The Walking Dead Episode 409
Written By: Robert Kirkman
Directed By: Greg Nicotero
Original Airdate: 9 February 2014
In This Episode…
The prison is overrun with walkers. The fences are down; the livestock is dead. The only living thing there is Michonne, and she is only there to collect a couple pet zombies before she heads off, looking for shelter.
Carl and Rick are on their own together. Carl is being an especially difficult preteen, walking fast ahead of his limping father. They come to a bar and the first argument begins: Rick wants Carl to stay outside while he makes sure it is safe. Carl refuses - a fair decision, considering that Rick is in bad shape after the beating he got in the last episode. Inside, Carl shoots a lone walker (against Rick’s wishes - they need to conserve bullets and don’t need the noise drawing more walkers). They collect what few useful supplies they can find. Carl finds more: “I win.”
They move on, find a house, and check it for walkers. Seems clear. Carl finds that one of the inhabitants was a boy his age, with a room loaded with skateboards, music, video games, guitars. They camp out here for the night, but Carl doesn’t enjoy the luxuries of a bedroom; he sleeps downstairs with Rick in front of the barricaded door. Carl ties the door shut, and Rick wants to reinforce it with a table, which Carl sees as a slight: “Shane taught me how to tie a knot properly.” This leads to more bitter arguing, and Rick tries to diffuse the situation by telling Carl to eat. He refuses.
Rick is in really bad shape. He wheezes when he breathes, and he is getting visibly weaker. Morning comes, and Carl wakes up first. He pours some dry cereal and eats in the bedroom upstairs, reading a comic book and enjoying a few precious moments of normalcy. When he returns downstairs, Rick is still asleep. Carl shakes him, yells at him, no response. The sound of zombies at the front door leads Carl to the back door. He lures the two of them away from the house, down the road a safe distance. He has everything under control until a third sneaks up and grabs him from behind. Carl falls and starts firing. The first two go down easily, but now he is caught beneath two rotting bodies. It takes three shots for Carl to bring down the last zombie - and it was a close one. He throws up. Then: “I win.”
He heads back to the house and tells an unconscious Rick that he killed three walkers. “I saved you! I don’t need you anymore, don’t need you to protect me. You couldn’t protect Judith! Or Hershel! Or Glenn or Maggie or Michonne or Daryl or Mom! You just wanted to hide! He knew where we were and you didn’t care. They counted on you. You were their leader. Now, you’re nothing.” He cries a little, venting all his pent-up frustration and anger and fear. “I’d be fine if you died.”
Carl is back on the street, heading to the next house to look for supplies. He throws himself against the locked door and falls back, not making a dent. I guess he does need dad for some things. Using a stake light in the yard, he pries the door open and searches the kitchen for canned goods. He finds what is clearly a prize: an enormous can of chocolate pudding. He checks the upstairs, closing each door behind him. One room contains a zombie, and Carl fights to shut the door. The walker pursues him, and Carl shoots. Three shots fells the zombie, but none are fatal, and Carl is out of bullets. He crawls away from the zombie and tries to escape out a window. But the windows have been boarded shut, and that zombie is still in pursuit of his tasty flesh. Carl hits it with a lamp, but it is still not dead. It grabs his leg, and Carl escapes, barely - the zombie got his shoe. Carl locks the bedroom door and scrawls a message of survival: “Walker inside. Got my shoe. Didn’t get me.” Carl celebrates by sitting on the roof, eating the enormous can of pudding. Behind him, the walker desperately tries to scratch his way out the window; Carl pays it no mind. The scene is oddly idyllic.
Night falls, and Carl returns to Rick. Rick still hasn’t moved, and his breathing is very shallow. But then his breathing picks up, raspy and tortured. His arm flinches. Carl scampers away, gun at the ready, mentally preparing to shoot another parent. He can’t do it, drops his gun, and just tells him to do what he will. But Rick isn’t dead, or undead. He speaks: “Carl. Go outside. Stay safe.” Carl finally admits: “I’m scared.” When morning comes, Rick is finally conscious, and seems to be out of immediate danger. Rick isn’t happy that Carl went out on his own, but he is glad Carl found more food. He sheepishly admits to eating 112oz. of pudding, but Rick isn’t mad. Instead, he apologizes: “I know things will never be what they used to. I only clung to that for you and Judith. Now she is gone. You are a man. I’m sorry.” Carl assures him he needn’t be.
Meanwhile, Michonne treks on with her zombies. She sleeps in an abandoned car, her pets just outside, and dreams of a time either just before or just after the zombie apocalypse, when she, her husband Mike, their son, and another friend are holed up inside a posh apartment. There seems to be some discussion of whether or not they should leave their “encampment” but then Mike and the other guy turn into armless zombie pets and Michonne wakes. It seems that she has gotten used to companionship, and she starts following tracks in the mud, looking for humans. Unknowingly, she is following the tracks left by Carl and Rick. She trudges on, her zombie pets shielding her as she moves in a small herd of walkers. A female walker, with braids like Michonne’s, stumbles by, and she snaps, slaughtering several dozen walkers - including her own. She continues her search for humans. She finds a recently eaten can of pudding and heads towards the house, sword at the ready in case the pudding eaters aren’t friendly. Through the window sheers, she spies Carl and Rick and starts to weep gratefully.
Inside, Rick and Carl are alarmed when there is a knock at the door. (Do they think walkers have learned to knock?) Rick checks the peephole, then turns to his son: “It’s for you.”
Dig It or Bury It?
This was one of those quiet, introspective episodes without much in the way of action. It was still an intense and surprisingly well-paced episode. Carl was surprisingly not obnoxious with his pre-teen gloom. I wasn’t really sure what was going on in Michonne’s dream. Who was that other guy? Later in the episode, she stops at the same bar Carl and Rick had been at, and speaks to her memories: “I missed you, even back at the camp. You were wrong because I am still here. You could be too, and he could be.” I think that Mike wanted to remain in the apartment (I guess they were calling that camp…? Were they in a military camp?) and Michonne went out for whatever reason, only to find Mike, their kid, and their buddy zombified.
Kill o’ the Week
There were a lot of zombie deaths this week, but none were really memorable - except Hershel. As Michonne picks through the remnants of their battle ground, Hershel’s head - removed from the body but with nothing killing the brain - is laying on the ground, eyes white and mouth chomping mechanically. Michonne puts her sword through his temple as the last kind act she can do for him.
Zombie o’ the Week
I like that when Carl was fighting the house zombie, he tried to slam the door on it, but it didn’t work and its arm came between the door and the jamb - and snapped in half, bone piercing through the skin.
We will see what happened to some of the other prison refugees: Beth, Tyreese, Sasha, and Glenn at the very least. Doesn’t look like they are all together, and it looks like Glenn is in a very precarious position.