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TV Review: THE WALKING DEAD: Season 4, Episode 5: Internment [AMC]

Lauren Cohan Scott Wilson The Walking Dead Season 4

AMC‘s The Walking Dead Internment TV Show Review. The Walking Dead: Season 4, Episode 5: “Internment” was the last of the “I” arc. It opened with Rick (Andrew Lincoln) speeding back to the prison, the watch left to him by Carol (Melissa McBride) no doubt impressing upon him the weight of his news (regarding his banishment of Carol), and how little time the prison’s sick had left. First to get the news was Maggie (Lauren Cohan), working the perimeter fence solo. She supported his decision, and commended him for the ability to follow through (something she didn’t think herself capable of), but made a case for fortifying the perimeter against a surge of fence huggers. Rick agreed to make it a priority, but needed to check on his family first.

Rick and Carl (Chandler Riggs) started out with Carl asserting himself as an extra hand and not a cause for concern but Rick was not ready to give up his protective role. Hershel (Scott Wilson), as the only healthy body in the quarantined cell block, had the World on his shoulders. He and Glenn (Steven Yeun) had to move the deceased before “securing” them. Given that there was no telling when they might reanimate from time of discovery, I thought this was a bad idea. but Hershel had his reasons. He had come a long way since his “Walkers as people” stance back at the farm but there was a line he had not yet crossed. He, Glenn, and Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) were also taking emergency measures, involving a respirator, to keep one man (Henry) alive – even as Glenn was getting worse and Sasha was near collapse. Worse, the center of Hershel’s efforts, Dr. Caleb Subramanian (Sunkrish Bala), now considered himself beyond help, and offered Hershel an out. That out came in the form of a shotgun and ammunition but Hershel dismissed this as contrary to his mission of hope.

There were some wonderful quotes from “Internment” that served to summarize both Hershel’s central role to this episode and the course of the prison arc. When Rick first touches base with Hershel, Hershel was in the process of crossing that line he had drawn regarding the flu victims. Rick sought Hershel’s reaffirmation that “when we get past this thing, it’s not going to be like it was.” Hershel’s rejoinder was that “life is always a test.” It was at that point that Rick informed him about Carol. Hershel was left visibly shaken by the news.

This might have had something to do with the notion that two of his principal supports, Caleb and Carol, had abandoned hope for the sake of survival. Hershel resolved to carry on, regardless, holding true to a Steinbeck quote he shared with Rick of how “a sad soul can kill quicker than a germ.”

Hershel came across a collapsed Sasha, failing to noticed her deceased neighbor. When one resident claimed that his son was merely sleeping, but refused to let Hershel have a look, I imagine Hershel was smart enough to see it for the red flag it was. Unfortunately, events overtook and overwhelmed him. Glenn started to succumb just as Henry died, leaving Lizzie (Brighton Sharbino) screaming for help. The reanimated victim Hershel had overlooked in tending to Sasha emerged. The overprotective father stepped forward with a gun but when he fell prey to his own son, another intervening resident was shot instead. Things only got worse from there.

Alerted by the shot, Rick sent Maggie into the prison, allowing Carl to take her place shoring up the fences. Inside, Hershel found Caleb reanimated and had to put him down, but the good doctor had one more contribution to make. Hershel took up the Doctor’s weapon stash and headed out. With Hershel tied up, Maggie had to find a way to break into the cell block; her helplessness, mirrored by those trapped inside, was agonizing to watch. Without further sounds of distress, Rick and Carl continued to buttress the fence but the measure proved insufficient. The fence came down, forcing them back to the prison itself. Without the time to shore up the interior fence, Rick resorted to a nearby weapons cache, and after the briefest of assault rifle instruction, enlisted Carl for a last stand at the prison walls.

Between this latest outbreak, inside the prison, and the perimeter breach, outside, there was a sense that the rules had been thrown out (that for better or worse, something of a house cleaning was in progress). Suddenly, familiar and unfamiliar faces alike seemed in equal jeopardy; the result being the most genuinely thrilling and terrifying sequence since the overrunning of Hershel’s farm.

Lauren Cohan Scott Wilson The Walking Dead Season 4

Lauren Cohan Scott Wilson The Walking Dead Season 4

Even though he was now armed and dangerous, Hershel was mindful to draw the action away from youngsters like Lizzie but his real challenge was retrieving Henry’s respiratory canister to save Glenn. Carl more than held his own, saving Rick at one point, while Maggie found her way into the cell block, and saved Hershel (defying her father and risking Glenn’s life in the process).

The parallel action also provided a dual narrative of paternal bonding, with both Maggie and Carl stepping into their respective fathers’ shoes. Maggie proved herself just as stubborn and resolute; Carl, a competent protector and trusted brother-in-arms. “Internment” began with Hershel protecting Maggie from Glenn’s dire prospects, while Rick sought to keep Carl insulated from all manner of carnage. By its end, both offspring had proved that neither of them would be in need of protecting or coddling.

The timing of the Veterinary School expedition’s return was a touch cliched. I suppose it could not be helped – Glenn and Sasha may not have lasted through the night, and a mid-crisis arrival would have muddled the narrative. The cavalry arriving immediately after the action, however, is a thriller/ action genre standard. It seemed odd that Rick and Carl were able to wipe out the fence huggers with automatic weapons yet not seem to attract any more Walkers from the surrounding woods. By morning, the fences were still down, but no Walkers were in sight. Are we to believe the garrison got lucky or that mass shooting was a viable solution this whole time?

Lizzie continued to puzzle and frustrate. When she first confronted Hershel and Glenn, in the midst of their disposal effort, Hershel attempted to deflect her attention with a reading assignment. She dismissed it, stating there would not be enough time to finish. Hershel was careful in asking why, likely expecting a morbid response; but Lizzie cited loss of light. Hershel may have been encouraged enough to cut her some slack, and so was I. When she elected to lead Henry away from Glenn, coaxing him like a wayward pet, I had hoped she had something practical in mind. She did not. She had merely hoped that luring him away from Glenn meant Walkers could be made to listen. You can call that optimism; I call it a dangerous delusion of Walker domestication. Watching her draw patterns, in a pool of Glenn’s blood, with her boot, made her future seem that much more uncertain (particularly with Carol and the Governor out and about).

Carl had once represented “Generation Z” on the show but he did have a learning curve. With guidance from his mom, dad, Hershel, and even Shane, Carl had matured into the adult ranks. That left Lizzie and the other Woodbury children as Gen Z, with Carol as their first post-civilization influence. Children are wild animals without parents to essentially train them; without a functional society, they are monsters.

“Internment” brought some badly needed closure to season four’s initial dramas and conflicts. There were loose ends (most notably, fallout from Carol’s turn and Rick’s response), but Sasha and Glen were saved, Rick’s decisions were somewhat vindicated, Carl had undergone a rite of passage, and Hershel had restored a sense of hope and humanity to the prison.

This apparent finale to the “I” arc may not signify an end to the series’ broader prison arc, but it was a good ending, nonetheless. It redeemed what was becoming in inauspicious launch, to season four, and the previous episode (as its lowest point) specifically. Hershel, appropriately enough, summed things up perfectly; responding to an invitation to leave the compound with an emphatic “Hell, Yeah.” A sea change had undoubtedly taken place, however, with the very last shot of the episode making it perfectly clear what next was in store for the survivors of season four’s prison outbreak.

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About the author

Sam Joseph

Sam is an Avid consumer/observer of Geek culture, and collector of Fanboy media from earliest memory. Armchair sociologist and futurist. Honest critic with satirical if not absurdist­­ wit with some experience in comics/ animation production.

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