TV Recap: THE WALKING DEAD “After” (409) [AMC]

S4E9 - Michonne

As the mid season opens Michonne is the only survivor left at the prison, killing the oncoming walkers who’ve stumbled onto the scene from the noise. As two walkers approach her she lures them to the staked barricade; the two walkers impaling themselves. She cuts the arms and jaws off both of them and uses them as her pets to guide her through the outbreak of walkers scattered throughout the now compromised prison. As she’s leaving the grounds she see’s Hershel’s recently reanimated head and ends its life with her katanta, visually upset by the gesture. As Michonne leads her walkers towards the woods she notices footprints in the mud, left behind by Carl and Rick.

Further up the road Carl and Rick are walking distances from each other. Carl, several feet in front of his father, clearly showing his anger to a badly beaten Rick, who’s struggling to walk. Rick calls out to Carl but Carl seems fit to ignore him and the two carry on to a diner. Inside they find supplies along with a walker who has been barricade behind a stack of furniture, the previous occupants leaving a note saying “Please do what I couldn’t”. Carl goes to shoot the walker but Rick warns him not to waste bullets and instead pulls the furniture away from the walker and attempts to bash its skull in with an axe. Rick having a difficult time breathing cannot finish the job and Carl shots the walker in the head, furthering the disagreements between father and son. The two pick an abandon house to hold up in, causing them to argue about how to clear the rooms. Carl ties the door shut as Rick goes to push a couch against it, ensuing another fight between the two about Shane.

Later as Carl reads Rick passes out on the couch from his injuries. Carl goes downstairs to wake up his father and becomes increasingly frustrated when Rick doesn’t wake. Carl’s yelling attracts two walkers to the house and they begin to bang furiously on the door. Carl sneaks out the back and gets the walkers attention to lure them away from the house. Handling them easy enough Carl appears confident in leading the walkers away but is surprised by a walker from behind. Carl struggles to kill all three walkers, wasting five bullets in the process and having all three of them land on top of him. However, feeling victorious for his sloppy kill Carl returns to the house to scream at Rick. Blaming him for the all deaths at the prison, he accuses him of not protecting the group, for hiding behind the farming facade, and for the fates of Lori and Judith. Carl declares to an unconscious Rick that he doesn’t care if he dies as he no longer needs him.

Meanwhile Michonne is held up inside a car asleep. She dreams of her normal life before the outbreak where her boyfriend, Mike, and his friend Terry discuss minuscule things about art. Michonne’s son crawls into the kitchen where she is seen using her katana to cut food. The dream becomes askew from there as Michonne picks up her son, the conversation between the three going from a friendly debate about art to a true debate about whether this life was worth living or not, hence taking place after the outbreak. Michonne continues to appear happy in the dream though, holding her son in bliss, until she looks back to Mike and Terry who are dead and their arms cut off. She awakes from the dream and continues on with her two walkers, merging into a herd that’s wandering in the woods. Michonne takes notice to a young walker who looks very similar to her.

Carl, wandering off on his own, goes into another nearby house in which he tries to kick in the door, similar to how his father does, but epic-ally fails and falls flat on his back. Once inside Carl checks out the house and opens doors carelessly as he searches for supplies. Behind one of the bedrooms a walker S4E9 - Carl Puddingis held up and despite Carl’s attempts escapes the room and goes after Carl. Another close call where the walker almost bites Carl’s leg but merely takes his shoe, Carl wastes his last bullets trying to kill the walker before running out of the room and locking the door. He leaves a note for others who may comes across the house proudly writing “Got my shoe but didn’t get me”. Carl then proceeds to celebrate by eating a 112 ounce can of pudding to himself. Back at the other house with his father Carl sits by as Rick begins to stir on the couch. Moaning, Carl fears his father has become a walker and lifts his gun to end him but shortly drops it and declares he can’t do it despite all his previous talk, noting that he’s scared and weak. Rick finally calls out to Carl confirming he’s alive. The next morning Carl tells Rick of his adventures in which Rick acknowledges Carl for going out for more supplies and confirms him as a man now, giving Carl his long awaited credit.

Michonne is in a daze as she walks alongside the herd of walkers. Suddenly coming too she kills all of them including the two she was using to lead her. Playing as a monologue Michonne is heard saying to Mike that she had found a reason to live, but doesn’t say what. She relocates Carl and Rick’s footprints, leading her to the abandon country homes. In the middle of the street Michonne see’s the empty pudding can Carl disposed of and cautiously approaches the house. She looks into the window to see Rick and Carl talking, she smiles and begins to cry with relief. Inside a loud knock is heard at the door and Rick goes to check it out. He turns away from the peephole smiling at Carl saying “Its for you”.

After Thought: The mid-season premiere, like the season premiere, opted for a more quite character based study taking focus to Carl and Michonne. The episode didn’t contain too much action but was sad as you found out more about Michonne’s past and also humorous as Carl attempts to make it on his own (a nice change considering how tense the last episode was). Both characters deserved more attention to their arch, with Carl’s seeking a conclusion he’s been searching for since the second season; for his father to see him as a man. The episode ends and doesn’t give us any clue about where the rest of the camp is but offers hope as Michonne found Carl and Rick, suggesting they can find the others too. 

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