“The Walking Dead” might have been better off calling its third Season 4 episode “Infected” based on how many of its central characters caught the show’s newest virus threat. Both Glenn and Sasha came down with the “glorified cold,” as Glenn calls it, as well as countless others in the Prison.
It’s clear that the spread of the virus can’t be stopped, even by the forced quarantine of the sick survivors. In “Isolation,” those characters who aren’t separated due to their illness try to come up with possible ways to stop or stymie the disease. Daryl, Michonne, Bob and Tyreese head off to try to find antibiotics at a veterinary hospital. Hershel picks elderberries and, though he is still healthy, risks himself and goes into the sick cell block to try to help stave the virus’ symptoms. But the episode reveals that Carol is actually the one who took the most dramatic route to try to stop the spread of the virus: she killed Karen and David (as we guessed last week).
Rick finally realizes it was Carol who burned the pair alive by the time “Isolation” finishes, and she has no problem admitting that she was the one behind the murders. It’s clear that Rick understands why she killed them, but will he let it slide? Tyreese is out for blood over the deaths and it’s not likely that he’ll take Carol’s logical but heartless attempt to stop the spread of the sickness as a suitable reason for the murder of the woman he was falling for.
Season 4 of “The Walking Dead” has thus far shown some major evolutions of its central characters. While Rick and Carl have taken steps away from violence, people like Carol and Beth have accepted that they have to do what needs to be done in this new world. For Beth, that means sticking to the job she is assigned and not getting too heartbroken when life isn’t fair. For Carol, that means educating the children in how to protect themselves and not letting sentimentality cloud what’s best for the group.
But has she gone too far this time? It seems unlikely David and Karen wouldn’t have turned had they lived much longer, but that still doesn’t give Carol the right to determine that they must die on her own. The biggest problem with Carol this season is that she’s acting on her own accord instead of with the approval of the Council, which she is a part of. She lied about teaching the kids knife lessons and tried to get Carl to cover for her by not telling Rick, went outside of the gates on her own because she thought the Prison needed water sooner than was planned, and has frequently shown that she’ll make the hard choice simply because she thinks it’s the right one. Like Rick had to be reined in last season, it’s time for someone to give Carol a reality check before she does something even more dangerous than murder two ill members of their group.
At least Tyreese is away from the Prison so he won’t need to find out Carol was the one behind Karen’s murder any time soon. But he, Michonne, Bob and Daryl are in an even worse situation because their car got stuck in a swarm of walkers when they were trying to go get antibiotics. Can’t an important run just go smoothly for once? If that group doesn’t circle back to the car once the walkers have cleared out of that area, it’s hard to see how they’ll cover the 100 mile round trip journey to the veterinary hospital and back in any time quick enough for it to be useful for those infected.
Also, what’s up with that voice airing over the radio? It’s clear someone else is out there, but whether it’s the Governor or some other group of survivors is yet to be determined. Whatever the case, having a large portion the Prison’s most able-bodied protectors stranded on the road and having another handful dangerously sick leaves the Prison in its most defenseless state yet.
“The Walking Dead” airs Sundays on AMC at 9 p.m.