The Walking Dead Watch: “Infected”

The burgeoning community faces a new threat — and it's more deadly than they ever imagined

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Gene Page/AMC

In TV, there are some “cold opens” that signal a shift in a show’s direction or tone or character. We saw that last week with the first minute of The Walking Dead’s season 4 premiere. We met farmer Rick and saw his ambivalence when he found a pistol buried in the ground. This opening scene presaged a major shift in two ways: (1) that post-Governor life in the prison had become so tranquil that lawman Rick could contemplate a semblance of order to his makeshift farm, and (2) that years of leading people fighting for survival had taken such a toll on a once-fearless warrior that he had gone the extra step to renounce weapons in hopes he could give his son a more normal existence.

The cold open from this season’s second episode, “Infected,” falls into another category: the mystery set-up, a scene that show us just enough to know thing are going to be really bad. The tight shot of a live rat illuminated only by flashlight, being fed through the fence to a waiting walker tells us we have a saboteur. Who is this person? And for what reasons could he or she even have for these actions?

“Infected” doesn’t answer those questions. The enemy-within plot is one that will play out over more episodes. But we did see the disastrous effects of those actions when a zombie horde nearly breached the outer wall of the prison. In a smart, and devastating, moment of cunning, Rick managed to lure the horde away by sacrificing the livestock he’s worked to cultivate. But more on that in a minute, first we have to address the emergence of the “woggers.”

The second part of last night’s opener played out through the classic horror-movie technique that goes something like this: the bad things you see are really bad; the bad things you don’t see—but that you know are there—are terrifying. Steven Spielberg used camera shots over and through dark water to create some of the scariest scenes in JawsThe times we didn’t see the shark were far more frightening than the scenes where we did. As we followed Karen through the shower room, we knew that the zombie Patrick was in there somewhere. The tension mounted as she heard something and pulled aside a shower curtain to find nothing there (okay, that was kind of cliché, but it still worked pretty well).

But there was something there, and zombie Patrick almost chose Karen’s room before moving on to attack someone else, a nameless newcomer who was sacrificed to the zombie gods (because he happened to snore.) There seemed to be something different about zombie Patrick—how quickly he moved, how he attacked his first victim by biting him in the throat so he couldn’t scream—that suggests he’s no ordinary walker. For now, until we can come up with a more scientific name (please suggest some below), I’m calling this new breed of zombies the woggers: they’re faster than walkers, but they don’t quite jog; they move at a walk-jog—a “wog.” We saw from Patrick’s first victim that they look a little different, with more brightly colored eyes. After he rose from his bunk (with his guts spilling out all over the floor—a nice gory touch) he was the first zombie other than Patrick to attack people, not just to devour them as victims, but to leave enough intact so they join the wogger ranks in decent fighting shape.

When our group first faced the woggers in cellblock D, all hell broke loose. Woggers were intermingled with civilians; some were bitten and some were fine. They managed to get the security situation under control before turning to the question of how it all happened. Hershel (with a new cast member who seems to be a doctor), correctly traced the epidemic back to Patrick and realized he died of some kind of infection. Where did it come from? How did it spread? Does it create a new, more lethal version of zombie? To quote my favorite movie, The Big Lebowski, “Well, Dude, we just don’t know.”

And we probably won’t find out for some time. The infection narrative looks like it’s going to be a long play, and we didn’t get many clues from the closing scene. Poor Tyrese, just trying to bring his girlfriend flowers finds carnage and a blood trail through the bowels of the prison. He finds Karen’s charred body in a back courtyard, identifying her by her bracelet. Did she turn into a zombie just by being exposed to the disease? Who made the call to have her body burned? We’ll need to wait another long week to find out.

Karen (Melissa Ponzio) - The Walking Dead _ Season 4, Episode 2 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Gene Page/AMC

And now for a hail of bullets:

Zombie Kill Report: Dozens upon dozens, again boosted by the exterminations along the fence line. The fight in cell block D was sufficiently bloody with a smashing head stomp and plenty of walkers dispatched by Daryl’s crossbow. We even see Rick get back in the action with a very small pocket knife.

The Return of the King: Speaking of Rick, our fearless leader is back. But it wasn’t a pleasant journey. When the zombie horde nearly overruns a section of the fence, he quickly realizes they can’t kill their way out of the situation. The scene in which he sacrifices his pigs is powerful, not because we care about pigs, but because of the intense emotions that play across Andrew Lincoln’s face. Particularly devastating is his expression when he slices open the runt of the litter—we see the death of Rick’s dream of a tranquil life. In the end, he puts back on the gun, ready to roll into battle once more.

