‘Isolation’, written by Robert Kirkman, starts on a somber note and grows more tragic as the episode progresses, ending with a major reveal that could change the core of the group forever.
Even so, I have to say that I was bored to tears this episode. Maybe it was just me, but this episode dragged on. Fifteen minutes in and I was already wishing that I could change the channel. Hopefully, I’m alone in this and maybe some of you can sound off in the comments and give me a new perspective on what I thought was a waste of potential.
This episode was written by Kirkman, so it should have captivated me. So much happened. So much was revealed. So much was left unanswered. Some of my favorite characters might not live past next week’s episode. And yet…..
But enough about me. Let’s talk about Tyreese.
Tyreese (Chad Coleman) is a peaceful man. He’s not one for killing, not even for killing walkers. His burst of rage at Rick after the death of Karen was a bit out of character. But then, none of us know how we would respond in a situation like this.
Tyreese goes from enraged to suicidal after he finds out that his sister Sasha is also sick. Who can blame him? Honestly, I’m surprised that we haven’t seen more cases of people wanting to give up. We had Beth’s go through it quite some time ago, but no one since then.
Tyreese makes the choice to go out heroically, as he jumps into a group of zombies to save Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Michonne. We don’t see him die, which is of course, because he doesn’t. Inexplicably, he manages to escape the horde and meet up with Daryl and Michonne in the woods.
The reunion is hardly joyous. They’re at least 50 miles from the prison without a car. We don’t know how injured Tyreese is or how much those injuries might slow them down. The salvation of the prison depends on how quickly they can get back with antibiotics.
If they don’t get back fast enough, there might not be anything to go back to.
The virus is spreading rapidly. One person after another is getting sick. We don’t get exact numbers, but it seems that there are more ill than there are well. Most alarmingly for our crew, Glenn comes down with the virus.
The weird thing is that we don’t really get to see the fallout from that. We see Maggie (Lauren Cohan) cry, but it doesn’t pack the emotional punch that it should. What is gut wrenching are the conditions in the sick ward. Whatever the flu like virus is, it’s effects are traumatic. People are coughing up blood large amounts of blood. Some have already turned into zombies.
The quarantine is not a place for healing. It’s a place for terror.
This fact is not lost on Hershel (Scott Wilson) who puts himself at risk to care for the dying. Hershel has come a long way from not wanting to help outsiders to now putting himself in the hands of death to offer people comfort in their last moments.
If you watched the Talking Dead last night, you know that Marylin Manson was clearly on drugs the entire time, but he did say one thing that I agree with. This show isn’t about zombies. It’s about morality.
Everything comes down to the type of person you want to be. Whether it’s the zombie apocalypse or our normal lives. Every day is a risk. There’s no way around that. You don’t get to choose whether or not you risk your life.
“The only thing you can choose is what you’re risking your life for. I can save lives. That’s reason enough to risk mine.” – Hershel
Hershel’s not the only Greene dishing out moral wisdom. Beth (Emily Kinney), who previously was so desperate she wanted to die, is now full of mental survival skills. People have questioned whether or not she’s hardened too much, but I don’t think so. She is focused.
She tells Maggie “we don’t get to be upset.” It’s not emotionless. It’s encouraging. Living in the positive moments and focusing on the things you can control is the only way to survive the horror in which they live.
Rick is proof that no good can come from drowning in your sorrow. Focusing on the practical things is how you survive and how you help everyone else survive, as well.
And no one is more practical this season than Carol.
This entire episode was about Carol. This entire episode was about the last 60 seconds she was on screen. Everything else was just filler to get us to that moment.
Carol killed Karen and David and burned their bodies.
Carol (Melissa McBride) did not do it because she’s some evil mastermind or hateful person. Carol did it because she believed it would stop the spread of the virus. She did it to protect the community.
She realizes that her actions made no difference. She feels more sadness for that than she does for killing two people. In her mind, they were already dead. They were beyond saving. In Carol’s mind, they were already zombies.
But in Tyreese’s mind, Karen was still very much alive. He may never find out about this turn of events because Rick may choose not to tell anyone what he knows. It’s clear that he sees Carol’s perspective. As someone who’s killed many people to save the group, Rick surely empathizes with her decision.
I don’t envy Rick. He has two choices right now: Save his friend, whom he loves, or bring a murder to justice. And what is justice in this new world anyway? Would they kill Carol for her actions? They can’t exactly send her to prison – she’s already there.
There are a lot of changes in store for the prison dwellers. More of them are going to die from the virus. More of them are going to grow cold or desperate from the loss. But they won’t be alone in their loss for long. While driving to the veterinary hospital, Daryl heard a voice over the radio. This was glossed over in the episode, but it will surely be an important plot point later.
Any guesses on what the people on the radio will be like? Will Glenn die? Will Rick tell everyone about Carol?
Hopefully, we’ll find out some of these answers next week.
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 on AMC.