‘The Walking Dead’: The Sick and the Dread

by | October 28, 2013 at 9:46 AM | Recap, The Walking Dead, TV News

"The Walking Dead" (Photo: AMC)

It’s officially flu season, and Sunday night’s episode of “The Walking Dead” has me signing up for the next available flu shot. As if the first round of rapid and disgusting illness that turned most of humanity into zombies wasn’t enough, now our prisoners are battling a nasty bug in Cellblock D. Between the sweats and the coughing and splatting up of blood, it’s not looking good.

Twelve already died, including Patrick who started it all, and last week, Karen and “David from Decatur,” who were burned to a crisp by an unknown assailant. Tyreese, of course, discovered the bodies last week, and this week, he brings in Rick to help find the culprit, only to turn on him for not pursuing this forensic criminology situation with enough fervor. He does some punching, and Rick does some punching back, and testosterone is just oozing from their wounds.

It’s not a good day for Tyreese. His sister Sasha’s also got the bug. So does Dr. S., and now Glenn. But just in time to probably save the lives of people whose names we actually know, Hershel conveniently remembers there’s a veterinary school around that might have the meds they need. Daryl, Michonne, “The Wire”s D’Angelo Barksdale and Tyreese take the entire episode to pack the car, fuel it up, and head out there to raid for antibiotics.

And when has an outing ever gone the way it’s supposed to? On the road, in poor dead Zach’s muscle car, Daryl’s futzing with the radio. I always say whomever’s in the passenger seat should be the one to DJ, but whatever. Anyway, he picks up what sounds like a transmission, just in time to not pay any attention to the road, hits some Walkers and loses control, a la Lori in Season 2. He straightens out just in time to notice the thousands of Walkers in a mega-herd on the roadway coming toward them. Sorry Zach, now your car, too, has become food for zombies.

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Daryl, Michonne and their undercurrent of sexual tension quickly evacuate and race off to the woods, along with Bob, while Tyreese stares blankly into space. Like I said, it’s been a bad day. He finally gets out of the car and makes his way through a gaggle of Walkers with nothing but a hammer and some fierce zombie-killing rage. And that, my friends, is how you get over the shocking death of a loved one just a few hours earlier.

Beth, on the other hand, doesn’t need to let her sadness out by bashing some skulls in. She’s now Judith’s stone-faced babysitter at a children-and-old-people quarantine in an administrative building we’ve never heard of before. Her advice to Maggie, who has learned that Glenn has the flu? “We don’t get to be upset,” Beth tells her. “We all got jobs to do.”

Hershel is the single old person in the admin building quarantine, and he can’t stand to be useless, so he and his stone-faced babysitter, Carl, go out into the woods to find magic herbs and berries. They come across a couple woodland Walkers, one of which walks with her leg in a bear trap, the other of which appears to possibly not have legs at all. Hershel, ever empathetic toward those with foot impairments, tells Carl not to put them down, but to leave them in peace.

Back at the prison, Hershel heads to Cell Block D to give out elderberry tea, which apparently lowers fevers. (It’s true!) Maggie and Rick try to stop him from entering the sick ward, but Hershel would rather die than just die a little bit later, like all these people will. Giving Dr. S. a dose, he gets a good splat of blood in the face. Nice knowing you, Hershel.

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Carol, meanwhile, has a lot of jobs to do. She’s dealing with some sludgy water situation, shepherding sickies into D block, passing off a sniffling Lizzie to Glenn’s care for tucking in, and, oh, murdering Karen and David. See, as promised, Rick does do a little police work and figures out Carol was behind the burning bodies. Not sure if he’s good cop or bad cop when he confronts her, with “Did you kill Karen and David?” but he does get a confession instantaneously. “Yes,” Carol says matter of factly and walks away.

No major cliffhangers this week, but some questions do remain: Will Carol be punished for murder, or will everyone understand she was just trying (and failing) to stop the disease from spreading? Will the crew make it to the vet school and back with the antibiotics in time? Who was on the radio? And where can I get some of that elderberry stuff? Tweet me up at @sharynjackson with your thoughts.

“The Walking Dead” airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.