The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 3 “Isolation” Recap

walking-dead isolation 403

In The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 3, a small group led by Daryl heads out to find medicine to stop the infection and the person who burned the bodies is revealed! 

Continue reading for a spoiler filled discussion of The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 3 entitled “Isolation”. Let’s dissect the episode!

An Officer & A Gentleman

To those who have never watched AMC’s The Walking Dead, they might believe it’s only about zombies, but it’s really a thoughtful show about people fighting for their humanity and morality.

A question that “Isolation” explores is how does one define their role or job in the post apocalyptic world. As the infection spreads, each character faces that question head on.

With two unsolved murders and desecrated bodies, Tyreese believes it’s both a moral obligation and duty for Officer Rick to find the perpetrator. But Rick has not literally and symbolically put on the sheriff’s hat in a long time. To Rick, he can’t bring the bodies back to life but he can help the prison group in getting water which he sees as a priority before playing detective.

Rick went through a long process of grief and coping with loss. But Rick denied that to Tyreese by basically telling him to get over it and do what’s “right”. Of course Tyreese and Rick have very different views of what is the right thing to do which I’m interested to see play out differently from Shane versus Rick. One difference is that it’s not about principles of leadership as both Tyreese and Rick don’t have any interest in joining the council at this point.

I do have to say Tyreese is a beast. He can flick off Daryl like a flea and hammer Rick like a rusty nail if he wanted to. In the fist fight it’s an emotional and physical outburst by both Rick and Tyreese. In their second meeting by the fresh graves, it’s a rational conversation yet they haven’t bridged the gap between them but they do get a better understanding of where each man stands.

One-Legged Veterinarian

I admit I wanted Hershel to die at the end of Season 2 but now I’m glad he stuck around. For Hershel, his first instinct is to the join the expedition to the veterinarian clinic. But since he can’t run, he quickly realizes his job is as care provider and wise father figure of the group which is what he’s been doing all along.

Hershel’s perfectly delivered monologue zeroes in on what the infection represents. Even though the prison has fences which gives the group a sense that they are separated from the dangers of the outside world, the danger is always around and within. And danger is usually followed by death and despair.

Nowhere’s safe. Your life is always in danger. You can only choose what you’re risking it for. This reminded me a bit of what Maggie was saying in the season premiere about not wanting fear to dictate how she lives her life.

Pint Sized Bodyguard

Carl’s badass silencer is back. He sees himself as the protector of the group and Hershel’s little bodyguard out in the forest. Carl is actually not so little anymore. Letting the zombies live is a call back to not shooting the walker stuck in the mud which went on to kill Dale back in Season 2. Since then Carl has been hard-wired to shoot first so Hershel is teaching him to assess the situation and only pull the trigger if needed. By the way, that is great special effects and make up for that half zombie by the tree.

I don’t think Hershel should have went into death’s row but he knew the risks going in.  He could have left the elderberry tea by the entrance door but perhaps he thought the people looked way too sick to feed themselves. Since Hershel’s face got splattered with infected blood he’s going to become sick like Glenn. The question is when Daryl comes back with not enough medicine to save everyone what’s the criteria in deciding who gets to live?


Soldiers and Shepherds

A lot of people died last episode but it’s hard to feel for people that we don’t know. Now that the infection spread to characters we care about including Sasha, the danger is escalating. Because the first two episodes established how fast and deadly the infection is, it amplifies the importance and suspense of the away team’s mission.

Daryl and Michonne know they are the people who get things done especially if there’s something to kill or to hunt. They’re more like glorified warriors than plain foot soldiers. I’d pick them on my team every time.

I still don’t know what to make of Bob. He can read the types of antibiotics they need to retrieve from the clinic so I guess he’s the “brains” of the team. With all those hungry zombies it might be a bad thing to be the “brains”.

I did like the brief scene where Bob is trying to connect with Tyreese and in the end decides the best way to do that is to start digging graves. Although the producers would never admit it, I do think it’s a designed course correction from previous seasons to have two prominent African-American male characters on the show at the same time. 