Michonne’s Tender Side: Before the season started, we said we wanted to see more character development out of Michonne. We got, through a few jokes, a little bit of that last week—in episode 2, we see a whole new side of the show’s greatest warrior. When Beth hands baby Judith to Michonne to hold for a second, Michonne breaks down. Earlier, Beth had asked why there was a name for someone who loses a husband (widow) or a child who loses his parents (orphan), but no name for someone who loses a child. We didn’t need to be told that Michonne once had a child that she lost. The scene—and a great performance by Danai Gurira—says it all.

And Carol’s Dark Side: I don’t know whether I’m impressed or worried about Carol, but I am surprised. Teaching kids to use knives in self-defense is one thing; encouraging a little girl to stab her father in the head before he turns into a zombie is quite another. Have the years of survival and struggle forced Carol to abandon her humanity to this degree? It seems a bit sudden, and she backtracks somewhat at episode’s end when she put a flower behind Lizzie’s ear. Maybe that’s the last we’ve seen of stone cold Carol—and, if so, then good riddance. Carol has more than proven her toughness and strength over the years, and she doesn’t need to act like a hardass who’s completely devoid of all feelings. There’s enough nastiness in The Walking Dead universe; let Carol be one of the good ones.

What did you think of last night’s episode? Are the new zombies really Woggers, or was I accidentally watching the episode at a higher speed? Weigh in below.

 

59 comments
JenniferMac
JenniferMac

You really have to take things into idea when you talk about the little girls who loves that Nick walker. You have no idea what she was before the apocalypses. Lots of little girls have a huge heart; instead of monsters, she sees them as sick people. Techically, they are still alive. She's just confused. Probably what she's thinking is, if the walkers are just sick, why are we killing them for something they can't help? Her intention was right when she wanted to be the one to put down her father. Carl did it too! They're only what? 2 or 3 years apart? Is it wrong to be mature? If she can't even see a walker be put down, you think she's gonna go and kill regular people with Carol's knife?

nellydesign
nellydesign

It's obvious to me that Karen and another flu infected person were executed and burned.  They didn't die of natural causes.  The bloody drag marks tell me that someone came in, killed them, dragged their bodies outside and burned them.  Someone who fears the flu so much that they don't want to risk having infected people around, even in isolation.  Something tells me it's the new field medic character that didn't have much to do with this last episode. 

Sparkle
Sparkle

Not sure if anyone else has picked up on the sociopath in waiting, but the little girl who loves zombie Nick and heartily volunteered to stab her dad (before having a moment of humanity) seems pretty messed up. It might be her feeding the zombies rat heads just for a bit of animal torture. Which could turn into more now that she has Carol's knife. Just sayin...

PearlCain
PearlCain

Nope. Karen and the other infected with hemorrhagic fever didn't turn. They were clearly murdered in their sleep, dragged out into the courtyard, and burned for being infected. This was probably done by someone who will do *anything* to keep the group safe, even murder. The irony is that the murderer didn't even wait to see if their immune systems would battle the disease and win. Viral Hemorrhagic fever has a 50-90% mortality rate so they *may* have lived.

Elyzabeth
Elyzabeth

There have been other instances of walkers who did not get bitten.  Remember the guy who committed suicide hanging from the tree?  But if you want a special name for the ones who dies of the flu, call them Fluckers.

ZombieDave
ZombieDave

Just saw this episode and makes the season more interesting. However, to me, it seems the medic guy is likely using the rats to poison the water supply. Get the walker to bite, then take one in and drop it in. I would bet the medic guy is from the Gov;nor -- and the Gov'nor is leading hordes to the prison. Kill within, kill from the outside. My thoughts, we'll see if the clues add up next episode.


zombiegan2
zombiegan2

Its so stupid they killed the ZOMBIE SLAYING guy at the fence named DAVID. we did not even get to know him!  That was stupid he is all of sudden burned when we did not see him get detained or any in the second episode. THIS IS ODD

JoeMiller1
JoeMiller1

I'll take a stab at why the infected walkers are "different." The appearance is just different contacts.  They are trying to show the hemorrhagic nature of the illness by making them "bleed" from their eyes.  They are faster because they weren't bit and their bodies aren't all torn up.  The muscles pretty much all work they way they were made to. This makes them as fast and agile as the walker virus allows them to be. 

