Photo: Gene Page / AMC

Headshots And Heavy Head Congestion

Hershel learns to kill as the flu storyline reaches its phlegmy conclusion.

  • Previously

    The fence separating the prison from a walker parade was nearly overrun, a crew including Daryl, Michonne, Bob, and Tyreese took off to a veterinary college and succeeded in finding badly needed meds, Hershel braved his own health to take care of the sick and dying -- including Glenn -- in the quarantined flu area, Carol killed two of the infected in hopes of keeping the disease from spreading, but instead, while on a road trip, Rick kicked her to the curb to fend for herself.

  • Symbolism
    Screens: AMC

    Screens: AMC

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    The Dog-Attracting Undead And The Telltale Watch

    The Symbols: A watch that sits on the passenger seat as Rick drives in silence back to the prison and a prone walker squirming by the side of the road.

    The Scene: After last week's one-man vote against Carol to leave Dead Island, Rick is driving back home and can't help noticing the watch next to him that she gave him. He feels guilty, and the walker lying on the side of the road attracting curious, probably hungry dogs isn't helping.

    The Meaning: Rick wonders if the assurance he gave Carol that she'd be fine out in the wilderness alone might have been wildly optimistic. The watch is a reminder that as time goes on, things don't get better. They get a shit-ton worse for everybody in this apocalypse.

  • Alert!
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    This May Feel Like A Horrible Foreign Body In Your Throat A Little

    Alert Type: Excessive Phlegm Alert.

    Issue: One of the flu victims, Henry, can't breathe.

    Mitigating Circumstances: Hershel, Sasha, and Glenn have to get him intubated, but this guy's apparently never seen ER because his struggles don't make it any easier to get the thing set.

    Resolution: Hershel "Magic Fingers" Greene taps it in, smooth like butter.

    Spoiler: Henry won't make it and will in fact terrorize the others when he turns undead, but his breathing mask will come in handy when Glenn needs it. Disgustingly gross, but handy.

  • On The Menu
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    What's On The Weekly Menu At A Post-Zombie-Apocalypse Prison?

    Hershel's joke that he thinks Spaghetti Tuesday should be on Wednesday was one of those wry observations grounded in truth, but not well-received by the people around him who are too busy dying to appreciate his folksy humor. Aware that there's no actual spaghetti, Hershel is expressing bitterness at the stale menu, which has not changed in damn-near forever. Here's what everybody's gets to eat on a weekly basis:

    Stale Biscuit Sunday: This is what happens when your baking powder is about two years expired.

    Probably-Not-Diseased Boar Wings Monday: We're going to be honest: we have no idea how this boar died. But we deep-fried the crap out of it just to be sure.

    Spaghetti Tuesday: Hershel be damned. This tradition will continue until he learns to locate and cook some damned pasta. Right now, it's mop strings.

    Ratatouille Wednesday: You haven't been up close to the fence, have you? No? Good. Don't think too hard about this one. It's…uh…nearly vegetarian.

    Turnip Thursday: Let's all be very encouraging of Rick's piss-poor vegetables. He worked very hard on these turnips. Yes, turnips do suck, but Rick has a gun, so let's not piss him off.

    Fish Friday: By which we mean Goldfish. Stale ones at the bottom of an old bag. There's about six of them. We'll split them up about 30 ways so everyone gets to try some.

    Tang Saturday: We keep thinking this giant can of Tang will eventually run out, but it's like some kind of damned miracle that it doesn't. Now go find us some water so we don't have to choke this orange powder down raw.

  • Here's An Idea
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    Stop Forgetting That When People Die, They Can Come Back And Kill You

    You know how "Sometimes, they come back?" On this show they always come back, yet people like Hershel take their sweet-ass time transporting dead bodies or even allowing super-sick people to go in and out of their cells at the prison instead of being on lockdown, which was supposed to be the point of the damned quarantine! How about strapping down those bodies on gurneys if you insist on transporting them away from the rest of the sickies. Oh, and locking those cell doors when people aren't being immediately treated? Waiting 'til someone turns and comes back before sticking a knife in their dead head is just bad form. And risky.