So with his new girlfriend burnt to a crisp, Tyreese’s focus is on doing what’s best for his sick sister. At first, he protects the entrance door but he later changes his mind that his role should be on the team that’s searching for medicine that could save Sasha.

The mega herd of walkers added a jolt of adrenaline to an otherwise drama heavy episode. Staying in the car, Tyreese is resigned to death. What made him snap out it, I’m not sure. He might be thinking of his sister or he initially wanted to cull as many walkers as possible to buy enough time for the others to escape but ended up surviving. I hope next episode picks up on this plot point.

I have of couple kills of the week. One is Daryl’s crossbow kill as Tyreese came out the bushes alive. That’s crazy … as in awesome crazy … how Tyreese survived despite surrounded by walkers. The second kill is Michonne’s jumping katana head slice.


Mother Carol

After Carol got upset and pushed over the water container she took it upon herself to get the water line reconnected. She risked her life similar to how Hershel put himself in harm’s way. Not the smartest decision for someone teaching life survival skills. It’s probably the side of her that wants to look after sick Lizzy and rest of the gang that motivated her to take a calculated risk.

This episode she’s keen on getting water while last episode she played with fire. Whether or not you agree with Carol’s methods, her maternal instincts to keep her girls safe and to stop the infection from spreading is what led her to take extreme measures. From what I understand, Carol killed Karen and the other dude before they died from the infection and turned into walkers. Is she a cold-hearted murderer or since they were going to die, did she make a practical decision that no one else could make?

What did you like and didn’t like in this episode? What do you think about the radio transmission?

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Posted on October 28, 2013, in Television, The Walking Dead and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 21 Comments.

  1. I went back and watched the Carol water scene again, with a much keener eye to what she was reacting about. There is frustration about everyone else slacking off, but I also think she is fighting a bit about who she has become. She’s my new favorite character of the show. Anyway, check out my own review of the show if you’re interested!

    • Thanks for sharing that. I only watched the episode once. I’m sure there’s a lot of layers to discover after a second viewing. This season is focusing a lot on the new Carol and I can’t wait to see what she does next. I’ll definitely check out your review in a bit.

  2. I thought Carol’s behaviour was very interesting. As soon as Tyreese approached her to ask her to look in on Sasha I knew by her face that she’d been the pyro who’d killed Karen. I don’t totally disagree with her actions, and I do believe, as she later told Rick, that she’d do anything to keep the group safe (which she has proved now by trying to stop the infection from spreading), including wandering outside to fix the water line. I took her actions (knocking over the pump, tinkering with the water line) as being simultaneously a way to atone and a way to look after the remaining people. I don’t believe she feels guilty about what she’s done, but you can’t be the mother of the group and not feel some sadness about what the situation you’re in has forced you to do. The Carol we see in Season 4 is a far cry from the meek, battered wife we saw in Season 1.

    As for Tyreese, yes, he is a BEAST. He was handled well in this episode I think; his moralistic and sensitive personality could be borderline annoying in this environment, but making him a complete kick-ass man-machine helps to balance my opinion of him. He’s a big guy. The juxtaposition of his sheer size and strength with his sensitivity and emotional status is done very well.

    I loved Hershell in this episode. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t do what he did, but I can respect him for it, absolutely. Beth’s preaching kind of annoyed me though. I continue to feel sympathy for Rick, but I’m not sure how long that will last, so I’m glad they’re exploring his possible recovery and return to form a little.

    • I also believe Carol doesn’t feel guilt or remorse for trying to stop the infection from spreading. In her mind she did what she needed to do. The way she plainly admitted “Yes” its like she doesn’t need to justify herself and she’s accepted her decision. The bloody hand print is small and placed at a lower height level. I’ve read some theories, that the girls were involved in killing Karen and the other man. I’ll have to think more about that and rewatch the episode for clues.

