courtesy of Entertainment Weekly...and bandanas everywhere.

courtesy of Entertainment Weekly…and bandanas everywhere.

When Im lyin in my bed at night
I dont wanna grow up
Nothin ever seems to turn out right
I dont wanna grow up

As expected, episode 2 of season 4 of The Walking Dead brought about some carnage from inside the walls of Farmer Rick’s Happy Commune aka the West Georgia Correctional Facility.

One thing I always look for while watching these episodes is a theme. Sometimes it is obvious, sometimes not so much…but the clear theme for “Infected” was: RATS! Let’s review:

  • The episode began with an unknown party feeding rats to the walkers thru the fence…which immediately reminded me of a Halloween prop I’d seen at a local Halloween City that sprang up this month…thankfully the walker didn’t begin telling bad jokes in a Brooklyn accent like the prop did. 
  • Those same head-free rats were later found by our plucky heroes outside the gate, tipping them off that SOMEONE on the inside has been feeding the walkers…and spreading a disease?
  • Coral (Carl) Grimes RATTED out Jamie Lee Carol for teaching a class in “Intro To Shivs” to the kids during story-time. 
  • And yes, Tyrese Buble busted out a Rat Pack song on his future-crispy sweetie.
  • But most importantly, there is clearly a RAT inside the walls of the West Georgia Correctional Facility, what with all the walker-baiting and corpse-burning going on. (More on that later…)

So let’s pour out some of our collective forties on the ground for newly departed show “favorites” (OK, not really) such as Man Coughing, Kid Who Looked Like McLovin, and Carol’s Story-time Buddy With The 2 Daughters and…well, some others, I guess, such as Karen, The Hot Chick Who Was Italian or Maybe Some Kind of Spanish (thanks, Peter Griffin). We’d grown attached to her (OK, not really) as that sassy gal in the background at Woodbury last year and she was clearly an ascending character as the only survivor of the Gov’s melt-down/shoot-out in season 3’s last episode. But to be honest, I had to check to make sure that was the same actress playing her when season 4 began last week.

It certainly seemed like things weren’t going to end well for her once Ol’ Brown Eyes Tyrese started crooning to her and trying to set up a post-apocalyptic booty call. A Frank Sinatra song seemed like an odd choice, given the moment was clearly calling for some Barry White or Teddy Pendergrass. Sure that would have been some stereotypical music choices for Tyrese, but this is the show that featured the sudden appearance of an Indian doctor and Asian Glenn using what appeared to be a Hello Kitty camera…

(And does it seem like a good idea to take pictures of people while they are sleeping during a zombie apocalypse? Seems like a good way to get a knife to the temple. Hey, it’s what Carol would do…)

So we knew Karen was doomed and probably should have taken Tyrese up on his offer to shack up…and given TWD’s un-subtle method of fore-shadowing (referenced in my last write-up), we knew by that lingering shot on her bracelet that we’d see that again. (SEE, IT’S A RECOGNIZABLE BRACELET AND ITS METAL…SO IT WON’T BURN UP OR ANYTHING LIKE THOSE YELLOW LIVESTRONG BRACELETS, GET IT?)
In fact, I’m sure we were all expecting Patrick McLovin to dine on fresh Karen instead of Man Coughing…

One thing that came up in this episode is that Deputy Grimes wasn’t just farming on the side, but had apparently retired completely from walker-braining and kinda-decision-making. (Watching last week’s episode again right before this one made the storyline even more obvious). But here’s the thing: we were only briefly introduced to the kinder, gentler Farmer Rick for about 90 minutes before he is sending his piglets to the walker slaughter-house, setting a controlled burn to his garden, and going back to his vocation of walker exterminating. I know the show has a need to move fast, but was that really enough time to make his transformation back to being Lil @$$-Kicker’s dad again, Deputy Rick @$$-Kicker, mean that much to us?

Also during this episode, Beth (rhymes with “Death”) continues her descent into menacing blue-eyed rag-doll reaper. (I’m pretty sure she’s had a date with every single person who died this episode…just a hunch.) Hey, she’s singing another lovely acapella song for us! What is it this time…maybe something age- and culture-appropriate for her, maybe by Carrie Underwood or Taylor Swift? Maybe a country throwback like Loretta Lynn or Reba McIntyre?

