The Walking Dead - Season 4, Episode 2: “Infected” TV Episode Review
Written by Steve Pattee and TGM
Directed by Guy Ferland
Written by Angela Kang
2013 Rated TV-14
Episode premiered on October 20th, 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
Melissa Ponzio as Karen
Warning! This review contains spoilers for this episode.
On this week’s episode of The Walking Dead – aptly titled “Infected” – we find the cause of Patrick’s demise (it wasn’t the water), see Carol doing what needs to be done, see a budding leader in Carl, and learn there may be a sociopath in the group’s mist.
Steve: You know, I’m beginning to think this is the “Your life will never be good again” season because there really is this huge black cloud over the group right now. First, you get zombies in Cell Block D wiping out a good chunk of those staying there. Then, the survivors of that bloodbath (as well as those that came in to help) must be separated from everyone else because there’s a wicked flu virus floating around. Oh, you want things worse? Well how about it most likely either came from the pigs or infected them, so those have to go. Still not bad enough? Someone is literally torching the sick, as in dragging their asses outside and lighting them on fire. What in the holy hell is going on here? This has started as a really dark season.
TGM: I thought this was a better episode than the premiere, although it is not without its faults.
Steve: While he didn’t get a whole lot of action last week, I do like how some attention was given to Carl on this episode. It looks like they’ve reeled the sociopath we were getting to know last year in some, and I’m kind of on the fence with that. I really liked Carl’s intensity last season, but I’m also digging the thoughtfulness displayed in “Infected”. It’s clear that since we last left Rick and company, he has spent a tremendous amount of time with his son, guiding him to (what he believes are) better decisions, and that bonding has paid off. Even though Carl is not the “shoot first, ask questions later” kid he was when we last saw him, he appears to be just as dangerous. My favorite scene last night was at the end, when Carl’s weapon was returned to him, and Rick finally put back on his gun belt. These two looked like they were getting ready for battle, and I liked it. I was also really impressed with how Carl handled the whole Carol-teaching-knife-use-to-children situation with his father. I was surprised when Rick agreed to his son’s request of not telling the kids’ parents what Carol was up to. The boy has really come a long way, and I like the direction he’s heading.
TGM: Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait! You actually LIKED a scene that involved Rick? WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT DID YOU DO WITH STEVE?
Steve: Hey, I also liked his idea of slaughter the possibly-infected piglets for zombie bait. Maybe there’s hope for this guy after all.
TGM: I did think it was pretty badass seeing Rick strap on that gun belt and slip that monster revolver into the holster. I think they’re finally going to get out of Rick’s head and set his character back on the straight and narrow. I also liked the extended Carl time, but I have a bit of a gripe. I think that Chandler Riggs is devolving as an actor right in front of our eyes. I really thought he was impressive last year, giving great little subtle and powerful performances, but this year it feels like he’s trying way too hard. It’s like he’s finally old enough to realize “Holy shit, I’m on the most popular show ever on cable television” and it’s freaking him out and he’s getting self-conscious or something.
Steve: I don’t think I agree with you here. I don’t get that at all with Riggs. Actually, I thought the opposite when I watched this second episode. My impression isn’t that Riggs is self-conscious, but rather Carl is. He’s trying so hard to please his father and stay on the right path and he’s hyper-aware of all his actions. Riggs is really upping his game, not unlike Melissa McBride.
Speaking of which, what is up with Carol? Holy cow, this lady has her ducks in a row! I don’t know if it’s the writing, McBride’s acting, or a combination of both, but the way she’s handling the training of these future zombie slayers is superb. It would be so easy for the character to reek of paranoia at best if handled with less talented gloves, but here it not only seems natural, but the right thing to do. I can’t imagine parents living in this universe not wanting their kids to know a little zombie self-defense. And McBride’s portrayal of the character is neither insane nor threatening or negative in any way. It’s simple: This world sucks, and if you want to live you better learn how to protect yourself. She’s saving these kids.
