The Walking Dead S04E02 recap and review: Spoiler alert

Defending the prison from within and without. Hard choices, sharp blades, and some amazing music this week in "The Walking Dead" S04E02. Join us for the recap and review.

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The plan worked, though: the walkers have abandoned the fence. Glenn and Maggie shore up the perimeter fence with logs, but they're going to want to make sure it doesn't slope inward like that.

Meanwhile, we learn that zombies absolutely love pork.

The first day of the rest of your life

Elsewhere along the fence, Carol and Redshirt Daddy's daughters stare at a cluster of noisy walkers. Carol puts flowers in the eldest daughter's hair as she stokes the girl's anti-undead feelings. Wordlessly, the girl takes Carol's knife. No more fussing about Zombie Nick, one presumes.

Back at the soon-to-be-incinerated pigpen, Rick tells Carl that they have to stay away from little baby Ass-Kicker for a while, in case they're carrying Violet Flu. Well, Carl has managed to keep Carol's secret for less than 24 hours. He blabs to Rick, hastily adding that teaching young children to kill with knives is a pretty good idea these days. Rick agrees, and vows not to tell the kids' parents, presuming some of those parents survived the Great Redshirt Purge.

Hell, soon an army of knife-wielding kids will be all that remains of humanity. Rick must be thinking the same thing as he hands Carl a gun. He then straps his own big-ass revolver back on, reminding us to wonder why the hell he took it off in the first place.

(Is that the gun Rick dug up in S04E01? I don't remember Carl having a 1911 earlier in the series. I'd have gimen him something smaller. Bullets for those things are, like, a buck each.)

Rick lights the pigpen aflame to eliminate any contaminants. He then burns his shirt, the same one he's been wearing since S02.

Flowers for... your grave

Tyreese has plucked some tiny yellow flowers for Teen Wolf's mom, and he's delivering them to... oh, to her now-empty cell on Death Row. There's a blood trail leading outside, which Tyreese follows.

He wishes he didn't. Tyreese finds two burnt bodies, one of whom is wearing Teen Wolf's mom's bracelet.

Did she die of the Violet Flu, or did someone decide on a preemptive strike?

Whoever killed Teen Wolf's mom, know this one fact: Now it's personal.

And Tyreese is pretty angry, too.

The Walking Dead S04E02 review

Yeah, this is why we watch "The Walking Dead". And, writing team, I hope you managed to churn out these sorts of scenes for the weeks to come.

"Infected" was an action-packed episode, punctuated with the sort of decision-making that fuels heated water-cooler discussions come Monday morning.

Pigs and quarantine aside, S04E02 was all about Carol as far as I'm concerned. She's come a long way from the frightened rabbit we met in the first season. The death of her husband and daughter could have driven her further into herself, but instead she set about reinventing herself. Also, following Andrea's death at the end of last season, Carol is the sole surviving woman of S01.

As for all the dead redshirts, no, of course we don't care about them. We never even met them. However, thinning the herd of disposable characters puts the ones we do care about closer to real danger. Also saves me the hassle of trying to remember a bunch of new names.

The only thing I still don't get is why teaching the kids to use knives would be such a bad thing. Other than that, we saw our survivors earning their right to live another day.

It hasn't been clarified who was feeding rats to walkers, but it'll either be Carl or Redshirt Daddy's eldest daughter. She's the founder of Equal Rights for Undead Americans (though clearly no longer its leader), but Carl is basically Dexter in training. Holding a rat by its tail and feeding it to a zombie is such a future-serial-killer thing to do, so I'm still voting Carl.

Also, Rick is back to taking a leadership role, and, not coincidentally, back to making choices that lead to bloodshed. It's in his DNA, I guess.

I give "The Walking Dead" S04E02 four frantic but doomed pigs out of a possible five.

What did you think? Would you have sent the pigs on a suicide mission, or would you have just started ramming the walkers with the Jeep? Should the survivors actually start using those cell doors? Did those two bodies at the end remind you of Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru from "Star Wars"?

Let me know in the comments, but please avoid spoilers.

Oh, and here's the Ramones' version of "I Don't Wanna Grow Up".

 

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