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The Walking Dead – Episode 4.09 – After – Review : Alone/Together

   Last night, The Walking Dead reprised its fourth season after the winter break, titled “After”, which mostly dealt with the aftermath of the prison’s attack. I’ve been waited for a couple of months and I was not disappointed. I expect some people to have problem with this episode because yes, it was slow but it was well written, realistic and there were major characters development.
   The episode was focused on Michonne, Rick and Carl and what happened to them after the Governor attacked their prison. They are alone, lost in the country. It kinda felt like season 1 when the characters had no real shelter and surviving was the main focus. I really enjoyed that atmosphere.

   In ‘After”, we followed how Michonne and Rick and Carl survived on their own after the attack. Michonne was alone, as she used to be and soon got back to her old habits but after waiting one season and a half, we finally got a Michonne’s flashback ! It shed some light on her past and explained her present attitude.
   Whereas, Rick and Carl argued a lot, trying to cope with the loss of Judith and the comfort they had in the prison. It was very interesting to explore their father and son relationship, in this zombie world and right after the Governor’s attack.
   So, let’s review what went down in “After” !

   We picked up Michonne right after the attack, the prison was still smoky and infested with walkers. Michonne looked for her people but found no one.
   When she realized she was on her own again, she took a new couple of pets for her protection. I’ve missed watching Michonne walking with her two chained walkers by her side. She is so bad ass.
   Michonne found Hershel’s head, which turned into a zombie head. Michonne put him out of his misery, Hershel is definitely gone. Good bye Doctor !

   Michonne and her pets moved from the prison into the woods, where Michonne found tracks and so she went directly into the woods. I like watching Michonne alone, surviving. Danai Gurira is really powerful even without dialogue.
   Finally, Michonne had a flashback ! It was a dream, but still, it shed so much light on her character I was absolutely thrilled ! So, we watched Michonne, and her lover Mike, accompanied by a friend or her brother (?), talking and discussing first art, then about what to do next. It must have occurred some times after the first walker attack. As Michonne is well experiences with swords, she wanted to survive and fight the walkers. Mike seemed more careful.

   The big revelation came when a 3 years old baby boy arrived. Michonne had a son ! That explained her crying over baby Judith some weeks ago, she missed her own child. It must have been hard to lose her family and survive alone, and after finding a new family at the prison, she lost it again.
   Mike asked Michonne why, I guess why did she want to go outside and survive on her own ? Why not going to the camp and be with people rather be alone ? And then, Mike and his friends turned into Michonne’s pets. Do we have to assume they were the first pets she had ? I don’t think she’d have done that to her lover. That’d be cruel or sweet because they were always with her ?
   Michonne woke up from her dream and it really had affected her. She talked to Mike, telling how she missed him, even when she was with him. He did not believe in Michonne, maybe he didn’t think she was capable of surviving and protecting them but clearly the girl was. Mike chose to go to a camp, with their son and they are both dead now. Poor Michonne….

And she finally got the answer to his question, she knows why but we don’t. Michonne is very secretive, she could have talked more, even to herself. I’m not sure what is the answer. Why does she choose to survive alone ? Because being in a group is dangerous, like what happened at the prison. Maybe that’s why Michonne didn’t want to go to the camp, there’s always conflict when people live together. Maybe that's why she first didn't follow the tracks in the mud and then finally, she decided to follow them, so she won't be all alone.
   Anyways, at the end, Michonne some an empty can of chocolate pudding and came to the house next door. When she watched through the windows, she smiled and then…

   First, let’s follow Rick and Carl’ story.
   Rick and Carl had no choice but to walk into the forest, as Rick was pretty weakened by the fight against Philip, he didn’t walk much fast and Carl was pretty angry. They argued about everything. They first got into a house, Carl wanted to help with father clear the house, Rick refused then of course he let him do.
   Rick still wanted to play the father figure, but in his state, he was in no condition to fight. They encountered a walker and when Rick face difficulties killing him with his axe, Carl put a bullet in his head. That made Rick angry, as he cleverly stated every bullets count.
   Rick and his son then moved to another house, and they kept arguing on everything. Carl even made a Shane reference, it was the right thing to say to make Rick mad. Carl was very angry at his dad for letting the prison’s attack happened and not being able to protect Judith, and their people and their prison. His reaction was quite childish. Carl should be angry at the Governor for attacking them, but as he’s dead, and maybe because Rick is the only one with him, Carl had to express his anger on someone.

   After spending the night, Carl made his breakfast. It was good to watch him acting like a normal child, it must have felt good for him too. But when he tried to wake up with dad, the reality he’s living in came back : two walkers were at the door. Carl decided to lure them away, it was a good plan, but he soon found out surviving alone can be very dangerous.
   As he lured the walkers away, he didn’t see the one behind him and got attacked. I was a bit scared for him, I know it’s Carl and he’s kinda safe, the writers wouldn’t kill him like that.. But it’s The Walking Dead, and that could actually happen. Luckily, the boy managed himself and killed the three walkers, with his gun. His dad was right about saving bullets.

