TV Recap: The Walking Dead, ‘Internment’

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Plot: Time is up for those sick in the Prison. Despite Hershel’s (Scott Wilson) best efforts, residents of A-Block are slowly succumbing to the disease. With hope that Daryl (Norman Reedus) and his crew will return with medicine soon, Hershel will not stop fighting the virus and the plummeting morale. Meanwhile, Rick has returned to the Prison without Carol (Melissa McBride) which doesn’t go unnoticed. The fences are weakening as well and Rick must do everything he can to keep the walkers out.

Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC
Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

And then there was none. The disease that has been tormenting these survivors in the Prison has gone the same way it came in: quickly and without much explanation. We never got a concrete answer as to how the flu virus came to be, only theories honestly, but it took such a hold on their lives in such a short amount of time. Now with the help of some handy vet antibiotics, the virus is completely eliminated and everything seems okay on the inside. “Internment” was essentially the end of that story arc as we saw the ultimate validation of Hershel’s actions in the face of ultimate danger. Not everyone survived the affliction but it was all thanks to Hershel that anyone survived at all. Hershel was the unquestionable star of the night, but “Internment” had enough action and excitement to make this a truly riveting episode. Plus, the shot that wrapped up the episode was absolutely spectacular as we’re immediately pushed into the real conflict we’ve all been waiting for.

A lot of people probably thought Hershel was crazy for running head first into a quarantined area, but this episode proved exactly why he was completely right by doing that. It’s no secret that Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Rick were vehemently against his plan. However, Glenn (Steven Yeun), Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Greene), and Lizzie (Brighton Sharbino) would have surely died without intervention. The first half of this episode was basically Hershel trying to keep everyone alive for just a little bit longer. Glenn and Sasha were doing everything they could in their state but nothing permanent can be done without the medicine. It was unbelievably tragic watching Hershel have to kill the very people he has tried so hard to keep alive. He’s basically their doctor and they’re his patients, so the connection is obviously very strong. I also loved Hershel’s desire to only kill those who die by the disease in private. He always has been a man of strong moral values and trying to keep everyone’s spirits up in these tough times was of the utmost importance to him. For example, he commented on how he read Steinbeck with one of the fallen only yesterday. It’s those small things that show how much of a personal connection Hershel made to these people which made their deaths that much harder for him. His sobbing at the end is proof of the weight this man willingly bore for the greater good.

Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC
Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Now that the illness situation is resolved however, it’s not hard to wonder if there was really a point to it all. It ultimately didn’t kill any major characters and the only reason it really mattered was because it killed Karen (Melissa Ponzio). She wouldn’t have even mattered either if she wasn’t dating Tyreese (Chad Coleman) or Carol didn’t kill her. The whole Karen/Tyreese/Carol situation could have happened without the virus so that definitely wasn’t the reason for its existence. There could be any number of reasons why this virus was chosen as the big problem in the first few episodes, but I think it could be another result of the changing showrunners. I can’t say this for certain, but it’s very possible that Glen Mazzara, the showrunner of Season 3, had a different plan in mind for the Woodbury survivors than current showrunner Scott M. Gimple. For all we know, Gimple didn’t like the idea of having all these survivors around and made it his goal to quickly eliminate them without too much effort. Doesn’t this virus fit that bill very well? It literally cleared the herd of extras. Thankfully this wasn’t made to last the entire first half of the season which would have been much worse. It did run its course very naturally.

Right when the problem in A-Block started getting really exciting with many people dying at the same time, leading to a dangerous walker situation, things got infinitely worse outside. While Maggie ran to help her father, Rick and Carl (Chandler Riggs) stayed behind to brace the fences. The weight of the growing walker numbers proves too much though and the braces give in. This results in an entire herd falling into the inner courtyard, putting Rick and Carl in immediate danger. As a sort of last stand, both Rick and Carl arm themselves with assault rifles and it starts raining lead. This entire scene was just so awesome. In its own twisted way, it actually brought this father-son duo even closer together with Carl proving how capable he is to his father. I was totally expecting a tearful Rick to hug his son and say “I’m so proud of you” like he graduated some walker slaughter academy. It’s amazing what could pass as a bonding experience during those times right?

Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC
Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

The end of the episode had Daryl ask Hershel where Carol is, only to be told to speak with Rick. Only Hershel and Maggie know of Carol’s actions and departure, but expect hell to break loose when Tyreese and Daryl find out. Tyreese obviously would want revenge and Daryl’s “will they or won’t they” relationship with Carol will probably send him out searching for her. While I’m disappointed that this entire story was barely touched upon last night, I guess it makes sense. “Internment” was mainly Hershel’s story after all and Carol’s exile is so huge that it can’t just be pushed to the background when it’s appropriately discussed. It will likely take the full attention soon.

In all honesty, all of what happened last night pales in comparison to that mind blowing final shot. Just when everything is done and the Prison group thinks they can finally relax the camera pans out to reveal that they are being watched by the most ruthless person currently alive. That’s right folks! The Governor (David Morrissey) has returned!! After several episodes gone, the first time we see this monster in Season 4 is a quick scene with no words and a slow head turn. But really, that’s all we need. We know shit is about to get real and it’s time to kick this season into high gear.

“Internment” was a really exciting episode that thankfully wasn’t saved until a mid-season finale. Instead of the virus taking over an entire first half, it was merely an “extra killing” place holder until the real conflict comes back in. While it’s debatable if there really was a point to it all, it’s outstanding that we’re jumping head first into The Governor’s return. Season 4 has been pretty solid so far, but now it’s time for us to get to the real meat and potatoes. Bring it on Governor you one eyed demon.

Rating: 9/10

Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC
Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

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