After a couple months off, ‘The Walking Dead’ returned on Sunday with the ninth episode of Season 4 (entitled ‘After’). The once relatively safe prison is now deserted and our heroes have scattered to the winds. In this week’s episode, we find out what’s going on with three of them.
The episode begins with Michonne walking back toward the prison fences. Just as we wonder what she’s up to, she uses the wooden spike barricades as a way to trap a pair of Walkers so that she can turn them into “pets” by cutting off their arms and removing their jaws. This allows her to walk through a zombie herd without being attacked or detected. Before she leaves the prison, Michonne tracks down the severed (and now zombified) head of Herschel and puts it out of its misery.
We next learn what’s up with Rick and Carl, who exited the prison together. Rick is still in terrible shape thanks to the beatdown he took from the Governor in the last episode. Carl continually walks out ahead of him while Rick struggles to keep up and asks him to slow down. The pair come across an abandoned roadhouse BBQ restaurant, where – after disposing of the one remaining Walker – they gather up some of the remaining food and continue to search for a safe place to stay.
Michonne comes across some boot prints (which we’ll later learn belong to Rick and Carl) and must decide whether to follow them or not. She chooses not to and heads out into the woods. Later, she has a dream about her baby son and her friends Terry and Mike, the latter of whom was her son’s father. As the dream progresses, Terry and Mike’s clothes change and their arms turn into stumps, and we realize that these two were Michonne’s original pets when she first appeared on the series.
Rick and Carl find a house. Carl continues to be abrasive to his father and acts like he can check the area for Walkers all by himself. After they decide to stay at the house, Carl ties a knot on the doorknob and the two of them (Carl reluctantly at first) push a sofa up against the door. The next morning, Carl is unable to awaken Rick on the sofa. So, Carl heads out on his own, getting in a bit of trouble when he lures two Walkers away from the house, only to stumble into a third behind him. Carl manages to kill all three, but it’s a close call for him.
Carl makes his way into another abandoned house, where he’s quite happy to discover a huge can of chocolate pudding. He makes his way upstairs, only to be attacked by another zombie. Unfortunately, Carl’s gun runs out of bullets, but he manages to trap the zombie in one of the bedrooms. Carl leaves a note on the door that a Walker is inside and that it got his shoe… but it didn’t get him.
Meanwhile, as Michonne walks among a Walker herd, she notices another dark-skinned female zombie with its hair braided exactly like hers. Eventually, something snaps inside Michonne and she starts chopping the heads off the Walkers – killing all of them, including the two pets she created for herself. Returning back to the spot where she saw the footprints, she decides to follow them this time.
Back at the house, Rick starts to wake up, but his sounds make Carl believe that he’s turned into a Walker. Carl points his gun at his father, but can’t go through with shooting him. Rick is soon able to speak and Carl admits that he’s scared and doesn’t want to go on alone. Rick comforts his son and tells him that he’s a man now.
The episode wraps up with Michonne finding the house that Rick and Carl are in and knocking on the door. Rick peeks through the eyehole to see who it is and smiles. Turning to Carl, Rick says, “It’s for you.”
This episode was written by ‘The Walking Dead’ creator Robert Kirkman, and is apparently based on a story that occurred in the comics (which I have yet to read). It certainly leaves fans with a lot of questions – like what really happened to Michonne’s son, what is the fate of the rest of our heroes, and what kind of family buys that much chocolate pudding?!
TWD came back with a bang, very strong episode.
I almost believed they turned Rick into a crawler 😉
How much luck can one Carl have?
Carl’s really annoying me. I can’t wait for (SPOILER) the right half of his face to be blown off. Great episode otherwise.
You assume that the show will follow the comics. It doesn’t always.
You’re right. Still, many of the bigger events of the comics have made it onto the show up to this point. I didn’t want to spoil either the show or comic for anybody, so I decided to put a spoiler alert just to be safe. I’m calling it now though. I would be pretty surprised if Carl getting shot, didn’t make it into the show.