Season 4, Episode 9 “After”
Previously on AMC’s The Walking Dead:
DUSTIN: THINGS! THINGS WERE HAPPENING! The show which I previously found tedious and infuriating turned itself around and shocked the hell out of me this season by being actually engaging and entertaining for the first time since… well… is ever fair?
TIMOTHY: There were some good moments here and there. Some great ones even.
DUSTIN: Right. But few and far between.
TIMOTHY: Yes. This is true.
So after 3 years of hate watching, I was finally fully on board thanks to a quicker pace, a tangible threat, and the fact that @#$% actually started happening.
Carol was exiled.
Rick raised, then slaughtered some pigs.
A terrifying pair of idiot children were introduced.
The Governor became The Phillip then became The Governor again.
Hershel was horribly murdered.
The prison was destroyed.
I was F@#$ING IN!!
I WAS F@#$ING IN, TIM!!
Here is where I remind everyone, and Dustin… (especially Dustin) that this is a (not really) Family-Friendly Recap and we don’t use the Grown-up Words (except when we do) … or we try to avoid them (sometimes) … or I edit them out later. (Mostly I edit them out later.)
And for that I thank you. Because I’m a foul-mouthed writer.
Yes. But you’re our foul-mouthed writer.
SO now… here comes the second half of the season. Will I still feel the same way? Or will The Walking Dead fail me yet again?
Yes. No. Maybe. Always look on the bright side, Mr. Adair.
I will do my level best.
Do you have any predictions for this episode?
Honestly? After the complete destruction of the prison and the possible Judith Zombie Lunch…. No. No, I do not.
… Fair enough…
TO THE RECAP!!
Wait, wait. Ahem. What follows would have SPOILERS for the mid-season premiere of AMC’s The Walking Dead. It would also have, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, contain adult-ish language and themes, just like the show. Oh, and this episode was written by Robert Kirkman, creator of The Walking Dead. So that’s cool.
And, as always, we are joined by Miss Anne-Marie, our Studio Audience of One and Purveyor of Looks… say hello to everyone Anne-Marie!
ANNE-MARIE: Hello. Shall we get on with it?
We shall! The prison, she is destroyed. The fires are raging, the tank is busted up, it’s not a good scene.
The Governor is like, oh so dead.
Michonne is not though, she is standing to the side surveying the carnage. Walkers all be like “Stay away from that bitch, she crazy. She from Queens.”
Michonne goes to check out the prison, making short work of any walker dumb enough to approach her.
Clearly they haven’t heard that she’s from Queens.
She gets to a safe(ish) place behind some barricades and then picks two new walkers to be her personal pets. Then using them as cover, she heads out.
Oh… Hershel’s zombified head… she puts it out of this its misery and I literally tear up.
I really didn’t need that, so thanks Walking Dead, thanks so very much.
Why Hershel? WHYY!??
It was pretty awful to lose him. Remember when we couldn’t stand the character and how much he became the heart of Team Zombie?
You know, if you think she’s regressing here, she’s not. There’s her humanity as she softly pulls the sword from Zombie-Hershel’s head.
I supposed taking that fully functional Jeep would have been too easy for Michonne… I get it. She from Queens.
Yeah… I don’t think that was the best of all possible decisions.
Carl, no longer having a house to go inside of, walks ahead of Rick, who is just, 100% busted. Rick has to specifically ask Carl to slow down so he can keep up. Rick starts to tell the kid that they will be okay, but pretty much stops as he remembers the kid had to kill his own mother. “Okay” was gone 2 seasons ago.
Rick is in terrible shape. The fight with the Governor was incredibly brutal, and I “liked” how Rick was seriously hurt in it, because it had so much more impact, but this is worse than I thought. And Carl is being his usual charming self again, though it’s hard to blame him. Rick though… the reassurance thing isn’t going to play, not anymore.
You can tell Carl’s Hat is talking again: “Keep up or die, old man.”
Rick and Carl find a convenience store and argue for about 3 seconds about the best way to approach before agreeing (Carl insisted) on going in together.
Rick really isn’t in any condition or position to argue, honestly.
In the bar (because convenience stores in the south have bars apparently), they find a walker, but he’s not a threat, so Rick draws him out and tries to put an axe in his brain, but he’s too weak and Carl finally has to shoot the walker.
Rick needs to stop thinking he’s not a wreck right now. He’s going to get them killed, well, OK, he’s not, but this is how he would get them killed. I like the note Carl finds, the “Please do what I couldn’t”… nice reminder that the walkers were just like our main characters once.
They go shopping.
Carl is pretty angry, you guys.
They’re both not talking about the real thing that’s hurting them: Judith and their friends. Rick’s just trying to move forward, but it’s clear that he’s broken more than just physically, and Carl’s just lashing out. This is a time bomb for both of them. And Carl’s “I win”? Yeah, he’s just a little bundle of rage.
It’s the Hat. The Hat is talking to him again.
