Rick makes sure Carl and Judith are okay, visiting the kids' quarantine. Carl urges Rick that he can't shield him from the world and its horrors. Rick replies, "Yeah, maybe, but it's my job to try."I think my fascination with Crazy Carl is a transference of thoughts on Todd from Breaking Bad onto Carl. I'm fascinated by how he may develop into a heartless killer whereas that is Rick's greatest fear.
Not only does Rick fear what Carol is capable of doing to Carl and Judith if they were ever deemed "threats" to the group as Karen and David were, he also fears Carl becoming like Carol. He sees that capacity in him, as Carl is not shy to declare how using his gun, using deadly force is sometimes necessary. Thus, instead of helping to pick Walkers, Carl is tasked with passing out fruit leathers to the other kids and reminding them to brush their teeth. (Who knew fruit leathers are natural Fruit Roll-Ups? Obviously many millions of people not including me.)
Back inside A block, Hershel checks on Dr. S a.k.a. Caleb a.k.a. the worst patient ever. But Caleb has been doing more than coughing in people's faces, having prepared more IV bags. He's in the end stage of the virus and knows it, charging Hershel to ensure the cell gates are closed and to focus on those who can make it rather than lost causes like himself.
Just as Hershel winds down his latest round of check-ups, an unnamed infected man stumbles out of his cell, collapses onto the ground, convulses, and dies in front of the entire block. (Have people forgotten how to cough properly? I mean, really. I would say get it together, but he's dead.) Surrounded by dozens of infected people, Hershel looks like a warden who is on the brink of losing control of his prison. But this time when the inmates rebel, they don't want to beat him and escape, they want to eat his brainz. Faced with the one thing he wanted to avoid doing, Sasha intervenes and helps Hershel move the body onto the gurney.
A crucial yet ultimately secondary character, Hershel receives his own musical theme -- Ben Howard's "Oats in the Water." He is most definitely this episode's MVP, perhaps the MVP of the entire flu virus arc from "Infected" through "Isolation," "Indifference," and now "Internment." Rick meets Hershel at the glass barrier in a powwow on the meaning of life that plays beautifully but seems highly unrealistic given the grave immediate concerns they should be taking care of instead.
Hershel sums up his fears for the fate of the infected in a quote from Steinbeck's travelogue Travels With Charley: In Search of America: "A sad soul can killer quicker than a germ." Rick assures Hershel that the people in A block see him working so hard to care for them. It's a touching moment between them even if it recalls the main term of endearment in Avatar. Hershel finds hope for himself in the firm belief that there is a plan, a reason for why they must live through a Zombiepocalypse. His resolve is comforting but knowing that the flu virus arc was inspired by Camus' The Plague, the reality that there is such a plan is suspect. (We all know this isn't going to end in the style of Lost.) Nevertheless, in a world where zombies roam the Earth, hope is not the most absurd concept there is.
NEXT: Hershel to the rescue! Maggie to the rescue! Lizzie to the rescue?