The Walking Dead Review: Staying Alive

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Turns out, Hershel’s magic tea can’t save all the sick people. Who knew?

The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 5 continued the deterioration of the survivors with a lot of hacking, coughing and spitting up blood. Being sick sucks, but being sick during the zombie apocalypse is just gross.

I feel like I needed to take Nyquil after watching the hour.

Hershel Greene Pic

And really, while more unknown characters were killed off (surprised the doctor didn’t give us some backstory before his eyes went bloodshot and he decided it was time to eat), it was Hershel who stood front and center for the hour.

He continued to be the resilient wise man, risking his own life to try and make things better, even if it only borrowed a little extra time. He was really adamant about not showing anyone the newly returned dead people get killed again, even if it seemed like some of his decisions were stupidly risky.

Did he really need to lead the walkers away (good thing he didn’t trip like Lizzie, and he’s got one leg missing) or get super close that it seemed like he was going to get bit?

I even wondered with all the focus on his character if that meant this was the episode that he was finally taken down.

Luckily, it wasn’t, and the guy was able to stay tough until the reinforcements arrived. Sure, his stand-up comedy routine about spaghetti dinners may have bombed, but he was able to help save Glenn.

Even if he still maintains his faith, it was good to see him break down for a moment. He definitely needs a break, but I guess going with Michonne to get rid of the bodies is the perfect pick-me-up.

And I'm glad we got some time with Hershel, even if the episode started out somewhat slow and a reiteration of people being sick and dying.

But it was when everything went crazy again and the walkers seemed destined to take over the prison that the hour picked up for a pretty nonstop ride until the end.

And I loved the use of not only the soundtrack that added to the heavy-handedness of dealing with the sick and the dead, but the use of the dark surroundings. There’s just something about walkers in the dark that makes everything much creepier - and there were plenty of heart-racing moments.

Am I surprised that Daryl and the gang returned right at the end to save Glenn and Sasha just in time (oh, and the other survivors, of course)? No, but at least the show isn’t dragging out the plague story line throughout The Walking Dead Season 4.

As for Rick and Carl, those two were able to do some more bonding with their tag-team gunfire game. Carl may have been a tattletale on Carol and he may have forced his way into following Hershel, but it’s great seeing him want to help his father and listening to him. It’s obvious that much like Rick, we are seeing him grow.

Rick will always want to protect his son, but Carl is definitely stepping things up. He's not just a little kid anymore.

But what is up with Lizzie? That girl continues to be creepy. Who puts their shoe in blood and starts playing around in it?!? I feel like she's going to end up causing problems soon.

I'm still really curious about Daryl and Tyreese's reactions about Carol getting kicked out of the club, but I’m glad Rick was upfront about it with Maggie and Hershel. There weren't any silly lies or secrets he was trying to keep.

But even with advent of some hope amid all the chaos at the end, yay for farming, there’s no way the prison can be the safe haven after all they’ve been through. And to add one more problem, the Governor is back.

It’ll be interesting to see how much more sadistic the one-eyed villain turns out to be when he reveals himself to Rick and the others.

It really is good to see The Walking Dead Season 4 getting better at combining some scares and walker action with a character focus. It’s not quite perfect, but the balance and ability to maintain a pace that sucks you in as it continues to build is proving that the series is headed in the right direction.

Let's hope it keeps it up and doesn't break down like one of the prison fences.

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Sean McKenna was a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. He retired in May of 2017. Follow him on Twitter.

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The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 5 Quotes

Carl: Dad, you can’t keep me from it.
Rick: From what?
Carl: From what always happens.
Rick: Yeah. Maybe. But I think it’s my job to try.

I still think there’s a plan. I still believe there’s a reason.