Warning – Spoilers ahead
As predicted, the mid-season premiere of The Walking Dead opened with a shot of the abandoned prison that had been destroyed in the fight with The Governor. The characters struggle in the aftermath.
Michonne, The Walking Dead’s quiet but fierce heroine, is left with the job of killing zombie Hershel when she finds his head among the ruins. Though The Governor chopped his head off with a sword in the last Walking Dead episode, Hershel had not yet turned. The anguish Michonne feels is palpable.
Attention is then turned to the father-son duo. Their relationship is strained, and that shows immediately when Rick urges Carl to slow down and stick together. Carl charges ahead, despite the fact that Rick is stumbling along and is clearly hurting from the beating he had just taken from The Governor. They struggle to find food and shelter but have a power struggle over how to handle a zombie. Rick is still trying to act like a protective father, but Carl does not feel like Rick is capable of that job anymore.
Carl sets off on his own, enjoying his bit of freedom. After taking down three zombies outside, he returns to the house where Rick is passed out on the couch and lays into him. He lets out all of his anger and vents about his dad being responsible for the deaths of their family and close friends. He blames Rick for not protecting them and says he would be fine if Rick were to die, too.
Only when Rick starts to wake up does Carl realize that he still needs him. He is still a kid in a sense and he does not have it in him to shoot his dad if he turns into a zombie. Luckily for him and The Walking Dead fans, it does not come to that. He finally utters Carl’s name, proving that he is still very much alive. They are able to have a talk and Rick confirms that Carl is a man now.
Meanwhile, old habits die hard as Michonne takes two more walkers on as her zombie pets. They offer a level of protection as she travels among the walkers. She carries on, looking for shelter and trying to make sense out of life after the prison. Michonne struggles with the memories of her son and lover, who are finally shown in a flashback. She admits to missing them and has an emotional breakdown after having a dream about them. She sees a walker who closely resembles herself, which freaks her out. After some consideration, and in true Michonne fashion, she takes out the walker and a whole field of zombies with her samurai sword.
While following the other character’s trail, Michonne visits some of the same places they had been. She eventually finds footprints that lead her up to a small white house. She peeks in the window and is filled with emotion when she sees Rick and Carl sitting on the floor. She breathes a sigh of relief as tears fall from her face. Then she knocks on the door. Rick nervously looks through the peephole, while Carl is armed and ready. Rick also shows signs of relief and hope once he sees Michonne standing there. He looks at Carl and simply says, “It’s for you.”
Presumably, next week’s The Walking Dead will provide updates on the rest of the group and how they are struggling in the aftermath of the fight with The Governor and the destruction of the prison.
Review by Tracy Rose