Well, with most female viewers and 89% of male viewers (we conducted a survey, just trust us) spending the last episode of Walking Dead screaming, “Ok, great Carl’s eating pudding, but where is Daryl!” at the television, this week’s episode, “Inmates,” should assuage some fears as we don’t have to go Dixon-less any longer. Daryl is back and paired up with Beth as The Walking Dead catches viewers up on the rest of the survivors post-prison. Having “Inmates” begin with a narration from Beth’s diary drives home just how important the prison was, along with the fact that it really is a new beginning for the cast, who find themselves split up and back to square one with no walls, no provisions, very few weapons, and only their will to survive.
Beth and Daryl are barely hanging on while Tyreese is with Mika and Lizzie and, shockingly, Judith aka lil’ Ass Kicker as well. You can bet the entire fanbase breathed a strong sigh of relief when Tyreese turned around and gave fans a full view of Judith Grimes, alive and well. Things are not easy for Tyreese though as he must survive with the three children, and it seems Lizzie is going full Dexter Morgan as her eagerness to kill is growing. “Inmates” seems to suggest she was the animal killer in the prison and has more than a passing fascination with death. When sweet little Lizzie places her hand over Judith’s nose and mouth in order to do a little more than just silence the baby, it was one of the more terrifying and brutal scenes in recent memory. Lizzie is a prime example of what the situation she is forced to survive in can do to the human mind. Adding the archetypal bad seed killer child to the survivors adds a whole new wrinkle to an otherwise already relentless drama.
Things aren’t all doom and gloom for Tyreese and his new found brood as the pack is rescued by the returning Carol in a fist pumping return. But wait…didn’t Carol kill Tyreese’s lover? Uh-oh.
Group number three consists of Maggie, Sasha, and Bob, who seem to be thriving better than the other survivor groups. Maggie is, of course, obsessed with finding Glenn, and when she enters a walker-infested bus to make sure Glenn isn’t in there, the claustrophobic set piece is about as colon clenching as it gets. This is why fans return to The Walking Dead. This is the kind of watch-through-the-fingers sequence that would make Fulci or Argento grip their couch cushions that much tighter.
Group number four is Glenn and the surviving Tara, the sister of the woman who finally put a bullet in the Governor’s sick skull. This creates an interesting dichotomy as Glenn has to team with the enemy if he has any hope of finding Maggie alive.
So the stage is set for five different set of survivors (counting Rick, Michonne, and ol’ pudding eater Carl) as fans are introduced to a new militant group of survivors that run into Glenn and Tara. New additions always send the show in a new direction so next week should be fascinating.
“Inmates” was a good catch up episode, as fans take stock of the survivors and what the different groups’ new conflicts and motivations are…with lots of zombie killing as five story lines begin. So far, the show has always stuck the landing on any running story arc, but there have never been five planes in the air at once. Can the creators pull this plate spinning off? Whatever happens, please let Maggie and Glenn find each other, after Hershell’s demise, how much more can poor Maggie take?
Zombie Kill of the Week: Tyreese going “God of Thunder” with his hammer on a Walker’s cranium.