'The Walking Dead' - 'Indifference': Now I Know Why You've Been Shaking

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The Walking Dead - 'Indifference': Now I Know Why You've Been Shaking

By TK | TV Reviews | November 4, 2013 | Comments ()


The past few weeks have not been kind to our friends in the world of The Walking Dead. Beset by undead, plagues, doubts, suspicion, and fear, they are finding that sometimes the dangers within are just as terrible as those outside. This week’s episode, ‘Indifference’, took an interesting turn in the way it played with those elements. Instead of continuing the scattershot approach of focusing on every minute group and their interactions, the episode moved the action away from the prison, and instead concentrated on the two different groups and their efforts to find some way of helping those suffering back at the prison.

‘Indifference’ was a story about strength and weakness, about what lengths we all would go to. It was one of those remarkable episodes that showed great insight into the characters, treating them respectfully while also exposing their darkest secrets and weaknesses. And while many were likely dissatisfied with the show’s ending, it also felt like the beginning of the next step forward, something that we needed to see. The flu storyline has been a captivating one, but it’s also been one that’s left us feeling somewhat fixed in place, immobile, and lacking momentum.

The first story revolved around the efforts of Daryl, Michonne, Tyreese, and and Bob. My vague frustration with Tyreese’s storyline continues, as his unfocused rage seems to be his new defining characteristic. While I understand the idea that his grief has become a force both driving and blinding, to reduce a seemingly complex character to such a cliched, pseudo-suicidal brute seems entirely too simplistic. Michonne, on the other hand, continues to be an engaging and fascinating character, perhaps even more so than her depiction in the comic books (and don’t lie — you’re ‘shipping her and Daryl, aren’t you. Yeah you are). Her discussion with Tyreese about his motivations and the self-destructive path was one of the most ruthless, painful pep talks I’ve ever witnessed, but that wasn’t what made her turn here so effective. Instead, it was the unique dichotomy between her words of wisdom, and her own professed self-doubts. Michonne is driven by forces that not even she understands, and she has tried to shroud her hunger for revenge beneath a facade of it being something that just needs doing, but finally realizes that it’s something more than that, something that, she finally grasps, is ultimately untenable.

Surprisingly, it’s Bob Stookie’s story that’s the most intriguing, as tragic and infuriating as it is. Larry Gilliard, Jr.’s performances have been, until now, steady to the point of bland. And even here, there’s little histrionics, little by way of emotional manipulation. Yet Bob is a man with some vicious demons lurking within him, and they are quietly and insidiously threatening everyone around him. He’s someone who is exhausted by life, tired even of his own self-loathing, tired of being, as he put it, “the last man standing.” He’s not the last man standing because he’s the strongest, or the fastest. If anything, perhaps he’s the last man standing because he’s the unluckiest, the one remaining to live with the memory of the horrors suffered by those around him. And one can almost forgive his addictions, his desire for some small comfort “when it gets quiet,” except that, as Daryl knows, there can be no truly quiet moments anymore. There can be no real thoughts of self anymore, and to indulge those demons threatens everyone. That realization — despite his sad tale, despite being granted absolution from Daryl earlier when he confessed to his culpability in Zack’s death — that he once again jeopardized them for his unquenchable thirst, resulted in a cold fury from Daryl that an absolutely breathtaking scene.

So we learn about their strengths and their weaknesses, and their fears and their demons and doubts. Those pieces would play an even stronger role in the second part of this week’s journey, as Rick and Carol head out to find more supplies. This was a complex, multilayered vignette, a story that I found absolutely fascinating, even as I found its conclusion disappointing. Throughout the first act, it almost seemed like Carol was trying to justify her actions — killing Karen and David — to both Rick and herself. Much like Michonne’s talk about the Governor, to her it was simply something that needed doing. Something to protect them all. Yet there’s a harshness, a hardness to her that seems to color that sentiment. There’s also a sense of resignation with Carol that’s both saddening and frightening. She’s drifted so far away from what she was that her sense of empathy, of love and understanding, has turned brittle and broken into pieces. Instead she’s driven by an inscrutable pragmatism, a hardened, razor-sharp focus that can’t contemplate any outcome other than the one that nets the most gain, regardless of the human cost.