TGM: Exactly. It’s amazing how Carol has turned from one of the most useless characters ever to be on television into someone who has become the practical “center” of the show. She’s definitely become the most resourceful (remember using that guy as a human bullet shield?). It’s going to suck when she finally dies. I feel like her taking in those two young girls will ultimately be her demise. She’ll sacrifice herself to save one of them, something she wasn’t able to do with her own daughter. It’s only a matter of time.
Steve: Well, if they do the same they have been doing in the prior seasons, at least one key member in the group will die. I’d really hate for it to be Carol, though. I’m starting to like her a lot.
TGM: So, I’m not sure what to make of that scene at the end. Had those people already turned zombie and were torched, or was someone a little trigger happy and burned them alive as in a preemptive strike? Oh, and poor Tyrese, I don’t even think he got to hit that piece of ass. Maybe now he’ll be the hulking brute he’s meant to be, and not some pansy ass.
Steve: Their deaths were clearly not part of the plan. Why would they leave them there for Tyrese to find? And my sister agrees with you with Tyrese being a pansy. She never understood why I was excited for his arrival, and it’s getting harder for me to convince her why he’s a badass. At least in the comics.
Steve: What did you think of Beth’s observations? Just like last week, she had the most poignant line in the episode. It was something along the lines of “There’s a widow and there’s an orphan, but nobody has ever given a name to a parent who has lost a child. Why do you think that is?” Jesus Christ, Beth, knock it off with the emotional punches, okay?
TGM: That scene was well done. But, I’ll tell you something, I think Beth is the Herschel daughter with the longer life expectancy. That scene with Glenn taking a polaroid of a sleeping Maggie... Christ, you might as well just put up a scrolling ticker on the bottom of the screen that says “Maggie is going to die this season.”
Speaking of deaths, I wish that we got to know some of these people before killing them off. Their deaths fall painfully flat for me. They might as well be wearing red Starfleet shirts. Hi Mr. Burly bearded fat guy, I guess I’m sorry you’re going to die, but I don’t really know you, or your dumb kids, so, um, BUHBYE. Same for the nerdy guy who dropped dead at the end of the premiere, or the guy who got his throat and intestines eaten out. All decent scenes, but lacking emotional payoff. Don’t introduce a character just to kill him off three minutes later. I expect more (perhaps wrongly so) from the writers.
Steve: I think these characters were just cannon fodder to get the ball rolling on the bigger picture. (Not that I disagree with you. Their lives meant nothing to me, too.)
TGM: OK, can we talk about something that’s really pissing me off about this episode? There is NO more important job than manning the perimeter and killing every zombie dickhead that presses up against that fence. Not slopping the pigs, or planting the crops, or macking on the ladies, or singing lullabies. Priority numero uno should be perimeter defense. They have more than enough people now, so what the hell is everyone doing with their day? Talk about a group of lazy, entitled asses. THANKS OBAMA. They should have around the clock rotating shifts where people just bash the shit out of any zombie that even brushes up against that chain link. The big threat from this episode was ridiculously contrived.
Steve: Oh, I’m bothered by more than that (and you are spot on). I’m also a bit irritated by the fact that someone is feeding the walkers at the fence is no surprise since I saw some of the trailers for this season beforehand where it was revealed. I’m a little ticked about this, but I really only have myself to blame since the art of making a trailer without a spoiler of some sort doesn’t exist. But, seriously AMC, stop this shit. You have the viewers. You don’t need to put something like that in your teasers. Just show some zombies, people will watch. Anyway, I want to assume that the person shoving mice into the fence to draw the undead masses to it is the same that burned the bodies of those who may or may not have been infected with the same virus that killed Patrick last week. But this could very well be two different people. The former acting on either The Governor’s orders or some misguided loyalty to the missing leader and the latter acting on self-preservation. With the garbage hands being dealt to this group as of late, either way it won’t matter. The only thing that does matter is that Tyrese gets to dish out some justice to the person that scorched his lady friend.
TGM: Zombies at the gate, a killer virus in the prison, a lunatic feeding the undead, a pyromaniac roasting would-be girlfriends, The Governor lurking nearby, and no more bacon. Our heroes are already neck deep in shit and it’s only episode two!
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.