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The Walking Dead, Ep. 4.10 “Inmates” – it’s not exactly Shakespeare

The Walking Dead, Ep. 4.10 “Inmates” – it’s not exactly Shakespeare

the-walking-dead-inmates-glenn

The Walking Dead, Season 4, Episode 10: “Inmates”
Directed by Tricia Brock
Written by Matthew Negrete & Channing Powell
Airs Sundays at 9pm ET on AMC

Ever since Scott M. Gimple took over as showrunner, it’s become clear that he and his team of writers have tried, as hard as they can, to put to rest any unfinished storylines and unanswered questions left over from season three. Yes it took some time to clean up after the mess, but to be fair, he did have to continue from where Glen Mazzara left off. This meant killing off busloads of extras who we never got to know – killing of The Governor once and for all– and blowing up an entire prison, forcing our survivors to move elsewhere. “Inmates” served to get things moving ahead even more. By structuring the episode as a series of vignettes, in a non-chronological order, we catch up with the all prison survivors who didn’t make an appearance last week. Beth, Daryl, Tyreese, Lizzie, Mika, Maggie, Sasha, Bob Stookey and Glenn are all accounted for.

After weeks of arguing and speculating about the fate of Judith, fans of The Walking Dead can now put their energy to better use. It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that the producers elected to keep her alive. In my review of the mid-season finale, I wrote:

  • Amidst the crowd pleasing action of “Too Far Gone” comes a potentially big problem: we the viewers are not entirely sure what to make of baby Judith’s fate. Little Asskicker’s birth was a bleak moment for the series. Not only did Lori sacrifice her life but Carl was left to clean up after her death. Judith’s birth offered a rare bit of hope in this post apocalyptic world, and while she’s been kept mostly silent in the background, she’s remained a symbol of hope and a reason for Rick to keep moving forward. The simultaneous death of Lori and Judith in the comics is arguably the darkest, most depressing moment of the entire series. But as much as the TV show likes to push boundaries, I’m not sure they’re willing to kill an innocent baby in such horrific circumstances.  
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Let’s be realistic, not even The Walking Dead is willing to kill off a baby in fear of losing advertisers – at least not in such a horrific way. But more importantly, Judith has come to represent hope, and a reason for Rick and the gang to keep moving forward. Had they actually killed her off in “Too Far Gone,” I’d be willing to call it the worst death ever featured on a television show. Going back to my previous review, I also wrote:

  • When Rick and Carl find the remains of Judith’s bloody baby seat, the stunned despair on Carl and Rick’s face, should remain one of the show’s most powerful moments, but instead, the scene leaves us confused as to whether or not Judith is still alive. Rick and Carl’s reaction signifies the worst, but considering we were never offered any indication as to what happened to Judith after Beth grabbed the baby, it seems as though there is hope she survived. Ending your midseason on a cliffhanger is expected, but if Judith is indeed dead, the creators of the show robbed viewers of the devastating impact the death of a child brings.

Anybody who listens to our Walking Dead podcast has already heard my co-host Kate Kulzick and I discuss the various problems in their decision to either kill, or keep Judith alive. Dead or alive, Judith’s scenes in “Too Far Gone” are so poorly directed, it did more to confuse viewers than emotionally impact them. Judith – maybe even Carl – are necessary for the future of the series. Truth be told, The Waking Dead is so popular, and with ratings increasing every week, there’s no telling when it will ever end. I’m guessing at this point, the series can last up to ten seasons, if not more – and if that is the case, Judith needs to remain alive. Back at the end of season two, we discovered the dark hidden secret Dr. Jenner (the unsettling Noah Emmerich) whispered in Rick’s ear. And while The Walking Dead is far from calling it quits, the question nevertheless arises time and time again: How do you end a show about a zombie apocalypse if everyone eventually turns into a walker? The answer is simple, you offer a cure.

