For months, fans of “The Walking Dead” have been puzzling over the biggest questions left at the midpoint of Season 4. Is Judith really dead? When will Carol return? In what way will Abraham, Rosita and Eugene arrive?
Well, the wondering can finally end. All three major events took place in Season 4 episode 10, “Inmates.” Not only did it catch viewers up with the majority of the central cast of characters — Daryl, Beth, Tyreese, Sasha, Maggie and Glenn — and some of the secondary ones — Bob Stookey, Lizzie, Mika and Tara — but it also felt like it concluded the requisite catch up after the midseason break.
In many ways, “Inmates” worked like a patchwork. Characters’ storylines layered with and over one another as each group’s individual escapes from the Prison played out. Told out of chronological order, the episode allowed viewers to see how seemingly minute details in one storyline were actually major developments in others. It was ambitious, like “After” was, and a welcome way to spice up the series.
This season, more than the others that came before, seems to be making a concerted effort to try out new styles of storytelling, and we’re loving it. From transitioning from The Governor to a virus as the villain to humanizing the most evil character on the show (even if only for an episode and a half), “The Walking Dead” is proving it knows that it, like its core characters, needs to adapt and evolve to stay alive. Considering the Season 4 midseason premiere drew in better ratings than the Olympics, the changes seem to be working.
Some viewers will complain that “Inmates” wasn’t action-packed enough. That too much time with people running around and not finding one another. But we found episode 10 to be the perfect way to start revving up the show’s new storylines. Using Beth’s old diary entries to contrast with the current hopelessness of Season 4 was brilliant. The moment when Lizzie was trying to suffocate Judith was horrifying, especially because it was unclear if she was truly in control of her actions. Then that final reveal of Abraham and company was a great surprise in an episode already loaded with surprises.
In the episode, Carol reveals to Tyreese that she was returning to the Prison when the Governor was attacking, so she caught the tail end of his horrible onslaught. Regardless of whether this is true or not, the premise of having her reunited with Tyreese after taking the blame for killing Karen and David — especially with the Lizzie theory seeming more likely with every passing day, and him still not being aware of her potential involvement — is especially exciting.
Lizzie herself is a troublesome tale. One recurring theme of Season 4 has been the affect the zombie apocalypse has had on the children. In “Inmates,” Lizzie is seen torturing rabbits (making it more likely that she is the person behind the rat dissections) and nearly murdering Judith. There is some darkness inside of her, and one Mika keeps trying to warn adults about though none of them seem to listen.
It’s Carol who finds Lizzie and Judith in that state, and she stops Lizzie from going through with the murder. Lizzie’s actions aren’t mentioned again in this episode, but surely it will come up in future ones. It’s fortunate that Carol is here to take control of this situation — well, fingers crossed.
Along their journey, it’s Tyreese, Carol and the girls who discover the first proof of another sanctuary for humans who have managed to survive. Though it isn’t called the Sanctuary, the “Terminus” location they see scribbled on the map on the racks could be one and the same. As Gale Anne Hurd told Zap2it, sometimes things that look different on the surface in the TV series end up having the same end as the comics.
While their journey seems to be continuing towards Terminus and Daryl and Beth potentially close behind, Maggie and Glenn are trying to reunite with one another. It turns out he stayed behind at the Prison to try to find her, while she chased after the bus to try to find him. They’re apart but at least in safe keeping, with Maggie having Sasha and Bob at her back and Glenn, though unconscious when we last see him, at least having Tara with him and the new maybe-allies of Abraham, Rosita and Eugene.
In all likelihood, next week’s episode won’t pick up where “Inmates” left off. And maybe that’s a good thing. “The Walking Dead” has managed to be unpredictable in Season 4 and yet arrive at fans’ desired end thus far, so we’re just going to sit back and enjoy the ride as it heads towards the season’s finale