Welcome back to the Walking Dead! Today’s review, episode four entitled “Killer Within”, which as you may notice is a double-entendre. After last weeks introduction of the Governor and his walled town, things are once again shifting back towards the main group in the story, focusing on events in the prison and their ongoing struggle to build a safe haven.
Attention is still given the growing mistrust Michonne feels towards the governor, and the conflict between her and Andrea over the issue of trust. But by far, the biggest events took place within the prison complex, and I mean biggest! Some seriously big curveballs were hurled in this episode, which included the birth of Rick and Lori’s child, the death of T-Dog, and the death of Lori herself.
Things open up on the prison, where we see someone opening the gates and laying bait for the Walkers to come. The identity is left a mystery for the time being, all we know is they are intent on sacrificing everyone within. Shortly thereafter, we see Rick, Glenn, Maggie and Daryl in the yard where they are moving their vehicles and discussing clean-up. They intend to plant crops in the field soon, and don’t want the litters of Walker bodies contaminating the soil.
Hershel comes out to see them on crutches, accompanied by the other members of their group. They are joined by the two prisoners, Axel and Oscar, confront them and ask to be allowed to join them in their side of the prison. They decide to give them supplies and send them on their way, but the send-off is cut short when Walkers show up in the yard and begin attacking them.
A fight ensues, and things are made worse when the prison sirens go off, attracting more Walkers. The group must split up, with Rick, Glenn, and Daryl fighting to clear the yard and get inside to shut off the sirens. Oscar, who used to work in the power room, escorts them to it after Glenn shuts the gate to keep more from coming in. Hershel and Beth manage to get to safety, but T-Dog is bitten while trying to protect Carol and get her inside. Maggie escorts Lori and Carl inside but they find Walkers have infiltrated the prison interior and flee to the basement.
Over in the town, Andrea continues to get to know the Governor while Michonne pursues her suspicion that there’s something “off” about him. Andrea learns that his true name is Philip, and that he had a wife who is now dead. Michonne inspects the army trucks they procured and notices traces of blood and bullet holes and suspects the Governor’s cover story was false.
At the same time, Merle learns of the location of the farmhouse where Andrea was staying, and asks the Governor for permission to go there and begin searching for his brother Daryl. The Governor believes its a wild goose chase, but agrees to go with him if he finds more concrete evidence that his brother could still be alive. Andrea and Michonne are set to leave and Andrea says goodbye, but is told she and Michonne are always welcome back.
Back at the prison, things are going from bad to worse. When they reach the power room, Rick discovers the identity of their betrayer. Turns out it’s Andrew, one of the prisoners who was believed to have died at the hands of the Walkers, is alive. After Rick is knocked down, Oscar grabs his gun and points it at the two of them. He then shoots Andrew and gives the gun back to Rick. Apparently, trust has now been established between their two groups, and the sirens are shut down.
Elsewhere, T-Dog and Carol are rushing through the tunnels and are cut off by a group of Walkers. T-Dog makes his final stand by rushing the group, and dies screaming while Carol makes it back to the yard. In another room, Carol begins to go into labor and experiences serious bleeding. She asks Maggie to perform a C-section and tells Carl she loves him, and does not appear to make it through the process. However, the baby is alive and well, and Carl tells her to leave so he can shoot Lori before she becomes a Walker. A gunshot is heard and he joins Maggie, and the two go back to the yard. There, they meet up with the rest, and Rick is broken when he sees the baby and realizes Lori is dead.
Needless to say, this episode was a real nail biter. Granted, it wasn’t too much of a mystery who the saboteur was, though I did suspect it might have been Oscar for a short while. His knowledge of the power room seemed to me to be an indication that he might be the one behind the whole thing. But at the same time, we never really saw Andrew die so… yeah, not a big mystery!
No, the real tension here came in the form of the split which took place inside the prison. Thanks to the arrival of the Walkers, the group was split three ways, with each one facing its own particular crises. For Rick and his group, there was the task of shutting down the sirens and finding out who betrayed them. But Lori, Maggie and Carl, there was the challenge presented by her imminent delivery. For the rest, it was all about staying alive and getting back to the others. Between all of these perspectives, the full range of the show was displayed. You had betrayal and desperation, life in the midst of death, and terrible sacrifice. All of it was poignant and effective.
Also, the slow build-up of tension over in the town thread is something I really approve of. It’s pretty clear at this point that Michonne’s distrust of the Governor will bear fruit in time, and that the Governor is likely to take her and Andrea prisoner once the cat’s out of the bag. What’s more, they are letting on that Merle’s efforts to find his brother are likely to lead the Governor to the prison. And we all saw what he did with those army men. Clearly, he believes anyone who doesn’t reside within his walls is a threat that must be dealt with. Clearly, these two threads are destined to collide, and sooner other than later.
But above all, the biggest thing in this episode was the deaths of T-Dog and Lori. In the former case, I wasn’t particularly surprised. As a friend of mine recently pointed out (hi Khaalidah!) T-Dog has remained an underdeveloped character in the series. Since we know nothing about his past and he’s got no one he’s particularly attached to in the group, his loss could not be considered a terrible tragedy. Lori, on the other hand is an essential character, the wife and mother of two other main characters.
Personally, I am entertaining the notion that she is not really dead, mainly because her death at this point in the show goes against material from the comics. However, there have been plenty of diversions from that material already, and who’s to say what the writer’s have planned. Perhaps I’m in denial…
Oh yeah, and there is the matter of the title itself, which as I said earlier I believe I to be a double-entrendre. On the one hand, you have Andrew who is busy at work plotting the demise of the group. He is the literal killer within the walls of the prison. However, the other meaning I believe lies within the Governor himself. Whereas he seems like a stable and caring fellow on the outside, the kind of man who projects a positive image to Andrea and the townspeople, we know him to be a cold-blooded murderer and insane man. This side, however, he keeps tucked away from prying eyes. Make sense? Just one man’s interpretation.
More to follow from this series soon enough. Don’t venture too far…