. Beth can happily change her calendar now.


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