And so she killed Karen and David, and she teaches the children to fight, to never feel fear, to never look back. And when she and Rick encounter the two newcomers — a charming and innocent pair of simpletons if there ever were any — she encourages them to search for supplies on their own. It was that moment that felt like the turning point, where her indifference sealed her fate. Because I think that Rick had a plan formulating all along, and couldn’t decide whether or not to follow through with it. His decision to invite Carol was the beginnings of it, and the entire trip was her trial, a chance to take her out of their natural environment and see what makes her tick. When faced with that almost soulless practicality, Rick had to make his decision.

Thus that moment was the straw. Because regardless of everything else, that moment showed that Carol truly would do anything to protect the ones she loved. Including murdering and immolating two sick people. Including sending two injured, crippled strangers — two people so eager for help and human kindness that they’d volunteer for anything — to search for supplies because that would create an additional distraction and allow her and Rick to continue unhindered. Is that what she did? Is Carol truly that brutal? I can’t say for sure, but the facts are there — they were safe in that house, and they died when they left.

Which brings us to the farewell, which was done beautifully, even if it was disappointing. I hope this isn’t truly the end of Melissa McBride’s excellent run as Carol, because the show needs her. And it’s frustrating that they finally put her on a strong, independent path, only to have her cast out like that. Sure, there’s an element of truth to Rick’s words — her actions are unforgivable, and even if Tyreese doesn’t kill her out of sheer rage, the damage is done, the doubt is there, and the mistrust will always shadow her. Yet for Rick to simply pass that judgment was ironic, of course, for he did exactly what she did — condemned someone without even discussing it with anyone else, changing someone’s life because that’s the direction that his moral compass pointed to, regardless of how it affects others. It was arrogant and self-righteous and even a little heartbreaking. Some will say that it was also noble and the only way to do it where nobody wins, but at least nobody loses, either. I don’t know for sure. It won’t satisfy Tyreese, it won’t help the children back at the prison, and it damn sure won’t help Daryl. It changes the power dynamics yet again, and once again, we don’t know where it will take them.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • lmtj

    As much as I would have liked to have seen D & C share at least one moment to decide yes or no on if it would worked, Daryl also seems very asexual. He just seems like he is not into relationships for himself but enjoyed the family atmosphere the group offered him. He's still very realistic in his thinking of people and still has a fear of getting too close to avoid hurt. Merle's death to me solidified that. I really don't think he's going to lose his crap as bad as we may think about her being gone b/c he wanted Rick to come back into leadership with them. He trusts Rick.

  • Carrie Ann

    I agree with most of what you said, but Daryl really bonded with Carol over his relentless search for Sophia. Daryl has always been a bit of a loner, and while he trusts Rick, I wonder if he will transfer any anger he may have of Carol being gone, with Bob putting everyone at risk over alcohol. Oh and the fact that Bob was mostly the main reason Zack died.

  • Carrie Ann

    This episode was phenomenal. Michonne needs to smile more because that smile is just beautiful. Regarding the Carol storyline, I was shocked by Rick's decision, but I also understood why. She really is no longer the woman afraid to be alone. She tossed back to Rick that he basically did the same thing to Shane. Shane was in Rick's face and ready to kill him, Karen and David were quarantined and we still don't know what's causing this illness. I understand why Carol did what she did, but it just feels so out of character. Carol reacted without thinking it through thoroughly by killing Karen and David. Tyreese, I still don't understand just how deep of a connection he had with Karen. I could understand this blind anger if Sasha was the one killed and burned, but maybe her being sick is only fueling his emotions more. Did anyone else catch the symbolism of Rick wrapping up his right hand? Or when Daryl's group were walking and the scene started off with a shot of an upside down gas station price card and the numbers were made to look like the word 'Hell'?

  • Dominic

    reading this Forum I'm glad i never got into this show . Not a zombie fan anyway , so this is just another soap opera on the list to me . some cultural pathways I'm happy to wall off ...

  • Jez

    Mama ate the pygmy. Pygmy ate the monkey. The monkey has a gift that he is sending back to you.

  • Edwina the Magnificent

    Re: the mystery flu: haven't any of our dear survivors ever heard of bleach? Since the exact nature of the illness is still a mystery, it might be a wasted effort, but not any more so than sending out two expeditions in search of antibiotics. There's got to be a stash of Lysol wipes somewhere out there. Wipe that shit down every once in a while!

  • Melissa D

    Won't make a lick of difference if it's airborne; that shit just hangs in the air waiting for contact. You need additional precautions for airborne diseases that go well beyond antiseptic technique. (I just wrote a midterm in microbiology this morning, can you tell?)

