With a Walker herd at their door and the infected getting worse, the Prison is on the brink of deterioration

By Maricela Gonzalez
February 27, 2015 at 06:54 PM EST
Gene Page/AMC
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After an episode set primarily on the road away from the Prison, “Internment” focuses on the struggles directly concerning the Prison community from directly outside (the herd) and within (the virus). The episode picks up where the last left off with Rick brooding in the car after exiling Carol. His brooding eyes are brooding — especially in a overly extreme close-up.

Meanwhile back at the farm Prison, Hershel intubates a choking infected man (we later learn his name is Henry) as Sasha and Glenn hold the man down. They agree to take shifts squeezing the bag in order for Henry to breathe. Sasha takes the first shift, and Glenn accompanies Hershel on his rounds. It’s like Grey’s Anatomy in hell. After spending so much time in A block, Hershel seems healthy whereas Sasha and Glenn are coughing up their lungs almost as much as Henry.

Hershel and Glenn find Mr. Jacobson dead (sorry Mr. Jacobson, we don’t really care about you) and wheel him out of the main block. But not before Lizzie appears from the shadows like a snooping servant on Downton Abbey. Hershel gently shoos her away, telling her to read Tom Sawyer, which was incidentally not included on our EW.com What is the Best Young Adult Novel of All Time? bracket game. (Huck Finn is better!) There must be an epic endgame for Lizzie, right? The writers seem to be building Lizzie as a character and a presence in order for some major action or event related to her to take place. The question remains whether she will be a hero or harbinger of death. Will she be a Neville Longbottom or a Jar Jar Binks?

With Lizzie gone for now, Hershel and Glenn can definitively kill him unseen by the other infected people. “People don’t need to see it,” Hershel tells Glenn. “I don’t want them to.” Hershel relies on his hope and heart just as much as his medical skills to help the infected.

Maggie visits Hershel behind the glass barrier, hoping to also see Glenn. She pleads to come in and help her father. He urges her to “hold it together a little longer.”  As the last uninfected person standing save for the Meds Crew and Rick (exiled Carol doesn’t count anymore), she is their last defense on the outside…and they need it. Oh boy, do they need it.

After her emotional talk with Hershel, Maggie focuses on pest control at the fence. The camera cuts to a wide shot of Maggie versus a growing herd of Walkers, exuding a profound sense of “Ah f—, that’s not good.” There’s more Walkers at the fence than ever before, including when Rick baited them with his pigs.

Luckily, the prodigal farmer returns to the Prison in the nick of time. Huzzah! Now he and Carol can help Maggie at the fence and perhaps rally some able-bodied kids like Carl to help pick Walkers. Oh wait, that’s right. He exiled Carol and wants to keep the kids away from all the chaos slowly but steadily closing in on all of them. Thanks Rick!

Even though I may not be on Team Rick, Maggie is. She agrees that he did the right thing sending Carol away. She questions whether she would have been able to do it. Rick, however, says she could have, telling her not to doubt herself for they can’t doubt themselves anymore. Is this a facet of Rick’s morality now? He cannot doubt his actions because if he did, he would grow indecisive and not be able to survive? The connection between survival and doubt is a strong one.

Rick heads inside the compound to see Carl and Hershel, leaving Maggie to fend off the Walker herd on her own — again.

NEXT: “A sad soul can killer quicker than a germ.”

Rick makes sure Carl and Judith are okay, visiting the kids’ quarantine. Carl urges Rick that he can’t shield him from the world and its horrors. Rick replies, “Yeah, maybe, but it’s my job to try.”I think my fascination with Crazy Carl is a transference of thoughts on Todd from Breaking Bad onto Carl. I’m fascinated by how he may develop into a heartless killer whereas that is Rick’s greatest fear.

Not only does Rick fear what Carol is capable of doing to Carl and Judith if they were ever deemed “threats” to the group as Karen and David were, he also fears Carl becoming like Carol. He sees that capacity in him, as Carl is not shy to declare how using his gun, using deadly force is sometimes necessary. Thus, instead of helping to pick Walkers, Carl is tasked with passing out fruit leathers to the other kids and reminding them to brush their teeth. (Who knew fruit leathers are natural Fruit Roll-Ups? Obviously many millions of people not including me.)

