The Walking Dead “Killer Within” Review: Best Episode Yet

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For those who have not seen this episode yet – GO AND WATCH. It’s pretty damn amazing. That said, spoilers ahead.

This episode opens with a mysterious someone in a prison jumpsuit guiding them toward Team Rick’s cell block. The group is currently arguing what to do with Axel and Oscar, the two remaining convicts they let live in another cell block. Rick wants to send them on their way with a week’s worth of supplies, whereas T-Dog, getting his only bit of character development after two-ish seasons, petitions for them to join their group. He is, naturally, out voted, and the two are locked away in preparation for their…excursion.

It’s such a great day! Unless you’re T-Dog. Or a convict.

In Woodbury, Michonne is suspicious of the compound and begins digging around. She finds the bullet hole ridden army jeeps and is confronted by the Governor. He maintains his story from before, and manages to maintain composure, like a good crazy bastard. She of course doesn’t buy it, and continues to push Andrea to leave ASAP. Andrea however continues to get wrapped up in the Governor’s charm and reasonably nice body, and pushes tries to push their leaving off further. Michonne is ready to leave now however, and it seems that she leaves without her. Andrea also gets closer to Merle, giving him the location of the Greene farm where she last saw Daryl. He wants to go find him but the governor keeps him in Woodbury with the promise of a true parent: “Later, I promise.”

When she gets that look on her face, you know she’s…um, mad? Right? Or maybe that’s her inquisitive look? I’m still trying to figure it out…

Meanwhile, the ladies have Hershel walking on crutches, Glenn and Maggie are having the sex like crazy, and Rick and Lori share a semi non cold look in each other’s general direction. Everything’s going wonderful until a herd of walkers, comes around the corner toward the most vulnerable members of the group: Hershel, Lori, Beth, Carol and Carl. Maggie makes it there first, leading Lori and Carl away, while Beth and Hershel lock themselves in another part of the fence. Rick, Daryl, T-Dog, and Glenn rush to help. T-Dog manages to lead Carol into the prison, but not before GETTING FREAKIN BIT, while the others take out the walkers.

Scattered and confused, the group has another stroke of “bad luck”: the prison alarms begin blaring, leading every walker within hearing distance toward them. Despite accusing them of causing it, Rick lets Oscar lead them to the generators to shut down the prison power. As T-Dog attempts to lead Carol to their cell block, she pushes to help him with his bite. He is determined that he get her to safetey however, and in his last heroic act, rushes two walkers to pin them to the wall so that she can get past. They proceed to tear T-Dog apart, while Carol escapes. Fare thee well, Token. We hardly knew ye. But really, we hardly did. It’s a freakin shame.

Hm. First no character development and now this? Poor bastard.

Rick, Daryl and Oscar find the boiler room, only for Rick to be attacked by Andrew, who Rick had chased into a pack of walkers in a previous episode. He led the walkers to them and set off the alarm in hopes of taking back the prison. He disarms Rick of his gun and Oscar picks it up. We have a moment where it (not very believeably) looks like Oscar will shoot Rick, with Andrew pushing him to do it. He instead shoots Andrew of course, and hands Rick back his gun, cementing his spot as new black guy of the group. Le sigh…

Maggie, Lori and Carl are being headed off by walkers at every turn, when the stress of the situation seems to send Lori into labor. With Carl leading the way, Maggie helps Lori into a small electrical room and prepares to deliver the baby. Something’s wrong, however, and Lori can’t do it naturally as Carol has stated before. She resolves that Maggie needs to perform a c-section to save the baby, despite the threat it poses to her life. In the episode’s second most heart wrenching scene (the first is just ahead), Lori says goodbye to Carl, telling him to take care of his father and new sibling. Maggie then reluctantly proceeds with the c-section, delivering the baby as Lori bleeds out. Carl, despite Maggie’s protests, shoots her in the head to prevent her coming back as a walker.

This whole scene, performances and all, totally floored me. No pun intended…

As Rick and his group make it back to the prison yard, they find T-Dog’s body, and Carol’s head scarf (something she just started wearing this episode as a way to have this little moment happen). They assume her dead as well, and shoot T-Dog in the head. They proceed out into the yard to find Beth and Hershel unharmed, only to hear a baby crying. Maggie, Carl, and the newborn appear, with Maggie looking distraut and Carl steeled over. And in the episode’s, nay the series’, most heart wrenching scene, Rick collapses in tears when he silently realizes what happened. It went a little something like this:

The wondering.

The bad/good news. You’re wife’s dead…but look! A baby!

The confusion and realization.

The denial.

The confirmation.

The breakdown.

Now. As it says in the title, I think this is the best episode of the entire series so far, second only to season 2′s finale, and maybe the group finding Sophia. It’s an unusual play to have an episode of this magnitude so early in the season, and even more unusual for it to play out perfectly. The group at the prison felt like a season finale in it’s own right, but Michonne and Andrea’s story at Woodbury kept the episode grounded to what it was: episode 4.

I found Lori’s death surprisingly impactful. Having used to be a fan of her character (pre-crazy ass writing) I was always hoping they’d allow her to come back into grace. I guess one could argue that she did, allowing herself to die for her child. Her goodbye to Carl was appropriate and I felt it was as realistic as it was going to be. And Carl being the one to finally kill her was appropriately horrifying in that “what’s going to happen to the youth in this world?!” way. Chandler Riggs’ and Sarah Wayne Callies’ are flawless, and we even got a nice flashback to last season, where Rick is talking to Carl about death. Carl drawing on that for strength to shoot his mother was powerful, and I thought a great idea.

Plus, Chandler Riggs’ stone cold facade was appropriately chilling.

T-Dog’s death, on the other hand, is my only gripe with the episode. After 2+ years, he finally gets to say more than three words in an episode, and it’s his damn death episode. It was a joke. Why they couldn’t possibly have two black men in the group is beyond me, but god help Glenn if they run across another Asian guy. He’s screwed. Despite the rediculosity of his death, I felt he went out with a bang, sacrificing himself for Carol and saying that God will get him through this just like everything else. Who knew T-Dog was religious? That’s right, no one. It really is a travesty, especially considering some of the time that was wasted last season that could have been given to his character. I guess the point is moot now.

I really just have to say that Maggie is now officially my favorite character. Lauren Cohan’s performance was perfect, between her hesitancy to deliver the baby, her reaction to Carl putting his mother down, and finally her helpless blubbering when trying to tell Rick what happened. I love her character, and I love Lauren Cohan.

Just love her.

Finally there’s Rick. If Andrew Lincoln does not win a freaking Oscar, or whatever award they give for TV, then I’ll…do something appropriately vicious! It’s so terrible I haven’t even thought of it! His performance in the last 2 minutes is flawless and really sent me over the top into crybaby land. Yes, their marriage was troubled and they were having problems. But he loved her, and has spent the entire series trying to protect her and his family despite absolutely terrible odds. Odds that have now caught up with them I suppose. It was an absolute travesty to see him break down, and I shudder to think what will happen next.

I’ll take the time to also point out that the final awkward look they shared was their only communication all episode. So that also sucks.

This episode was the stuff of dreams, and I hesitate to say near perfect, but that’s what one of the voices in my head keeps screaming. If this sets the tone for the rest of the season, then we’re in for a freakin doozy. Let’s just hope the writers haven’t written themselves into a hole they can’t get out of.

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