Open Thread: The Walking Dead 4.4 “Indifference”


By Jeannie Chan

This episode was a doozy. I am holding onto the hope that this season is THE season for The Walking Dead. We keep digging a little deeper with each episode and this week seemed to be the most introspective of them all. I regret not being able to squee as much as I usually do, but let’s hear from you guys! We have a lot to talk about.

Who’s on Team Rick? First of all, this is going to be a huge point of contention. I am still on the fence about this myself, but did Rick make the right call in banishing Carol? His other options aren’t that great. It’s either tell Tyreese that Carol killed Karen and Tyreese will exact vengeance on her, or what, lie for her?

Who’s on Team Carol? I stand by my love for Carol. When she explained that she learned how to reset a dislocated shoulder by Googling it, or whatever, because she was tired (read: ashamed) of having to tell the ER nurses that she “fell down the stairs again,” we’re reminded of the quiet, timid, battered woman she used to be. No one can deny that she has made a huge transformation since Season 1. No one else on this show has changed as much as she has. Few other characters have earned our respect like she has either. And that’s what makes it so hard to see her be exiled like this.

Overall, this was a huge downer of an episode, right? But it was done so amazingly well. I am loving how utterly and devastatingly human these people are now. Or really, again, because, you know, they are. Or were before the world fell apart. And this theme of holding onto their humanity is taking an interesting turn with Lizzy’s obsession and confusion with the walkers. Children are always going to have a hard time understanding the permanency of death, the cycle of life, etc. etc. and I imagine that can only be more muddled when the cycle is never-ending now. And on the other end of this spectrum, we have that shot of the photo on the wall to show us that the walker that Bob just disposed of had, at one point, been a real person with friends and family and had hobbies, like hunting. The last time we were given this glimpse into a random walker was in the very first episodes of the season when we met Morgan Jones’s wife.

Also, I completely forgot about Sophia until Carol mentioned her again. And when I remembered, I felt like I was punched in the stomach. And when Carol just simply said, “No,” when she was asked if she lost her daughter to walkers, my heart broke for her. And for Rick. And then my heart broke again when Bob revealed that he snuck some booze during the medicine run and we learned that his motives for joining the group on these outings were compulsions to satisfy the alcohol dependency he is still clearly struggling with.

And Michonne finally was able to admit to herself that the Governor’s trail has gone completely cold. (Has it though?? I have no idea if David Morrissey has signed on for episode this season and I don’t even want to check because I want to be able to react appropriately if and when he shows up but his plotline can’t just dry up like this, right? There has to be an epic showdown, right?)

Anyway, I have a lot of questions. And a lot of feelings to process. I’m sure you all do too. Let’s rage it out together in the comments below!

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  • ace

    This episode could have also been called the “Road to Hell” (is paved with good intentions). As noted in some of the comments below, how both Rick and Carl have had similar transgressions, the theme of meaning to do good for the good of the group is the lesson. Rick has (as have all characters in #TWD universe) been shaken to the core, to his limits, to almost his end. In resigning to farmer status, and not even council membership – has given up any responsibility to keeping these people safe. While his role in keeping people fed is as important, as it is a basic need to survive – Rick’s training as an officer and skills are things that may not have been represented in current council decisions. In choosing to withdraw from formal leadership as he did, it could have been in his mind the right choice for the group, and for himself.

    Carol, from meeting her in season one, we’ve the audience have had the opportunity to watch her character grow. We’ve been fortunate to see the transformation into the warrior she’s has always been (she taught herself how to fix a dislocated arm from the internet – that sounds like survival in the best way she knew how or could). Seeking help, whether it be because of stigma or not knowing how is a tough struggle, and she endured.

    Fast forward to present, after the loss of Sophia, and we see Carol (from her own personal struggles and “training”), now training the young children of the prison – training to survive. While, there is definite value in being able to defend off walkers, Carol so focused on surviving, seemed to ignore the complexities of what she was asking children to do. We saw this in Carl, the coldness that was referenced below and the possible danger he himself was in if he continued on that path. These are all new lessons and experiences, for the parents that have lost children and the children that have lost parents. As is true in reality, is true in #TWD world, there’s no real guide to being a parent – all parents experience and navigate “parenthood” differently (with many commonalities), and in the post-apocalyptic world, you can throw any guidelines out the window. (Note: not currently a parent)

    This episode was too good, and makes me hopeful for the growth and progression of the other characters – especially Michone (Tyrese and Bob as well).

    For a show, that is supposedly taking place in Georgia, it has been odd to see the lack of development (and numbers) of characters of color. Sidenote was REALLY excited to meet Dr. S but doesn’t look like he’s going to make it (boo). While sad to see Carol go, crossing my fingers this isn’t that last we’ve seen of her (unlike Andrea and other characters we’d grown close, isn’t dead). Rick’s choice, whether we agree was just or not – will have an impact and I’m curious to see how that unfolds.