Back inside A block, Hershel checks on Dr. S a.k.a. Caleb a.k.a. the worst patient ever. But Caleb has been doing more than coughing in people’s faces, having prepared more IV bags. He’s in the end stage of the virus and knows it, charging Hershel to ensure the cell gates are closed and to focus on those who can make it rather than lost causes like himself.

Just as Hershel winds down his latest round of check-ups, an unnamed infected man stumbles out of his cell, collapses onto the ground, convulses, and dies in front of the entire block. (Have people forgotten how to cough properly? I mean, really. I would say get it together, but he’s dead.) Surrounded by dozens of infected people, Hershel looks like a warden who is on the brink of losing control of his prison. But this time when the inmates rebel, they don’t want to beat him and escape, they want to eat his brainz. Faced with the one thing he wanted to avoid doing, Sasha intervenes and helps Hershel move the body onto the gurney.

A crucial yet ultimately secondary character, Hershel receives his own musical theme — Ben Howard’s “Oats in the Water.” He is most definitely this episode’s MVP, perhaps the MVP of the entire flu virus arc from “Infected” through “Isolation,” “Indifference,” and now “Internment.” Rick meets Hershel at the glass barrier in a powwow on the meaning of life that plays beautifully but seems highly unrealistic given the grave immediate concerns they should be taking care of instead.

Hershel sums up his fears for the fate of the infected in a quote from Steinbeck’s travelogue Travels With Charley: In Search of America: “A sad soul can killer quicker than a germ.” Rick assures Hershel that the people in A block see him working so hard to care for them. It’s a touching moment between them even if it recalls the main term of endearment in Avatar. Hershel finds hope for himself in the firm belief that there is a plan, a reason for why they must live through a Zombiepocalypse. His resolve is comforting but knowing that the flu virus arc was inspired by Camus’ The Plague, the reality that there is such a plan is suspect. (We all know this isn’t going to end in the style of Lost.) Nevertheless, in a world where zombies roam the Earth, hope is not the most absurd concept there is.

NEXT: Hershel to the rescue! Maggie to the rescue! Lizzie to the rescue?

Hershel heads back into the block, closing more cell gates. He rushes over to help an unconscious Sasha because we know her name — unlike the woman in the adjacent cell slowly turning into a Walker. I’m all for helping characters we know and love, but c’mon! He could’ve closed that one gate before helping Sasha. He manages to set up an IV for her, which, don’t get me wrong, is great. Yet in the time it took him to do that, Glenn is close to choking to death and three infected people die and turn into Walkers. Woman Walker attacks and all hell breaks loose. Hershel is saved by an unnamed woman but an unnamed man accidentally shoots her as Man Walker bites his arm.

Lizzie, who is not in her cell (of course!), lures Walker Henry away from Glenn. Just as it seems as if she is going to stab him with Carol’s knife, she trips and screams bloody murder until Hershel saves her. In a feat my grandfather would never be able to do, he throws Walker Henry onto the chain link ledge. Thanks for saving Glenn, Lizzie! But Walkers don’t “listen” like a well-behaved pet. Walker Henry ain’t no Fido. Hershel still manages to keep most of the carnage out of sight from the survivors in their cells, luring the Walkers to a secluded corner and shooting them one by one.

Rick finally helps Maggie fortify the fence, placing logs to hold the fence in place against the force of the Walker herd. With shots ringing out, Maggie scrambles to A block as Rick assures her that he has the Walker fence situation under control. After a fruitless and frankly stupid attempt to hack her away into the A block, Maggie shoots and shatters the glass barrier and storms into the block. She discovers Hershel struggling against Henry in attempts to remove the bag valve mask and use it for Glenn, who is in the final grips of the flu. In a critical moment in choosing between saving her father and risking the loss of the mechanism that could save her fiancé’s life, she chooses to shoot Walker Henry. It doesn’t mean she loves Glenn any less, as evidenced in how she rushed to his side as Hershel intubated him. She even kisses Glenn’s bloody face! (Sweet but gross.) Does this mean that she chose Hershel over Glenn? Or is it merely an example of how good of a shot she is? This is a critical moment for Maggie, which may have repercussions in future episodes.