nmbr1tink13
nmbr1tink13

I think that Carol is just having a hard time. All these girls/kids around reminding her of Sophia. She doesn't to see these kids suffer that same fate as her daughter. It may seem like she's going over board but I think I understand where she is coming from. It is the world they live in, they don't have the luxury of letting their children just be kids. It's hard for me to imagine letting my 7 and 9 yr old boys and my 11 yr old daughter learn how to kill a zombie, but I think I would choose knowing my kids knew how to defend themselves over wanting them to be kids a while longer. However I do think that asking a child to kill her own father, specially when she was close enough to do it for her is a bit extreme. Yes there's a chance the child might be faced with something like this when there isn't anyone else there to do it for her. But it isn't something she should be forced to be faced with when there is someone else to do it for her. I'm actually kind of surprised that she is hiding it from Rick. I don't know that Rick would be totally against it. He might be at first but I think after he thought about it he might be for it. After all he did teach is son to defend himself. I can't imagine that they would be so set on always being safe there, they all have to know that it can't be like that forever. Eventually something bad was bound to happen. 

Mr.Wallingford
Mr.Wallingford

Have to say I was disappointed not to see any Zombie Pigs. Had my fingers crossed, but alas...

But seriously, wouldn't this show be even more creepy if there were zombie animals...Zombie deer, rabbits, dogs, pigs, goats, chickens...since it's a fictional world, might as well have fun with it!

muygusto
muygusto

I think this episode is a set up for all the horrifying things to come (as if season 3 did not do enough of that) Maybe they are setting up for alexandria with all the breaches. I believe that is the next place they live but I feel the prison still has a nice story line.

muygusto
muygusto

I wonder when they are going to introduce Abraham because he is supposed to be in season 4


Aidan_Watson
Aidan_Watson

uuuuuh.... you guys might wanna think of a better name for your supposed new style of walkers than a racial slur

elwoodgrobnik
elwoodgrobnik

I don't think Karen turned into a zombie at all. The way I read it, she and another guy (Dave?) were put into quarantine because they were coughing, and somebody bashed their heads in, and dragged their bodies out to the courtyard to burn them. Also, Rick sacrificed the pigs because of the pig that died last week - he suspected they were infected with the flu virus. Swine flu was specifically referred to earlier in the episode.

j.altdorfer
j.altdorfer

One other thing...Rick does indeed strap on his gun again...but he also burns his sherriff's shirt — a move that he thinks about before tossing the shirt in the fire to destroy the pig pen. 

j.altdorfer
j.altdorfer

I think Carol killed and burned the two sick people. She's told the kids they have to kill or be killed. She's also urged Carl not to tell Rick about her knife lessons during story time. As a plot device, Carol as the killer forces the group to deal with a longtime member...do they imprison her in the prison? Do they turn her loose to fend for herself? And how will Daryl react to Carol's punishment? It could create a lot of tension all the way around. 

As for the rat feeder, I think it's the older of the two girls who lost their father. Her little sister tells Carol at one point that the older sister isn't weak, she's "messed up." In real life, a lot of women develop relationships with prisoners on death row, sometimes marrying them and even planning ways to help them escape. She was talking to a walker named Nick outside the prison. It would be a nice twist to see this type of situation be reversed with the woman in prison and the man of her affections on the outside. Also, condemned men in prison are announce as "dead man walking" on the way to their executions. 

On the other  hand, I hope this isn't another red herring plot device like those on The Killing. 

Laur
Laur

Carol was fine with killing the man herself. The little girl asked to do it. Then she couldn't bring herself to do so. Once she put herself in that position I think Carol felt like she needed to try to give the girl some guidance. 

This was a very strong episode, and I appreciate them doing some character-building while still moving the story along. I hope that we will learn more about Tyrese beyond his being upset about dead relatives or loved ones. His character feels superfluous to the show at the moment. 

Andrew Lincoln is such an underrated actor. He sells so much of Rick's pain.

DanielRicherson
DanielRicherson

In the graphic comics, one of the inmates is a psychopath who murdered two of Herschel's children, that were NOT cast in the show, so maybe they're bringing in the fact that a human, a person, is what's behind the burning and the other atrocities to come.  The medic guy is the obvious suspect right now, but he could be a misdirection or diversion to throw us off and they haven't even introduced the culprit yet.    The insane girl is the one feeding the walkers the rats...for sure; wonder if she's schizophrenic or what, but the dad was definitely telling the younger and smaller daughter to watch out for the older, not the other way around, so she is crazy, but not psychopathic like the one who burned and murdered the other two....it'll play out the whole season and we'll get to see some SWEET justice in the end....always a great method to use.... dehumanize and demonize and character to such a depraved state where you want to see terrible things happen to them and then, it finally does....    The House of Batiatus in Spartacus was the BEST example of this ever...  Season 1 Episode 10  Kill Them All..... best episode of a tv show and historically accurate...

bz4630
bz4630

Umm years? Do you even watch the show? The whole course of this show has taken place over the course of 1 year...maybe a few months over but certainly not "years" and woggers?? They don't move any faster than an average walker..walkers can move pretty quickly pretty much to a slow jog if they are chasing prey.