  • MariselaTreviñoOrta

    It can be a challenge when you have a personality already sketched out like that (using the comics as a foundation), but that doesn’t mean you don’t provide them depth or allow the characters to grow. The show is veering off from the comics in interesting ways with plot lines, why not with characters.
    Also, another thought I had: in this episode we hear Rick talk fondly about Lori as a sort of contrast to how Carol has distanced herself from Sophia. Yet, Rick punished Lori up until the day she died. Last season opened with him giving her serious cold shoulder and I wondered if he’d been doing that all 9 months of her pregnancy. Harsh. And here he is now reminiscing fondly about her.
    The issue I have with how writers portray female characters is bigger than this show. I love the show Hannibal. And the character is a serial killer. He is a true sociopath with no empathy for those he kills. Yet viewers (myself included) love him. Find him charming. So when I started watching the Talking Dead recap of this episode I turned it right off when the first guest called Carol an animal. I mean, come on.
    Rich was passing judgement on Carol the entire episode. It felt like the Ricktatorship all over again with him banishing her. His decision was to punish. Carol’s decision–while she was rationalizing it as having the group’s best interest at heart–was definitely wrong in my opinion. But she should have been judged by her peers. The punishment should have been a community decision. Yeah, Rick said if he told the group Tyrese would kill Carol. But what is Rick doing by banishing her? A woman alone in the zombie apocalypse has more than zombies to contend with (remember those sleezebags in the bar?).
    The more I think about it, the more I think this may be what makes me walk away from this show. I mean, it’s often hard for a tv show to keep me past season 2. I stayed with TWD because, well–zombies! But now I feel invested in these characters and seeing one of the best characters they’ve developed for this show taken down like this–it makes me angry at the writers.

  • Shona

    Carol is an interesting character. Her story line is one of the many reasons why this show is so good. The insights and complexities shown to the characters. It was also encouraging to see how she grew from being the battered wife who embraced her victim status; into the strong, self-reliant woman who survived so much…including the loss of her daughter.

    But in all honesty, I’m with Rick. If I were out there, I would NOT feel comfortable with Carol around. The writing was on the wall. When she explicitly asked Carl not to tell his father about teaching the children about weapons…that was a warning sign. Trust is important in their situation, and she would have been better off discussing her intentions with others from the beginning. I think she constantly shied away from that because she didn’t want anyone to tell her “no”.

    I don’t exactly agree with the way Carol was ousted though. What is Rick going to say? Why interfere with Tyrese’s ability to confront Carol? Also although she wasn’t trustworthy, Carol did provide a nurturing female character….especially to relate to the children. Who’s going to fill those shoes now?

  • MariselaTreviñoOrta

    I have this nagging thought about the direction the writers took Carol in. She’s had amazing arc from an abused and scared woman to a powerful woman–then they got rid of her. Now, maybe the actress was ready to move on and the writers had to figure out a way to write her out of the show–who knows. But I find it troubling that Rick can kill Shane, Carl can shoot a boy who’s surrendering and even Merle is welcomed at the prison (granted because of Daryl)–but Carol is banished. As if women in this world can’t return from terrible mistakes. TV writing is rife with complicated, anti-hero male characters. Why can’t we have women who are flawed? Now, maybe she’ll return. Good gawd I hope so. Because otherwise it makes me wonder if the writers on this show have trouble handling empowered women. I mean, it’s taken them ages to provide any depth to Michonne. And as a fan favorite we know they won’t be getting rid of her. And Lori–another flawed character who couldn’t return from a mistake–they made her so annoying. And let’s not get started on Andrea during her stay at Woodbury. What about Maggie, you ask? I feel like they neuter any power she has through her relationship with Glenn, as if that’s the way to keep her femininity in tact. And any time Glenn frets over Maggie’s safety it somehow mitigates her power. While someone like Carol–childless, technically–and not in a relationship (why didn’t they make that happen with Daryl?) is untempered. And we’re made to feel (via Rick) that Carol went too far, abused her power and must therefore be cast out–which now that I think about it kinda feels biblical in that a woman with knowledge and power is a dangerous thing. I mean, if they had to let the actress move on, couldn’t the writers have figured out another way that didn’t boil down to: powerful women are dangerous and therefore must go.

    • Lola Guin

      I’m wondering if Carol was covering for Lizzie. That little girl seems awfully strange. I know she just lost her dad, so it’s understandable, but there is a creepy element to her. I wonder if she killed those sick people and Carol is trying to protect her. I agree with much of what you said, by the way, I just wonder if the writers have a larger plot planned around this.

  • ozoozol

    Carol sounded exactly the same as Carl did after he killed the boy who was trying to surrender after Woodbury attacked the prison. The cold logic they use is identical. If you don’t kill them when you need to, they come back and kill you. And they’re technically right… but it’s so cold.

    As for Rick, this is the same guy who locked the prisoner who was running away from him in a courtyard filled with zombies, despite the prisoner’s pleas to be let back in to relative safety. That prisoner somehow managed to escape and exacted revenge by letting the walkers into the prison, which led to the death of T-Dog and Lori. Rick’s hands aren’t clean, by any means, and what gave him the authority to banish Carol, anyway? he’s not in a position of leadership anymore. He’s not even a member of the council.

    He wanted to prove that his group is still civilized, and above unilateral acts of vigilantism? then he shouldn’t have gone off and been a vigilante! he should have taken it to the council and let the bones fall as they would.

  • schismtracer

    Can I just say how lovely it is to see an actual gray-on-gray character conflict? Both Rick and Carol’s motivations make complete sense from their respective viewpoints. Carol’s correct that the infected people were a threat to the rest, but is clearly rationalizing going as far as she did (especially the bit about stopping further infection; the flu spreads like wildfire under normal conditions, let alone among densely-packed, overstressed, probably ill-fed, and exhausted people). Rick’s mistrust of her probably stems from his cop days. Serial killers often enter into a spiral where whatever motivates their actions is applied to more and more people with higher frequency and I’d bet he’s worried she’ll enter a similar state, with “defense of the (ever-dwindling) group” as her rationale. By the same token, I’d also bet he sees his Season 3 self reflected in her actions and kicked her out to further distance himself from his previous actions.