The Walking Dead 4×03 Review – “Isolation”


The-Walking-Dead-ReviewThe Walking Dead Unmasks a Murderer As the Virus Spreads

This week Rick and the gang continued to battle the mutated flu virus, as Tyreese investigated the prison murders. Tensions rose as more and more of the survivors fell ill and people began to become unhinged at the thought that there’s a murder amongst them. In episode 403, “Isolation, ” The afflicted were forced into quarantine while those who have yet to be contaminated searched for a cure before the virus wipes them all out. This episode was a reminder that the zombies aren’t the survivors’ only enemy. While I won’t claim this to be my favorite episode of the season so far, I will say that it was interesting to see how the show made several key references to the comics and didn’t leave us wondering for episodes on end who the murderer was.

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“She wouldn’t want to see you like this.” Last week in the final scene Tyreese found Karen and one of the other Woodbury survivors murdered by being burnt alive. This week Tyreese went on an investigation to discover the murderer’s identity. Unlike Tyrese, I found myself not really caring who the murderer was, but was enjoying the nod to the comic books when Tyreese and Rick came to blows. Both of these men had been wound up pretty tightly and so their fight ended up blowing out of proportion due to them feeling the need to let go of all their stress. Rick said that Karen wouldn’t want to see Tyreese lose his mind over her death, however, Lori died naturally from childbirth and not because she was murdered in cold blood. The prison was meant to be a safe place for all of them to seek refuge and now that one of their own has murdered another, it is no longer the safe-haven they previously thought it to be.The Walking Dead 403 Isolation 07
Tyreese’s heartbreak was so major that when he went on a run with Michonne, Darryl and the other dude to get medicines for the flu victims, he almost committed suicide via Walker mob. In another great nod to the comics, Tyrese ended up surviving a mob of Walkers and made it to safety with the rest of the gang. It appears Tyrese has moved on somewhat from his devastating heartbreak and has a renewed sense of survival instinct. I’m wondering how long that will last once he learns that it was Carol who killed Karen and the other survivor. If I was Rick I wouldn’t tell him, but that calls into play what secrets are okay to keep and why should you keep them?

“We keep trying to keep it out, and it always finds its way back in.”

As more more of the survivors fell prey to the mutated flu virus, despair began to set in. No one had seen anything like what they’re seeing now, and no one knew how to cure it. When Hershal realized that Darryl and the others wouldn’t make it back in time with the antibiotics to help those already inflicted, he concocted a plan to pick elderberries in order to brew a tea. These berries are said to reduce flu symptoms and Herschel hoped to cure the sick and save as many lives as he can. Herschel seemed to be the main one with a viable plan. The others, however, had fallen into despair and were wringing their hands with what to do next. It was a stroke of genius for the writers to include Glenn and other survivors we actually care about and this epidemic. As wonderful it was for the Woodbury survivors to join the prisoners we still don’t really know who they are, or care whether or not they die. At this point they are still Red Shirts needed to keep the body count high.

The Walking Dead 403 Isolation 06

“You don’t need to.” Ever since Carl killed one of the survivors and cold blood at the end of last season, Rick has taken away his gun. Rick noticed that Carl was no longer an innocent child and was in fact becoming a hardened man too soon. By spending time with his son he hoped to regain some of Carl’s childlike wonder, but then realized it could never be regained.  Carl had learned what it’s like to kill and could never go back to who he was before. Best case scenario is that Carl would regain some of his empathy. This week Carl came face-to-face with the choice of when to kill or not to kill, when he went with Hershel into the woods to pick elderberries. For a moment I thought Carl would kill the zombie, but I was hoping he wouldn’t. I believe Carl now realizes that handing out death carries with it a major price for the person who does it, and that it isn’t always necessary to pull the trigger. Now that we know that Carol was the murderer I think the gang has less to worry about Carl and more to worry about Carol.

“Isolation” was a look at what happens during an epidemic, and how everyone’s struggle with their personal demons separates them from the group as a whole. If this was any other show I might not have worried about Glenn and Sasha’s survival from the Flu, but on a The Walking Dead everyone is fair game. It appears Hershel’s tea may have worked, but we’ll have to wait until next week to know for sure. Daryl, Michonne, Tyreese, and the other guy are now carless thanks to Darryl’s shit driving into a Zombie Herd, so they won’t be back in time with the antibiotics. If Hershel’s tea didn’t work as well as we hope, the prisoners will have a much bigger zombie problem on their hands. Meanwhile, we’ll be left wondering who they heard on the radio before they crashed, and whether or not the person on the other end is a friend or foe. The Walking Dead has really upped the stakes this season by creating the mutated flue virus, and I can wait to discover if the survivors will truly be able to find a cure for it. To paraphrase Glenn, “After everything we’ve been through, and now they’ll be taken out by a stupid flu.” Can’t win for losing!

The Walking Dead Episode (4×04), “Indifference” Airs on Sunday, November 3rd at 9|8c on AMC