SidewalkJR
SidewalkJR

Let's assume that "Swine Flu" is the culprit here.

Rick sliced a pig, and blood splattered directly into his eyes. He seemed rather distraught once this occured, and his worried nature was magnified once they showed the scene where he took off his shirt and replayed the incident in his head as he examined the bloody clothing article.

Something tells me the writers are foreshadowning on what may ultimately lead to Rick's demise, if not a character change with more significance than his decision to welcome the use of firearms. If anything, I think the writers are facing a serious challenge by having a baby as a cast member, so I'm speculating that Rick's pig blood contamination leads to the death of Judith, if not Rick somewhere down the road.

MrMetacrisis
MrMetacrisis

I cringed when I saw the wogger/wog comment., but that's not the writer's fault. Here in England, 'wog' is a pretty awful racial slur. 

ohlawdy
ohlawdy

For those who haven't season the episode 3 sneak peeks *spoiler alert.* So Sasha is sick in the next episode. She is one of my favorite characters and I'm going to be unhappy if they kill her off. Also, based on the other sneak peek, that is one huge zombie herd approaching. I wonder if they'll find a way to lead it away from the prison. That herd is big enough to tear down the fences and trap them inside.

Also, were Karen and David murdered in episode 2, or did someone just burn their bodies after they'd turned?

itsKimchii
itsKimchii

It could possibly be the army medic guy feeding rats to the walkers (cause he does seem a bit suspicious) but I also think there's someone on the inside working for the governor.. who knows? All those people did come from Woodbury. It could also possibly be one of the little girls feeding rats to the walkers. She did get quite upset over the Walker she named, Nick, rather than the death of her own father.. Since she doesn't know what's dead and what's not dead.

jedomingo.60
jedomingo.60

I had to turn it off when Rick started sacrificing the pigs.  Can't handle animals being slaughtered, but zombies, no problem.  It would have been almost acceptable had he not started naming the pigs in the first place!

nellydesign
nellydesign

@Elyzabeth Yes, others who had not been bitten and turned, but who had other signs of trauma that caused their deaths.  These new ones had no visible signs of death but still died and turned, which led them to believe it is some sort of illness.  Couple with the fact that Patrick had said he was sick.

nellydesign
nellydesign

@ZombieDave OK, but why would he be trying to infect people with something the zombies have?  They all are already infected with a latent zombie virus and when they die they turn, zombie bite or not.  The zombies don't have the flu.  The flu is its own entity, that sickens people so that they die.  And dying leads to turning.  Feeding rats to zombies won't speed up or enhance that process. I think it's the crazy girl who's in love with a zombie named Nick.  As her sister said, she's "messed up".

Anyway, the water supply is already compromised since Patrick went in there and aspirated flu infected blood everywhere.  That's how Karen got sick. 

nmbr1tink13
nmbr1tink13

@Mr.Wallingford I was kinda waiting to see if that would happen too. But it would contradict just about everything that has happened thus far. Sure they could say that the virus has mutated, which they may already be playing that card with the difference in zombies as well. If they said that animals were infected then they wouldn't have anything to eat. Don't think they can really go in that direction without messing up a lot of the story. 

SukeMadiq
SukeMadiq

@Aidan_Watson 

OK, lets just call them Porch Monkies

nmbr1tink13
nmbr1tink13

@Aidan_Watson I'm not sure that most people would have known that if you didn't say something. I certainly didn't know that, I've never heard it. The explanation given above as to why they were calling it that and just the fact that they used it leads me to believe they didn't know that either. There are plenty of words that can be taken several ways. I really don't think it's something to get offended over. If someone is offended then they are looking to be. 

Jhera
Jhera

@j.altdorfer - I thought that too at first, but after re-watching the scene (and as someone else pointed out below) it wasn't the same exact shirt... just one that looked somewhat like it. 

Through the series, Rick has worn shirts that match the original pretty well. As I stated in my earlier comment, I felt like the shirt represented who he was and his burning it was almost as poignant as a knight forced to give up his last piece of armor.

I definitely believe the writers were going for a symbolic comparison...making a comment about Rick giving up one more piece of who he used to be as a sheriff. 