  • Edwina the Magnificent

    Microbiology learnin'? I never would have guessed. And you make a good point. I'm still of the mind that it certainly couldn't hurt, but then, in the real non-zombied world, I work in a petri dish of poor health and questionable hygiene habits, basically supporting my entire immune system with Lysol wipes, so I might be biased.

  • Melissa D

    I get annoyed at this show sometimes, because I look at the zombies and go "they're fucking DEAD, how could a VIRUS survive in their blood?" And then I remember I'm watching a show about zombies and am clamouring for realism. Generally I get over it. :)

  • Edwina the Magnificent

    Suspension of disbelief is a must with anything involving zombies, I think (until it really happens, mwahaha). My main problem with the show, pre-mystery flu, was in the major battle scenes where everyone ends up covered in zombie blood; it's in their eyes, their mouths, all over their hands, the clothes they no doubt end up sleeping in. They're basically marinating in it, and yet the only way they can immediately Zombie is from a bite, which implies a fluid-to-fluid transfer of some kind. Why then wouldn't a healthy shot of zombie blood/putrefaction liquid to the eyeball or into an open wound cause the same thing? Aaah, yes, it's just the zombie magic.

    Also, a germaphobe would be the worst person to have on your team in the apocalypse.

  • Melissa D

    YES!! I remember watching 28 Days Later and a teeny drop of blood got in buddy's eye and WHAMMO he was a zombie. The blood thing always bothered me too.

  • Edwina the Magnificent

    Oooh, I forgot about that. There's a movie I need to rewatch!

  • Am I the only person that had to look up "shipping"? Never heard of that.

  • dorquemada

    I believe the first 'shipping was Mulder and Scully. Before that, we said "Yeah, they're totally gonna do it (or not)".

  • Sirilicious

    Are you an (Very) Old?

    I am 39 and very familiar with shipping. ETA: Or you have stayed away from fandoms and just watched series on your small screen without digging into them online. Which is a valid choice. :)
    Any digging at all should have taught you about shipping.

  • Sirilicious

    Oldschool Soundgarden FTW!

  • Yes, I am SO SHIPPING them. Carol and Daryl are brother-sister; zero chemistry. Daryl and Michonne--there's a sizzling nearly every time they speak, and Michonne is clearly flirting.

    Another great write-up TK. I have no doubt Carol will still be around, maybe even brought back into the fold at some point. From Rick's point of view, his decision made sense, but why he doesn't see the hypocrisy in making that decision alone, I"m not sure. Maybe we're just meant to see the inherent chaos caused by the tunnel vision of each individual (Rick, Carol, Tyrese, Bob) coming at survival his or her own way--the impossibility of cutting off from everyone else emotionally or otherwise? The true loners, like Daryl and Michonne, have already discovered how much they need the group.

  • John G.

    Will Rick tell them the truth when he gets back, or say she got bit and died? Then tell them how she killed those people? Otherwise, Tyrese will spend several episodes looking for her, then Daryl might spend episodes chasing him, and then we're back looking for Sophia all over again.

  • Professor Sara

    Oooh, think of the possibilities for group conflict if he lies and said he watched her die, then she turns up whole and healthy. I'm clapping my hands in anticipation.

    I'm betting he'll be honest, though. Poor, stupid Rick.

  • Jenny

    Also another thing I am dying to know! Jesus I hate to say it but IDK he may lie?! cause he doesn't want Daryl pissed?

  • Jenny

    Or maybe he will tell the truth and think everyone will be glad he found out the killer? IDK there are SO many twist and stuff this season I guess I just have to see

  • RilesSD

    Right. I'm thinking Tyrese would want to be involved in the decision, not just have Carol gone. And Daryl is all about the group now and will be pissed. Unless they were all in on it from the beginning, but doubt it.

    Anyone else bothered by the massive amounts of meds and supplies they left behind at the vet clinic and the doomsday shelter? I know they were exhausted, but I would think they would load up the back of that car with as much as they could, not just the meds they needed.

  • John G.

    I was TOTALLY bothered by that. I know it's veterinary medicine, so maybe they wouldn't necessarily be able to use it ALL, but c'mon. no one is making new medicine anymore. Take whatever you can find. And speaking of veterinarian medicines, they have a damn farm now with animals on it that are sick. Maybe some medicine would help with that.

    Also, Why did what's his name only grab one bottle of liquor instead of filling his whole bag, and if he wasn't going to fill his whole bag with liquor, he could have filled the rest with medicine.