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I’ve already thrown around theories that because Judith was born after the zombie outbreak, she is more than likely immune to the disease – and if this is the case – she is a beacon of hope, and offers the series a final destination. Robert Kirkman told Rolling Stone:

This comic is the zombie movie that never ends, and it’ll go for years and years and years. I’m doing the math on this. I’m 34 years old. By the time I’m 65, I might actually get pretty far. If I don’t get bored and people are still enjoying the story, I can do 1,000 issues of The Walking Dead. So it is actually possible to tell a story that follows the collapse of civilization into the dark ages into the rebirth of civilization, where things are completely different. There could be an issue 700 of The Walking Dead that’s about people delivering mail. That is exciting to me.

The comic book may, and possibly will continue for years, if not decades to come, but realistically, the television show will eventually have to end. And so while Robert Kirkman and AMC will use the pages from the comic as a guideline for their story, they’ll eventually have to find an alternate ending.

The Walking Dead has been moving in circles for quite some time now. The series seems to see no end in sight. Its biggest concern is who dies next? I understand the name of the series is The Walking Dead, but so far , the show has been about a band of survivors who walk around in circles. Each season follows one simple formula: The characters regroup, get separated, are thrown back together, and are than forced to find a new home after it is destroyed; regroup, separate, destroy home, rinse and repeat. The only constant is death.

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Which brings us to another problem with The Walking Dead: their continuous use of the bait and switch technique. Is it really a big surprise that after reintroducing Judith to the world, they wouldn’t actually allow Evil Lizzie to suffocate the baby? Or how about Maggie’s viscerally satisfying, but ultimately unsurprising bus clearance. The sequences ends with Maggie stabbing a man, who from the back, looks like Glenn, but was anyone really fooled into believing it was him? This once again brings me to the problem with Baby Judith’s supposed death in the mid-season finale – and/or Rick’s comatose-couch-fake-out last week. Instead of creating what could be heart-wrenching moments, the writers of The Walking Dead seem most interested in manipulating the expectations and emotions of viewers instead, as appose to say – concentrating on good old fashion story telling.

The new, and third Walking Dead showrunner, Scott Gimple has immense pressure to turn this show into a well-oiled machine. What previous showrunner, Glen Mazzara did wrong, Gimple does right and vice versa. Mazzara pushed for accelerated storytelling, whereas Gimple slows things down and focusses on character development. Gimple recycles ideas and story beats, whereas Mazzara believes change is good. “Inmates” seems to mark the end of Gimple feeling trapped in the past. From here on, it should be all about forward motion; there is no excuse.

– Ricky D

Other thoughts:

“Sanctuary for all. Community for all. Those who arrive survive.”

I absolutely loved Glenn’s POV-style helmet cam.

I’ve grown tired of Glenn, and as I mentioned in the past, I wouldn’t mind if they decided to write him off the show. Watching him grieve in his cell isn’t as engrossing as the creative team may think it is.

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I like the reoccurring shots of the sign that reads “Hitchhikers May Be Escaping Inmates”. The sign is not only there to remind us of the danger these characters are in, but also to serve as an indication of who is headed in the same direction.

So much for Carol making a big return. She sort of just popped up.

I’m betting there is a scene of Carol rescuing Lizzie and Mika sitting on the cutting room floor.

When Tyreese turns around, it isn’t a surprise that he’s holding the baby given the positioning of his arms, and the fact that you can see Judith’s leg dangling on the side. Couldn’t they have found a better way to film this sequence?

Tyreese still doesn’t know that Carol has taken responsibility for Karen’s murder.

I wonder if Carol knows Lizzie is psycho?

Lizzie continues to develop into the least interesting character on the series. Is she just a natural sociopathic, or does her psychopathic stem from the stress of living in a post-apocalyptic zombie world? Just how much of her behaviour is nature, and how much nurture?

One question/mystery that isn’t fully resolved: Who was leaving the rats out by the gate? We all assume it is Lizzie, but how strange is it to introduce this mystery, and never resolve it?

Welcome Abraham, Eugene and Rosita!

Great casting once again. Hello Michael Cudlitz!

This was perhaps the biggest red-shirt episode yet.

Don’t forget to listen to our Walking Dead podcast for more thoughts.  New episodes drop every Monday night, with a different special guest each week.

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