      I liked how Tyreese is handled this episode too especially considering last season he was mainly a peripheral character. I hope that Sasha lives because her death will tear up Tyreese inside. That’s a great point about the contrast between his huge size and sensitivity, it works well and a part of the credit goes to the actor.

      It felt like Beth is repeating to herself a mantra like it’s something she is trying to convince herself to believe to get through the trauma and despair. She kind of cracked a bit and just before she burst into tears the scene cut. I liked that Rick fought back. Not the best move but he apologized for it. I just liked that after getting punched, he didn’t walk away with his tail between his legs like a broken puppy.

  3. I was praying they’d kill Carol off last week, and this week I’m still hoping. She is annoying and her actress just makes the show difficult to watch for me. I like that they may be making her a villain… what she did was stupid and evil. Yes, they might have died and became walkers, but they might not have. Most of the cast is now sick… they aren’t all going to die and become walkers so maybe Karen would have survived too.

    • I lot of fans have strong feelings towards Carol on both sides of the fence. I get the feeling her character arc will be explored further throughout the season. I agree that not all the sick cast members will die. I also think at least one core member of the group will die from the sickness otherwise it takes away from impact of the infection.

  4. If they don’t get enough medicine, you treat the doctors. You always try to save the doctors first. If you notice Hershel treats the other doc before anyone else.

  5. This episode was alright. I like that it ended up being Carol who killed those two last week. I was figuring it was sort of a random new character like Bob, but making it someone who has been with the group gives it more impact and that character can’t just be killed off as a result or something like that. It was cool to see Tyrese being a badass this week. I enjoyed him in what I read of the comics and like what they did with him this week. Great review!

    • It seems like Carol is the new female lead of the show. I hope the writers have a good handle on her arc this season. Although it looks like Rick will keep her secret, I hope to see some repercussions to her actions at some point. I also liked that Carol admitted she did it and it adds a lot to her character development. Yeah it was better than having a random character be the one who did it.

      So far I’ve read the first 12 issues of the comics and I like the relationship between Tyreese and Rick. It’s very different from the show which is good in it’s own way too. Some of the people that hook up in the comics is really surprising! Great to hear from you as always!

  6. Great recap! I was yelling at the t.v. when the doctor was coughing all over Herschel. I’ve never seen adults be so stupid – yes they are really sick but who goes hacking away in everyone’s face like that. Especially a doctor! I loved Herschel’s speech and enjoy his character. He seems to steps in when needed and not be to much of a meddler.
    Tyreese rocks. When he and the other three were going away from the walker’s I had to appreciate the variety of weapons they all had – a katana, cross-bow, hammer, and gun – and were able to fend off a raging herd of walkers.
    Poor Carl. He’s a teenager before his time stuck in a world where he has to be responsible but isn’t really ready for it. Was happy to see the silencer and the hat back and hope he doesn’t return to the shell he was at the end of last season.

    • Nice to hear from you as always! Yeah, all the doctor had to do is turn his head to the side before coughing. I think he was holding a handkerchief too. Unfortunately I think this is the beginning of the end for Hershel. That’s too bad because I liked the way Hershel offers sound advice without coming across as preachy or overbearing.

      When they made a break from the car it was pretty much everybody for themselves, Although Bob was hanging back a bit for Tyreese, which he should considering they didn’t leave him in the supermarket back in episode 1. Of the variety of weapons, my choice would be the katana! 🙂 I’d never have to reload and offers more reach/distance than the hammer.

      I like this version of Carl too compared to the end of last season. I like that’s he wants to keep a truthful and open communication with his dad. Great discussing the show with you!

  7. Good review again, “nice to hear from you as always”. 😉

    Romero said about the Walking Dead that he wasn’t a fan of the show because of the lack of satire and political criticism.

    This week episode shows us that TWD is obviously not just a soap with zombies throwed in the mix like chinese restaurants are used to throw “things in the mix”. I think this is a show about human morphing into beasts or characterisation of themselves, like zombies which are just a creation of the mind, and hu man-shaped thing acting like they actually still were humans. Like some dog or dolphin doing tricks for the “happy go-home” part of a show.

