The Walking Dead Teaches us the Importance of Covering your Cough in “Isolation”

Last week the survivors faced the potential threat of a deadly cold, and this week the threat was no longer potential. The flu busted through a wing of the prison and our survivors faster than when Carl lost his innocence. However, despite the very serious threat to the group in it’s entirety, viewers faced a different focus for the episode. Tyreese and his group of survivors came in to The Walking Dead halfway through last season pretty beat up from the outside world. It appears as though Tyreese has been able to put his life back together through his brief relationship with Karen. “Isolation” makes me look at Tyreese and try to evaluate how strong of a character he’s going to be in future episodes – in all honesty, it could go either way.

First of all, a lot of new characters have been brought in with the original survivors since the end of season three; a lot of whom have been dropping like flies without any mourning from the viewers – if I don’t know David’s name before he dies, how am I suppose to feel bad when he’s dead? The number of unidentified new people in combination with the idea of a sinister new villain within the ranks of the survivors leads me to believe that the person feeding walkers is among the people who have already been introduced (Bob, Dr. ‘S’ Subramanian, and Lizzie & Mika). However, the idea of a sinister new villain gets placed on the back burner when the group finds the scorched bodies of Karen and David.

Tyreese in the comic was a mirror of Rick in a sense that he was more prone to follow his emotions of fear and rage. Rick also fell to the mercy of his emotions in a few instances, but ultimately did not want to continue making the same mistakes over and over again (of course that didn’t work out). I don’t want to be that writer who constantly compares a television show or movie to it’s comic book counterpart; but I was excited at the prospect of more tension between Rick and Tyreese. I know that the two already got in a fist fight (go Team Rick), and had a talk about what was going to happen in the investigation (Tyreese laying it on thick how Rick stands for justice), but it felt like it lack substance. The opportunity arose where Rick and Tyreese could really discuss morality in the wake of the collapsed established world, but was quickly over-stepped when Rick simply said he was going to get to the bottom of the murder of Karen and David. If the writers were simply laying down groundwork for future episodes, then I hope they deliver because Tyreese has the ability to become a very strong character. I could talk about how he got to let out his frustrations on the horde of zombies that surrounded the car, but I think enough people have made a “hammer time” joke. Myself included.

I know that other things happened in the episode, but lets talk about Carol again. Last week I talked about what an active character Carol had become by going against what the council wants and teaching the children how to defend themselves with knives. Carol revealed herself to be the person responsible for killing Karen and David, but it felt largely out of character. If anything I was expecting Beth to be the person who was capable of killing two sick innocent people and burning the bodies because of her emotional detachment to people these days. It doesn’t seem right that Carol acted on her own in such an extreme situation because she never has before, she’s only asked other people to do such things. Of course I’m interested in how Rick will prosecute Carol after her confession; Carol being an important role on the council, and Rick knowing he has an obligation to do the right thing. I think when things in the prison are quiet, the council will talk about how to respond, but when things start getting hairy Carol might be allowed to help.

Overall, I thought it was a fine episode that started to open the door of the dangers of the natural world in combination with the zombified world. Bottom line of the episode – learn to cover your cough when you’re sick, or someone will burn you.

Side-note: the only way the writers were able to get me to care about the people who are sick was to throw Glen in there. YOU CAN’T DIE ON ME GLEN. Or Maggie….

On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being “I feel fine” and 10 being “I think I just vomited out my lower intestine, can I get some antibiotics?” I’m going to give The Walking Dead’s “Isolation” an 8 – “thanks for the soup, but I accidentally left it on the room walls.”

For more public health announcements and general shenanigans you can follow me on twitter (@barista_brian) or look at my other posts!

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