The Walking Dead: Killer Within
by Jonathan Pilley (@omnicomic)
Like Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead is adapted from previous source material. This review is not meant to compare similarities and differences between the show and comic. It’s meant to be read purely as a take on the episode as it stands.
That being said, SPOILERS AHEAD.
“Carl has a knife.”
Does the prison have an endless supply of chains and padlocks? It certainly seems that way, as back at the prison the truce is broken and chains are replaced rather quickly. One of the first tests for Rick 2.0 is currently underway. He’s shown so much of a transformation when it comes to being a leader and survivor that anything short of immediately killing the other prisoners would be sort of a letdown. Yet he stands his ground when it comes to letting the prisoners join the group or not, sending them back to their side of the prison.
The former prisoners lecturing Rick on discarding the bodies of known ones rang a little hollow. Rick could just have easily countered with how many people they’ve lost in the process. What’s more, Daryl sort of lending support for them only to retract it seconds later was a little empty as well. Thankfully, Rick stood strong and by his decision, regardless of what T-Dog had to say. Little did T-Dog know, there was very little else he’d be able to say after the episode’s end.
For as much as people hate on Carl for some of his past decisions, he’s really stepped up his game in the third season. Watching him move through the halls to offer protection to Lori and Maggie is actually pretty refreshing. He’s actually a fairly likeable character in the early parts of the season, choosing to do things that aren’t overly annoying or dangerous. In fact, it’s likely that he really took the time to grow up during the “winter” and learn what it takes to survive. Sometimes, being the one who has a knife is all that’s needed.
There was a nice, marital symmetry of sorts between Lori and Rick happening simultaneously. While Lori was faced with the prospect of losing her child, Rick was faced with the prospect of making a new friend in one of the prisoners. It’s somewhat fitting that both halves of a married couple are faced with loss and gain. In a better world, it’s likely that both partners in the relationship will get what they want with no complications. The Walking Dead is a far from perfect world however and the sheer heartbreak (accompanied by Carl’s blank stare and Maggie’s hysterics) exhibited by Rick at the end was painful.
The rapport between Michonne and the Governor was somewhat chilling. It’s clear to the viewer that Michonne is suspicious of how Woodbury came across their latest arsenal replenishment. What’s not clear is whether or not the Governor is onto her as well. His responses to her inquiries are quick and sound and could either be just him playing his part of him onto her as well. Andrea on the other hand is showing some reservations about leaving Woodbury. While Michonne seems to have her suspicions about the town, Andrea is clearly being enticed by the siren’s song of safety.
For the second straight week, it’s the Governor who steals the show. Since he’s relatively new, it’s hard to tell whether or not it’s the way the character is written or the actor playing him (David Morrissey), but he has a way with all those around them. He’s the type of person who manipulates you into a position where he wants you without you realizing he’s doing it. He even had Merle asking him for permission to search for Daryl and clearly cast a spell on Andrea. These are two headstrong characters, both asking someone they barely know for permission to act in a world without rules.
“Killer Within” is probably the first episode of the season to drop the emotional hammer on viewers. Maggie was forced into an incredibly impossible situation. What’s more, Carl is in an even more impossible situation and bringing them together over it was a really powerful way to end the episode. Maggie walking out with the newborn while Carl held a gun in a bloodied hand—both being offered to Rick—was a sad and brutal reminder of the world they all live in. The show is done being about optimism and hope. It’s become something so much more, where those who are living have the chance to continue doing so, albeit without anything encouraging them to do so.
This episode is by far the best one of the season and one of the best of the entire series to date. It ensures that not even you as a viewer are getting to comfortable, as at any point people will die. They will be people who may seem insignificant in the grand scheme of things or they may be people who have become pivotal in the group dynamic. That’s what The Walking Dead lacked last season. It lacked the coldness of an apocalyptic zombie world, treating everyone as if they’re sacred and can’t be killed. “Killer Within” took that idea and threw it out the window.
Two core characters of Rick’s group were killed, with one more possibly dead as well. For a group of survivors who spent months reeling in the aftermath of the farm to lose a third of their group over the span of minutes must be agonizing for them. It definitely has an impact on the story as well, proving that no one is safe and the days of spending so much time searching for one character are gone. You’d like to think that things really can’t get much worse for the group, but if that’s what you’re thinking then chances are you haven’t been watching.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars