Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Patient Zero Is a Zombie

As per my habit, my first viewing was with the sound off and my second with the sound on, during the merciful daytime. First, this week I’d like to provide my readers with a handy glossary. BIT is a bad-ass in training. Most of the kids in the colony fit into this category, including first and foremost Carl. CB is a certified bad-ass. Most characters have evolved into CBs, or get killed aspiring to do so. A few were like this from the beginning, like Merle (R.I.P.), Daryl, and Herschel. Ranger Rick is by default a CB, because he’s the leader. It’s cool to think of a senior citizen like Herschel as a CB. I’ll revisit this notion of bad-assdom later.
Yea! Karen and Tyreese are a veritable couple! They’re in love. I just hope these two crazy kids can make it in this kooky big blue marble overrun with the undead and people eating canned dog food. Or are they destined to become star-crossed lovers? Only time will tell. As Karen washes up after her late-night assignation with Tyreese, Patrick is just beginning his own staggering foray into the darkness. This can’t be good; now the entire camp is vulnerable! Patrick chooses a random, unknown mustachioed victim for his inaugural meal. He’s not a main character. Naturally, Patrick does not stop there.
Daylight descends upon the camp. Glenn playfully takes pictures of Maggie whilst in their sleeping quarters in the lookout tower. Rick is bidding goodbye to CB Michonne, who seems to prefer traveling via horseback these days, as she takes off on a run. Or, perhaps she is still scouting the woods for a sight of the elusive Governor, whom we said goodbye to (for now) in season three. Rick feeds the wittle baby pigs and chats with Carl. The rest of the camp is asleep or fighting off Patrick and his zombie minions. All is calm for about one minute, and then all hell breaks loose. The camp has never had to ward off an internal zombie attack before. Michonne quickly returns to pitch in with her mighty (Samurai!) sword as some random walkers try to attack her. She’s injured in the process. Inside all is chaos. Luckily Rick and the others are able to rescue most of the children. Karen is okay. Carol, a CB in training, aids an injured bearded man and is about to amputate his affected arm until she notes that he has a neck wound as well. The entire ordeal is over within a minute.
An astute medical student/fellow/doctor identifies the illness that killed Patrick as a highly contagious strain of pneumococcus (just a theory, but hey, it’s worth a shot). Carol brings in bearded man’s two young daughters. The older one volunteers to kill her father, essentially stabbing him in the head. She can’t act, faltering. Carol steps in instead. The girls are understandably devastated. Nothing to see here, folks, so move along! Sniff. Sometimes there’s nothing funny about a zombie apocalypse, m’kay!!
Rick explains to Maggie, Michonne and Carl what happened inside. He reveals that a mysterious sickness has afflicted the camp. Good thing Herschel is a vet. They decide to quarantine the potentially affected to death row, Cell Block A. Karen walks by with Tyreese as they meet, coughing. She says that another member, David, is also feeling poorly. She agrees to be quarantined.
Meanwhile, the prison fences keeping out walkers are not holding up so well. I suppose girding them will be fodder for an upcoming episode, what with the new illness to contend with and the aftermath of the dreadful internal attack. Due to the Patrick diversion, no one is poking the zombies in the eyes to keep them from piling up, which spells t-r-o-u-b-l-e for everyone. There are dead rats littering the fence; is someone feeding them? Are sympathetic and well-meaning kids doing it? In the premiere Carl had to set some of them straight regarding the fact that walkers are indeed the enemy and not to be identified with in any way. In past seasons there have been saboteurs lurking in the background; could that be happening again? So far, the colony is facing external and internal threats to their survival.
Michonne is recovering from what appears to be a sprained ankle. She talks with Beth as Baby Judith plays nearby. Judy starts howling when she senses Michonne’s tension, and the crying gets on Michonne’s nerves. She may wield a mean sword and guide pet walkers, but can’t handle the piercing cry of an infant, God bless her! When Beth asks her to hold Judy a bit Michonne flinches, but then when she gets a look at that cute wittle baby face and smells that delicious sweet clean baby smell, she melts, crying. Perhaps her maternal instincts are kicking in after all.
Glenn, Maggie, Tyreese’s lady friend with the now less puffy but still pretty hair and Rick try to stave off walkers using their body weight. Rick has a bright idea. He has Daryl fetch the truck. He takes the baby pigs (Violet’s brethren are not going to end up in a good place, so if you’re very attached to cute baby animals like me, STOP reading now!) I can’t believe the producers took us from one cute baby scene to a horrifying one in one fell swoop. Rick and Daryl use the baby pigs as bait to lure the walkers away from the fence. I guess this is good epidemiological sense given that the pigs may be the source of the outbreak (see: dead Violet), but pleeese! The cute baby pigs never hurt anyone. He’s also seriously reduced the camp’s bacon supply. It’s some small comfort to know that no animals were actually harmed in the filming of this scene. Hopefully the pigs are enjoying a nice life as companion animals on a ranch somewhere in rural Georgia, where the series is filmed. I mean, I know human life is supposed to be more precious than animal lives, but this was a tough one to watch.
Rick burns down the pigsty in a primitive attempt at disinfection. Carl looks on and reveals to his dad that Carol is teaching the kids mad knife skillz on the sly, unbeknownst to their parents. Rick seems pretty nonchalant about this revelation. For good measure, Rick throws his bloody shirt into the fire as well.
On a romantic note, Tyreese is bringing a handmade bouquet to his girlfriend Karen, but she’s not in her cell. Only a bloody trail leads to the outside courtyard, where Tyreese discovers a gasoline can and two charred bodies, burnt to a crisp. Uh-oh…Looks like someone has gone rogue epidemiologist all over Karen and David’s asses!

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