    First rule of zombie apocalypse survival, Horde Supplies

  • Carrie Ann

    Bob's only intentions on going to both those group outings was to obtain alcohol. Was there more alcohol at the vet place? I don't remember but I think he hurried up because the group was moving out and Michonne gave him that 'look' for him to hurry up.

  • malikvlc

    I may be remembering this wrong, but weren't Gimple's stories in Seasons Past built on the road-trip theme? So he's doubled-down and given us TWO at the same time. Sheer genius!

    Can't help but compare this season with "We're Stuck on a Farm" season - it's insane how much improved the story-telling is. And real character-development. And does anyone remember T-Dawg? No?

    I didn't see Rick's decision to dump Carol coming, until he actually said it, and even then there was this disconnect - "Wait! What just happened? Carol? CAROL?!?"

    And why am I more squeamish over the whole cell block of flu/pandemic sufferers than any of the fight/decapitations/knife-to-the-head scenes?

  • Edwina the Magnificent

    I'm just here to let you all know I spent the night dreaming about awesome zombie battles followed by hot sexy times with Daryl. That redneck and I, a killing, boinking super team! I'm all aflutter, people! I don't know how I'm going to get through work like this, and heaven help my poor husband when I get home.

  • Jenny

    haaa!! LOL!

  • Three_nineteen

    This plot may be worth it if next week Daryl beats Rick into a bloody pulp.

  • Jenny

    oohhh I know I am dying to know how Daryl is gonna react!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Yvette Nicole Brown asked on Twitter last night if tonight's episode was the backdoor pilot for the spinoff. I didn't even think of that and while I think the spinoff is a terrible idea all around, there are certainly worse characters to build it around than Carol. That would be an interesting direction for them to take with that new project at the very least.

    I didn't see her sending the kids out to look for supplies so much as an execution as a real test to see if they'd be worth bringing back to the prison. It was still cold as all hell, especially knowing how gimpy they were, but I don't think she KNEW they would definitely die out there - just that it was a strong possibility and if they didn't then she knew they could be at the very least trusted not to be total fuckups.

  • dorquemada

    Carol rounds up a group of youngsters, teaches them knife skills and stealth, then takes all the nu-ninja to take out the Governor. Then she comes for Rick...
    Yeah, could work.

  • Naye

    Nah. The more I think on the more im sure that she was using them as bait. Not only were they in poor physical condition but they holed up in a bathroom for two days to escape ONE zombie. She knew they couldnt hack it (pun intended)

  • John G.

    They didn't kill her, so she'll be back. They just had to get her out of the way so that they can develop Michonne and Daryl as a couple, then she can come back. It was a bit of an obvious and ham-handed way to do it, though.

  • naimasophie .

    If so, they would have giving up on Carol/Daryl a season ago. I tend to think that the writers are more than sopa opera writers focusing on who fuck who and "let's get rid of X so that A and Z can fuck"

  • Melissa D

    I don't think Rick made an arbitrary decision kicking her out. At one point the show cut the two hippie twits asking if they'd answered the three questions right (we never saw the asking), and Rick gave Carol this LOOK, because Carol no longer fits the criteria they've established for letting people join them. The three questions are how many zombies have you killed, how many people have you killed, and why - and Carol's current answer is no longer acceptable.

  • mairimba

    And stop shipping Daryl and Michonne! We've been waiting so long for him and Carol to hook up they can't just take that from us now.

  • Jenny

    IKR!!? I was going bullshit last night OMG

  • Naye

    Were they not hooking up? I kind of thought it was implied, and that since they weren't a young hot couple like Glen and Maggie the writers just felt no need to PDA them all over the place

  • Jenny

    I coulda SWORE there was something there btw. Michonne and Rick last season and def. after episode 1 of S4 but now I am like WTF Daryl! No way

  • Jenny

    will that put Daryl and Rick at odds!? If Rick likes MIchonee which I think he does

  • Jenny

    Although I don't ever recall Daryl and Carol flirting as hard as Daryl and Michonne were last night?

  • mairimba

    There hasn't been any implication that they have. Michonne is just starting to open up and bedsides her scene with Judith a couple of weeks ago she's only expressed any type of emotion towards Andrea. If they were hooking up the writers would make it more obvious. But I doubt they will. After Daryl finds out about Carol I think that's where his focus will be the next few episodes. Either looking for her or acting frustrated by the fact that she killed two people.

