This week’s The Walking Dead brought us a grim episode that raised more questions than it answered, and then pushed them aside at the end by bringing back the Governor.

We also saw the best performances (thus far) of the new season.

Title: “Internment”

Cast and Crew

Directed by David Boyd
Written by Channing Powell

Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes
Scott Wilson as Herschel Greene
Lauren Cohan as Maggie Greene
Steven Yeun as Glenn Rhee
Danai Gurira as Michonne
Norman Reedus as Darryl Dixon
Chad Coleman as Chase Tyreese
Larry Gilliard, Jr. as Bob Stookey
Emily Kinney as Beth Greene
Chandler Riggs as Carl Grimes
Sonnequa Martin as Sasha Tyreese
Sunkrish Bala as Dr. Caleb Subramanian
Victor McKay as Ryan Samuels
Brighton Sharbino as Lizzie Samuels
Kyla Kennedy White as Mika Samuels

Additional cast and crew information may be found here.

Premise

Hershel tries to save as many people as possible from disease while Rick tries to keep the fence upright. Many things go wrong.

The scavenger party returns with supplies and some as-yet unanswered questions.

High Point

I have two views of this episode. The best one: “Internment” presents a man like Hershel who literally keeps the faith and acts on his best human qualities while the world falls to pieces. We have some riveting studies of characters under pressure here, and the actors meet the challenge.

Low Point

I know the survivors fear that noise will attract more Walkers but, honestly, why did they wait so long to go for the big guns (I have some questions about the storage of those, as well, but I’ll put them aside for now)? They could even have used the apparently-plentiful gasoline. They knew trouble was brewing on a serious scale, and the current horde of Walkers needed to be put down.

Interestingly enough, when they finally use the big guns, they appear to attract no more zombie attention.

The Scores

Originality: 4/6 “Come on, boy…”

Effects: 6/6 Yeah, they do dark shadows and crumbling make-up very well.

Story: 4/6 I contemplated the High and Low points and the score settled at four. “Internment” gives us a suspenseful story, but certain things beg for explanation.

Acting: 6/6 Hershel rose to the challenge this week, and Scott Wilson met the challenge of playing Hershel. Lauren Cohan gave us Maggie worn yet determined, while young Brighton Sharbino gave us a Lizzie who was at turns effective, child-like, strong, frightened, and creepy.

Glenn survives ; the Woodbury residents wear red shirts.

Emotional Response: 5/6

Production: 6/6

Overall: 5/6

This episode can be viewed in another light, other than the one I address under “High Points.”
Zombies and the Zombie Apocalypse can mean many things, touching on our fears of death, decay, and the Other/Outsiders. They may be culturally prominent in part because death and destruction play so large a role in the daily news We’re not dying or being destroyed at any greater rate than in the past; for most humans, things have improved. But we see it right away, in bold color. We also have fears about the aging population and our decaying infrastructure, and they’re never far away from the modern zombie story.

This episode brings us into the survivalist fantasy elements of the genre, and I’m not certain the approach always serves the episode or its audience. I love the show; I ponder the possible effects of bunker-culture and corpse-desecration as weekly entertainment.

In total, “Internment” receives 36/42

Lingering Questions

As though responding to some questions I raised last week and someone else addressed in a far more interesting and thorough manner elsewhere, this week showed dogs feasting on the corpse of a walker. The fact merely calls attention to the problem: why does nature have so little interaction with and effect upon the walking dead?

And (issues of feeding nothwithstanding) why have our core group’s only domesticated animals been Rick’s horse in the first season and some pigs? A society storing grain would want cats, which are not in short supply. Dogs could be trained to attack Walkers, who would have minimal defense against fast-moving predators. I know the show has to stay within budget, but these seem like omissions, given that they have settled for a spell.