The Walking Dead: Season 4, Episode 3: “Isolation” TV Episode Review
Directed by Dan Sackheim
Written by Robert Kirkman
2013, Rated TV-14
Episode premiered on October 27th, 2013
Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes
Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon
Steven Yeun as Glenn Rhee
Lauren Cohan as Maggie Greene
Chandler Riggs as Carl Grimes
Danai Gurira as Michonne
Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier
Scott Wilson as Hershel Greene
Emily Kinney as Beth Greene
Chad L. Coleman as Tyreese
Sonequa Martin-Green as Sasha
Lawrence Gilliard Jr. as Bob Stookey
WARNING: spoilers contained within!
On this episode of The Walking Dead, “Isolation”, we learn that Carl really has changed, that even with one leg, Hershel is more of a man than most of the group, that contrary to his candy-ass beginnings, Tyreese does in fact have a mean streak, that Rick only fights when the other guy is held down, and Carol is harboring a pretty big secret.
Steve: Okay, so last week, after we wrapped our recap, you and I continued our discussion via instant messaging and I had a theory about who burned the bodies. Do you remember what it was?
Steve: No, he’s the one that’s planting the rats at the fence. Carol is who we’re talking about now. While she admitted to burning the bodies at the end of the episode, I wanted to talk about it first (if only to gloat). But, I have to admit, her nonchalant way of confirming to Rick that it was in fact her that killed and torched the sick people last week was a bit chilling. Even if not 10 minutes earlier she was bawling her eyes out over the whole thing. My respect for Carol grows with each passing week.
TGM: Yep. Carol is the most practical character on the show these days. I LOVED the cold and calculated way she answered Rick’s question about burning up the bodies: “Yes.” Exit stage left. Classic. But I am still a bit confused, are we supposed to believe that those people were burned alive? I can’t quite see Carol doing that. Not to mention the screams of agony would likely have been heard by someone.
Steve: I’m betting it will come out they were already dead but not turned when she did it. Or at least that’s how she, Rick, or both will explain it to Tyreese.
Steve: What did you think of this episode overall? Honestly, I thought it was kind of...mediocre. The most exciting things were when Daryl, Michonne, Tyrese and Bob see all those zombies(!) and Tyrese beat the shit out of Rick. Could Rick have been more of a bitch during that fight? He only strikes back when Daryl is holding Tyrese. Really, Rick? P-u-s-s-y is how you spell Rick, in case you are wondering.
TGM: I’d like to see you going toe-to-toe with an enraged man the size of a small mountain without a little help. Tyrese clearly needed to get his bell rung to snap him out of Hulk mode. But, yeah, I feel like a ton of stuff happened in this episode, yet it also felt very slow somehow.
Steve: That fight was over and Rick got his shit handed to him (just as I would). And he only decided to strike back when Tyrese was being held down. Honestly, how can you defend that?
TGM: It was analogous to a slap across the face of a stereotypical 1950s hysterical woman, but I can see your point. OK, enough of the Rick bashing (for now), how about the incredible setup this episode offered? All of the biggest badasses – Daryl, Michonne, a non-wussified Tyrese, and… uh, Bob – off on a solo mission! I hope Bob’s Last Will and Testament is up to date.
Steve: I thought the same thing. When they were getting ready to leave and Bob’s name was brought up, I was all, “Who is Bob?” Then I saw who it was and I was, “Oh! Bob! They mean D’Angelo from The Wire. What’s up, Bob!” I’m hoping Bob sticks around because I really like Lawrence Gilliard’s (the actor who portrays him) work. I think he will too, at least for a while. Because otherwise, why would they establish he has (or had) some sort of drinking problem.
Steve: That road trip had three great moments. The first was when they rounded that corner and saw the metric ton of zombies milling about, the second is when they got stuck on the bodies and were spinning tires over heads, and the third was Tyrese contemplating life before getting out and kicking undead ass. It was like a cross between when Peter (Ken Foree) almost offed himself at the end of Dawn of the Dead (1978) and Dae-su Oh’s (Min-sik Choi) amazing hammer scene in Oldboy. All three of these moments together made for a glorious segment and one of the two reasons that make this a worthwhile episode (the other being Carol's confession).
TGM: Agreed. So now there are so many “regulars” that are infected that I’m sure that the cure will be found. They all can’t die. I literally laughed out loud when Dr. Sickly McBloodspewin coughed blood directly into Hershel’s face. Gee thanks buddy! How about a hankie for fuck sake? There’s no way old Hershel lives for more than a couple of seasons, but I’m going to be highly disappointed when he finally bites it. I like that old coot.
Steve: Me too. Those behind the show clearly needed a way to wipe out (or get rid of) a lot of the characters that they picked up last season to a more manageable number, and I guess this is the best way to do it. And, yeah, no way are any of the regulars going to die from a goddamn cold. That has no drama. I’m going to be honest here, I want this flu thing wrapped up in the next episode or two, and then the introduction of a real protagonist. I’m pretty tired of the zombie genre as a whole (with very few exceptions, one of which being this show), and while I’m currently enjoying this new season of The Walking Dead, I’m going to need something besides flesh eaters and sniffles to keep my attention.
TGM: Good point about thinning the herd of characters; to be honest, I never really thought of it like that. While I too am starting to get a little tired of the “outbreak” storyline, I’m hoping it lasts just long enough for a couple of Daryl-centric episodes of raiding the veterinary school for drugs. That idea is so rife with awesome. I will be highly disappointed if they keep the focus on the prison. Then again, I will also be highly disappointed when The Governor shows up again. It does make me wonder how long this show can possibly (successfully) go on for, and what the eventual endgame will be.
Steve: I was thinking that exact same thing last night; how much longer can this go on? As we discussed last week, it’s inevitable that the walking dead will no longer be...walking. You have to wonder if the powers that be behind the show are planning that now.
TGM: One last thing to mention, what do you make of the garbled radio broadcast that the gang heard before running into the huge zombie dance party?
Steve: Nice! I almost forgot about that. I don’t know. I like the mystery of it for sure, and certainly it was inevitable that something like this would happen. Here’s something to think about, though: If our heroes heard it, then The Governor might have heard it too, if he’s still in the area. Maybe this will bring everyone together in harmonious joy?
TGM: I suspect it will be the impetus to get the crew moving away from the prison at some point. Hopefully soon.
Steve: Oh, unrelated, but since we’re on the topic of stuff I almost already forgot about, how about that tree-zombie Hershel and Carl stumbled across, and how Carl stood down at the older man’s request? Not only was that a sweet looking flesh eater, but once again it shows Carl’s growth.
TGM: Personal growth, or realization that you shouldn’t waste ammo. Although it seems like they have plenty of bullets AND gasoline. Hell, they even have enough gas to waste torching sick folk. Maybe saving the "life" of that tree zombie will come back and bite Hershel in the ass. Literally and figuratively.
Well, I don’t think much more needs to be said about this episode. We both found it average at best. Lots of exposition setting up some potentially amazing future episodes... I hope. I never thought I’d ever characterize an episode of The Walking Dead that showed a smashed zombie head spinning on the back wheel of a car as “ho hum”. But... “ho hum”.
Video, Audio and Special Features:
Video, audio and special features will not be graded as this was a TV episode.
Click on a cover to read more episode reviews of The Walking Dead: Season 4.
Want to comment on this review? You can leave one below or head over to the HorrorTalk Review Forum.