I purposely wait until the day after to write my recaps. I think it’s important to look at the show as a whole, and a night’s sleep helps me do that.
My process is to think back through the entire episode, to highlight stuff that sticks out. As I go through, points will pop out, or I’ll remember more things. I’ll tell you the truth, it’s not coming easy today. The one thing I keep focusing on? The person who killed Tyreese’s love interest and the other dude no one cares about.
Initially, that is. The more I think on it, the more that comes back. And then, I think about the episode’s title, and what seemed to be a choppy show gains a bit of coherence in the light of the camera lens. “Isolation” was almost a series of vignettes, giving us a way to feel the characters’…isolation. It’s interesting, because before, some of the major thematic elements have heavily relied on working in groups, surviving in groups.
Being alone leads to death.
Let’s get to the highlights!
– Everybody’s got the plague! Well, at least everybody from Woodbury. But, then, folks (Glenn and Sasha) from good ole cell block C start showing signs and have to be weeded out and sent to quarantine. The kids and old people (Hershel is the only one we’re shown, so is he the last old guy? Maybe the rest are already sick.) are also separated out after the council determines it’s best to protect “the most vulnerable.”
– Tyreese is still quite upset about his love interest (Karen) being done up extra tasty crispy, and throw quite the fit in the small courtyard where he found the bodies (Oh, yeah…that other dude died, too. Who was he? Nobody cares.). Rick, Daryl, and Carol are there, and we get a bit of 28 Days Later rage as Tyreese starts a pissing match with Rick. I’m really not sure why they started fighting. I mean, I get that Tyreese is upset, but…? Something about murder being okay in the prison…yada, yada, yada. The two exchange blows and Daryl breaks up the fight, with Carol looking on like the stereotypical helpless female. Rick promises the murderer will be found.
– Before being separated due to his supposed vulnerability to the sickness, Hershel tells the council of an vet college that may still have much-needed antibiotics to help the suffering survivors. It’s about 50 miles away, and Daryl and Michonne are set to go, along with guy who caused the helicopter to come crashing through the roof in the first episode. (I’m sure he has a nice name, but I’m also sure he won’t last that much longer.) Daryl wants one more on the team and asks Tyreese, but the man is freaking out over the fact that Sasha is sick and declines. However, Tyreese later decides to go after Sasha gets hopeful at the news of the medicine run. He approaches Carol and asks her to look in on Sasha every so often. You know, because Carol cares about everyone. Carol agrees, but throws one heck of a fit as soon as Tyreese leaves, turning over a nearby water barrel and crying. And right then, I knew I was wrong about Helicopter killing Karen and other dude. It was totally Carol.
So, Daryl, Michonne, Tyreese and Helicopter leave the prison in some kind of sedan, because it’s the fastest one they have. Also, sedans are much easier to get wrecked, overrun, etc.
– Hershel gets antsy in stay-healthy-quarantine and decides to go into the woods for elderberries. Carl, who has also be separated out, decides to go with him for protection, and they run into a couple of walkers. But neither of the walkers are fast (one is just a torso, actually), and Carl doesn’t need to shoot his newly restored gun. And what are the elderberries for? The illness symptoms, of course! Hershel has decided to go into the quarantine and take care of the sick people. He has a run-in with Maggie and Rick right before going in, but he gives a rousing speech about doing his duty, helping people, etc., and they reluctantly let him go. Later, we see Hershel helping folks and someone (the one and only actual doctor…or medic…or something) sneezes/coughs blood into his face. Hershel removes the kerchief that was covering the lower half of his face and calmly wipes the red away. Hershel = toast. UNLESS they can find those darned antibiotics!
– Daryl, Michonne, Tyreese, and Helicopter are driving along to retrieve said antibiotics when they decide to pop a CD in the car’s player. However, when they turn the radio on, they hear voices! Someone’s broadcasting?! In an effort to jimmy the radio to try to find the signal, Daryl isn’t paying attention to the road, and, don’t you know it, BAM! Walkers! And not just a few! Our intrepid heroes have driven into a massive herd. Daryl tries to back up, but runs over too many walkers and gets the un-sensible sedan stuck on head cheese. Literally. Gross. They abandon the vehicle and make a run for it, but Tyreese lingers, caught in some kind of mental whatsit. Finally, he emerges from the backseat, swinging his hammer and bashing walkers left and right. Daryl, Michonne, and Helicopter leave him behind, sure he won’t make it out from the giant ring of walkers. He does make it, though! Shock! (Not really) Tyreese meets back up with the trio and they continue on their way.
– Rick is playing detective at the scene of the crime, inspecting the courtyard and looking concernedly at the ground…which has been cleaned up, by the way, so I’m not sure what he’s looking at. Then, he finds a partial bloody hand print and somehow (I have NO IDEA how) figures out who killed Karen and dude nobody cares about. The episode ends with Rick straight up asking Carol if she killed Karen and dude nobody cares about. She confirms that she did (hence the unladylike behavior after her brief conversation with Tyreese. TOLD YOU!) and walks away. Rick’s all like, “uh-oh!” No, he does’t actually say that, but his face totally did. FADE TO BLACK.
As I said earlier, this episode really emphasized individuals and feelings of being alone and acting alone. Carol, who was given charge of the two annoying blonde girls after their father was killed, took it upon herself to act alone and take out Karen and dude. We also saw her fiddling with the water hose outside of the prison fence, alone, nearly getting caught by walkers before Rick came to the rescue. Glenn struggled with his symptoms alone before confessing to Maggie. Tyreese seems to be trying to face down some serious inner demons alone after Karen’s death and Sasha’s sickness. There are several scenes with Maggie and Beth talking through a door, both alone…however, when they start to realize that everyone really is working together, that everyone has a job to do, the tone in these scenes really changes from its sense of loneliness and separation.
Being alone leads to death. When will the survivors learn this? It’s a lesson that keeps coming up over and over.
So, what did you guys think of “Isolation?” Hit me up in the comments!
[Featured image courtesy of AMC.]