The Walking Dead Recap: “Internment” (Season 4, Episode 5)

The prison is in a state of disarray, what with Daryl, Bob, Tyreese, and Michonne missing, the walkers clambering at the weakened fences, and the flu virus raging within the walls. Nonetheless, our band of misfit toys struggles to retain its humanity. Parents try to shelter children, people strive to fortify faith, and above all they’ve all got to protect each other.

All eyes are on Rick as he glances in the rearview, then back down to his bandaged hands. Our fearless leader is a little more on track since last season, but he may have just made a pretty big mistake in banishing Carol – and he’s struggling with the violence in him, as evidenced by the yellowing dressings on his streaming film Zootopia online

Walking Dead Glenn

Not looking so hot. Photo credit Gene Page/AMC.

Meanwhile at the prison (I think I write that at least twice a recap nowadays), Glenn, Sasha, and Hershel are struggling to keep the dying alive. Glenn and Sasha are quite green and sweaty themselves, but there’s nobody else to help. After a sick man begins to choke on his own blood, they intubate and start breathing artificially for him; it’s only a stopgap measure. Hershel tells Glenn they’re going to keep people alive “as long as it takes. As long as we’re willing to do it.”

Lizzie is freaking me out. Her lack of expression, the likelihood that she’s feeding rats to the walkers and thus breaking down the fences, her matter-of-fact dismissal of adult requests – it all adds up to something very strange and a little frightening in a little kid. Hershel thinks the children should never have to witness the ugliness that is putting someone down, and when he and Glenn try to sneak a flu victim away, Lizzie’s curiosity is a little too avid. When Hershel tells her to read Tom Sawyer, she says, “I won’t finish it. It gets too dark.” The adults here are trying in vain to protect the children from this world – and guys, it’s just not happening. This penchant for hiding the ugly truth is what’s keeping Lizzie curious, what’s keeping her fascinated with – and not understanding – the actuality of the apocalypse, the very real danger of the undead.

Walking Dead Maggie

Big decisions. Photo credit Gene Page/AMC.

Maggie and Rick are the only ones outside the prison walls, since the healthy kids are quarantined elsewhere and the number of sick is growing exponentially. When he arrives back at the prison from his food run, Maggie insists Rick tell her where Carol is. She considers his punishment and then agrees; it was a pragmatic move, but remains a problematic one. When she tries to visit Glenn through the reinforced window of the sick block, it’s Hershel who comes instead. At Glenn’s behest, Hershel does his level best to keep Maggie away from the sick – and thus unable to assist them. “One look at me and we wouldn’t be able to keep her out,” Glenn wheezes, sweat dripping from his face. They need her on the outside.

Rick drops off a bag of Fruit Leather with the healthy kids – such an innocuous artifact of American childhood, it’s a little jarring – and tells Carl to make them all brush their teeth after eating it. A frustrated Carl mentions that he was, you know, in the middle of everything before and he didn’t get sick. “Dad, you can’t keep me from what always happens,” he says in exasperation. “Maybe,” Rick answers, “but it’s my job to try.” This seems to be a heavy theme of this episode: protecting loved ones, making questionable but well-meaning decisions to shield one’s family from the worst of a bad situation.

Sasha begins to go under, and Hershel brings her back with a bag of lactated ringer’s. Hydration is key. Glenn, on the other hand, isn’t strong enough to keep the dying redheaded guy alive anymore, and he can’t yell loudly enough to get Hershel’s attention. When the ginger comes back after death, he leaves Glenn alone – Glenn’s hardly a worthy zombie target anyway, with blood dripping from his nose, mouth, and eyes; he’s hardly worth it with shallow, ragged breaths all that’re keeping him alive. Another patient pokes his head out of his cell to shoot the walker, and instead gets bit by his cell mate and shoots another sick person instead of the zombie. OOPS.

Walking Dead Lizzie walker

Lizzie vs. her pet. Photo credit Gene Page/AMC.

Maggie and Rick hear the gunshots but can’t stop fortifying the fence. Rick makes Maggie go, and she positively sprints for the prison. Inside, poor old, one-legged Hershel is trying to fight a zombie infestation and fix the sick all by himself because PROTECTION. Lizzie, meanwhile, discovered that the redheaded walker, with a breathing apparatus still strapped to his rotting face, didn’t touch Glenn – so she assumes maybe he’ll listen! “Here boy! Come on, boy, this way!” she cries, leading him across the block. I just can’t even…you little idiot. Were it not for Hershel, she’d be dead. Then again, were it not for the whole contingent of adults striving to protect her from the true horror of the situation, maybe she wouldn’t think of the walkers as pets.

Carl disobeys and goes to help Rick – and thank all the lucky stars for that. The fence collapses under the weight of the herd, and Rick is left with only one choice: to hand Carl a semiautomatic rifle, give him a very brief lesson in its use, and stand with him as the two mow down the whole bunch. As he grudgingly allows his son to see and affect the ugly world around them, Rick’s expression is magnificently conflicted. (In all, Andrew Lincoln has never been the best part of the show, but he has his moments.) It was only a matter of time.

Walking Dead Rick and Carl

“You can’t keep me away from it forever.” Photo credit Gene Page/AMC.

Maggie forces her way into the sick block just in time to save Hershel from a stray walker (he’s been leading them into an office where can shoot them in the head without the kiddies seeing) and then save Glenn from imminent death. Hershel and Glenn tried to protect her and almost died doing it. Rick tried to protect Carl and almost bit the dust, too. There’s no use in separation anymore, no reason for segregation. And, it seems, little use for Hershel’s faith, either. Maybe, just maybe, everything doesn’t happen for a reason.

Walking Dead Maggie walker

Straight through the throat. Photo credit Gene Page/AMC.

In the bright light of the next day, Daryl (in typical Daryl fashion) calls Glenn a “tough sonuvabitch,” then tells Hershel he’s also one of those. He asks about Carol, and all Hershel can say is “talk to Rick.” Daryl’s not going to be thrilled with her departure – which is another reason I hope she comes back. Daryl finally started opening up, and Carol was the reason for it.

Rick and Carl investigate the remains of their farm, and the cinematographer pulls focus from the butt of Rick’s gun to the bursting pea pod in his hand. As the two of them enjoy their spoils together, we’re left to contemplate death and life. As they wander slowly back up to the prison, we see they’re being watched. By a scary guy with an eye patch.

Welcome back, Governor. It’ll be good to see you again.

What did you think of this episode? It was a bit more exciting than the last, but brought us back to the prison after a blessed reprieve. We lost a few unimportant characters (the doctor, Caleb), and got a come-to-Jesus moment with those who have been trying to protect the populace from the apocalypse. Obviously, Carol’s version of “protection” was flawed, but frankly I think her approach to teaching the kids survival was necessary. I want her back. You?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *