Finally, T-Dog gets some lines. The most underdeveloped character on the show played a central role for the first time since dropping the keys to Merle’s handcuffs.
He’s the lone advocate for the pair of prisoners who just want to join the gang. When Rick asks him if he’d rather have Carol’s blood on his hands or those strangers, he responds with “Neither.” Maybe the writers are going to start giving him more to do, maybe develop his backstory… or maybe he’s just going to get eaten by some zombies.
The episode begins with the survivors looking at a day of gathering up zombie bodies to burn in order to cleanse the prison yard of rotting flesh. Unfortunately it goes downhill from there as a horde of zombies overrun the area where Hershel is going for his first one-footed walk.
T-Dog’s death was a heroic one. After rushing the open gate to staunch the flood of zombies into the prison yard, he’s bit on the shoulder. He uses his last moments of humanity to bum-rush a pair of zombies, allowing Carol to escape. “This is God’s plan,” are his last words before instructing Carol to run for it.
His was not the only selfless death this week as Lori chooses her baby’s life over her own. In a heart-breaking scene, she says goodbye to her son, who’s had to grow up much too fast. He’s forced to put mom down so she doesn’t turn.
But with the death of two main characters (and possibly a third with Carol missing) comes the birth of a new child (and possibly the conception of another one as Glenn and Maggie got busy in the guard tower before the day went to hell).
This was not a feel-good episode. The non-stop action inside the prison was balanced by The Governor’s quiet courting of Andrea and Michonne. While his appeal’s to Michonne’s warrior skills fall flat—Michonne’s instincts that something isn’t right don’t fail her—his flirtations with Andrea have more success. The women decide to stay in Woodbury, at least for the time being. Merle, however, wants to leave to go hunt for his brother.
Mostly, though, this episode was a reminder that the zombie apocalypse is a dark place and that no one is truly safe. And it’s a reminder that the biggest dangers are still breathing. The “killer within” this episode was Andrew, who set the zombies loose and turned on the prison alarms to attract even more. He’s put down by Oscar, who saves Rick, gaining, one would assume, his trust.
Rick is devastated by the loss of his wife, who he’d been been giving the cold shoulder in recent days. He did offer her a rare smile just before the attack. But with a new baby to protect and a ruthless psychopath in a nearby town, the remaining survivors will need him more than ever.
We’re only four episodes in, and so much has already happened this season. For the survivors, not much of it has been good, but for the audience, it’s pretty gripping television.