The Walking Dead – Indifference
by Jonathan Pilley (@omnicomic)
Like Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead is adapted from previous source material. This review is not meant to compare similarities and differences between the show and comic. It’s meant to be read purely as a take on the episode as it stands.
That being said, SPOILERS AHEAD.
“You can be a farmer Rick. You can’t just be a farmer.”
Carol has gone through some significant changes. It’s taken two seasons, but it seems that the tragic loss of Sophia has finally caught up to her. She’s viewing life through a prism of overbearing safety, one that makes her feel that she can take drastic measures to preserve herself and her friends. In her mind, the needs of the many most certainly don’t outweigh the needs of the few and it’s a rather interesting perspective for her character to exhibit. She admitted to killing Karen and David, who were supposedly patient(s) zero with the illness outbreak and she did so to prevent it from spreading further.
It’s a slippery slope to abide by, as it affords a great amount of flexibility when it comes to making those decisions. Carol uses the idea of safety as a rational explanation as to why her actions were necessary; a rationalization that Rick doesn’t seem to really buy into. Carol clearly wants to hold more of a leadership role in the grand scheme of things, which is why it was pretty interesting to see her “disobey” Rick when making a plan with the two new survivors they came across. Rick has gotten so used to having those around him abide by his instruction, so it’s not going to be too much of a stretch if there’s more dissension in the ranks. There’s already been mention of the Council’s formation, likely to help alleviate some of the pressure of leadership thrust upon Rick’s back. Still, Carol feels some guilt over her action, expecting Rick to make some judgment call one way or the other. It was very interesting that she mentioned Rick’s killing of Shane in the context of the conversation, knocking him down a bit from being too judgmental.
Carol has also grown pretty callous in spite of everything. Again, losing her daughter was a very damaging experience that—when coupled with her previous life as a domestic abuse victim—really hardened her beyond anything imagined. She coldly hints to Rick that they should just head back to the prison while they’re watching one of their new “friends” being eaten by zombies. Kill or be killed is the mantra of the world and Carol has mastered that very well. It’s not exactly like she could’ve done anything to save her daughter beyond what was tried, but she still bears the burden of her death and makes decisions based on preventing it from happening again.
Meanwhile, Daryl is working with the vet exploratory crew to find a way back to the prison. They haven’t abandoned their mission to make it to the vet school; they’ve just been slightly sidetracked. The pit stop gave Tyreese plenty of reason to continue his suicidal bent. First, he waded into the mob of zombies in a previous episode. Second, he refused to let go of a zombie hidden in bushes, even though his life was being threatened. It’s part of the larger sense of helplessness that many in the world feel every day, even if one’s situation is slightly more manageable than the situation of others in the new world. A suicidal Tyreese is a danger to himself and those around him, which is why Michonne wants him to get it together.
They’ve definitely hit the jackpot at the veterinary school, finding just about everything medical they needed and then some. Of course, getting in was the easy part. It seemed a little too quiet, which made their escape that much more harrowing and intense. It was a little fortuitous that they moved through the halls pretty effectively, even if they had no previous knowledge of the layout of the building. Their escape did offer up something else in the way of character development, showing Bob’s true commitment to his demons of alcoholism. He chose to grab booze instead of meds, prompting Daryl to come a few feet away from knocking him off the walkway and into the hands of the zombies waiting below.
While the meds are en route to the prison, Carol isn’t. Yes, Rick made a rather unilateral decision to leave Carol in the neighborhood to fend for herself. It was probably the best choice in the grand scheme of things; considering Rick questioned how he could trust her if she was so quick to kill the other two when she felt threatened. The fallout from being abandoned will likely come to pass in future episodes, but for the time being, Rick made what he thought was the right call. Carol betrayed the trust of the group and made a decision without consulting with others, which is exactly the same thing Rick just did and has done in the past.
Rick has been granted a lot more leeway though in his decision making, primarily because he’s viewed as the de facto leader. Daryl almost made a similar decision regarding Bob and his alcoholism, as he’s another in the group who can make those big decisions. Carol made the decision and was chastised for making one seemingly out of order in the hierarchy of things. It’s almost a double-standard that Rick and Daryl can make those decisions and Carol can’t, but it speaks to the leadership structure that the group has implemented—whether it be purposefully or inadvertently.
Considering the name of the episode is “Indifference,” those who are most indifferent to the world were the ones put into their place by those who cared. Rick and Daryl have put in too much in their journey to this point to not care and they’re the ones who tend to run the show. Everyone else doesn’t seem to have to the same pressure put on them to not be indifferent and it’s that approach that has made the tough decisions even tougher. The prison is still spiraling out of control when it comes to the illness and there may be some very tough decisions to be made still. Rick is a leader who can make those decisions and it will be interesting to see the response he gets if he makes a decision similar to the one Carol made.