Whilst the likes of Arrow and American Horror Story: Coven have been constantly hitting it out of the park in their new seasons, The Walking Dead has been trudging along at its own pace, surveying the landscape and holding back on the spectacular. Here, in Internment, the ante is well and truly upped.
With Carol (Melissa McBride) having now been cast out of the group by Rick (Andrew Lincoln), you initially think that this decision, not to mention its repercussions on those in the group, will be the focal point of this latest episode. Yes, it is mentioned at brief intervals, but there’s simply a whole lot more going on here. With the masses of walkers ever-growing outside the prison base that the survivors call home, and the amped-up virus increasing its attack on the sick housed within said prison, it’s safe to say that it’s most definitely a case of being attacked from all angles.
Central to this episode is Scott Wilson and his fantastic portrayal of the defiant old dog that is Hershel Greene. Simply put, in terms of the sick and the weak, the shit doesn’t just hit the fan here; it rips through the fan, stamps on it and forces it to watch Sharknado. That’s how bad things get, and Hershel is the key component holding everything together. Determined to care for anybody that can still be saved, fighting off reanimated disposable characters, barking orders, and kicking ass: it’s just a normal, average day for the old timer. Like a white-haired Steven Seagal but with acting chops, Hershel totally owns this episode. Keeping it in the family, Lauren Cohan’s Maggie Greene also gets to channel her inner Jill Valentine at all the all rights times, as well.
Moving away from Hershel’s time in the spotlight, we’re also given some nice, if not slightly extreme, “bonding” moments between father and son, Rick and Carl (Chandler Riggs). For the most part of The Walking Dead’s run, the Carl character has really grated on me, but this season has seen the character develop and grow, stepping out of his childhood and dealing with the very adult world that he now finds himself in. Just as we, the audience, see this, we also see that Rick is now appreciating this change more and more with each episode. It’s a poignant and sad window into what this walker-ridden world has done to the now-lost concept of childhood.
Simply put, Internment is by far the best episode of Season 4 to date. It’s worth the watch purely for its last 25 minutes alone; 25 minutes that grip you by the balls and, like some crazed, rabid Rottweiler, refuses to let go. You’ll be sore, but it won’t care, and it threatens to come back and do you even further harm in the future. Amongst the torment of this episode, we have the very real threat of losing a key, key character, and the ending of Internment only promises a lot more trouble and torment to come, as a rather familiar face has their eye on our troubled group of survivors.
Oh, and that Carol issue that I mentioned… that’s saved for another day.