Before this recap delves into how wonderful Hershel was during this entire episode, it would be remiss to not mention the big reveal at the end of “The Walking Dead” Season 4 episode 5, “Internment.” The Governor is back — and not only back, but close — meaning he has been likely keeping an eye on the Prison since his departure at the end of Season 3.
If he wants to catch Rick and his survivors at their most vulnerable, now would be the perfect time. The Prison’s numbers are weakened severely due to the many deaths caused by the virus outbreak, and though Daryl & Co. came back with enough time to save many of the infected, people like Glenn and Sasha are still recovering. Add that to the fact a huge pack of walkers ripped a hole through the Prison’s defenses (did Rick ever patch that up, by the way?) and the Prison is just waiting to be taken.
As tends to happen in “The Walking Dead,” things will likely go from bad to worse this season. Hopefully episode 6 is that flashback episode that was being talked about and will explain what the Governor has been up to all Season 4. It still hasn’t been confirmed that he has someone who infiltrated the Prison on his behalf, but the person who was feeding rats to the walkers also hasn’t been revealed. Could the Governor have been monitoring the Prison all along? After all, he is seen standing right outside of its defenses in the final moment of this episode, meaning he must not have traveled that far away.
But back to Hershel. Considering he started as being one of “The Walking Dead’s” most annoying characters back in Season 2, Hershel has undergone a transformation as radical and wonderful as Carol. “Internment” showed that “The Walking Dead’s” heroes don’t need to have a penchant for violence — or two legs — to show the best of humanity. Not only did Hershel risk his life to treat those infected with the virus, but he also did everything he possibly could to keep them alive for as long as possible. As Rick told him, it was Hershel’s strength that likely kept the sick survivors going as long as they did.
Many people died in the Prison during this virus outbreak, but at least it seems to have been tamed. Bob Stookey created an antidote that helped Sasha, Glenn and the rest of the sick members of the group head towards recovery. But Rick has to know by now they can’t stay at the Prison much longer. Since Rick is back to making hard decisions now, hopefully he tells his group that they need to up and move to someplace safer well before the Governor decides to make his attack. Then again, where’s the fun in that?
As for episode 4’s big finale, Rick got a surprising amount of support from the members of his group after he told them he sent Carol away. Maggie said that Rick made the right call, and Hershel seemed to have taken it in stride. But Daryl still hasn’t heard the bad news, though he knows that something is up. It seems doubtful that he will take the news as well as Hershel and Maggie did. And will Tyreese take Rick’s dismissal of Carol as a suitable punishment? That also doesn’t seem likely.
“The Walking Dead” airs Sundays on AMC at 9 p.m. ET.