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Monday, November 4, 2013

The Walking Dead 4x04: Indifference


To quote Harry Dunne, “Just when I thought you couldn't possibly be any dumber, you go and do something like this...and totally redeem yourself!” Alright, that might be a bit drastic but I was getting very annoyed with this episode (and with Rick in particular) but, thankfully, this episode’s ending saved itself.

This episode had two stories. There was Daryl and his crew traveling to the Veterinary School to get medicine and there was Carol and Rick's excursion to gather any supplies they could from a nearby town. Both stories dealt with characters making (arguably) poor decisions. Carol killed two people in an ultimately fruitless attempt to stop the spread of a plague and Bob procured for himself some booze despite being an admitted alcoholic.

Bob’s decision was frustrating in that you’re annoyed with the character. It was especially annoying when he put his and other people’s lives in danger by desperately holding on to the bottle of whiskey despite nearly being pulled into a horde of zombies. However, plot-wise, his poor decision was tolerable because the characters (specifically Daryl) immediately called Bob out on his selfish behavior. It was a poor choice by Bob, to be sure, but it was immediately acknowledged as such by the show.

On the other hand, I was getting really annoyed with the Carol and Rick plot. I’ve made it very clear that I believe Carol’s decision was a bad one. (As I noted in the comments of last episode’s post, even if there was a possibility that killing two innocent people would stop the plague the chances of it being successful were low enough that it wasn’t worth it.) As the episode went on and as Rick kept silent I got more annoyed. Carol kept trying to justify her actions and while Rick said nothing I had plenty of counterpoints.

Carol: They were going to die. I was just ending their suffering.
Me: They were alive and conscious; did you ask them if they wanted they’re suffering to end in that way? Who are you to make that choice for them?

Carol: They were the only ones who were sick.
Me: They were the only ones showing symptoms. You have no idea how many people were already infected.

Carol: I had to stop it from spreading.
Me: And how did that work out for you!?

Anyway, Carol made her decision and while I disagree with it it is within the show's right to have her make that decision. My growing annoyance came because Rick’s silence made me think he’d end up doing nothing and, thus, I started to feel like the show’s stance was that Carol did make the right decision. A show that espouses a kill or be kill/survive at all cost mentality as the only way to live would be very tough for me to watch.

Thankfully, Rick finally acted. He argued with Carol and even made some of the points I was making. We can still discuss whether Carol made the right decision and “did what needed to be done.” We can even discuss whether Rick made the right decision to exile Carol without discussing it with anyone else. I’m just happy a counterpoint was made.

Other thoughts:
As concerned as I am for how Carl is going turn out, I think Lizzie is headed down an opposite if not equally bad path.

Tyrese’s mopey, self-destructive behavior is really beginning to annoy me. Nut up dude!

Carol mentioned that some of the medicine she found was expired. She should get used to that. I don’t think anyone will be making any more for a long time.

I’m surprised Carol set fake Mathew Lillard’s arm back into place instead of just killing him to end his suffering.

How did Daryl know what kind of battery to get? Does he have the car model/year to battery index memorized? I didn’t see him check under the hood to look at the existing battery. Should I be thinking about these things? Probably not.

Daryl’s right. Bob’s not at fault for what happened at the convenience story. Too bad Bob proved himself to be a liability anyway.

Are Daryl and Michonne going to get together? Their offspring would be the scourge of zombies everywhere.

Why could Daryl and company get into the Veterinary School and obtain the drugs without incident only to have rooms full of zombies attack them during their exit?

It’s very convenient that Ana had a recognizable tattoo on her leg that allowed let Carol and Rick to identify her body later on.

So, is fake Mathew Lillard alive? Will he be back?

I assume Bob didn’t forgo carrying actual medicine for the booze, right? Because if he did he should be fed to the zombies.

I think someone needs to tell Carol that there’s a difference between making the tough decisions because you have to and making the tough decision because you want to.

Speaking of tough decisions, if find it iron...er...interesting that Carol kept pushing Rick to make tough decisions and to start being a leader again only to have him take her advice by making the tough decision…to exile her.

However, I doubt we’ve seen the last of Carol.

Not surprisingly, the celebrity panel on the Talking Dead seemed to side with Carol. I feel like the celebrities always fall on the side “do whatever it takes.” They first agreed with Shane’s way of thinking and now they agree with Carol. It makes me ponder the kind of mentality you need to have to “make it in Hollywood.”

Also, on the Talking Dead, Gillian Jacobs brought up the biggest reason I (and she) would never survive an apocalypse (zombie or otherwise). Without corrective lenses we’d be completely helpless. I’d probably walk myself off a cliff.

