Saturday, November 2, 2013

The Walking Dead Ep. 403, Isolation

The Walking Dead, Season 4, Episode 3: Isolation

TV rating


ZPAA rating

Teens and up

Offensive content

A moderate amount of zombie kills for this show, including the typical half-decapitations by sword-wielding characters and blood spurts from arrow-shot zombies; some humans coughing up blood, including one splatter on someone's face.

Synopsis & Review

Tyreese is on the war path after his flu-infected girlfriend and another person were killed and their bodies burned. He and Rick have word and then trade blows with no very positive results for either man. As more people get sick from the flu, the group decides to isolate both the sick and the most vulnerable (children and surprisingly not the elderly). Daryl, Michonne, and maybe Tyreese will make a run for antibiotics while Rick and Hershel try to maintain things at the prison.

Tyreese is naturally angry at the killing of innocent humans. I suppose I could have said "their only crime was being sick," but even that ironic phrase doesn't do justice to the injustice done. Being sick makes someone a potential danger, a possible threat, not an actual menace. So an interesting issue that arises in this episode is the nature of sacrifice.

Someone has sacrificed Tyreese's girlfriend for the greater good of the prison community. As it turns out, that sacrifice was a vain and empty one since a bunch of other people have come down with the same illness and are just as much a threat to the well-being of the survivors. The killer is willing to sacrifice others for his or her own well-being, masking it with the well-being of the other "well" people in the prison.

Contrast that "sacrifice" with Hershel's actual sacrifice in this episode. He seems relatively well but goes to ease the suffering of the sick, partially to give them time for Daryl to return with antibiotics, partially because he is a decent person who recognizes his obligation to help the suffering, no matter the cost to himself. He is willing to sacrifice his own well-being for the good of others.

But as we all know by now, the zombie virus has infected everyone. Anyone who dies will turn to a zombie, they do not need to be bitten in order to turn into the walking dead. Just dying is enough to change. Everyone will turn whether their deaths are foreseen or not. The real, human reaction is to deal with what comes (as in the conversation between Maggie and her sister Beth about what their father is doing) as it comes.

Sacrificing others for the greater good is nowhere near the good of sacrificing yourself for others. Not only is it morally dubious to sacrifice someone else's life for a greater good, it is morally deficient. Whether the characters in this series will see it that way or not will be seen in future episodes, especially considering the final revelation of the episode.

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