“The Killer Within,” The Walking Dead: Season 3, Episode 4

I knew that eventually Lori would have to have that baby. I also knew that with limited medical assistance available, the outcome was likely to be tragic. However, I was not prepared to be so upset by the people most impacted by Lori’s death – Rick and Carl. Kudos to both Andrew Lincoln and Chandler Riggs for their raw and guttural portrayals of loss; I cried like a baby, especially during the flashback of Rick discussing death with Carl in the barn, saying, “There’s no way you can ever be ready for it.” Open the floodgates.

This was easily the best episode of the season. While little to nothing happened in episodes two and three, everything happened in episode 4. T-Dogg is bitten and dies a valiant death, sacrificing himself to save Carol. This is sad, but frankly I had forgotten T-Dog was even still alive in the first place. Whoops. Moreover, this week’s The Talking Dead felt that this death merited an entire episode dedicated to the memory of T-Dog, complete with a four second montage of all of his memorable scenes. I understand that some people are saddened by this loss, but am I wrong in pointing out that the death of matriarch Lori might have more of an impact on the remaining group?

Both Rick and Carl, who never fully reconciled with Lori, are now left to deal with their complicated emotions while trying to care for her baby – a baby that, statistically speaking, is likely to be Shane’s. Carl, as if he wasn’t deranged enough by his circumstances, now has to live with the fact that he shot his dead mother in the head to keep her from “turning.” Sure, Maggie was distraught and maybe even experiencing some sort of shock, but the fact that she made Carl take that shot is inexcusable. And then we have Rick, who is perhaps the only person capable of leading this broken group, but now may be irreparably broken himself.

I know that I have frequently and consistently expressed a hatred of Lori, but now that she is actually gone, I have come to realize that I actually loved to hate her. She was the Lady Macbeth of the series, causing drama and pain amongst the majority of the male characters that she encountered. Now that she is gone, who will make Rick so angsty? Who will drive Carl to rebel and be generally creepy? Who will force best friends apart and do nothing to help the group asides from occasionally washing a few dishes?

While the group has clearly been dealt an emotional blow, they have also been hit with some tangible barriers. The prison has been severely compromised. The group’s leader may be incapacitated to rule. There is a loud, hungry baby that must be kept quiet and fed, and, as so eloquently put by my sister, Krista, “What will they feed it? All they have are grains and brains!”

Asides from zombie brains, oodles of blood, and excessive violence, this episode was painful. Even if you’re not a Lori fan, you had to feel for Rick in that moment when he knows she is dead. Beautifully acted and intricately written, this is arguably the best episode of the series.

*Note that I have chosen to eliminate any discussion of the Woodbury portion of the episode, as I do not care


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