As the producers of The Walking Dead established before season 3 hit the air, the living would begin to pose a more immediate threat to Rick and those following him than the walkers, and they’ve certainly proved that with ‘Killer Within.’ And that’s a good thing. As much as everyone seems to love the fictional landscape that zombies create, as far as actual characters go, they’re rather one-note. Human interaction beyond the bickering group dynamic – even if it’s as brief as the reappearance of the presumed-dead Andrew (Markice Moore) finding some way to use the undead as a weapon – is something of a welcome sight.
Given what happens as a result, it’s no wonder then that the distrust Rick feels toward those who walk with a spring in their step has been fairly well documented this season. Rick’s as quick to send a man down the road, as he is to bury a machete in his head. Each act having the same result: One less potential killer to worry about, and one more reason for Rick to convince himself the group is closer to securing a place where they can successfully start over. But as much as Rick is comfortable assuming the worst in others, he really mustn’t assume anything when it comes to the living. They’re just as ruthless as he is.
So, while the group takes a few minutes to celebrate Hershel (Scott Wilson) making his way around the yard, Rick has to make another decision regarding the fate of Axel (Lew Temple) and Oscar (Vincent Ward). Turns out neither man is too keen on staying in their cell block with a bunch of dead bodies, and they’d like to join up with the fine folks who’ve taken over C Block. T-Dog (IronE Singleton) believes the men could be of some use and (finally) speaks his mind, which is too bad considering the fate that awaits him. But in what turns out to add insult to eventual life-ending injury, after all this time barely having any lines at all, T-Dog at long last shares something with the rest of the group and Rick blows him off. Perhaps that’s the new harbinger of doom for the series.
If that’s the case, then considering how taciturn and generally uncommunicative Michonne (Danai Gurira) is, it may be in her best interest never to cross paths with Rick and suddenly have an opinion on how things should go. At any rate, she’s still dealing with getting the newly smitten Andrea (Laurie Holden) away from Woodbury, but the Governor/Phillip (David Morrissey) is just so darned convincing and congenial (he has booze!) that Andrea just can’t seem to tear herself away from his quaint little township – even if Merle (Michael Rooker) is counted amongst its citizens. Besides, with a winning vote of confidence from Merle, the Governor is now A-OK in Andrea’s book. And before we question what madness this is that Andrea is seeking opinions on matters of another man’s character from a guy like Merle, let’s keep in mind her post-walker-slaying tryst with Shane last season. In any case, Andrea’s apparently harboring just the teensiest bit ill-will toward her former group for losing track of her during the fracas at Hershel’s farm, and likely figuring them for dead, offers up its location to the consistently ill-tempered redneck – because she know just how much Daryl (Norman Reedus) means to the guy.
Meanwhile, prior to finding out that Andrea would like to hang around Woodbury for a couple more days before heading off to the coast in search of a lifetime of uncertainty, Michonne pokes around the vehicles the Governor brought back from his little excursion during ‘Walk With Me,’ and comes to the conclusion that the time to get out of town has long since passed. But for whatever reason, Michonne’s not going anywhere without Andrea. For as little as we know about her at the moment, the one thing we can tell is that Michonne has a soft spot for people who monotonously dwell on the mysterious pasts of those who save them. Whatever her reason for sticking around is, it certainly isn’t going to end well.
And speaking of not ending well, what started off as a promising day quickly turns chaotic as Rick, Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Daryl prepare to shuttle Axel and Oscar out of the prison only to discover a substantial herd of the undead prowling around the formerly walker-free confines of the yard. While everyone scatters, the prison’s alarm system engages, telling them this isn’t some random occurrence, but the act of a duplicitous person with more on their mind than tasty, tasty flesh. As is nearly always the case when something dubbed a “walker,” or to use the parlance of those in Woodbury, a “biter,” manages to sink its teeth into a victim, said individual is typically preoccupied. In this case, T-Dog is working on getting a gate closed when a good chunk of his shoulder is taken off in one hungry chomp. Still, to his credit, T-Dog does what he can to save Carol (Melissa McBride) by running through the seemingly endless maze of non-descript hallways and just-in-the-nick-of-time rusty doors, to deliver the woman to safety before a pair of walkers snack on his delicious neck meat.
But the body count doesn’t end there – because why should T-Dog’s death be significant when it can be overshadowed by the apparent death of Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies)? (Apparent, because it happened off screen, but it was certainly convincing, otherwise.) Lori hadn’t had the best go of it since the end of the world, and childbirth certainly wasn’t going to make things any easier, so naturally, running from a group of walkers would have to induce labor. Despite a lack of training and supplies, Maggie (Lauren Cohan) manages to save the baby, but simply can’t keep Lori from slipping away. As if all the death weren’t depressing enough, it’s Carl (Chandler Riggs) who takes the unpleasant duty of ensuring Lori doesn’t come back.
If the Governor (deceptively) stands as proof civilization can be rebuilt, then Rick collapsing upon receiving the news of his wife’s passing, serves as the not-so-quiet reminder that death is quite literally at everyone’s door.
Kevin Yeoman blogs at Screen Rant.