By Michael Rapoport
“Aw, man, can’t we just have one good day?” Glenn groaned on tonight’s episode of “The Walking Dead,” as the zombies infesting the prison refuge of our little band of survivors made another run at them.
Well might he lament. Before episode’s end, two characters would be dead, and a third unaccounted for … including one major character’s demise that was gut-churning even for this show.
It started off as a pleasant day, at least as pleasant as you’re liable to find after the zombie apocalypse. Herschel was up and around, on his feet (okay, foot) for the first time after Sheriff Rick’s emergency life-saving amputation of his lower leg back in the season’s first episode. And Glenn and Maggie got, uh, busy in the prison’s watchtower, to the delight and hoots of the others. (“Sickos,” Maggie muttered.)
But things went south when the walkers attacked – provided access to the prison when someone cut the gate open (apparently Andrew, one of the convicts who the survivors found after they entered the prison). In the melee, T-Dog gets bitten by a walker – and ultimately dies a hero’s death when he charges a group of walkers to help Carol escape. Carol, however, remains unaccounted for – is she still alive?
The other death, though, was the one that hit the hardest: Lori Grimes, Rick’s estranged wife. In the midst of the battle against the zombies, she went into labor with the baby she’s been carrying since last season. Cut off from the anesthetics and medical supplies that could have helped ensure a safe delivery, and from the people who could have performed it, Lori knew she had no choice: She ordered Maggie to slice her open, to deliver the baby by caesarean section – and then, because she knew she wouldn’t survive the delivery, her son Carl shot her so that she wouldn’t become a walker herself.
“You’re the best thing I ever did,” she told Carl in her tearful goodbye – what surely must be the first combined death scene/birth scene/getting-killed-by-your-own-son-to-keep-you-from-turning-into-a-zombie scene in TV history. (The shooting happens off-screen, which seems to leave open the possibility that Lori is still around, but executive producer Robert Kirkman confirmed to Entertainment Weekly that “no, that poor child did shoot his mother, and yeah, we’re going to be dealing with that.”)
In other news, we went back to Woodbury, where Michonne’s suspicions continued, thanks to some bullet holes and blood on a military transport. Michonne and Andrea contemplated leaving Woodbury and heading for the coast, Merle mulls going out to search for his brother Daryl, and the Governor (sorry – his name is Phillip, as he revealed to Andrea) showed he has a pretty mean golf swing.
By episode’s end, Maggie, Carl and the baby reunite with the rest of the group at the prison – and Rick collapses in anguish when he realizes what’s happened to his wife. How will he go on without Lori, and with a new baby? Last month at New York Comic Con, star Andrew Lincoln told reporters that the writers were really putting Rick through hell this season. It appears he wasn’t exaggerating.