'The Killer Within' is simply too big of an episode for this to be a spoiler free review. So if you have yet to see the it, please turn back now and don't think that reading this article and then watching the episode will make the events of the ep easier to deal with. This episode will eviscerate you, no matter how prepared you are for it or how many times you watch it.
Before I really start with the review I just need to get this out of my system and say what we are all thinking, "OMFG WHAT THE FRAK JUST HAPPENED?"
So anyway….. !!SPOILERS!!
In the fourth episode of the season we're back at the prison and we also spend some time with the Governor. What happens in Woodbury isn't as dynamic as what happens in the prison but groundwork is being laid for major drama. While the Governor tries the smart tactic of appealing to Michonne's warrior sensibilities, he doesn't count on her being more than just braun. She's too smart for his manipulation and is unmoved by his flattery. Andrea on the other hand is hooked on life in Woodbury and is clearly charmed by the Governor, whose name we now know is Philip. Andrea's readiness to be wooed is likely due more to exhaustion than with the Governor's ability to flirt. She's even slightly charmed by Merle, so the only explanation is that this girl is just at the end of her rope and will believe anything if it allows her to pretend that she's not in the middle of a zombie apocalypse.
In the prison, someone (probably Andrew) is feeding the zombies dead animals and using that as bait to lead the zombies into the prison. But before these walkers make their way to our beloved gang, we get some much needed moments of group interaction before all hell breaks loose.
There is some adorable levity when the gang discovers Glenn & Maggie having sex in the guard tower. But the fun is short lived when the two remaining prisoners show up and beg to be part of Rick's crew. Despite saying this is no longer a democracy, Rick does the right thing and let's everyone share their opinions and he also explains why he doesn't want to budge on his decision to keep them away from his family. In the end, the majority of the group decides agrees with Rick and the prisoners are locked outside to fend for themselves.
T-Dog is really the only one who wants to give thse guys a chance. But Rick poses a very solid question to him, "Who's blood would you rather have on your hands? Maggie's? Glenn's? or theirs?" T-Dog's response is "Neither," and while that response is one most of us are likely to say, sometimes in dire situations you need to make tough calls. This scene may not be important to the story overall, but it is a key part of T-Dog's narrative and his character's humanity. He does believe in making tough calls and he makes the toughest call ever in this episode.
The writers amp up the feelings of hope by having Hershel take his first steps outside in this episode and everyone in the group has all the good feels until the zombies that were let into the prison at the beginning of the episode attack and it's horrible and intense and I hide under my couch for the rest of the episode crying and eating my hair.
It is complete chaos and as a viewer, it was slightly hard to follow what was going on but it was clear that was a purposeful directing choice. I expected someone to bite it (heh) and truly thought it was going to be Hershel, Carl or even Lori but the one to succumb to the zombie horde was our hero, T-Dog, who is bitten on the shoulder. He's still able to run inside the prison with Carol but when they get trapped by more walkers, he sacrifices himself to the zombies so that Carol can escape. We know he's going to die regardless, he knows he's going to die, Carol knows he's going to die, he's been bitten – but that doesn't make his death any less tragic or emotional. His heroism in this episode was beautiful and ultimately one of the goriest things ever in the history of all things.
The horror doesn't stop there, as the stress of the invasion causes Lori to go into labor. It's not an easy birth, she starts to bleed out and needs a c-section. Her group has been separated from Carol, leaving Maggie to perform the operation that will ultimately kill her friend. It's worth mentioning here that the only people with Lori at this time are Maggie and Carl, her son. This is the only time I've liked Lori and marginally liked Carl. Sometimes there is wisdom in loss. Lori's final speech to her son is heart-wrenching and brilliant. Sarah Wayne Callies always does a great job with Lori, as much as I dislike the character, and she made this death scene as heavy as it needed to be without going over the top.
To prevent Lori from coming back as a zombie Carl makes the choice to shoot her in the head. This episode is all the more tragic when you consider that Lori was killed, essentially, by both of her children. The title of this episode 'Killer Within' refers to three different things – most obviously Lori's baby, but also the zombie virus which is lying dormant in everyone's system waiting for the right moment to activate. Then there is the more metaphorical killer which, like the virus, lies dormant in all of us – the ability to take a life. Carl finds his killer within tonight. He does it for the right reasons and it is the honorable thing in this case but at the same time, I think it's safe to say that the Carl we've seen these past few seasons died tonight along with his mother.
“Goodnight, love,” indeed.
This is only the fourth episode and I'm excited and terrified to see what will happen in the future.
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.