Sunday, November 3, 2013

Review: Walking Dead "Indifference"

Non Spoiler Review:
With supplies running low, Rick and Carol leave on a food and medicine run as he copes with the knowledge of what she did in the prison. Daryl, Michonne, Tyreese and Bob attempt to find a new vehicle and salvage their mission to the veterinary college.

Indifference was another quiet but ominous episode, continuing this season's theme (in case we missed it) that people either change or die in the post-apocalypse. It was packed with moral questions and the two groups provided a contrast of how each deal with similar ethical obstacles.

I found the conversation between Rick and Carol very gripping and some of the best scenes of the season. Giving Daryl, Tyreese and Michonne some time together was also a nice move. It was all a welcome respite from the prison set. I thoroughly enjoyed this thought-provoking chapter, despite the conclusion which left me outraged at certain characters and is sure to divide fans into two camps. 

Spoilers Now!
Carol speaks to Lizzie through the glass partition, letting her know she and Rick are going on a run for food and whatever other supplies they can find. Lizzie informs her no one else has died yet, but she expects more will, and at least they will get to come back. They're still something, someone, she tells Carol. If she doesn't die she'll get bit, but she'll still be her, just different. That attitude worries Carol, who reminds her to run if there's danger. She can't be afraid to kill to save herself or her sister. Lizzie understands and Carol assures her she's a survivor. When Lizzie accidentally calls her mom, Carol asks her not to do that again. If Lizzie is still afraid to kill, Carol advises her to fight it, and one day she'll just change. They all change. Meanwhile, a pensive Rick loads up the car.

On the drive, Carol points out Rick doesn't trust her now and left Maggie in charge at the prison. She explains Karen and David were suffering, drowning in their own blood, and she made it quick. They needed the bodies gone and at the time were the only ones who were sick. She had to try to save lives. Rick says maybe

The two disembark in a neighborhood and find a car that appears to have been recently parked there. They set about investigating the houses. After cleaning out a medicine cabinet, Carol kills a zombie that comes tumbling down the stairs, and then a man and woman emerge, offering them food. Carol treats his dislocated shoulder as they explain they were trapped there after raiding a greenhouse. Rick watches as Carol manages to reset his shoulder and tend to it. The couple, Sam and Ana, were separated from their crew about a week before. They ran a refugee centre together until people trampled her in a fire and injured her leg. Sam saved her life. They've been on the move ever since. Rick and Carol share a look, and then he asks them his three questions.

Daryl's group cleans up at a creek and sets off in search of a new ride. Tyreese remains disconsolate that they're so far behind schedule and Sasha is likely dead. They come upon a service station where a car looks to have been hidden beneath some branches. As they clear away the vines to see what else is there, Tyreese accidentally cuts through the binds on the door, which is holding back all the walkers trapped inside. After dispatching them Michonne berates him for not working with the team.

Inside Daryl finds a battery for the car while Tyreese and Michonne wait. She tells him he should have let the walker go when they told him, and suggests he just wants to die. Anger makes him stupid, she warns. He counters she's still angry about the Governor. If he was here, she'd cut him in two, she admits, but she's not angry. She was. He asks why she still searches for him, but she confesses she doesn't know.

Daryl and Bob find those inside killed themselves by drinking antifreeze. They come across an older walker trapped under a desk. Bob puts it out of its misery. Daryl asks Bob about the group he was with before. Bob was found on a road by Daryl after having been with two different groups and ended up as the last man standing in both. It weighed heavily on him and he almost didn't come with Daryl. Then he confesses he came on the run to the big box store because he wanted a bottle, and that's what brought down the shelf and got Zack killed. Daryl tells him that's bullshit. He and Sasha picked the spot and there's no way he could have known. He's not standing alone. With the car working, the four of them head off in their new ride.

Sam asks if they passed their test. Rick explains the prison and the dire situation, but they're keen on the prospect of fences and walls and want to come. Rick tells them to sit tight while they sweep the neighbourhood. The others offer to help but Rick is reluctant. Sam promises not to take any chances. Rick acquiesces and gives them a gun to fire if they're in trouble, promising to rendezvous in two hours. He gives Sam his watch.

In another house, Rick asks Carol if it was right to let the kids come back with them. It was the humane thing to do, she says. Carol concedes if they're strong enough to help them survive then he made the right call. Carol asks why he hasn't said a word about her killing Karen and David. She wants him to face reality—he can be a farmer, but he can't just be a farmer. He was a good leader, she admits. He never murdered two of their own, Rick shoots back. Just one, she replies, referring to Shane. He doesn't have to like what she did, just accept it, Carol tells him.