10 comments:

  1. I saw Rick's silence through the episode as he was wrestling with his thoughts as to what to do with Carol. Right at the beginning when he was getting the car ready you could tell he had a lot on his mind and it looked to me like he was in one of those situations where he knew what he had to do but really didn't want to with his silence through the episode being just an extension of that. He wanted to wait longer for the guy at the end because he wanted to put off doing what he had to do. I just wasn't sure if he was going to kill Carol or exile her. Overall I liked their part of the show.

    I agree with most of what you said about the other groups part of the story. Tyrese is getting annoying and hopefully he is back to form soon. In the comics he is a bad ass and while I appreciate the journey he needs to take to get there it seems a little out of character for what we have seen so far. Him and Sasha are the only two left of their old grip so you would think losing people is something he could handle a little better now.

    Likewise with Bob I hope this is the last we see of the alcoholic part of his story. We already saw that a bit with Herschel is season two and while it is a nice background piece for his character I thought we kind of learned all we needed to with it in the first episode during his brief scene at the store.

    It did seem a little convenient that her severed leg had a nice identifying tattoo on it didn't it? I might be over thinking it a bit but it also seemed odd that her leg was nicely severed like that also, through the bone and everything. Doesn't seem like something the zombies would have done. Is her missing friend some kind of psycho? I don't recall exactly but I don't think they had been together for that long. Maybe Carol will end up finding him and we will see.

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  2. I was really glad the show took the time to take a beat and actually deal with Carol's actions. I thought the focus in this episode also really helped (no cutaways to the prison once they left), as it usually does.

    Like Phantomas, I wasn't sure if Rick was going Carol or exile her. Needless to say, I'm glad he exiled her, for a variety of reasons (the character can return, Rick maintains the moral high ground, etc.). I just hope this isn't all setup for turning Carol into some kind of new revenge-crazed supervillain for the show.

    And Bob...yeesh. Like you said, this wasn't a problem with the show, just the character doing something really stupid. When he was fighting for his bag, I figured it had medicine in it, and was all set for a "we made it to the hospital and got out alive, but still lost the medicine, waa-waa" ending. So I'm glad that wasn't the case, and that the characters reacted to his idiocy appropriately.

    I think Lizzie is headed down an opposite if not equally bad path.

    Seriously. It's called balance, people. You can't be so numb that you're willing to kill anything and everything without remorse, but at the same time, recognize the threats around you and react accordingly. There's always going to be gray areas, but it's generally not that hard. Zombies: kill them. People: don't kill them.

    Tyrese’s mopey, self-destructive behavior is really beginning to annoy me. Nut up dude!

    Seriously. Take a cue from Michonne: when she gets pissed, she gets more badass. Right now, Tyreese is just being stupid.

    I’m surprised Carol set fake Mathew Lillard’s arm back into place instead of just killing him to end his suffering.

    "That shoulder could have become infected, and he could have died as a result. He's a threat to all of us. I had to kill him. For the children. Oh, why won't anyone please think of the children!"

    Should I be thinking about these things? Probably not.

    Ignorance is bliss. I never gave it a second thought, probably because I know nothing about car batteries.

    Why could Daryl and company get into the Veterinary School and obtain the drugs without incident only to have rooms full of zombies attack them during their exit?

    Because drama.

    Seriously though, I'm torn about that. On the one hand, I'm glad the show didn't draw at their penetration of the school, turning it into a multi-part epic just to get inside. On the other hand, if you're going to let them get in easily (or with the implication that the effort involved isn't worth showing), then have them run into trouble on the way out, it seems more like the heavy hand of plot convenience at work.

    So, is fake Mathew Lillard alive? Will he be back?

    Good question. Mrs. Teebore and I couldn't decide if we were meant to assume the body the zombies were feasting on was just the girl, and/or if one of the zombies was FML.

    I’d probably walk myself off a cliff.

    I'd keep an eye out for you (pun intended), at least until doing so put my survival in the slightest bit of danger, in which case I'd kill you in cold blood, as Carol has taught us. :)

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  3. Glad to see Carol gone. She was turning into a sociopath, if she hadn't gotten there already.

    "How did Daryl know what kind of battery to get? Does he have the car model/year to battery index memorized?"

    Well, we still don't know what he did before the apocalypse. Maybe he was a mechanic savant.

    "I assume Bob didn’t forgo carrying actual medicine for the booze, right?"

    I was wondering this too. It sure looked like the bottle was the only thing in his backpack.

    Teebore -- "I just hope this isn't all setup for turning Carol into some kind of new revenge-crazed supervillain for the show."

    I wouldn't be surprised to see her join up with the Governer when he finally returns.

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  4. @Matt: I wouldn't be surprised to see her join up with the Governer when he finally returns.

    Oh yeah, me neither. I just really hope that doesn't happen.

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  5. @Phantomas "Overall I liked their part of the show."

