In many ways this was a very different episode of The Walking Dead, mainly because our survivors have become separated. Gone are the group dynamics, the arguments, and, thankfully, the prison. Quiet by The Walking Dead standards, this week focused on Carl and Michonne and how they coped with solitude after being part of a group for so long.
The story was notable because no less than 3 world records were set: Rick won the Rip Van Winkle Award for the World’s Longest Nap®, Michonne took home the gold as the World’s Badassest Badass of Badasslovia®, and Carl won the Bill Cosby Award for Most Pudding Eaten on a Rooftop-Youth Division®.
As the episode opens, Carl is doing his best post-society-collapse rebellious teenager thing as his nearly beaten to death dad tries to keep up. The pair find a home in a quiet neighborhood, dispatch a few pesky undead, then settle in for the night where Rick basically falls into a coma.
While Daddy Dearest is sleeping, Carl unloads a monologue of frustrations and new-found feelings of independence on an unconscious Rick. It’s understandable, though. The boy’s tired, they just lost the closest thing they’ve had to a home since the farm, everyone in his family is either dead or missing, and his dad, the last person left in his life, lies possibly dying before him.
When Carl can’t wake Rick in the morning and a couple of Jehovah’s Biters come a-callin’ the boy decides to lure the ghoulies to a lake, which almost ends in disaster. Then he goes to a home to find food where he almost gets his ass bitten off again. The gamble pays off when he finds the kitchen full of food and at the very top of the cabinetry is a can of pudding the size of Delaware. Which he eats. On the roof.
Hey, what you do in the privacy of your own apocalypse is your business, but after 112 ounces of canned pudding I’d be looking for some Pepto.
Bloated with dessert, Carl heads back to watch Rick sleep some more and cry over the realization that he really does need his father. As Rick begins to stir, he makes nothing but grunting noises and for a few minutes Carl’s not sure if this is Daddy Dearest or Daddy Deadest. Luckily, it’s just Daddy Mostly Dead which saves Carl from having to kill another parent.
That’d just be too cruel, man.
Meanwhile, back at the blowed-up prison, Michonne is feeling nostalgic and neuters a pair of scabby suitors to use as zombie repellent. Obviously jealous of Rick, she takes a luxurious nap in a car where she has a very revealing dream. In that dream, we learn that she had a young son and her baby daddy was Alec Hardison (Age of the zombie, baby!). It gave us perspective on why she’s so quiet and angry all the time.
Hitting the road with her castrated caballeros, Michonne suddenly realizes she’s roaming the wilderness with a huge herd of wild walkers. Naturally, this freaks her out more than a little bit and she finally snaps. Letting go of her declawed duo she goes all Blade on the biter bunch and dispatches them to Zombie Heaven with a level of efficiency that would make any ninja proud.
Why more survivors aren’t learning swordplay is beyond me. It’s quick, effective, doesn’t require those pesky bullets, and is quiet enough to not draw the attention of every rotter in the county.
Once she’d culled the herd down to just herself, Michonne has a good cry then wanders aimlessly – because other than killing the things that want to eat you, wandering aimlessly is about all there is to do these days. Luckily, she stumbles across the remains of Carl and the Giant Pudding which somehow leads her to the front door of the house where Carl and Blunt Force Trauma Rick are having a moment.
A knock on the door and Rick telling Carl, “It’s for you,” end the episode.
Sure, this was a “slow” episode, but it was so damned nice to not hear bickering in the prison or the Governor spouting more lies to gullible sheeple. These quiet character studies gave us more insight into Carl and Michonne in a single episode than we’d usually get in a season. We saw some very different sides to both that wouldn’t have been exposed in a group dynamic and I’m really hoping we see more of the same for our other familiar faces.