The Walking Dead Recap/Review: “After”

I hate Carl.

I could end this article right there and be totally fine with it. Seriously.

I don’t hate him because we got an exposition-y episode about him last night. Quite the contrary! I, for one, enjoy character development. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’m the only one who didn’t hate the farm season. (Really. I rather liked it.)

I hate Carl because he’s a dumb kid going through contemporary teen stuff in the apocalypse. He doesn’t have music to blast or tires to screech as he roars away from his parents in typical spoiled teen-drama fashion. So, he pitches fits, attracts walkers, and almost gets himself killed on a regular basis. It drives me insane.

Now, I’m sure they’re trying to make Carl relatable to today’s teen audience, but I just don’t buy it. It just doesn’t make sense that he would be so reckless after what he’s been through. And maybe that’s just it; maybe they’re trying to say look how this terrible situation is affecting this teenager! But, this teenager was a boy when this all started. He didn’t have the luxury to age into the selfish adolescence that is so common in today’s society.

Trauma does terrible things to people, to be sure. But, in this world, Carl would be more likely to put a gun to his own head than act out in a way for which there has been no real precedence… beyond what the audience thinks they expect out of a teenager.

Ugh.

At least the entire episode wasn’t about Carl. We got some flashbacks and insights on Michonne, and they were quite welcome!

(Before I do my recap, let me touch on the fact that I was in no way eager for last night’s episode. Downton Abbey is a much better way to spend the 9 o’clock hour.)

“After” highlights:

– After the prison battle, Michonne selects a couple of walker pets, hacks off their arms and jaws, and sets off. Before she leaves, though, we get to see Hershel’s head, complete with milky rolling eyes and mindlessly chomping mouth. Michonne stabs it and leaves.

Stupid Carl. Image courtesy of AMC.

Stupid Carl. Image courtesy of AMC.

– Carl and Rick keep moving and come to some kind of roadside restaurant and/or convenience store. They kill a walker there, loot what’s left of the supplies, and continue on their way. Rick’s in pretty bad shape, by the way. If you’ll remember, The Governor beat the ever-loving crap out of him, and he’s wheezing like his lungs are punctured. Oh, and Carl is a jerk, walking too fast and being a smart mouth to his father. Eventually, they reach what seems to be a subdivision of some kind and hole up in an abandoned house. Rick passes out from his injuries, but not before helping Carl block the front door with a couch. (Rick insisted the add the couch after Carl tied the door shut…because, you know…Rick LOVES Carl and wants to keep him SAFE.) Carl shouts at the unconscious Rick and generally hates on him, cementing my loathing of the teenaged character. Also, it’s generally a bad idea to make a bunch of noise in the zombie apocalypse, because, you know…WALKERS. And, sure enough, Carl’s hissy fit draws a couple walkers, who start clawing and pushing on the door. ¬†Carl goes out a side door and lures the walkers away. But, the idiot keeps walking backwards, and you know something is going to happen. (!!!) Sure enough, it does and a couple more walkers wander up. Carl ends up wasting a ton of bullets and buried under a pile of dispatched walkers. Ugh. Later, he goes out looking for supplies and almost bites it again when another walker almost gets the best of him. He escapes, leaving his shoe behind.

Oh, and pudding. Carl finds a huge tin of pudding and sits on a roof eating it while the shoe walker tries in vain to reach him through a partially open window. Rawr.

– That night, Carl is sleeping next to unconscious Rick, when something wakes him up. Rick is stirring, and Carl thinks he’s died and walker-fied. He scoots away and readies to shoot his father, then breaks down in tears and confesses that he can’t do everything on his own, that he needs his dad, and that he’s scared –stuff he pitched a fit about earlier. But, Rick isn’t dead. Yay!

Michonne's new pets. I hope she named them Fido and Spot!

Michonne’s new pets. I hope she named them Fido and Spot! Image courtesy of AMC.

– Okay, so during Carl and Rick’s story line, we got cut-ins of Michonne. She and her new walker pets cross Carl and Rick’s trail, and she notes the fresh tracks. But rather than following them (not that she knows who left the tracks), she heads into the woods and joins a mini-horde. She, in a sense, briefly loses her humanity and becomes one of the walking dead as she trudges along with the pack. It’s during this time that we get a look at who she used to be and see her “lover” and another guy in a nice apartment. There’s also a small child, who turns out to be hers and her boyfriend’s/husband’s. We see the men change and worry about what to do. They refer to a camp they’re in, and the boyfriend/husband seems pretty hopeless. Suddenly, the men have no arms, and I assumed we were being shown Michonne’s original pets.

– Michonne snaps out of her reverie and seems to become aware of the mini-hoarde around her. She kills them all, even her new pets, and returns to the road where she saw the footprints. She follows them, comes to the same roadside restaurant/ convenience store and monologues about what we assume is her lost family. I got the idea that her boyfriend/husband killed himself and the small child after deciding there was no other choice.

– She continues to track Carl and Rick (she doesn’t know it’s them, though) and enters the subdivision. After finding an empty giant tin of pudding, she sneaks up to the first house, looks in, and sees Carl and Rick, who have since made up. Michonne politely knocks on the door, and Rick peeks out, sees her, and tells Carl it’s for him.

Aaaaaand that’s how the episode ends. It was rather a high note, actually, endowed with more of a sense of hope than we’ve had from this show in a long time. Michonne was overjoyed to find people again, and Carl and Rick seemed to have patched things up admirably. See, Rick told Carl what the idiot kid wanted to hear: You’re a man.

Whoopie. Great. So, let’s hope Carl starts acting like one, then.

 

[[Featured image courtesy of AMC.]]

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