Personally, I like a screen to be between me and …
After Rick’s breakdown, he prepares to talk his way in to staying at Alexandria and is prepared to do whatever it takes, even if it means shedding blood. Meanwhile, Glenn is attacked by Nicholas in the woods, Sasha considers her place among the living, and Daryl and Aaron track a friendly, familiar face in the woods, only to find themselves at death’s doorstep.
After the devastating events at the end of the mid-season finale, which saw the conflict between Rick’s group and the The Governor’s men end in a bloody conclusion, “After” attempts to deal with the fallout from that attack by focusing only on three of the many characters scattered to the wind. In what is a stark contrast to the beginning of season 4, we open with a beautiful ariel shot of the aftermath at the prison. What was once considered a self-sustaining safe haven, now burns to the ground with hordes of walkers invading its premises. No longer are Rick and Carl planting vegetables, nor is Carol teaching the children how to use weapons during reading time. The prison is once and for all destroyed, and as the walkers swarm the grounds, feasting on the insides of a dead horse, the camera pans by the body a dead Governor – putting to rest any rumours that he may still be alive. Following the comic book’s route fairly faithfully, the episode found Rick defeated in every way possible – Rick’s declining health makes him more of a liability than an asset, to the point where he spends half the episode in a state of deep and usually prolonged unconsciousness. When he’s unable to take a Walker down with an ax to the head, Carl is left with no choice but to waste a bullet and shoot the Walker down himself; an act that will come back to haunt him later on.
After an uneven but mostly solid third season, The Walking Dead opens back at the prison, as a supply run between the survivors and the new Woodbury recruits quickly goes haywire. Meanwhile Rick attempts to help a mysterious woman he meets in the woods, and a character’s sudden death after a violent coughing spell, can only indicate that a new threat has arisen, potentially leading the series down on a new path.