So after thinking it over the past couple weeks, as all our Walking Dead favorites begin coughing, and then bleed out of their eyeballs and die, that maybe we should all pay better attention to our health and hygiene. Around flu season, especially, people! Every time I see a coworker cough on their hand then shake with it, or a passer-by sneeze into thin air, I want to pull out my kitana (which I carry with me everywhere, for obvious reasons) and chop off their diseased heads. Thanks for listening, and take your vitamins. I also wanted to talk about this big SPOILER right now, because there are some things said before the reveal that mean something totally different now that we know: Carol killed Karen and David, Rick found out, and Carol don’t give no shits about it. Holy crap. “Isolated” begins with Glenn and Maggie giving each other deep looks as the group begins digging graves for all the deceased in the previous episode, proving there’s still romance in the post-apocalyptic world. We get a good picture of how screwed everybody knows they are. Disease is an enemy you can’t really fight, and I think the group realizes this.
Tyreese, however, doesn’t care about disease. He only wants revenge for whoever burned the bodies. It’s sad to see him reel from this; when Rick and Daryl try to console him, though, he lashes out at them, punching Rick pretty damn hard in the face. It’s a scene that is supposed to pay homage to the prison fight scene, which is ironically about Tyreese hurting Carol by him cheating on Carol with Michonne. In the comics, it felt like an emotional climax that sadly had two good friends come to blows. However, in this instant, it felt nothing more than the portrayal of an angry black man, who lost his temper and got beaten up by a white cop. It felt completely out of character and I didn’t understand the need for the violence at the time. I might be a little out of pocket for thinking that way, but it is always an issue when it comes to race in television; even the best shows aren’t immune to criticism, however subtle it may be. Either way, it was the means to an end, as we realize that Farmer Rick is dead, and the Sheriff is back in town; it’s a hell of a way to open up the episode.
We come back to Tyreese furiously digging graves for Karen and David. Bob politely tries to convince him that he needs to get some attention for the ass-whoopin that Rick put on him (albeit in a more polite way). In a “brothas gotta stick together” moment, Bob helps Tyreese dig. We also find out that everybody is sick: Sasha, Dr. Submarine and Glenn (noooooo). Herschel comes up with a plan to snatch some supplies from a nearby Veterinarian College, and boldly decides that he should lead the way. That is, until Daryl hilariously reminds Herschel that he has a peg leg, and Herschel defeatedly offers to draw a map for them. Daryl, even though he’s always willing to step aside for Rick to lead, takes care of business when he needs to. Rick apologizes to Tyreese for going all LAPD on him. Tyreese is surprisingly cool with it, but is stern in demanding that Rick finds out who did it. Tyreese begins to get angry with Rick when he feels like Rick isn’t doing enough to look for the killer, saying “I’m starting to get that murder is OK in this place now.” It reminds me of the the rules that Rick set up in the comics. IF YOU KILL, YOU DIE. I’m starting to think that this will be his first plan of action upon returning to power. However, seeing as they’ve already killed dozens of people already, I’m not too sure about that. Daryl gets ready to go on the trip to the vet with Michonne and Bad Luck Bob when he decides that Tyreese would be a great addition to the team. Daryl says that he feels that whoever killed Karen and David will “have a bolt put in ’em.” I wonder how Daryl would feel about it if he knew his own sweetheart was the one that did it. Like a walker’s corpse, the truth floats to the surface sooner or later. In a great piece of symbolism, the painting in the hall has the words “Smooth Seas Do Not Make Good Sailors” written on it as Herschel tries to decide what to do with himself. As an obvious leader of the group, Herschel must feel pretty damn useless in this situation. He makes it harder on himself by gathering natural remedies in the forest so that others may feel better. He’s a truly good man and I suppose that is what scares me. As the moral compass of the group and then-Summer Santa of the group, Dale was the next target destined to be mowed down. I wonder how much longer the group, and the audience, will have the pleasure of Herschel’s company. Herschel gives an Emmy-worthy speech to Rick and Maggie later that was one of the best of the series.
On the other hand, Carol’s “do what needs to be done” attitude, has her shove Lizzie into the sick room and lock the door behind her. This makes her just as strong, if not stronger than Herschel, but on the other end of the spectrum. Tyreese has an extremely sad moment with Sasha, as brother realizes that sister might die, and that going out with Daryl is the only way to really help the situation. Bob, not forgetting the shitstorm he caused in the premiere, asked Daryl if he should really be coming along. Daryl responds by having him read the label of a mediation that I do not dare repeat. It’s a pretty funny moment that finally shows Bob’s usefulness. Back at the yard, Carol is filling up water when Tyreese creepily stands behind her and waits for her to turn around and scare the crap out of her – what horrible post-apocalyptic etiquette! You’d get cut doin’ some shit like that around me. Tyreese kindly asks Carol to look in after Sasha (nooo!) because of how much Carol cares about the others. After Carol apologizes for what happened to Karen, Tyreese’s lips begin to quiver and he hurries away. This makes her feel like a total jerk and she responds by throwing the entire water supply on the ground. Smooth move, Carol.
Next, we have the grandest scale of walkers ever. As Daryl, Michonne, Tyreese and Bob run into a herd of almost 10,000 walkers (which we learned from a video on AMC.com that they are actually 100 actors digitally changed into 10,000)! When they get stuck, spinning out Zach’s Dodge Charger’s (RIP) tires over a mountain of corpses, they take off on foot. With Michonne and Daryl fighting their way through the crowd, Bob begins screaming at Tyreese, who is looking like a kid that was forced to go to Home Depot. He just won’t get out of the car. As walkers overrun him, Bob is forced to leave with the others. In a great nod to his comic book gym slaughter, Tyreese somehow makes it out of the carnage and back to the group. How about that zombie distraction device that Carol built? Pretty cool! But what follows is not cool at all. While cleaning the cistern out, Carol is overrun by walkers. She manages to kill a few, but looks horrible doing it. I think Melissa McBride might need a stunt double for any actual zombie killing that is done. Rick confronts Carol about Karen and David, and she calmly admits to killing them and then walks away. What does this mean for her relationship with Rick? Will he tell the others? Will she keep killing? And is it really immoral?
Lots of changes will happen in the upcoming episode, and I’m really worried about Sasha (not Glenn, there’s no way he’s not gonna make it) and Bob. Things will only get worse before they get better, and it will be just in time for the Governor to reappear. Hush Comics gives “Isolation” a B. Very little action and a severely out of place brawl between Tyreese and Rick hurt this otherwise thoughtful and character defining episode.
written by Sherif Elkhatib
All images credited to AMC Television