Outside Rick picks some tomatoes growing in a garden and asks how Carol knew how to fix Sam's shoulder. She confesses she learned it from living with her abusive husband and being thrown down the stairs. She never thought she could be strong then but she already was. He asks why she doesn't say Sophia's name anymore. She's dead, she replies. He admits he wakes up expecting Lori to be there, too. As they come around the back of the yard they find a discarded apple box and blood, and Ana's torn off leg. Across the street walkers are consuming her body. 

Daryl, Tyreese, Bob and Michonne make it to the veterinary college. Inside they hurry to find the supplies Hershel outlined for them. They succeed in getting everything on the list and head out through the dark corridors, fighting their way out through crowds of walkers. Tyreese breaks a window and they escape on a landing on the second floor. Bob slips and nearly loses his bag of supplies to the undead below. Tyreese tells him to let it go, but he refuses and manages to get it free. Daryl looks inside and finds a bottle of booze and no meds. He should have kept walking that day, Daryl says bitterly, and makes to throw it. Bob warns him don't and puts his hand on his gun. Daryl gets in his face and takes his gun, while Tyreese asks Daryl to let it go. Bob didn't want to hurt anyone. Daryl gives him the bottle back and warns him not to take a sip until the meds get to their people.

They discuss a route home to get them back the fastest. In the car Michonne tells Daryl he was right. The trail went cold with the Governor. She doesn't need to go out anymore. It's a quiet ride in the car.

Back at the house Carol and Rick realize Sam is overdue. He wants to wait a little longer, but Carol tells him it doesn't matter because he's not there and they have to go. It was a nice watch, she says. As they pack the car Rick confronts Carol that Karen and David might have lived and it wasn't her decision to make. When Tyreese finds out he'll kill her. When the others find out they won't want her there. If everyone else dies, with just the two of them, he won't have her there either. Carol thought he was done making decisions. He's making it for himself, he adds. She could have pretended everything was fine, but she stepped up, she protest calmly. She refuses to go anywhere without Lizzie and Mika. Rick tells her they'll keep them safe. She's not the woman too scared to be alone anymore. She'll start over and find others, he says, and she'll survive. 

Rick helps her stock up Ana and Sam's vehicle. She hands him her watch that her husband had given her to replace the one he gave Sam. She has no use for the past anymore. She drives away. Rick heads back, keeping an eye on his rear view mirror.

The Verdict:
Indifference left me with plenty of anger and frustration with Rick's ongoing god complex. The pairing of Rick and Carol was long overdue and extremely effective. The survivors at the prison will definitely feel her absence.

The episode had another strength with the grouping of Tyreese, Daryl and Michonne and I enjoyed the interplay between these three. I can't say I'm getting attached to Bob at all given I doubt he will survive much longer (who knows, perhaps the writers will surprise us with a redemption). But he seemed to let the group down a little too easily given his confession. 

Interesting that Rick banished Carol but Daryl and Michonne saw fit to keep Bob. It reveals the poor decision-making that exemplifies Rick (which I shouldn't complain about given it's remaining true to the source material). Carol's growth has been a steady journey to leadership, despite the moral questions she's raised by her actions. Meanwhile Rick has made numerous bad decisions and suffered breakdowns, withdrawn from governance, and abruptly takes it upon himself to make decisions that will affect the entire community.

Carol brings up a salient point that Rick killed Shane, but as always, Rick justifies his own decisions when it suits him. I have no doubt Carol cares about the survival of the group as a whole, though she takes extreme measures to do so. And I have no doubt Rick would abandon the group if the situation was dire enough and he had to choose to save Carl and Judith.

Carol's contribution was immense and will damage their longterm viability. It's especially hypocritical when one considers how Rick's handled Carl's less than ethical actions. There has to be some fallout for this, and definitely some reaction from Daryl. I'm sure (hoping) that the chickens come home to roost for farmer Rick. At least Carol remains alive and can return, which is more than we got with Andrea. She's much too strong a character (and a great actress) to abandon so easily.

Sadly, Sam and Ana were too adorable to last. I really want them to work out with our survivors but this is The Walking Dead, of course, and they were quickly dispatched, leaving Sam's fate in question. On a final note, I'm growing more certain that Lizzie and Mika will play out the twins storyline from the graphic novel, which would be quite a bold move.

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