   Carl came back to his new shelter with his father still sleeping. The fight against the walkers made Carl even angrier. After winning the fight, he saw himself as a hero :  he saved his father, he killed the walkers. Carl felt like he doesn’t need his dad anymore because he’s not the leader you used to be… Or at least the leader he wanted him to be.
   Rick wasn’t able to protect their family, their group, their shelter. He’s nothing now. Carl was very harsh on his dad but it’s understandable, he is young and surviving in a world like that must be awful. He lost his mom, his sister and his friends. And Rick showed signs of weakness and distanced himself from the group after losing his mind over Lori’s death, that didn't help his son. Carl needed to say those things aloud, even if his father were passed out it was important for him. Since season 2, Carl wanted to grow faster than his dad wished it. It has been a huge struggle for their relationship.

   Carl decided to go away one more time, alone. He visited a house to find food. Carl wanted to prove his dad he could survive on his own and he was a man now.
   But, inside the house, Carl was attacked by a walker one more time and this time against I got scared. Even more scared than the first attack. The walker almost got his leg and bit him, stupid Carl. He missed shooting him in the head, but managed to lock him in a room. And after that, he ate all the chocolate pudding on the roof. You’re still a kid, Carl.... And it was disgusting.

   Carl came back at night to find his father breathing heavily. Did Rick turn into a zombie ? That’d have been crazy ! Carl was so frightened, he tried to shot his dad but finally realized he couldn’t, the boy already shot his mother, he can’t kill both parents. It was really touching watching Carl realized he was still a kid in a way and couldn't kill his dad. He still needs him.
   Of course, Rick was just getting out of sleep. He looked better, guess sleep cure his injuries. Rick finally talked to his son and was honest. Even though Carl is young, and sometimes immature, he is now a man because of everything he went through, the boy showed strengths and abilities to survive. He can’t survive alone, but he’ll always have his dad… for now.
   Rick’ speech was great and it was the right thing to reconnect with his son. Their relationship is one of the most important of the show, and the writers are really dedicating to it. The struggles between dad and son are well written, and even if this means the episode was a bit slow, still it was very interesting. Rick and Carl may be better now, they realized they need each other and they are both valuable.

   And after that sweet familial reunion, someone knocked at their door, when Rick saw who it was, he just told Carl it was for him ! Michonne found them ?
   I’m pretty sure she did, but still they haven’t shown them getting reunited so maybe there’s a catch. What if Carol is hiding somewhere in those houses too ? Sure, the empty can is a good indication Michonne found Rick and Carl. We’ll see next week !

   “After” was a great installment of The Walking Dead. Loneliness was the main theme of the episode and I enjoyed watching Michonne surviving on her own and on the other hand, Rick and Carl on their own. Michonne is a strong character, used to be alone and still she cried over her lost family and Carl wanted to be strong and acted as a man but he cried when he realized he couldn't kill his dad.
   Family was also important part of the episode, Michonne feeling her lost connection to it while Rick and Carl were getting reunited as a family. This time alone was hard on them, but it made them stronger and better. I’m sure now they will kick ass !
   I was particularly fond of Michonne’ story this week. She deserved a flashback since last season, so I’m glad to know her better and I hope we’ll see another one before the season ends.
   I’m sure some of you were disappointed by the pace of the episode. After last episode, where everything went crazy after the first 20minutes, “After” was a big change. Honestly, I didn’t mind at all the fact it was a slow episode. For me, it was one of the best episodes of the season. A lot happened, Michonne’s past was explored, Rick and Carl reconnected. It’s really the heart of the show. The whole idea of the show is to explore what happened afterwards, what happened next.
   Last time, we watched the prison going down, people getting killed and people surviving but forced to leave their comfort. What happens next ? I guess it’s going to be the focus on season 4B. The characters had their shelter and were trying to create a new society, now they’re back to beginning, living in small groups, surrounded by danger, surviving. They’re vulnerable, and it’s far more interesting for the show.

Zombies notes :

• Was Michonne at the door ? Or do you think there is a twist coming up ?
• Where are Glenn, Maggie, Tyreese, Beth, the kids ? Guess we’ll see some of them next week !
• Carol !When will you be back ??
• Walker with maggots in the head.. How disgusting. I'd vomit too.

   Did you enjoy the episode or did you miss some action ? Tell me what you think of “After” ! Hit the comments !

About the Author - Romain Ossust
I'm 27 from France, living near Paris. I love a lot of TV shows, (this is a non exhaustive list) : Orphan Black, True Blood, Dexter, Weeds, Person of Interest, Criminal Minds, 24, Ab Fab, Carnivale, Lost, The Americans, American Horror Story, Once Upon A Time, Desperate Housewives, Glee, Ugly Betty, Scandal, Looking, Sleepy Hollow, The Walking Dead, Raising Hope, Orange is the New Black, Grey’s Anatomy, HIMYM, Girls, ...
For SpoilerTV, I'm reviewing The Walking Dead, American Horror Story, Looking, Criminal Minds, The Americans, True Blood & Orphan Black
Otherwise, I’m also very fond of cats, I own 6 of them. I work as an administrative assistant, in one of the greatest place to work in France. I also enjoy sunbathing, reading and having fun ; and I hate doing sports :) 

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