    Yeah, I have a feeling if I watched this episode again I'd enjoy that part more now that I know how it ended. Part of me wonders if Rick didn't plan to exile her from the start. That's why they went out alone to get supplies. The supplies were for her, not the prison.

    "I might be over thinking it a bit but it also seemed odd that her leg was nicely severed like that also, through the bone and everything."

    That's a very good point! I also meant to mention that it's odd that those two could survive for a year and a half yet somehow couldn't manage to walk around the town for two hours without getting eaten. (Well, at least we know Ana got eaten.)

    @Matt: "Well, we still don't know what he did before the apocalypse. Maybe he was a mechanic savant."

    My guess would be a car thief savant. But it's the same skillset.

    "I was wondering this too. It sure looked like the bottle was the only thing in his backpack."

    Yeah, I think that's all he had but I also think that all the medicine they needed may have fit in the other backpacks so it's not like he got the booze in place of the medicine.

    @Teebore: "I'd keep an eye out for you (pun intended), at least until doing so put my survival in the slightest bit of danger, in which case I'd kill you in cold blood, as Carol has taught us. :)"

    I'd expect nothing less!

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  6. we just couldn't understand why they made all the effort to get to the vet school and then didn't take EVERY MEDICATION THEY COULD POSSIBLY FIT. Seriously- Bob only had booze, and the other bags were half empty. You don't know what you're going to need in the future. And take the booze too! That's important and can be used as a pain killer or a disinfectant. Seriously- I wish they'd start thinking like survivors (take the green tomatoes too, Rick).
    As soon as they introduced FML and his girlfriend and were going to bring them back to the prison we knew they were dead. And I also pointed out that girlfriend's leg was severed very cleanly.

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  7. @Versinn: Yeah, I've played enough Fallout to know that wherever you go you just grab everything. Although, in Fallout, my closets and cabinets can hold a crap load of stuff...I don't think that would work The Walking Dead crew.

    But, seriously, they should've grabbed all the medicine they could as well as anything else that could be useful in the future....like booze.

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  8. A few random responses:

    1. Bob. I figured the booze was the only thing in his bag. I thought this was specifically stated, but maybe I misremember. To me it seemed like he'd only gone for the booze, but Darryl ultimately decided this was neither an executable nor an exiling offence. Whether or not I agree with that depends in part what use Bob has to the group in general. Has it been mentioned who and what he is/was?

    2. Carol + Governor. I really, really can't see this happening. Or rather, I can't see it happening on a show that's better at characterisation than this one is. The two of them are just too different in what they're aiming for. The Governor wants to survive himself at all odds. Other people are just ways he can get that, either as followers or human shields. Carol genuinely believes in the survival of the group. Indeed, I don't for a second believe she'd have done what she did had, say, Darryl and Maggie fallen sick. Since the death of Sophia, she's basically settled on considering the other pre-prison survivors as her family, and will go to extreme lengths to protect them. The two of them joining forces would have been close to unbelievable in any case, but the Governors execution-by-zombie of Andrea really seals the deal. Or non-deal, I guess.

    At least, if f***ing well should.

    3. Empty bags and unripe tomatoes. Broadly I'm pretty sympathetic to the idea that our survivors had a sub-optimal strategy in their search efforts - given the time Rick spent waiting for FML (and Gods, yes, how did they immediately become so incompetent; I guess their last group "got separated" because they were so damn sick of carrying these obvious idiots), he definitely had time to pick the green ones,as Versinn notes.

    Regarding the medical search, though it's worth noting that they were under real time pressure. Every five minutes they spend collecting meds they don't need is five more minutes for someone to become infected, or to die. I'm not sure it isn't more sensible to make one run now, clear out the building of walkers, take the critically needed meds, and return in a day or two for a more thorough clean-out. Indeed, depending on how successful and quick-acting the meds are, doing this way would allow a much larger team to go off next time, and take far more than our three heroes (and one booze-hound) could have carried by themselves.

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  9. @SpaceSquid: Whether or not I agree with that depends in part what use Bob has to the group in general. Has it been mentioned who and what he is/was?

    I'm not sure if this has been clearly established on the show yet, or if it's just something I picked up from some of the preseason articles, but I think Bob is a former combat medic (at the very least, the previous episode established that he knew something about medicine, as he was familiar with the items on Hershel's list), which would make him very useful. And dramatically, I definitely think there's something interesting about having a character who's a liability except for the fact that he possess one important, necessary skill.

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  10. Aah, thanks, Teebore. That certainly explains why people were furious with him but never even contemplated inviting him to the Carol Cha-Cha. The alcoholic medic isn't a breathtakingly original idea, of course, but applying it to zombieworld might lead to some interesting developments. Certainly, as you say, it's more intersting when any kind of replacement is pretty much out of the question.

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