Jhera
Jhera

@j.altdorfer - I like the idea about Carol, but I'm secretly hoping it's not true. I really like her character and she seems to be much more stable than she was in the beginning of the series.

hivemaster
hivemaster

@bz4630 Not sure that one year figure is correct.  I thought I read that there was a gap of like 7 months between S3 and S4, and I know there was another gap of indeterminat length between S2 and S3 where they were on the run before they found the prison.

CeeJayCee
CeeJayCee

@bz4630 It's been about 2 years now. It hit in spring (season 1), it was late summer/very early fall when they left the farm(season 2), there were about 7-8 months between the end of season 2 and beginning of season 3 when they were going from place to place until they found the prison in spring. They clear the prison and fight the governor over the summer months and again there was a 6-7 month time between seasons 3 and 4 we didn't see when they were in the prison and getting the crops started and stragglers coming in, etc., and now it's summer time again in season 4. So it has been just a little over 2 years since the zombie virus took over.

DanielRicherson
DanielRicherson

@bz4630 Maybe he meant years as in the years that we, the audience, have been been watching the show... not the chronology of the actual show

Jhera
Jhera

@SidewalkJR - I agree about the death of Judith. Think how difficult it would be to travel with a crying baby attracting walkers.

MrMetacrisis
MrMetacrisis

@ohlawdy She's contracted for the whole season, so I think she's safe. She's one of my favourite characters, too. I think the actress is very talented and she brings a lot to the role whenever she's on screen. Season four (so far) is shaping up to be an excellent season under Scott Gimple. It feels like he was unhappy with a lot of things last season and is steadily correcting each one of them. 

As for Karen and David, I think they were murdered and burned by someone hiding in the tombs. 

LilyHunter
LilyHunter

I am thinking one of the kids too its def not a grown person just innocent kid that lost someone and thinks the walker are still human is the reasoning behind the rats a grown person would of just stab someone if there were actually trying to kill someone def a kid just saying

Scout19d
Scout19d

@itsKimchii Nah, I'm thinking at least one of the kids were feeding the walkers. It makes sense to me since they were naming them and saying hi to them like they were pets. As for the sick people were killed, I think the medic MAY be responsible for that.

Mr.357
Mr.357

@nmbr1tink13 @Aidan_Watson Not true.  I didn't know it either, but now that I do, I wouldn't dare use it or any variation of it in any type of conversation.  Any sensible person should do the same.

Mr.Wallingford
Mr.Wallingford

@Mr.357 @Aidan_Watson "Wog" is a British derogatory slang word for a non-white person. Also the reason why we refer to web logs as "Blogs" and not "Wogs." 

nellydesign
nellydesign

@Jhera The symbolic thing was that was the shirt he was wearing as a "farmer".  He has to leave that fantasy life behind and face the reality of their current situation.  Hence the burning of the shirt.

JenaBarber
JenaBarber

@Jhera I just thought he burned it because it was gross and covered in blood. The second it sprayed all over him, I just wanted to take it off (and not for the reason I want Daryl to take his shirt off). I don't think any amount of washing would get all that walker/pig blood off him. And if this thing is really airborne, having it all over his shirt isn't just a cosmetic issue. I'm going for the simple explanation on this one. But I might have been wrong once or twice in my life.


j.altdorfer
j.altdorfer

@Jhera @j.altdorfer Carol was suppose to die last season...the actress talked the writers out of it. I don't think that the medics can be behind it...there's no real tension there  unless the core group decides to oust everyone who isn't part of the core. i kept thinking about this and my feeling is that she's making up for letting her daughter be so defenseless and is doing what she can so that no other kid is unprepared. 

Jhera
Jhera

@hivemaster @bz4630 The prisoners in S3 tell Rick that they think they were trapped in the one area of the jail for about 10 months or so. If that's the case, then 10 mongths plus time dealing with Woodbury and the time between 3 and 4. Could be just about two years...

dinkarnold
dinkarnold

@Mr.357 @nmbr1tink13 @Aidan_Watson Whatever buddy, don't get too pc on us now. By that logic we could cut every descriptive word out of our language. Too much arguing over semantics goes nowhere. 

That is not sensible, it is irrational.

Jhera
Jhera

@JenaBarber - He did burn it because it was gross and covered in blood. That's definitely the reason. There's no doubt. 

What I'm saying is that it felt like the writers were going for a symbolic moment. 

Jhera
Jhera

S3, E12. Rick tells the guy in his home town, the one from the first episode of the series, that it has been about a year since the beginning. So, then it's just a matter of figuring out the amount of time from that point until the end of S3 and then the time between S3 and S4.