    But still, Romero gets a point in my opinion. TWD do have the materials to dare the devil in his own playground (solid acting performances, good CGI thanks to Stargate, nice decorum and talented writers and filming crew). I wish at this point that zombies were not just some rats hanging there and acting randomly.

    I like how this season started out by exploring some new materials (Beth, Carol, Hershel and Carl evolution) but I feel like there dangerously could be another round of “The world is what our fences borders, and there is so nothing to deals with beyond that so I, me and my family are living centered on our own” season 2 Herschel-style.

    I mean, I want to know about other survivors groups, what is going on outside the prison ? How could there not be another Woodbury ? I liked the fact that the Governor found another way of survive (BBQ rules). The parallele focus between Black and Rick places and rules was interesting.

    Daryl used to be a hunter, now he’s a nanny. Glenn used to be a wise recon, he’s been beaten by the Gov how can he be so cheesy right now ?? I miss crazy Rick and his obsession for finding new groups. When I realize that Carole is now the badass of the band, I do miss a lot Merle and even Shane loudmouths.

    Sorry if I’m not as clear and easy to understand as I wish I would be. Struggling with the language, not my own so.. But hey, Marilyn Manson is american but his words in “The Talking Dead” were so mystyfing !!

    • I also heard about Romero’s opinion of the Walking Dead. I think what makes TWD different and more successful than other zombie mythologies is the focus on humanity and characters, rather than focusing on only the zombies. I think it’s a fair point that at times the zombies in TWD seem to show up/become a threat when the writers need suspense or action to give impact to the episode.

      There are soap opera-like elements to TWD for example the relationship drama between Glenn and Maggie. However, the drama elements of TWD can be quite effective. For example, exploring the leadership styles of Rick Vs Governor and contrasting the gated community of Woodbury vs Prison in thoughtful ways.

      It doesn’t bother me that TWD zombies aren’t an overt metaphor like the way HBO’s True Blood vampires are. TWD can still provoke interesting ideas and make social commentary without using zombies to represent something. However, on this show, The Walking Dead refers to the survivors not the zombies which I think is different from other movies/shows. “We are the walking dead”, which includes the audience: All of us have to find our way of living in the world and make moral choices in our short time in this world … after all, we all die in the end. 🙂

      With many people dying on the show, I think it’s to make room for a new group to join the survivors or the survivors to join another group. Whenever there seems to a be a sanctuary like Hershel’s farm or Woodbury or the CDC base in Season 1 finale, it ends up dark and different from first impressions. I hope after they leave the Prison, the next place doesn’t repeat too many of the same story beats. I’m also curious what’s happening outside the prison. I hope the spin off takes us on a whole new adventure and explore other parts of the country.

      I also miss Merle and Shane causing trouble. We understand why they did the things they did, and Carol has stepped up to fill that role.

      No worries, I usually understand the gist of your comments as well as your funny sense of humor. 🙂 I think many people didn’t understand what Marilyn Manson was saying either, I think some of his comments is to get a reaction and cause some trouble. Great discussing with you! 😉

  8. Carol has gone a little dark, can’t wait for that conversation to continue 😀

    • Carol is handled better this season, even when we think she’s gone too far. Last season when she suggested Andrea to stab the Governor in his sleep, it didn’t feel her character was building up to the point where she would suggest something like that. But this season, I can understand where she’s coming from. 🙂

  9. I don’t think Carol killed Karen. I think she’s covering for the little girl. I think the little girl is the one feeding rats to the walkers. Look again at the scene where the little tells Carol she’s sick and has to go into the quarantined cellblock. Fake cough. And she’s carrying the knife Carol gave her.

  1. Pingback: The Walking Dead – Isolation (S4E03) | TV And Comics

  2. Pingback: Recap/Review: The Walking Dead 4×03: Isolation | Pixcelation Entertainment

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