The Walking Dead recap: Mommie Dearest

The gang enjoys a quiet and uneventful day in their happy new prison home. Actually, no, that's not what happens at all
Ep. 04 | Aired Nov 4, 2012

MELEE SQUAD UNITE Rick, Glenn, and Daryl race to protect their wife, girlfriend, and vaguely maternal semi-crush, respectively.

Gene Page/AMC

My fellow Dead viewers, I led off this recap by saying quite a bit about Lori Grimes. But I would be remiss if I did not offer at least a few kind words for the other cast member who bit the dust last night. Theodore Douglas, alias T-Dog, was probably the least consequential character on The Walking Dead, unless you count Hershel's myriad anonymous children. He had no backstory and no truly discernible character traits. Before he spoke out in favor of the inmates in last night's episode, you practically had to go all the way back to the season 2 premiere to find a moment when he wasn't just lingering in the background. (Remember? He got hurt, went crazy, and then stopped being crazy.) A cynic would point out that the only black character on the show never got to say anything. When I talked to showrunner Glen Mazzara at the end of last season, he flat-out admitted that the character had gotten short shrift, and noted: "There is a plan for T-Dog."

Boy, was there. T-Dog, zombie-juice coursing through his veins, told Carol that the good lord had put him on earth for the purpose of leading her to safety. He led her through the tunnels...and ran right into a couple zombies. T-Dog nobly threw himself into the walkers, nobly told Carol to run, and then nobly got completely munched alive. If you're like me, and you get a sick thrill out of seeing extraneous characters get murdered in the worst way possible, then this was the episode's first stunner moment: A harsh goodbye to one of the show's founding cast members.

Rick and the Melee Squad found their way to the back-up generator room. Suddenly, Rick was assaulted by an extremely unexpected newcomer: Andrew, the prisoner who Rick left to die in a zombie yard after the great Episode 2 Walker Purge. Andrew and Rick wrestled. Rick's gun fell...and landed right at Oscar's feet. Andrew told him to kill Rick: They could take back the prison themselves. Oscar thought it over, and then shot Andrew in the head. Then, in a moment which immediately made Oscar one of the ten coolest characters on Walking Dead, he did an awesome gun-twirl right out of a spaghetti western and handed Rick his gun back.

Things were going much, much worse for Maggie, Lori, and Carl. Lori was giving birth, and Maggie has to serve as a fourth-string midwife. (Carl, meanwhile, was the replacement nurse.) Something was wrong; there was too much blood. Lori knew the score. She pulled up her shirt, showed Maggie her old C-section scar, and said: "You're going to have to cut me open." Carl had a knife. "My baby has to survive," said Lori. "For all of us." Earlier, I noted that Lori's dalliance with Shane was like the show's version of Original Sin, an Old Testament vision of damnation; here, Lori was attempting to change the allegory into a decidedly more optimistic New Testament vision of hope. She knew that this was right. She gave Carl some last words of advice: "Promise me you'll always do what's right." She told him he would beat this world. I don't care if you hate Lori or if you're the president of the Kill Lori Grimes Fan Club: I found it tough not to tear up during her final moments. She was confident, and fearless, and heroic. And then Maggie cut her belly open and Lori Grimes died.

NEXT: The primal scream

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