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

Carl's little sibling was born into a dead world screaming and miraculously alive. Someone had to put a bullet into Lori's dead brain. Carl insisted: "She's my mom." Maggie was shell-shocked; she left Carl to it. There was a quick flashback to that great moment from last season, when Rick told Carl about the new normal, which was really the old normal: Everyone will die eventually, and you'll never be prepared for it. A shot rang out, and Carl walked away, head held low.

Rick and the Melee Squad made their way through the tunnels. They found T-Dog dead. They also found Carol's head-scarf on the ground, and assumed she was dead. (We saw her escape into the sunlight, but her curious absence from the end of the episode indicates that Sophia's momma might be in for more suffering in the future. I've always thought that the title of the eighth Walking Dead trade paperback could double as the series' mission statement: "Made to Suffer." Take heed: According to press notes, "Made to Suffer" is also the name of this season's eighth episode.) They emerged into the prison yard. They asked Hershel if anyone had seen Lori. And then Rick turned and saw a sight he could barely comprehend. Maggie was covered in blood. She was carrying a baby: The first baby Rick has seen in practically a year. His son was following along. And Lori was nowhere to be seen.

I'm not sure that The Walking Dead has ever had a better scene than the almost wordless sequence that followed. Rick walked up to Maggie and asked after Lori; Maggie cried out a plaintive "No." He looked at Carl and understood everything. The look on Andrew Lincoln's face -- the slow-burn of realization and the steady accumulation of emotion -- was soul-burning. Worst of all was the fact left implicit: Rick could have killed Andrew himself; instead, he left the convict to the walkers. For this oversight, Rick has lost a member of his squad and his own wife. And his own son had to shoot his dead wife in the head. Rick fell down, crying, screaming, incoherent. To quote Maggie Simpson:

Viewers, what did you think of the emotionally crippling festivities in last night's episode? Have you already read Dalton Ross' exclusive chat with Sarah Wayne Callies about her character's demise? Did the revelation that Andrew was the puppet master bother you? I'll admit, it seems like a bit of a stretch that he could A) survive a walker herd, and B) undertake such an elaborate heist plan, but I liked how his presence gave Lori's death that mythic kick -- the fact that Rick indirectly caused this all to happen. Are you excited to see what kind of mental horror Rick has to live with now? Will no one weep for Lori?

Follow Darren on Twitter: @DarrenFranich

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