The Walking Dead: Season 4, Episode 4 – “Indifference”
Thanks to the encouragement of The Walking Dead TV Podcast, I will be writing weekly episode recaps for this season of The Walking Dead. Anyone continuing on should expect spoilers.
It helps that this season of The Walking Dead is following up on what it sets up in a fairly quick manner. While the prison plague is still a big issue, along with the mystery of the fence-walker-feeder, “Indifference” managed to deal with what was setup last week involving Carol and Tyrese in ways that made me happy, despite the problems I previously had with them. The setup may have not worked for me, but this week delivered on the implied promise that future episodes would make it all worth it. Along with that, this episode worked well due to having a level of concentration on two plots, as opposed to being far too spread out. All of this and we even got perhaps the most badass Daryl moment in the history of the show.
There are two plotlines going on this week and I am going to start with Rick and Carol. Last week’s episode ended with Carol admitting she killed Karen and David. This week reaffirms that revelation and focuses on its ramifications, as Rick and Carol make a supply run. It is not until towards the end of the episode where the two really get into what she did, but the build up to it works in having a problem clearly sitting out in need of discussion, while the two encounter some obstacles during their day.
The two arrive in a neighborhood and begin checking houses. Carol attempts to bring up her actions in conversation, but Rick is not too responsive. In one house, a walker stumbles down the stairs, only to be followed by a young, living couple. I could have gone through some notes to provide more details about this couple, but honestly, it is too obvious that we would never see them again by the end of this episode, so who cares? One is a very upbeat woman and the other is an upbeat man, who Carol helps by popping his shoulder back in its socket. The two have practically no survival skills, but they apparently pass Rick’s “3 Questions” test, so they get the chance to help out with the supply run.
Having this couple involved is a nice way to keep track of the day for Rick and Carol’s plot, but it ultimately leads to what to do about the whole “Carol murdered two people” thing. The two get into what this means, what it could mean for the future, and even manage to layer in details about their past lives. While the overall themes are always obvious when it comes to The Walking Dead, it helps that the both Andrew Lincoln and more importantly Melissa McBride are really delivering in this episode. As I have been saying for the past few weeks, I have noted Carol as a character that has become one of the strongest parts of the series, as McBride is one of the best actors on the show and her development has been key. That said, I do feel the show stumbled in bringing her to the place it needs to be at. However, “Indifference” became the key episode to really build on explaining who Carol was and who she now is.
This plotline ends with Carol being banished from the Prison by Rick. It comes after several good conversations and watching characters express some emotion in an effective manner, but it also feels like the best direction this episode could have taken. While I certainly hope (and expect) Carol to come back soon, I am much happier a level of finality came from this storyline (that did not involve Carol dying), as opposed to circling round and round the same subject, season 2-style. It is better the show takes a turn like this and leaves the intrigue of possible aftermaths. Will Tyrese find out? What will Daryl think? How will this effect Rick? These are things I am curious about in the coming weeks of the show.
The other plotline concerns the concluding story of Daryl’s Dream Team. Last week I got overexcited at the prospect of seeing Daryl’s Dream Team handle a problem, only to realize that it would be this week’s episode that really sees them in action. The results were satisfying enough. Following the encounter with a herd, the DDT is walking on foot to the veterinary clinic. Tyrese is clearly still an emotional wreck, filled with rage, but the team presses on, until they reach a gas station. It is here where they find a car that needs a new battery, but could easily take them to where they need to go.
This plotline is obviously the more action-heavy story, as it constantly pits DDT against walkers, but also settles for quiet moments between Daryl, Michonne, Tyrese and Bob. What works for me in the Tyrese angle is that I am content with what he is doing this week. While last week may have clumsily set him up to be in the state that he is in, Chad Coleman was doing some solid work this week at expressing a level of rage that was boiling just under the surface. Obviously this Tyrese is not a person I would want to be working with in real life (oh boy would this be a depressing real life scenario), but in the context of the show, he was involved in ways that made me both concerned and frustrated for the steps he was taking to deal and I was satisfied with that.
Bob’s alcoholism rears its head again as well. We learn more about Bob, as he explains to Daryl how reaching for the bottle has become his way of dealing, only to have that become a major problem later in the episode (how convenient). After finally getting the drugs needed, the crew is on the run from more walkers, only to encounter a situation that will put them in close proximity to walkers. Bob slips and nearly loses his bag, which he very much does not want to let go of. He and the bag are saved, only for the rest of the group to discover that nothing but a bottle of liquor was inside.
The next steps in this scene were kind of fantastic to me. Daryl is ready to chuck the liquor, only to have Bob threaten to pull his gun. This leads to the amazing Daryl moment, which involves him walking over to Bob, pushing his forehead against Bob’s, then taking his gun from him. There is no violence involved, no yelling either; just a sizing up and visual signifier that Bob means almost nothing to Daryl at this point and he better stay out of the way. Whether or not we get a Daryl-centric episode this season is not that important to me, but the fact that Norman Reedus has become so reliably great is very satisfying. There are also moments that lead to Michonne deciding not to go after the Governor anymore, but it fits more like a background beat that may payoff more later, assuming that either the Governor comes back or Michonne hooks up with someone.
“Indifference” practically ends in ways that feel close to The Empire Strikes Back. While our heroes live to fight another day, there are still a lot of balls up in the air, and the overall tone of the final sequence was a bit somber, no matter how solid the use of acoustic guitar in the closing song may have been. That said, it was a satisfying bit of closure, based on what I watched in this episode. It was a character focused episode that benefited from making better strides in handling the development of two key characters. Tyrese did not necessarily matter that much this week (though Coleman grounded the performance), but Carol certainly did and it worked quite well in giving me a reason to miss a character for a change. While not every episode can be as focused, the distinct plotlines worked quite well this week and it was a nice change in pace from the always dire prison setting. Still, I’m excited enough to see what will come of the group next week, when DDT returns.
4 ½ out of 5 Busters
- Zombie Kill of the Week: Michonne giving a nonchalant decapitation to a walker in the hallway was good enough for me.
- I did not talk about Rick much in this write-up, but the fact that he banished Carol, let alone his function throughout this episode, really has me excited to see where he, as a character is headed. He is making a bold call and this will have ramifications in the coming weeks. Will he involve himself in the council? Will others look to him as leader, now that he is more active? It is an evolution of the character that is working quite a bit, so kudos for everyone involved in getting me to enjoy the lead character more than I have in a while.
- Anyone else get a big “The Last of Us” vibe from the look of this episode? (Question for gamers)
- In regards to “skin-eaters,” Rick saying, “We call them walkers,” seems to have the same meaning as, “calling them anything but walkers is wrong.”
- Governor Watch: Michonne is going to stop looking.
- Mystery Walker Feeder: No idea…
- More from the tales of “Lori Is The Worst”: She could not even make pancakes.
- “Good color, brings out your eyes.” – You guys, Michonne made another joke this week!
- In case you didn’t get it (despite the episode’s beating of the message this week) – YOU HAVE TO LEARN TO LET GO