The tone of the episode is set with the weariness that was apparent on Hershel’s face – and on all of the faces. Those put in quarantine are struggling to stay alive, with little energy left to fight of the walkers we know will soon be coming, as more of them start to die. Hershel talks about “jobs,” how they all have him. Lizzie’s is to read Tom Sawyer - a story of a simpler life from a better time - and to get away from the violence Hershel is trying to shield her from. His is to continue to try to heal people and save everyone he can.
Hershel doesn’t want the others to see as walkers are put down. He recites a Steinbeck quote to Rick: "A sad soul can kill quicker than a germ." He continues, "That’s exactly why I didn’t want them all to see what happens. I know they know. But I didn’t want them to see it right now." Rick tells Hershel, "They’re seeing you. They see you keep going. Even after all of the choices keep getting taken away." Hershel is the strength that people are holding on to.
Hershel and CalebThe dialogue between Hershel and Caleb ties in with Carol’s banishment last week. Caleb’s point is that not everyone gets to live, and by saving one, you lose them all. He tells Hershel that he needs to focus on the ones who can make it. This mirrors Rick’s assessment that banishing Carol was for the good of the group. But as we see, Hershel is not someone who will give up on anyone.
In the prison, Rick tells Hershel about Carol. We don’t get to see his immediate reaction, but he looks shaken afterward. I wonder if Hershel, and his unwavering dedication to not losing anyone, will be the one to bring Carol back – not just from exile, but from losing her humanity.
Parents and Their ChildrenThe show also nicely draws parallels between two sets of parents and their children, and how those parents who once held strong to wanting to shelter their children, are now ready to let go of that. Hershel wants to shelter Maggie and tries to protect her against not only from the virus, but from the truth of Glenn’s condition. But Maggie eventually breaks into the quarantined area when she hears gunshots. The two of them work as a team to help bring order back to area.
Outside, Rick, who just a few episodes ago didn’t want Carl exposed to guns, is now instructing Carl on the guns, as he and Carl work as a team to keep out the walkers. Their conversation applies to both to Rick/Carl as well as Hershel/Maggie:
Carl: “Dad, you can’t keep me from it.
Rick: “From what?”
Carl: “ From what always happens.“
Rick: “Yeah. Maybe. But I think it’s my job to try.”
Other Thoughts:- Great quotes - Hershel: “I still think there’s a plan. I still believe there’s a reason.” Rick: “You think it’s all a test?” Hershel: “Life was always a test, Rick.”
- Daryl: “You’re a tough son of bitch.” Hershel: “I am.”
- Poor Lizzie still hasn’t accepted that walkers aren’t pets. She tries to lure one like a dog and later says she thought he would listen.
- Along with the incredible emotional tension throughout the episode, the pace of the suspense evenly flowed through the mid-part of the episode. I don’t know about you, but I was on the edge of my seat for a good part of it.
- What did you think about seeing the Governor at the end? Are you ready for his return? To be honest, like many I’ve been assuming since last season’s finale that he’d be back, but I’m so wrapped up with what’s happening now – with the changes since Woodbury – that I was a little disappointed to see him so soon. I’m not ready for him to come back yet.