Lizzie appears (again) because she’s apparently the younger sister of Orin, April’s creepy friend on Parks and Rec. Why? To signal to the audience that the worst of the flu virus epidemic is over as well as to establish once again that she’s a creepy kid, who now likes to swirl her shoe in a puddle of blood and mucus.

NEXT: Father-son Walker-killing bonding time. Plus, there’s a new/old neighbor in town.

Rick enlists Carl’s help (finally!) in fortifying the fence. They work well together and their progress goes smoothly until it doesn’t. One log breaks, then another, and another until the fence is down. Walkers pour in the first section of the Prison, ambling behind Rick and Carl, who run safely to the second line of defenses. That fence won’t hold for long, however, and they need a new plan of action. They choose to go on the offensive, arming themselves with automatic rifles and plenty of ammunition. Together, they deftly shoot down all of the Walkers stumbling through the second fence. Rick witnesses first hand his son’s usefulness in the Zombiepocalypse. They are more equals than he’d care to admit, but for as worried as he is (and probably should be), he’s proud to have a son who is also his brother-in-arms.

This scene of father-son bonding time reminds me of father-daughter bonding time playing Terminator 2: Judgment Day at the arcade with my dad. But Carl does a better job than I ever did. I almost always ran out of money, so that the rest of the game I would shout unhelpful instructions like, “Head shot! Head shot!” as my dad continued to play.

Before all hope is lost — and I start waxing nostalgically about playing The House of Dead with my mom — the Meds Crew returns. Tyreese returns to Sasha’s side — she’s in dire straits but conscious. Bob administers medicine to the weakest of the group, Glenn, so we know everyone we care about should be okay. Phew. With his call to duty completed, Hershel finally takes a moment to rest. Hershel’s theme returns as he sits in Caleb’s cell, closes the dearly departed doctor’s eyes and opens his Bible. But he can’t bring himself to read. Instead, he weeps.

Daryl puts it best, calling Hershel “a tough sonuvabitch.” He had the toughest job during the crisis, and he persevered. If life is a test, Hershel surely passed this part with flying colors.

The next morning, Rick avoids telling Daryl about Carol for a bit longer and opts to share quality time with Carl, this time not involving weaponry. Don’t think I didn’t notice that close-up shot of Rick’s gun in the background and Rick’s hands opening a soybean plant in the foreground. We get it, we get it: Sheriff Grimes + Farmer Rick = New Rick Grimes.

Despite a solid episode with several character-defining moments, the most striking image of the episode is in its last seconds as the violins and drums lead to an ominous crescendo that ends with…the mega herd? a dangerous group of strangers? friendly neighbors excited for Spaghetti Tuesday? None of the above: the Governor outside of the Prison! The Governor is back! What does it mean? What does it mean?! Any guess I could give would be feeble at best, so I reserve my judgment until the next installment. What do you think about the return of the Governor, O Great and Powerful EW Recap Commenters?

Walker of the Week: Caleb/Dr. S. He makes up for coughing in Hershel’s face by storing a handy-dandy shotgun in his cell.

Questions to consider:

Now that I don’t have to ask when the Governor will be back, what is he up to?! Is he the Walker Feeder? Will he draw the Mega Herd towards the Prison? Is he connected to the people on the radio? What has he been up to during the months between season 3 and 4?

Is it just me or does it seem that now that Hershel has gone through his most heroic moment, his death seems imminent?

With the virus handled, how will the group react to Rick exiling Carol? How will Daryl react?

Will these people ever catch a break? Do we want them to ever catch a break?

AMC's zombie thriller, based on the classic comic book serial created by Robert Kirkman.
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  • TV Show
seasons
  • 9
episodes
  • 123
Rating
  • TV-14
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Premiere
  • 10/31/10
Status
  • On Hiatus
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