Meanwhile, Michonne bad-asses her way through the forest until she finds some footprints that look pretty fresh. She decidedly does not follow them.
Huh. And why, exactly? Does she really think she’s better off alone?
Rick and Carl walk some more. They find a house. Rick needs to but some Bactine on that lip, you guys.
They enter the house, and start to sweep the rooms. Rick wants to be super protective, but Carl is not having it. Honestly, I have to say Carl’s way of sweeping the house (by knocking on a wall and yelling and waiting to see if they are attacked) seems much more efficient than going room to room… if not much more dangerous.
Tick tock, tick tock. The “boom” is coming.
Rick scouts out the kitchen while Carl raids the upstairs. He finds the former occupants teenager’s “cool bedroom” and is excited about the gigantic plasma TV for about one second before removing the HDMI cable to tie the doors closed.
It’s a nice “Oh hey! I’m a kid” moment, but then it’s gone, like the life that they had before all of this… really good character moment.
Carl is all “Rick you’re a jerk”, and Rick is all “Wheeeeeze”.
Tick tock, tick tock BOOM. “Shane taught me. Remember him?” Ouch.
They fight about eating, then Rick goes in the bathroom and takes off his shirt. Hey, remember when this sort of scene used to be a little treat for those of us who wanted to admire Andrew Lincoln’s nipples? Yeah, apparently neither does this show…
Not sure what it would say if someone was viewing this as a “little treat”. If beat up guys are your thing, well, I guess.
Meanwhile: In the past, Michonne is hoooot! And having some sort of arts conversation with two very urbane men about some arty thing and then she is all “I got a sword and a kid.” This is obviously a dream. Things start getting crazy. Michonne is not having a good time. Michonne is all, “This is not happening!” In the dreamscape. Then everyone’s arms are gone and Michonne is screaming.
I’m terrified. I’m LOVING IT!
She wakes up in a car.
Huh. I guess it works in dream logic, but I sort of felt this was… odd. I think it was the performances of the two guys, honestly. They felt… off. But it was a dream so OK. The armless shot was pretty cool, but the real horror moment was when the baby was just gone. That… that was creepy as hell. The Walking Dead is not kind to babies people.
Carl wakes up. He goes to check on Rick, who looks… well… pretty dead. But then Carl goes in to kitchen and makes himself a snack. Oh Post-Apocolypse.
What is the shelf life of cornflakes? Yuck.
Carl eats, reads a book, and goes to check on Rick who… still looks pretty damn dead. Carl tries to wake him… but Rick is not…. waking up.
Serves you right, you little jerk.
This is not a kid to fall into a coma around. The Hat will not be kind.
A couple of Walkers hear him screaming and attack the door. Carl has to give up the whole ‘shaking his comatose father’ thing and goes to the other side of the house to lure the walkers away. Carl leads the walkers down the road, off into the woods.
Hat off? Carl pours multiple bowls of cereal, probably even one for his comatose father. Hat on? He walks off, I’m guessing with at least one door left wide open. Little brat.
I realize we’re in Georgia, but why are the walkers dressed like they’re from the 1800’s? I mean it’s a decent sized little town they’re in, isn’t it? And hang on. This decent sized little town is within walking distance from the prison, and there is food and stuff… are we really supposed to believe Team Zombie didn’t already clean this place out over the last few months? Really?
Oh, and Carl? Walking backwards is probably a bad ide…
And right into ANOTHER WALKER!!
Yep. Bad idea.
There is a fight!! Carl kills all the walkers but they die on top of him and he has to struggle out from under them. He throws up. I feel ya, kid.
It was the cornflakes.
On goes the Hat.
“I win” Is the best line Carl has ever said.
OK, this time it works.
Out in the cul-de-sac, Carl takes a moment to think about life.
Hmmm. He looks at the empty street and says “Cool.” How, exactly?
Michonne is in the woods, where she lives, and walking her walker pets in the middle of a giant herd. A walker who looks like her approaches, and Michonne is not happy about it. But it’s all a fantasy. Why haven’t we seen inside Michonne’s head before? It is a fantastic place.
The drooly sounds from the missing jawbones would drive me crazy. Crazier.
It’s the look back and not seeing the dreadlocked walker that sells it. Not a fantasy though… she’s just further back in the herd. On the right.
Carl tells Rick’s comatose body about killing the walkers. But he… you know… is in a coma. Carl tells Rick he no longer needs him to protect him and yells and is… not… well… the greatest actor. Some people don’t need monologues, show.
I’m in a little pain. Let’s hope no one makes the mistake of giving Carl a bunch of lines again.
The speech was… awful. It might have been a touch more effective if Carl hadn’t almost died in the process. He kinda really isn’t the little badass he wants to think he is. And yeah, he’s not the greatest actor, but the speech itself is pretty awkward. Nice touch pausing when he almost says “You couldn’t protect Mom” though. He circles back around to it, but that first pause is where it goes.
