Essays · TV

The Walking Dead: Carl Finds ‘The Killer Within’ (and Carol Wears a Babushka For No Good Reason)

By  · Published on November 5th, 2012

Editor’s Note: These blog entries are meant to be a discussion of the most current episode of The Walking Dead, so we recommend you watch said episode before reading to avoid spoilers. Keep your eyes peeled for them every Monday morning.

On last week’s episode, Andrea and Michonne happened upon The Governor and his dystopian community of Woodbury, where Andrea was reunited with Merle. Andrea was swayed by The Governor’s charms, while Michonne remained skeptical. The Governor killed a bunch of National Guards, and was revealed to be keeping zombie heads in many fish tanks.

This week’s installment, “The Killer Within,” brings us the deaths of two main characters and juxtaposes the two The Walking Dead universes of Rick/The Prison and The Governor/Woodbury. This makes for quite the eventful and perhaps a somewhat cluttered episode as so much is jammed into one and certain happenings are perhaps worthy of more attention than they received here.

We open with a mysterious party baiting zombies into the prison with cut-up deer carcass pieces. Can it be whoever was watching Rick et al in the prison in that long shot the other week? Probably!

Right before the inevitable zombie stampede, Hershel is revealed to be recouping nicely, zooming around on his crutches with little help from others. Lori and Beth help him outside, where Lori locks eyes with Rick from across the prison gates. They look at each other lovingly – perhaps they are now able to start working on their problems? This is a nice little moment for Rick and Lori, but serves as important foreshadowing that this brief repose in their tension-filled relationship is too good to be true.

Rick and Daryl are approached by those two prisoners from the other week, Oscar and Axel, who want to join the group from their carcass-infested cellblock. Rick refuses to include them. Though Oscar gets them into Rick’s good books later on in the episode, as he saves Rick from ax-wielding prisoner Andrew, who has set off the generator, sounding an alarm that attracts zombies, also thereby unleashing the zombies locked within the prison. He may or may not have also been the mysterious party who left the deer part around, but we will find out in later weeks if this is true. Oscar and Axel are entertaining enough – welcome to the fold, boys!

When zombies do begin to flood into hyper-drive in attempt to stave them off and protect their turf. Rick and the others watch as zombies start to run toward Lori, Hershel, and Beth. Beth and Lori run inside and Hershel proves himself as a badass and bludgeons a zombie in the head with one of his crutches. Yay, Hershel! Let’s hope he makes it through, because this tougher spin on his character is fun to watch.

The first casualty of this episode, sadly, is T-Dog, who is bitten in the shoulder. He soldiers on fighting zombies, since he is a trooper and all, but T-Dog had a lot of potential as a character, and it perhaps wasn’t his time to go. While he barely had a line last season, had he been given more lines this season, he probably would not have disappointed.

Back at Woodbury, Andrea tries to explain to Merle where she last saw Daryl – and not before hitting on Andrea (“How come we never hooked up?”) does Merle express the desire to go look for his lil’ bro. Hicks are good trackers, after all. When he asks The Governor if he could track Daryl, The Governor refuses. Will the kickass Merle sway under The Governor’s rule? Andrea sure does. While remaining fairly one-note, Michonne has the simple observational skills with which to know that The Governor is up to no good. Andrea is frustratingly clueless and becomes even more so when The Governor flirts back to her and even reveals his real name – Phillip! He plays her like a cheap fiddle. She thus decides to stay much to Michonne’s chagrin. Andrea is impossibly naïve and it gets very aggravating to watch her in this episode, as she makes bedroom eyes at The Governor and looks at Michonne with idiotic defiance. Why is it that Michonne can understand what his deal is so easily, and she cannot? If Andrea suffers at the hand of The Governor, she totally has it coming. Don’t say your girl Michonne didn’t warn you!

The prison is still home to epic zombie chases. The bitten T-Dog and Carol, inexplicably sporting a babushka this episode, are trapped by zombies in a corridor. Knowing he is a goner anyway, T-Dog uses himself as zombie bait so that Carol can escape. Her babushka falls off, which her potential lover Daryl later finds and instantly assumes she is dead. You know, since that is her trademark babushka and all – she never leaves the prison without it!

Now for the real drama – Lori goes into labor. Now, obviously, this can’t possibly go well. Accompanied by Carl and Maggie, Lori takes refuge in the boiler room and starts to go into labor – gasp! – standing up, like a horse. Something isn’t right, and Lori looks down to see that she is bleeding profusely. She pleads with Maggie to cut her open and deliver the baby, knowing she will die. Lori, again, proves herself to be TV’s worst mother. Yes, even worse than Betty Draper. Why would anyone EVER knowingly kill themselves for the sake of a yet-to-be-born baby when she already has a young son to take care of? Yes, growing up in the zombie apocalypse likely ages a kid beyond his years, but no responsible mother, fictional or real, would ever make such a negligent decision. Maggie does Lori’s stupid bidding and cuts open her stomach and delivers the baby. Lori bleeds out and dies and Carl steps up and shoots his mother in the head (off-camera, thank goodness). Thanks, Lori – not only is your son without a mother, but he had to watch her get cut open, bleed out, and then finish her off. Have fun growing up now, Carl! This is also a fairly anticlimactic way to get rid of Lori and the baby – this story was built up for quite a while and deserved a better, more exciting, ending.

Rick et al watch Maggie, holding the baby, and Carl emerge from the prison and come outside. In a very moving scene which makes up for the last one somewhat, Rick falls to his knees sobbing as he realizes what has happened. Andrew Lincoln does a great job in this scene at conveying his anguish here and his is culmination of all of the horrific happenings that have transpired in the episode. How will Rick be able to lead the group now?

The Upside: Rick realizing Lori has passed is heart-wrenching and very effective. Also, love that ol’ lady charmer, Merle!

The Downside: Andrea is annoying stupid in regard to The Governor. Also, Lori’s decision to die for the sake of the baby was completely half-baked for many reasons, including the fact that newborn babies aren’t too effective at helping fight off zombies.

On The Side: If characters with the least amount of lines are more at risk than others (natch, T-Dog), watch your back, Beth!