The Walking Dead “Internment” Review
We open with Rick on his return trip to the prison. He is still struggling with his decision to banish Carol. He stares at the watch she gave him as he races down a deserted stretch of road, the camera focusing on his bandaged hand.
The epidemic is spreading. Herschel, Sasha and Glenn desperately fight to keep Henry alive by inserting a breathing device down his throat and squeezing air into his lungs. These three have become the triage medics in the quarantined cell-block. Herschel, played by Scott Wilson, was absolutely incredible this episode. He takes a commanding role in delegating responsibilities while maintaining a high sense of morality. He refuses to kill recently turned people in plain sight of the remaining survivors. He inconsequently provided some much needed insight about the world that is now inhabited by the dead. He does all of this and still finds time to give Lizzy a reading assignment; Lord knows that no child should be left behind in the Zombie Apocalypse. Tom Sawyer. This is an appropriate novel considering the circumstances and future events. Most lit-majors and bookworms may recall that Tom Sawyer didn’t get a Bible in Sunday school because of his deviant ways. This will come into play later in our episode.
Herschel reassures Maggie about Glenn’s worsening condition, restores faith to the infected while keeping them in their cells, and gives Glenn a much needed pep-talk. If not for Herschel’s temperance and hope we get the sense that all would be lost. Glenn, played by Steven Yeun plays a crucial part in this episode as well. His relationship with Herschel is built to a level that we haven’t seen before. They are doing their best to keep the diseased from passing the point of no return with limited supplies, and time. Herschel appears to be the only adult in quarantine not showing symptoms of illness. The other is Lizzy.
Maggie is face to fence with hundreds of walkers. They are dangerously close to bringing down one side of the outer railing. She is cracking skulls and reinforcing the chained links with lumber. She is over-whelmed, but calm. We get the sense now that anyone in our core group of survivors can make it on their own, including Carl. We’ll get to that later.
Rick returns. He explains why he voted Carol off the island and we are hit with a new twist. Maggie’s reaction seems odd. Instead of passing judgment, voicing an opinion, or showing some anger she asks if Carol “said she did it,” in reference to the murders of Karen and David. There was a moment of contemplation and confusion. This could be nothing, or it could mean that Carol was covering for someone else. The plot thickens.
Rick makes Carl his first priority upon his homecoming. He forbids Carl from coming outside to help with the much needed tasks of walker defense and curing the sick, but Carl says, “You can’t keep me from it,” meaning the death and chaos of this world. Rick says that it is “his job to try.” Carl seems defeated, but we know that eventually he will be needed. There are only so many people who are not infected left in the prison. With Tyrese, Michonne, Daryl and Bob still gone, there are limited options.
“A sad soul can kill quicker than a germ.” This quote from Steinbeck’s Travels With Charley: In Search of America seems to drive Herschel. It gives him the push he needs to ensure that lives aren’t lost in quarantine. Herschel admits that he thinks that there is still a plan and a reason for everything that is happening. His faith has been shaken, but not broken.
The fence is failing. Rick and Maggie are working hard at keeping it up. Rick falls after a walker grabs his leg and Maggie chops its arm off. For those of you who read the comics, you are well aware that Rick lost his right hand in issue 28. We are once again teased in the series with the foreshadowing of Rick losing an appendage. We think that Rick will lose his hand by the end of this season.
The situation in quarantine goes to shit. Several people have died, Glenn and Sasha have fallen seriously ill, walkers are now lumbering around free, chaos ensues and Mr. “Stay in your cells” goes to work. Maggie leaves fence detail to help inside, and Rick is left with hundreds of the dead meters away from breaking their defenses. Rick, left with no choice, recruits Carl to help with the walkers. The fence comes tumbling down and Carl and Rick are exposed to the herd coming through the breach. They quickly decide to take arms and eradicate the on-coming threat. Fanboys, Carl finally gets his M-16!
The sight of Rick and Carl mowing down the herd warms the heart. It gives you that same fuzzy feeling you get when you see a father-son potato sack race. It was a beautiful union of gun fire and exploding heads! Carl clearly owned at C.O.D. before the turn. It’s such a spectacle that Rick has to take a moment to pause and absorb all of his son’s badassery.
Meanwhile, Herschel is alone in quarantine with several walkers, Lizzy wandering around like a lost kid in a department store, and he is still trying to avoid killing the dead in front of the others. What a guy! He eventually saves the day with Maggie’s help. They take out the residual walkers and stabilize Glenn. Carl and Rick make short work of the zombie mob and Rick clearly has a new respect for his son. All of the key players in this episode unveiled a character trait that almost guarantees them another day in this world. Hell, even Lizzy put her life on the line to save Glenn. Daryl and the others finally make it back after things calmed and the medication they brought is distributed.
We finally get a quiet moment with Herschel. He takes a seat and opens up a Bible. The Tom Sawyer reference comes full circle. After all the trial and tribulation he is able to find his faith again. This moment is powerful and done to perfection. Before we fade to black Herschel sheds some much needed tears. We believe that these tears did not come from exhaustion or remorse for the infected people or the turned. We believe that he was crying because he still believes that the walkers are just sick people and that he just committed murder. Remember the barn full of zombies? Hopefully we will get more insight into this theory as the season continues.
As the zombie clean up around the fence continues we get a perimeter shot of the prison. Carl and Rick walk out of focus and our view widens. Just yards from the gate a shadowy figure is revealed. Holy shit! It’s the Governor! Somebody tell Michonne that she sucks at tracking. We knew that he would eventually show up because David Morrissey is still in the credits this season. We can’t wait for what follows. More gut-wrenching than the Governor’s re-appearance is the talk that Rick and Daryl will have to have about Carol. Could the best tag team since Gumby and Pokey really be over??
Hush Comics gives “Internment” an A for great character display, especially on the part of Herschel. Lizzy is still bat-shit crazy, Maggie reminded us that she is still a BA, and Rick finally realized what a Big Asskicker he has raised. Come back for next week’s return of The Governor and our recap of “Live Bait.”
written by John Soweto and Sherif Elkhatib
All images credited to AMC Television