Plot: There is a murderer loose in the Prison and Tyreese (Chad Coleman) is out for blood. He demands that Rick (Andrew Lincoln) brings this person to justice, but the former sheriff currently has his hands tied trying to keep the sick people from dying. Hershel (Scott Wilson) believes he knows where there are still antibiotics and Daryl (Norman Reedus), Michonne (Danai Gurira), Bob (Lawrence Gilliard Jr.), and Tyreese immediately set out to recover them. As they do so, Hershel himself steps into the infected zone to keep the fevers down with herbal remedies to buy those who are sick time, including Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green).
Tensions ran high this week on The Walking Dead. Well, higher than normal. Discovering that someone in the group has murdered two innocent people can do that. In what is probably best described as a slow burn, “Isolation” introduced several new conflicts that will take more than one episode to solve. Each main conflict had a single character as their focal point meaning we had at most three stories going on at once. The intent of all of them is to build up what will inevitably become group changing scenarios. Normally, most shows falter when deciding to have more than two stories going at once as there is always one that gets the short end of the attention stick. This was that one rare scenario where it actually worked really well and it set “Isolation” up as the one episode to beat this season so far.
The three characters in the spotlight this week were those you wouldn’t expect any season prior: Tyreese, Hershel, and Carol (Melissa McBride). Let’s start off with Tyreese as his shocking discovery ended last week’s “Infected.” For lack of a better phrase, Tyreese is mad as hell and he isn’t taking it anymore. This entire episode saw him in a never ending Hulk-esque rage that included him coming to blows with Rick, furiously digging graves, and going on a one man walker massacre. It was awesome and tragic at the same time and Chad Coleman soared as he portrayed Tyreese’s mounting turmoil. As if losing his beloved isn’t bad enough, his sister Sasha now has the very same flu that has killed so many already. Tyreese’s burning desire to find the murderer is expected and I found his rage filled journey to be incredibly exciting. For those who read the comics like me, this is the most honest representation of Tyreese we’ve seen since his appearance.
Tyreese’s desire for justice puts him on the quest for antibiotics with Daryl, Michonne, and Bob. Since he couldn’t save Karen, he can at least save his sister. Naturally things don’t go as planned on the trip and the group is forced to abandon their car as a herd of walkers blocks their path. I’m talking thousands of walkers here. It was nuts. This resulted in probably the best scene of the night as the group of four fought their way out. Tyreese ends up taking on the herd alone to let Daryl, Michonne, and Bob escape, which would be a death sentence for a normal person. Thankfully Tyreese isn’t normal, and his never ending rage gets him out alive but covered in guts. Again, we got something similar in the comics except that had Tyreese locked in a gym and lounging on the many corpses he killed when the group discovers he’s still alive. Also, this happened very briefly but during the trip the group heard a voice on the radio that said “Those who arrive survive.” Who was broadcasting that is a mystery but expect that to come into play when this group returns.
Back at the Prison we have Hershel and his quest to keep those sick alive. Since Hershel is the only one with medical experience who isn’t ill, he immediately takes it upon him to walk into the proverbial fire to keep flu at bay just a little bit longer. To find what he needed for a natural remedy, Hershel enters the woods and Carl (Chandler Riggs) goes with him for protection. They run into two walkers, one of which is still mobile, but Hershel tells Carl not to kill them. Did Carl learn nothing from what happened to Dale (Jeffery DeMunn) in Season 2? Hershel’s impassioned speech about why it’s necessary for them to care for those already sick a little longer despite the risks was outstanding though. Hershel has always been a man of strong moral ground and it’s great to see that this world hasn’t shaken his values. For all we know, his selfless actions could be what keeps those sick alive until the antibiotics come. If this results in his own death, at least he goes down a hero.
Now we come to Carol whose story this week is the most intriguing of them all. For most of the episode, Carol was obsessed with making sure the group gets the water they need. Upon discovering that the outside hose has been clogged, Rick advises that they wait until the next day to actually fix it. Carol isn’t positive that they will always have a tomorrow available so she decides to get it done on her own. This puts her in immediate danger as the walkers discover her presence after moving away from her well crafted diversion. Thankfully Rick noticed her before she became walker food and was able to save her, but Carol was still able to get some awesome kills in on her own! The hose was fixed too, but Carol’s actions caused the wheels of logic to start turning in Rick’s mind. It isn’t long until he realizes that, with her desire to save those around her above all else, it was Carol who murdered Karen and David (Brandon Carroll) in cold blood.
Carol’s actions are bound to have extremely long lasting consequences. Once Tyreese finds out it was her, the gloves are off. Comic fans will know this is the exact opposite of the Tyreese-Carol relationship that was previously portrayed in print which had these two characters in a very serious romantic relationship. Carol is also now a resident of the ever eternal gray area that exists in this post-apocalyptic world. No matter how you cut it, Carol is a murderer. Two people are dead who didn’t need to die. However, were her actions justified as she thought that killing Karen and David would cut off the flu? That’s something that perennial law man Rick will have to come to a decision about. The laws of the land changed when the walkers came and the black and whites previously present don’t exist anymore. I love how this is happening though as it provides a whole new dimension to Carol and it shows where her values truly lie.
Peppered in between all of this we had a fantastic scene between Maggie and Beth (Emily Kinney), Daryl quizzing Michonne about her day trips, and Glenn and Sasha becoming violently ill. All of this contributed to an absolutely fantastic episode that, despite being light on action until the very end, moved the story forward at the perfect pace. I’m glad the identity of the murderer was revealed at the end too. There was no need to keep that going beyond this episode. The stakes are set though and I can’t wait to see what comes out of the events from last night.