The Northern Dead

In this week’s episode we learn how the “unseen” danger begins to rear its ugly head within the prison walls and does the Ricktatorship begin to reform?

We open with an ominous scene where someone under the cover of darkness is feeding live rats to walkers from inside the prison walls.  The goal of course will play out later when this simple act of rat killing leads to walkers overloading the chain link fence nearly causing a breech.  Cut to Tyrese and his new lady friend talking all couple like.  I will admit it is nice to see Tyrese get some loving considering all the crap he has gone through in the last six months but you knew this was leading to bad news because whenever someone get close (minus Maggie and Glenn) it will end in disaster.

Last week, Harry Potter look-alike, Patrick, had died following a quick onset of flu-like symptoms with the cause yet unknown.  Well now that he is a walker, he quickly caused a raucous inside D block and walkers sprouted up everywhere, some were from attacks of other walkers but some maybe from the same illness that got Patrick.  All the usual suspects form to fight back, even Rick who did not use a gun but still manages to make a few kills with his knife.  Following the attack on the block, we learn there are not one but two professionals in the prison with medical training, our army medic with alcoholism from last week and a new one from tonight.  Both guys confirm that there is a virus spreading throughout the prison but no one is really sure what it is but precautions should be taken.

We get to see the Counsel in action after their introduction in last week’s episode.  The Counsel comprises Daryl, Carol, Glenn, Sasha and Hershel.  They decide that any and all persons that were in D block or involved in any of the fighting should be automatically secluded from the rest of the group and placed in A block (death row according to Daryl).  This already has one person unhappy as Tyrese will now be separated from his new lady friend (see I told you there were cracks) and the second in a throwaway comment that was hidden in a scene with the walkers crashing the fence, Maggie makes it pretty clear she is to be left alone and not touched because of Glenn’s involvement in D block earlier and probably his decision to go forward with the segregation.  Rick, who has been pretty much on the sidelines about everything so far, re-immersed himself into the world with his pig plan.  You see, to get the walkers off the fence and causing the breech, the little pigs were cut open to draw the walkers away from the fence and ease pressure off the perimeter.  You kill two birds here, one you get rid of a possible infection point and you get some relief at the fence while you shore up the defenses.

The episode ends with fire.  First, Rick in what I can only think is a metaphor begins dismantling the pig pen and setting it on fire and while it burns, he removes his bloody, sheriff shirt (which held up surprisingly well over three seasons) and throws that in the fire.  At first I thought it was something practical because he didn’t want diseased blood on him despite blood all over his face but it was pointed out to me that burning his old clothes could be seen as him rebirthing himself or cleansing himself.  Also he decided to strap on the old magnum and give Carl his gun back as well.  The second instance of fire comes when Tyrese goes to visit his girlfriend only to discover her body and another unidentified male burned in a small courtyard near her cell.  Could this be the tipping point for Tyrese who was barely clinging to normalcy as of last week?

Some other random points on the episode:

  • Carol is shaping up to be a bit of a badass this season.  First she teaches zombie survival skills, then she mercy kills a fellow prison mate who was bitten and slowly turning.
  • Michonne finally showed emotion this week when holding Lil’ Kick-ass this week.  I don’t mean to spoil things from the comics here in case you have only watched the show but that scene where she cries while holding the baby speaks more to her character from the comic then the hybrid we have now.
  • Carl has shown maturity to Rick so that is why he gives the gun back to him, how long will that trust last?
  • According to previews for next week, it looks like the group is splitting up for a few episodes so will this be the time Rick starts to take over control of the prison group again?
  • The issue of who fed the rats to the walkers but not really addressed in depth.  Why would someone from the inside want to disrupt the prison life?
  • Can we safely assume that whoever fed the rats to the walkers was probably also responsible for killing Tyrese’s girl and that other person?
  • During The Talking Dead, Greg Nicotero told us that the prison group in episode 1 was around 45-50 and that with this attack in D Block there was about 15 people lost.  How does the group handle replenishing the numbers?
  • In the preview of next week’s episode, Daryl, Michonne, Tyrese and alcoholic army medic are on a supply run and begin hearing voices on the radio.  Someone is trying to reach out but who is on the other end of that line?  This past week there was some major casting news for the series which probably explains who might be talking on the radio.

Well folks that was Infection.  Overall I think this was a pretty solid episode where some of the set ups shown last week are starting to further and then a couple more seemed to have sprouted which will only add to the drama.  Scott Gimple and Greg Nicotero both teased on Talking Dead that all the little scenes we see like Beth’s non-reaction to the loss of her boyfriend and even Michonne crying for the first time ever are all part of bigger story arcs and this is keeping me locked in for sure.  But what did you think?  Hit the comments to let me know.

Make sure you check out my fellow writers and be sure to check back later this week as we start Nerditis’ first annual Halloween week where all your favourite writers offer up some great themed content.  Plus expect new movies reviews in Tales from the Northside and some themed Weekly Time Waster.

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