    And I don't get why people keep shipping them. Cause they're two strong characters getting along? Same with the two Gimple written episodes from last season. Just because she had a few good scenes with Rick everybody thought they were going to bone. Michonne is a very emotionally strong character that the writers are just trying to make more humane.

  • Naye

    I meant I thought it was implied that Daryl and Carol were already hooking up

  • mairimba

    Ah. Sorry. It's just that people have been all over the place with the Daryl/Michonne hook up and it's getting on my nerves.

  • naimasophie .

    i sometimes saw some comments about Daryl/Michonne but everyone is pretty much focus on Daryl/Carol.
    I still don't get the flirting , is Daryl more focused by a stone than michonne's smile is flirting ? Is michonne smiling mean she wants to fuck him ? That's those kind of questions that would make one look like an idiot but apparently it's serious business for some. Michonne will probably get shipped with Rick as soon as they get a scene together.

  • Jenny

    U don't think they were flirting pretty hard?

  • mairimba

    If Daryl was flirting with Michonne then I don't know why I never made a move on every guy that has glanced over my existence at a bar.

  • Jenny

    yeah I hear ya - I guess everyone has their opinion. Trust me I am not crazy about the two of them hooking up either

  • Kurenai24

    Get the fuck over it you selfish piece of shit. You act like you and other Carylers are the only ones allowed to ship Dary with anyone. I'm not sorry that people outside of the Caryl ship like Dixonne, and hell actual Daryl fans who are repulsed by Carol are shipping it too. What gets on my nerves is Carol stans who actually think the relationship between Daryl and Carol has been building up to be something romantic. That's something so stupid and out of left field I could continue to laugh my ass all the way to the bank.

  • TK

    Now where did I put my banhammer? Oh, there it is. Adios, shitbird.

  • Jenny

    Yeah I thought there was def. something bldg. but in Season 4 it was gone it seemed other than the Pookie comment

  • mairimba

    Well this is a first.

  • mairimba

    This is not the end of Carol. I believe they have to die in the show for us to not see them again (like Merle). She has become such a badass that she will probably be confronted by the Governor at some point and I hope they have her bring him down and shut everyone the fuck up and show them how it's done.

  • Jenny

    u go girl!! I hope so too!

  • SVR

    I have to confess, I am baffled by the praise Carol's storyline is getting. I find her actions to be completely out of character, and frankly, dumb as all hell. Her efforts to protect the group required she break quarantine, get all up close and personal with sick people, practically bath in their fluids, and then man handle their dead bodies. After which, she started mucking about with the prison's water supply. It's just not believable characterization or plotting to me.

    None of which is to say Melissa McBride isn't a fabulous damn actress. But that was obvious to me during her early Season 2 monologue in the church.

  • Keith Ballard

    I've gotten so used to multiple black actors on screen being a guaranteed character death that I'm completely blinded by character development. Bravo, Walking Dead. You're doing a decent job at filling the vacuum left by Breaking Bad by suddenly becoming a pretty decent show. Nuanced storytelling, brilliant character moments, memorable scenes... I don't think a show changing hands has ever been more apparent to me.

  • Naye

    LOL, thats what I keep waiting for. The last episode when there were 3 balck characters and one white in the car, I was positive, just based on surplus of Black people, that one of them was going to die. It's pretty sad.

  • JenVegas

    There's no f'ing way that Daryl is just going to let Rick run Carol out of the prison. I don't care what she did or how insane her pragmatism has become, he's not going to let that stand.

  • Jenny

    I am liking the way your thinking! I mean I have always been team Rick but this was WAY outta line for him to do

  • I'm so confused by the show this season. Deft storylines? 3-D characters? Showing instead of just telling? Wow, TWD, who knew you had it in ya.

    I found the last sequence to be the most telling. Everyone silent in their cars, looking out the window, looking ahead. Rick is the only one who, in this world without traffic, keeps glancing at his rearview mirror. He's looking for Carol. Whether he's hoping to see her, or dreading it, is unclear. But he's looking back, and he's the only one of the six people on the road that day to do so.

  • linnyloo

    The looking in the rearview mirror was just lovely -- a really good character moment. And I love the return to his three questions, and how Carol didn't pass that test any more.

  • Jenny

    U know I am gonna have to totally agree with you on that. I am also a HUGE FAN of TWD have been since the very first episode. I am not crazy about this season so far - I mean it's good don't get me wrong it just feeling like there's either TOO much going on, and or it's jumping all over the place. And of course the commercials - are RIDICULOUS this season.

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