How do you move in a world of fog
Thats always changing things
Makes me wish that I could be a dog
When I see the price that you pay
I dont wanna grow up
I dont ever wanna be that way
I dont wanna grow up

Holy crap, was that a Tom Waits song?
What 17-year-old Georgia farm girl sings Tom Waits songs?
Crazy doe-eyed merchants of death, that’s who!

Her singing has officially gone from hauntingly beautiful to clown-in-a-graveyard creepy.Beth Lechter warbling a song about not wanting to grow up while holding Judith @$$-Kicker should alarm Farmer Rick, and pretty much anyone else who doesn’t enjoy infanticide…

And speaking of TWD’S CAPSLOCK story-telling symbolism:

No, I just really don't like poop...

No, I just really don’t like poop…

Michonne got her opportunity to break down in a very obvious way due to the fact she suffered an injury while riding her horse through a herd of hungry walkers, something I warned her about just last week. (She never listens to me). But not to be out-done, Farmer Rick and Fonzie Dixon one-and-two-up’d her by riding through Walker-palooza not just in an open jeep but a wagon with no sides or back! Seriously, does no one remember that tank from the first episode?

The open jeep-and-wagon scene served a couple of purposes:
>To divert walkers from the weakening fence.
>To get the possibly disease-carrying pigs away from the farm.
But most of all to remind us that EVERYONE LOVES BACON! EVEN THE UNDEAD!

So who is the mystery person feeding rats to the walkers and (possibly) dragging off bodies to be set on fire? There are some interesting possibilities:

  • The daughter with the flair vest who liked to name walkers might have fed them, but is surely ruled out as the body-dragger-and-burner.
  • Burning bodies fits the MO of Morgan…but that doesn’t make much sense, given that he’s currently busy being cross-promoted to death on AMC’s Low Winter Sun.
  • It certainly seems like something our ol’ buddy Governor Phillip might do, especially if those rats are known to be carrying a toxic disease. While the Gov seems more like a machine gun kinda guy, it might fit his slow-boiling kind of insanity to try and destroy the prison from within, especially if he is under-manned and under-armed. Also, if you will recall, Tyrese gave the Gov very explicit directions into the prison back at the end of season 3, information that I expected to be used in the finale that wasn’t…that didn’t make sense to me then, but maybe it does now…

Some thoughts before next week’s episode “Isolation”

  • Why is cutting and tossing piglets to their death much more disturbing than watching Man Coughing getting munched on?
  • Will Beth serenade us with something light and airy by the Smiths or Nick Cave or maybe Type O Negative?
  • Will Carol’s maternal instincts kick in with the 2 recently-orphaned daughters? Seems like a good fit given that they appear to be about the same age as Sophia.
  • Rick was really taking the farmer thing to the next level with his farmer’s tan. Seriously, it was the palest, thinnest chest since…well, Glenn in the last episode. Is Michonne the only one on the show working out?
  • I don’t know, Beth, what DO you call someone who loses a child, you morbid little weirdo?
Have the lambs stopped screaming, Daryl?

Have the lambs stopped screaming, Daryl?

Tune in later,

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avatar J. Christopher Smith (10 Posts)

Chris is a lifelong fan of anything dark + macabre, beginning with the old classic black-and-white horror movies (that he had to sneak and stay up and watch) as well as campy TV fare such as The Addams Family, The Munsters, and The Night Stalker. That led at an early age to the writings of Stephen King and Peter Straub, then onward to the works of artists such as Edgar Allen Poe, Edward Gorey, Thomas Harris, Carl Hiaasen, Chuck Palahniuk, and of course, Dr Seuss. Chris was born + raised in Middle Tennessee, received his further education at Western Kentucky University, and currently lives among the moss-covered oaks of historic coastal Southeastern Georgia. In past lives he's been a long-haired bass player in college rock bands and an over-worked restaurant manager, but currently crunches numbers and curb-stomps spreadsheets for a Fortune 500 company. Chris enjoys spending time at his spooky marsh-front manor (dubbed the Monster Plantation or Monsta P) with his lovely wife Melanie, their dogs, and a monkey butler named Amos Moses.

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