Episode Title: “Indifference”
Writer: Matthew Negrete
Director: Tricia Brock
Previously on “The Walking Dead”:
Rick Grimes’ (Andrew Lincoln) time as the leader of the group was far from smooth, but he cared about the people around him. In Rick’s self-imposed exile from leadership, Carol (Melissa McBride) stepped up and proved that she could help fill the void.
The problem is that Carol doesn’t seem to care about people as individuals, only as a group. Carol took it upon herself to murder Karen (Melissa Ponzio) and David (Brandon Carroll) in order to prevent the outbreak that has decimated the prison. Rick correctly guessed her motivation before figuring out that Carol was behind it.
What seems to disturb Rick most of all is how little emotion Carol feels about the whole thing. Two new recruits for the prison apparently meet grim fates and Carol barely reacts at all. It’s only when Rick tells Carol what he plans to do that she finally shows some cracks in her facade. But by then it’s too late. Rick simply can’t trust Carol anymore.
There are full spoilers ahead for “Indifference,” so if you missed last night’s episode of “The Walking Dead” then you should probably skip this review or else Bob won’t let go of the bag.
“Indifference” was a rarity for “The Walking Dead” in that the majority of the cast didn’t appear at all. This kept a sharp focus on Rick and Carol’s supply run and the small group led by Daryl (Norman Reedus). In a callback to the fourth season premiere, Rick’s three question test is revisited when he and Carol come across Sam (Robin Lord Taylor) and Ana (Brina Palencia), a pair of young survivors who are eager to join the group at the prison even after Rick warns them about the outbreak.
But the entire outing was Rick’s test for Carol and she failed. It’s not as if Carol is useless to have around. Carol demonstrated how far she had come when she treated Sam’s shoulder and her argument about Rick’s role within the group was right on the money. Rick can’t just be a farmer. Not if they want to survive.
However, Carol’s complete lack of empathy for what happened to Ana and Sam seems to be the last straw for Rick… if he hadn’t been planning to leave Carol behind all along. At the top of the episode, Rick vividly imagines Carol murdering Karen before dragging her outside to be burned. What scares Rick is that Carol would have likely done that to anyone who posed a threat to the group, even his children.
“The Walking Dead” can only get away with Sam’s ambiguous fate because he’s apparently a one-off character. He might be alive, but it’s not likely. Ana was devoured by zombies and Carol barely reacted at all to the aftermath. Viewers may not have expected that duo to come back to the prison, but it’s clear that Rick did. He wouldn’t have handed his watch and a pair of guns to strangers if he didn’t expect to see them again.
Carol finally shows some emotion when Rick tells her that she isn’t coming home. Carol pleads to stay and she tells Rick “it’s me,” as if that means anything anymore. The whole point of Carol’s exile is that Rick doesn’t trust her anymore. It will be interesting to see if Rick tells the other survivors the truth about Carol’s actions and why she isn’t around anymore. Either way, there’s no easy way to spin this.
It’s intriguing that Carol has motherly feelings for Lizzie (Brighton Sharbino) and Mika (Kyla Kenedy), but she chastises Lizzie for calling her “mom” perhaps as a way of keeping her emotional distance. Carol’s already written off her dead daughter, Sophia as somebody else’s slideshow. Carol only asks to take the girls with her, but Rick refuses. That’s how little faith he has in her now.
Looking back on Season 3, Carol’s ruthless streak was on display when she told Andrea (Laurie Holden) to kill the Governor (David Morrisey) while he slept. At the time, that seemed like an expedient way of removing a threat to the group. Carol’s perspective has evolved to the point where she’ll deal with any threat in a similar manner. If she’s alone in the world, Carol will likely survive and I’d be very shocked if this is the last time that we see her. Also note that Carol has never actually met the Governor; which could be an interesting encounter on her journey ahead.
Both Lincoln and McBride carried the episode with strong performances, but the other half of the story was also well acted. Daryl, Tyreese (Chad Coleman), Bob (Lawrence Gilliard, Jr.) and Michonne (Danai Gurira) had a brief stopover in an automotive garage along the way to a Veterinarian college for medicine.
Bob’s actions in this episode make him less likely to be a spy for the Governor, but he is so self-destructive that he could still endanger the group. When Daryl discovers that Bob was carrying a bottle of booze and no medicine in his bag, he almost tossed Bob to the zombies. This was after Bob confessed that the incident at the supermarket was his fault for putting a bottle of alcohol back on the shelf.
Daryl is good natured enough to give Bob a pass over that confession, but Bob’s unstated threat to draw his gun on Daryl nearly signed his own death sentence. Frankly, I was surprised that Daryl let Bob return with them at all. But that friendship is shattered.
Meanwhile, Michonne got closer to Tyreese and worked through some of her own issues while trying to snap Tyreese out of his apparent death wish. Michonne also admitted that she doesn’t know why she’s still chasing the Governor if the trail has gone cold and she decides to stay at the prison. Meanwhile, Tyreese still seems to be a ticking time bomb of rage… something that won’t change if he learns that Rick found Karen’s killer and let her drive away with a car full of supplies.
There were only a few zombie action sequences in this episode, but the walkers emerging from the vines was the standout scene. The creative team on this show is doing a great job of adding some fresh takes on the standard zombie attack.
“Indifference” was the quietest episode of the season, but the drama was very compelling. “The Walking Dead” is on a creative roll through the first 1/4 of the season. We’re still in uncharted territory and the show can go almost anywhere from here.