This episode was a little unevenly paced to me– its focus and tones shifted, making the whole feel a little tortured and conflicted. That being said, I’m judging it on its parts which were awesome, even if they didn’t quite add up or fit together perfectly. I’m going to give it a 4 out of 5, because despite the lack of cohesion, the episode did have enough humor, suspense and excitement to warrant a good rating, even if sometimes those things seemed uncomfortably situated together at times.
After the opening credits, Michonne and Carl truly bond over a humorous conversation involving soy milk which soon turns somber when Carl remembers Judith (the train of thought being that he’d rather drink her baby formula than soy milk– this show needs a little bit of comic relief sometimes, even if it doesn’t last long). Their bonding continues in both silly and heartfelt ways as they go on a run; the show’s food inside joke has changed from chocolate pudding to canned spray (“crazy”) cheese that Michonne finds, and Carl learns more about Michonne’s son than anyone in the show has up until this point. Her honesty and openness and sense of humor work together to develop her character even further, which is a joy to watch. She has really become my favorite character recently.
Perhaps one of the creepiest moments the show has ever given us happens in the house Carl and Michonne are in, when Michonne finds two kids rooms. One, a blinding shade of pink inside, houses gruesome but oddly peaceful corpses that look as though they decomposed fairly normally and together as a family. I think that is what is so striking about this scene– these are not bloody, gory walker bodies but startlingly and disturbingly ordinary-looking decayed cadavers, and Michonne is clearly shaken and upset by the sight of them.
Another storyline we were given tonight which had a totally different feel to it was Rick’s cat and mouse situation. He has stayed behind at the house, fallen asleep, and now finds himself surrounded by marauders. He hides underneath the bed, making the whole saga restrained and stressful; you’re stuck with Rick and scared for him, unable to move or fight against the intruders who have awoken him from his slumber, and further we are totally unsure what Rick is going to do next. He eventually escapes in time to intercept Carl and Michonne, but the lead up to that is filled with uncertainty, danger and tension.
While Michonne and Carl’s run takes place predominantly in the first half of the episode and dropped once you know they’re about to head back to the house (which was the first jarring thing about the episode), it is Rick’s storyline which remains throughout, crosscut with that of Glenn and Tara on the back of a truck with our new characters. Before the opening credits, Tara and Sargent Abraham are faced with some walkers; Tara makes the chilling observation that she had never seen anyone kill walkers while smiling, but Abraham replies that he is the happiest man in the world. And why shouldn’t he be, considering one of his two companions (Eugene) might know how to save the world if they can just make it to Washington D.C. This reveal came as a shock, recalling all the season 1 episodes at the CDC, and made me wonder how possible it could really be that someone would be able to figure out or find a cure.
A huge complication to this plan however comes along anyway, which is to be expected, when Glenn finally wakes up– three hours after passing the bus where Maggie had been looking for Glenn. Glenn wishes to leave them but Abraham’s worldview is strength in numbers– they need him. Too bad the ensuing confrontation attracts a herd of walkers from the neighboring corn field, causing some crazy gunfire and their gas tank to be punctured and leak. So, ultimately, they all decide to follow Glenn back in his quest to find Maggie, hoping themselves to eventually finding a car and head once again towards D.C.
So, where does this episode leave us? Well, Carl, Michonne and Rick find a train car along the tracks that boasts the same message of arrival=survival that some of our other leads found further along the same tracks last week. So while we don’t know what that sanctuary will offer, at least there will be some kind of reunion soon. Other than that, I’m left with nothing but intrigue tinged with skepticism for our funny but obviously suspicious new characters, especially the fascinating and dynamic Abraham. I’d love to see more of Michonne in the way that we saw her tonight, coming out of her shell in order to be a companion to Carl. Clearly, a lot of threads were woven together tonight in somewhat inelegant ways but the threads themselves were so wonderful, that my feelings were still very positive, but i’m always looking for the next week’s episode to be even better.