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‘The Walking Dead’ Season 4 Episode 9 Recap: “After”



Well The Walking Dead certainly came back in style with the highly anticipated mid season premiere. Less characters, not-so-much peace, and a lot more zombies. What more could we expect?

Let’s do a bit of a review of what’s happened so far in season 4:

  • The Governor (unnecessarily) comes back, manages to somehow gain the control of yet another group and attacks Rick’s prison. Ends up being killed by both Lily and Michonne.
  • Group is completely separated.
  • Baby Judith is potentially dead.
  • But Hershel is most definitely dead (still not over this)

The episode mainly switches between Michonne and Rick & Carl. A little slow, but it allows us to catch our breath after the chaos of the previous half of the season.

Michonne returns back to the prison scene as a solo warrior. We see that the prison is now completely overrun by zombies with no sign of human life. Honestly, it makes me feel a little nostalgic. Her mission is to get herself two zombie slaves, just like old times. While nothing is more satisfying than seeing that the Governor is completely dead on the prison lawn, it’s extremely disheartening when she finds Hershel’s head, now turned completely into a zombie.

The father-son-duo have become a traveling act and regularly break into stores and homes, no doubt looking for supplies and solace. Rick is completely battered, not totally healed from World War a la Prison. He walks and breathes not unlike a walker. Carl on the other hand is alert, calm, but once again a whiny pain in the ass towards Rick. This may be due to the struggles of going through both a zombie apocalypse and puberty at the same time.

One of the main winners of this episode? We finally get a peek into Michonne’s backstory. While extremely short, it details the origins of her two original pet zombies, and takes a look at a more suburban, calm Michonne, complete with a husband, friends, and a kid. Unfortunately, this happy scene at the dinner table quickly transitions into a scene more relatable to an apocalypse, Michonne staring in horror as her husband and friend transform themselves into limb-less walkers, with her baby missing. Michonne wakes up from this nightmare in cold sweat.

At another house, Carl manages to find more ways to express his understandable “youth-in-revolt” phase. He joyously finds another teen’s room, complete with posters and video games, and revels in his one-liners of “i win” and “cool”. At this same house, Rick lies asleep on the couch, though it is quite unclear as to whether he may yet live another night. Carl tries to wake him up, but to no avail. He takes this opportunity to lash out on his dad on all the things that’s been bugging both us and him: failures at the prison, failures with the group, failures with the family, and the fact that Rick doesn’t think Carl can actually take care of himself. He ends his rant by walking out on his dad, proclaiming “I’d be fine if you died”. Ouch.

We get a taste of Carl livin’ the solo life as he unsuccessfully tries to break into a neighboring home. He’s all about that brute strength, and is shaken by this postulate when he almost dies at the hands of a walker inside the house. Though he leaves the scene without a shoe, he remains confident in his actions.

When Carl returns back to Rick, however, he breaks down and finally admits to a still-concussed Rick: I’m scared. I need you, and I miss you. At this point (though we all probably know it to be true that Rick probably won’t ever die in this show), it’s a little frightening when Rick starts to make the gurgly noise and hand gestures characteristic of a walker. Has he resurfaced?! Thankfully however, he is still alive.

In the morning, Rick and Carl share a moment of bonding, expressing their feelings and doubts. While Carl apologies, Rick assures him that he doesn’t need to do that, and that he is indeed confident in Carl’s abilities to take care of himself. In the words of Rick, he’s become a man. Swift judgment, in my opinion, but it manages to tie the loose ends they’ve shared for the past couple of weeks.

In the meantime, Michonne has joined a mass zombie exodus, and is able to go unnoticed thanks to the charm of her two pet zombies. It’s not long before she unravels at the sight of a walker that somewhat resembles her, and she manages to take down the entire group of walkers before collapsing on the ground, shaken by her situation, and mourning Mike (presumably her husband from the flashback). “I miss you.” These raw, vulnerable emotions of Michonne are what we’ve been missing out on, though it’s still disheartening to watch.

As she continues on her journey, she manages to find herself in the same neck of the woods as Rick and Carl. To all of our extreme delights, she traces her way to the same house that they’re inhabiting. As she knocks on the door, alerting Rick and Carl, we see smiles on both ends. Reunited, and it feels so good.

There’s not much to say about TWD other than well, it’s back again. It’s a pretty slow episode with not a ton of action, which of course is quite fine. But thanks to our good friend “Next week on the Walking Dead“, I’ll be looking forward to what the heck is going on with everyone else. Till then, let’s just revel in this probably-fleetingly happy ending.

Rating: B-