After such a lackluster mid-season opener last week, this weeks “Inmates” really stepped it up for The Walking Dead fans. With such important questions finally answered and the details of the moments right after the raid for each set of remaining characters, this week was what we’ve been waiting for since December. Instead of trying to break down the episode, which made it evident everything was happening at once, this review will be broken down by character, because honestly, it’s easier that way.
Daryl and Beth
Seemingly, Beth is only with Daryl because at the moment, she is the weakest of the adults and he is the strongest. Is this supposed to be a way to get them to hook up? We sure hope not. Forcing sexual tension in the show where it doesn’t need to be would be gratuitous. The letter Beth was narrating was a powerful piece of writing considering how weak the writing in The Walking Dead can sometimes be. It was a great juxtaposition between the hope they all once felt in the prison and the despair and danger they are all in now, especially with the scene of the vultures flying above their heads. Daryl, meanwhile, is beyond hope. He was quick to throw Hershel’s death in Beth’s face only a few hours after it happened. He may not be giving a Cherokee Rose speech anytime soon, but he still has a soft heart because he couldn’t really walk away once Beth broke down. When Beth and Daryl find the feeding scene at the tracks, Beth finally lets it all out. She’s been frugal with her emotions through the loss of Jimmy, Zach and even her dad – so this was a profound moment that shows that Beth may be ready to give up, or grow up. Hopeful or hopeless, Daryl is still the strongest character on the road currently. He will be fine whether he finds the others or not. Beth will last as long as she is with Daryl, but emotionally, she needs to know that Maggie is still alive.
Tyreese and the kids
Surprise! Judith is alive. But really, how long for this world does she have? We admit, we predicted her death in the raid, mostly because SPOILER ALERT, she dies in the comics during the prison shootout. How is it possible a baby can continue to live in the apocalypse? It seems unlikely that the survivors would have been able to find as much formula as she would have already needed in order to live. Any moment involving Judith felt as though she could be moments away from death in tonight’s episode. Knowing that Tyreese got stuck with all the kids, Daryl’s situation with Beth suddenly seems really good. Tyreese and the three girls end up in the woods and hear a distant scream. Was it really in his best interest to have the oldest girl holding the baby and the youngest holding the gun? And then to just have them back to back and alone while he investigates? They aren’t his children, but he clearly feels a moral responsibility to them if he risked his life to take them out of the prison and out into the woods. If he got them this far, he should be more careful about leaving them alone. But the craziest part was Loco Lizzie attempting to suffocate a baby. When Judith continues to cry and possibly attract walkers, Lizzie puts her hand over the baby’s mouth and nose and has a glint in her eye as the child struggles for breath. Creepy much? There was also a small moment where Lizzie and Mika argue about who knows what about walkers. It was very short, but enough to question whether it was in fact Mika who was feeding rats to them. Even though Judy is alive, the sister’s relationship is still mirroring Billy and Ben from the comic series. It is unlikely the sisters will survive much longer.
Yup. Carol is back. And pretty conveniently so. Right as Mika and Lizzie are about to be eaten, Carol saves the day and just in time, brings them back to the railroad as Tyreese finishes killing lots-o-walkers. That seems very convenient and smells too much like lazy writing. However, we are glad that Carol is back. And of all people to run into, it’s Tyreese. You can see the fear on Carol’s eyes as Tyreese rushes to greet her. Luckily for her, Rick didn’t end up spilling the beans about Karen to Tyreese. Will Carol come clean about what happened to Karen? Lies always have found a way to surface in The Walking Dead. It is kinda cool that Tyreese is caring for Lizzie and Mika, the same girls that Carol once did. Will their futures be in his hands? Or is he just a much nicer person than Carol is? It should be noted this is the first time Carol’s real life counterpart Melissa McBride has been listed in the main credits. Carol may be around for a while longer.
Bob, Sasha and Maggie
Bob may not have his liquor anymore, but he has his eye on Sasha. As she is dressing Bob’s wound, he begins flexing his muscles and giving her the Old Spice guy look. It’s one of the funnier moments in an episode full of ups and downs. Sasha and Bob are a nice yin and yang, too, with Sasha playing hard-ass tactical expert, and Bob is the happy-go-lucky optimist. Meanwhile, Maggie has just landed in Crazytown. The unusually short trip to the prison bus that Glenn is supposed to be in culminates in a spectacle of emotion and a lot of walkers getting dead in the process. Everybody has had their break-down moment and this was clearly Maggie’s.
Glenn and Tara
For no rhyme or reason, Glenn somehow finds himself waking up, get this, back at the prison! He’s armed with just an assault rifle, meaning that he left the bus, staggered out through the cell block and then up to the nook where he was positioned. In fact, he worked himself into such a tizzy that he passed out and woke up hours after everybody was gone. I mean, sure, he had just narrowly avoided bleeding out of his eyeballs until he died, but this is the guy who killed a walker with duct tape and a chair. Once we get a sentimental shot of Maggie’s photograph, Glenn brings out the riot gear. In some miraculous Marshawn Lynch kind of way (that’s right – Denver fan givin’ some love to the Seahawks), he over-powers a dozen walkers to make a clean break – but not before he asks the Governor’s ex-girlfriend’s sister, Tara, to join him. We often joked about calling her a “less-hot Maggie,” so we were amused to see her and Glenn stuck together. The best part of Glenn’s scenes was the way it was filmed as if we were in the riot gear, too. Very video-game like, and yet another way to translate the story to other mediums.
The big news that comes out of “Inmates” is that we are getting three new cast members. Originally from comic book fame, the three strangers we have are: Abraham Ford, Eugene Porter and Rosita Espinosa. In the books, our guests are traveling across the country to Washington DC, where Eugene – a U.S. Scientist – will hand over classified information to the U.S. Government, which is definitely, in no way, a ruse. Shhh… Well, I’m not sure where this version of the trio will go, but they are physically cast perfectly.
Anyway, this episode of The Walking Dead showed a vast improvement over the mid-season premiere, “After.” Not only is there more action, but the dramatic moments feel more genuine, more interesting, and – thanks to the comic books – more original. The only set-backs are the logical inconsistencies; the story felt forced in places for the sake of being grand. We really don’t want another episode paced like “After,” but there’s no need to sacrifice development for the sake of keeping the action fast-pased. For this, we give “Inmates” a B.
All images credited to and owned by AMC Television