TV RECAP: ‘The Walking Dead’ Episode 409 : ‘After’

Walking Dead 409 Pic

One (and maybe the only) complaint I hear a lot about The Walking Dead is that it’s too boring and nothing ever happens. For the most part, I disagree with those assessments. Not this time though. This was a whole hour of nothing.

I was very tempted to just write a two or three sentence recap and just leave it at that, but I doubt that would drive readership. I’ll throw it in at the end for fun. The episode starts by showing the aftermath of the war between The Governor’s team and Rick’s. Basically only zombies remain, and the jail is on fire.

Michonne emerges from the woods and kills some zombies, before she turns two into slaves, much the same as she had when we first met her. She also finds Herschel’s decapitated head, which has turned. She stabs it, and is visibly upset.

She finds some footprints in the mud, but does not follow them. She chooses to go back into the woods. A flashback (as I thought, though it turned out to be a dream) is shown of Michonne in happier times. She is a sophisticated, wine drinking, museum going woman. She has a lover and a son. Slowly her dream changes, and her lover becomes a zombie, and her son disappears. Michonne awakes suddenly in the car she had fallen asleep in.

Back on the move, Michonne has integrated herself in a group of walker, using her zombie slaves as camouflage. She keeps looking at one (maybe a few) of the walkers as though she may know them. Michonne snaps and kills the walker she may have known, and ends up killing every walker around her, including her slaves. She goes back to the main road, and decides to now follow the footprints she ignored the first time.

The bulk of this episode was some kind of pissing match between Rick and Carl. Carl is determined to do things on his own and his way, and Rick is determined to protect Carl and tell him what to do. It starts out with me thinking they are both being stupid and petty and lame, but there comes a point where Carl is being, well I don’t know if I can actually say the words I wrote in my notes, but one of them ends with hole.

They were basically fighting on every aspect of every thing, how to clear a room, how to ration food, anything they could argue about, they did. Rick ended up being hurt pretty bad during the fight, and has some badly injured ribs. He is breathing really heavy, and doesn’t wake up in the morning. Carl tries to wake him up, but then some walkers try to get into the house.

Carl goes outside and draws the walkers away from the house, but is surprised by a third walker he did not see. Somehow, even after falling down (the cliché of every horror movie ever), he manages to kill all three zombies. They fall on top of him, and throws up once he finally gets out from under them. He wants to do everything himself, but then he pukes when he gets near a zombie.

When Carl comes back, he goes off on this incredibly hurtful diatribe towards and unconscious Rick. He blames Rick for all the people who have died, and tells Rick he doesn’t need him anymore. He tells Rick he is nothing (while crying like the little boy he actually is) and says he’d be fine if Rick died. Some pretty heavy stuff, yet Carl chose to say it all to Rick when he was potentially already dead and probably couldn’t even hear him. Real tough guy this Carl is.

Carl goes off on his own to forage for food.  He tries to bust down the front door, and the door doesn’t even budge. He ends up breaking in, and finding some food.  While clearing the upstairs, he unleashes a walker. After some frantic close calls, Carl is able to lock the walker in a different room, losing his shoe in the process. Carl takes some chalk and writes on the door “walker inside, got my shoe, didn’t get me.” Then he sits on the roof of the house eating the biggest, oldest, can of pudding I’ve ever seen in my life. It looked like a war ration.

Carl is back in the house with Rick when Rick finally wakes up. He is wheezing and gasping, so Carl thinks he is a zombie. He can’t bring himself to shoot Rick, and tells him to just get it over with. Rick is actually alive, and tells Carl to stay safe. Now Carl is scared, and I literally wrote in my notes, “Is Rick dying or not?”

It turns out Rick is not dying, and seems to be doing better. He and Carl talk, and they seem to be getting along better now. I guess telling your dad you wouldn’t care if he died, while he is unconscious and possibly dying, really takes a load off you chest. Carl confesses that he ate some of the food he found, 112 ounces of pudding. That was the one positive Carl moment of the whole episode. Rick apologizes to Carl that he won’t be able to get things back to the way they used to be.  Carl tells Rick he doesn’t have to be sorry, and I called B.S. on that one.

Michonne is still wandering the streets, and stumbles upon the giant pudding can. She looks into the house and sees Rick and Carl sitting inside, and starts crying.  She’s cried a lot this episode. We all knew she was a “fake” tough girl, but I didn’t think all of her emotion would be in one episode. But it makes sense in a way, because she was by herself. Michonne knocks on the door, and Rick looks through the peephole, telling Carl it’s for him.

So on second glance, there may have been a bit to talk about. But the episode can be summed up in just a few sentences. Michonne used to have a life. Carl is trying to be a man, while still clearly a child. Rick almost dies then doesn’t. Michonne finds Rick and Carl. And something something zombies.

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