And it doesn’t help that the way the shot is framed, it looks like he’s skipping as he leaves the room. I’m really not supposed to be giggling at this point.
Carl decides to go shopping. He finds a house, and pulls one of those solar-powered garden lights out of the ground. But he’s too small and weak to break down the door. He uses the light to jimmy his way in.
Oh God… can’t stop laughing… Carl vs. the door, and the door spanks him! Oh … too funny!
In the kitchen, there is a lot of stuff; he starts to pack up. Up on the top of the shelves, he finds a HUGE can of chocolate pudding. So big, that I thought it was a can of Folgers.
Who needs that much pudding? And what is the shelf life of pudding?
Carl heads upstairs to look for more loot. He finds a dead bird and is super sad.
In the third bedroom he finds a walker. The walker is huge, and is kind of a berserker and Carl has a lot of trouble putting it down. He wastes all his bullets and ends up on the floor, under the things snapping jaws.
He has to fight it like, really really hard. He ends up losing a shoe before he can close the damn thing up on a room. He writes a warning for whoever comes by next that says “Walker inside: He got my shoe, but didn’t get me.”
Okay, Carl, aside from your botched monologue, you’re really growing on me this episode.
It was probably inevitable, but slap a striped sweater on this walker and a fedora, and isn’t that Freddy Krueger?
Carl sits on the roof of the house’s porch, eating chocolate pudding and taunting the trapped walker.
Not shown: Carl getting violently ill, from expired pudding and sugar shock. The walker reaching futilely through the window though? Nice.
Back in the woods, Michonne and her dead friends are walking around pretty aimlessly. Michonne starts to feel all hinky…
The Michonne walker is back…. Wait, so that wasn’t a hallucination? Okay, show, I accept that. Michonne kills it. And cries. And kills. And Cries. And kills and cries.
Michonne kills all the walkers. One does have to ask how her sword never gets dull and still manages to cut through bone, but hey, it’s pretty cool.
From some reason. “You Light Up My Life” popped into my head watching this. Weird.
And hang on. Why are all the walkers wearing long-sleeved shirts? Really? No one just has a t-shirt on?
Hush you. Oh Michonne. Come let me hold you. Well, take a bath first, then let me hold you.
Michonne goes back to the footprints and decides to follow them. Carl is asleep with comatose Rick. Carl wakes up and looks at Dad. Rick is kind of in bad shape, you guys. He wakes in a very walker-like fashion… Carl can’t shoot him and just cries. It’s just so much sad. But Rick isn’t dead, just beat to hell and wants to protect Carl. I’m just so full of the emotions!!
Rick? Moaning and reaching for Carl? Kinda bad. Just saying.
Carl tells Rick he’s scared and cries. EMOTIONS!!!
Well, well. The little @#$% finally gets it. His dad isn’t a terrible person, he’s just a dad, trying to protect his son, and doing a pretty mixed job at it. Kinda like every dad ever, only the circumstances are a little jacked up. Time to grow up kid.
Michonne comes across the convenience store Rick and Carl were at earlier. She finds the note Carl kind of smirked at, and has The Human Emotions about it.
She talks to her dead boyfriend and cries. Oh, I am loving getting some Michonne back story. Okay I guess the place wasn’t a convenience store, it was some sort of barbecue joint. Again, Michonne leaves a perfectly acceptable from of transportation (a motorcycle) and heads off on foot.
I think the story here is that her boyfriend killed himself, and maybe their baby too. Which goes a long way to explaining why Michonne was the way she was when we met her.
Rick tries to chastise Carl for manning up and doing the scouting, but it’s not that bad and they seem to get a little perspective on each other.
112 ounces of pudding? Yeah, we’re definitely missing the scene of Carl throwing up. Good bit with Rick, explaining so much in so few words.
Michonne has found the pudding, you guys!!
Wait, what? Carl walked back, eating the pudding? We may still get the throwing up scene after all.
That much sugar is going to do quite the number on his colon.
She approaches the house… sees Rick and Carl inside and cries.
Then she knocks. Rick looks through the peep-hole and laughs.
“It’s for you” Rick says.
Hopefully Carl won’t put on the Hat. Otherwise he’s likely to shoot her through the door.
Oh, The Walking Dead. I am SO F@#$ING IN!!
Why are you standing on the table?
I… I am excited. I really liked this episode.
I did too, although not as much as you apparently. Anne-Marie?
Yeah. I was either anxious or enjoying it all throughout and, oddly, didn’t want to see Carl get eaten. Although…
This new generation of kids doesn’t look too promising to me. Between Carl and the creepy girls from the prison, I mean, they’re resourceful, yes. But these repopulating the earth? Um… no thanks.
That is a truly terrifying thought. yes. Alright then, so pretty much all around, we liked it, some more than others..,
I am SO F@#$ING IN!!!
Yes, you’ve said that. Are you coming down from the table anytime soon?
Nope. I like it up here.
Alrighty then. We’ll see you next week folks!