[NOTE: This review is for The Walking Dead Season 4, Episode 10 and contains SPOILERS!]
This week’s episode “Inmates” catches up to the rest of the survivors by telling their stories in a collection of shorter stories. Although The Walking Dead has always been skilled at revealing surprises, (this episode is no exception) the number of stories doesn’t allow for a lot of character development as it jumps from story to story. Last week’s episode “After” slowed down the pace in order to allow access to the characters’ psyche, which set a good pace and tone for the rest of the season. Whereas this episode sprints to answer the big questions left by the mid-season finale while setting future events into motion.
Fans will be happy to know that Judith is still alive, but her crying causes problems for Tyreese, Lizzie, and Mika. It’s also revealed (subtly) that Lizzie is the one who dissected the rabbit back at the prison. Her blood lust doesn’t stop at small furry animals, but humans as well when she tries to smother Judith. Although she’s doing it for the safety of the group, her method paints a dark, ruthless, and unclear future. Like another character who comes back to the show… Carol. Her return makes for some interesting scenarios since she will also be taking care of Judith, which will be exciting to see how Rick handles his decision to send her away. And Tyreese still doesn’t know she was the one to kill Karen. Speaking of future events, as they make their way down the tracks, they find a sign that promises “sanctuary” and Terminus marked on a map. Fans familiar with the comics will pick up on that Easter egg.
Daryl and Beth go looking for survivors, but are underutilized in favor of setting up Tyreese’s story; the same thing could be said about Maggie, Sasha, and Bob’s arc. Both are used to mark specific points in time for the larger stories to converge while creating tension through the use of non-linear storytelling. Had they followed the formula from the first episode, they could have explored either Beth or Daryl’s past.
Glenn’s story isn’t as developed as Tyreese’s but plays to the strength of the character. As the guy who always does supply runs, he scavenges for supplies throughout the cell block not just for himself but also for the others stocking up on baby food. Before leaving the prison, he runs into Tara and brings her along to find Maggie not out of pity but necessity, which works out. The episode closes with the two of them fighting a group of walkers and as Glenn passes out from fatigue Tara saves his skin. Abraham, Rosita, and Eugene are introduced having watched Glenn and Tara fight their way through the walkers, which indicates a larger story arc at play similar to Tyreese’s.
All things considered, it’s a well constructed episode, which could have been far worst. Luckily both Matthew Negrete and Channing Powell have written ensemble episodes before, but its Director, Tricia Brock, who needs to work on her transitions more specifically Maggie’s story. I understand it’s to build suspense, but it’s left in a semi-confusing state. Convenient that the director of “Indifference” a.k.a. Carol’s departure episode get to direct the episode that reintroduces her.
What did you think of tonight’s episode? Did it answer your questions? What did you think of the introduction of the three mysterious characters? Be sure to come back next week with episode eleven “Claimed” on AMC.