  • Meeting Time
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    Maggie Calls A Meeting At The Glass

    Who called the meeting? Maggie.

    What's it about? Maggie wants to see Glenn, but Hershel tells her he's resting. Not dead yet. Just resting.

    How'd it go? Emotional for Maggie, exhausting for Hershel. Maggie gets a status check on Glenn (still sick, but well enough to help Hershel move bodies around) and on Hershel, who is dog-tired from trying to keep everyone from dying. Hershel asks about "Bethy," who is still healthy and looking after Baby Judith. Hershel says it's hard, but they're going to make it. "Don't you believe that?" he asks. Maggie says yes, but her tears cast some doubt. Glenn thanks Hershel afterward, saying he's glad Maggie didn't see him looking so awful.

  • Hell No!
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    Rick The Dick

    Rick needs allies if he's going to keep people from turning on him for kicking Carol out. First up is Maggie, who asks twice about Carol before he finally gets her up to speed on things. Maggie agrees with Rick's decision not to bring Carol back, but says she's not sure she could have done what he did. Then she gets this backhanded compliment as he walks off dismissively: "You could have, Maggie. You've done harder things. Don't doubt yourself. We don't get to anymore." Hey, thanks, dick!

  • Dialogue

    Carl's not afraid of no death

    Rick's back, and he finds Carl as quickly as he can to make sure his boy and the baby aren't sick. They're fine, so Rick gives him some food and tells Carl he can share his "fruit leather" with the others, but to make sure they all brush afterward. Because that's the priority here. Before Rick can get back to making people feel like shit about Carol, Carl stops him and asks if he can help. Rick rebuffs Carl, but Carl thinks that's a bad move:

    Dad, you can't keep me from it.
    From what?
    From what always happens.
    Yeah. Maybe. But I think it's my job to try.
  • Snapshot
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    Dr. S. For "Screwed"

    Dr. S., also known as "Caleb," says he's in the final stage of the illness, the stage you don't come back from. Hershel tells him not to give up hope but Dr. S has more important information to impart. He made some more IVs, and he's got a shotgun and some shells stashed in case the shit goes down. Hershel, still not giving up, demands to have a closer look at Dr. S. Well, here you go, Hershel. Why don't you take a screen grab, it'll last longer?

  • Plot Lightning Round
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    Things Get Real For Hershel

    Hershel is just minding his own business, tending to his disgusting, sick patients, when a guy keels over right in front of him. Hershel does what he can, which is basically nothing at this point, and the guy sputters his last on the floor. Time to get to work!

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    Hershel gets his knife ready to make this guy un-undeadable.

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    But this kid's watching.

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    And this guy. Go back to your cells, people! Nothing to see here!

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    Sasha comes to help, bringing over the stretcher and helping Hershel move the fresh body onto it, even though she looks like she's about to collapse.

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    So... dead body.

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    I've seen Carol do this. You stab downward. It will probably do the trick.

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    Yeah, this just doesn't feel right. Maybe with a sheet?

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    Ah yes. That's the stuff.

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    Oh, Rick! Hi! How long have you been standing there? I am very sad about this dead guy under this bloody sheet. We were just talking about Steinbeck yesterday!

  • Fight! Fight! Fight!
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    Dead Flu Rising vs. Running-On-Fumes Hershel

    And now the dying begins! A woman Hershel didn't notice dying rises from the flu. Henry also dies, and Glenn is unsuccessful bringing him back with CPR. Lizzie calls out for Hershel while a weakened Glenn fights for his life against the newly risen Henry, but Hershel gets tackled by the lady walker. He shouts, absurdly, "Stay in your cells!" to everybody. One of the relatively healthier survivors tries to help with his gun, but he gets bitten in the arm as he fires and ends he up shooting some poor (living) woman right in the head. At least she won't come back!

    Winner: Hershel, for now, but he's hanging by a thread.

  • Playing Games

    The Littlest Pet Walker Shop

    What's the game? Walker Tag.

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    Who's playing? Lizzie, but it's a ploy to get the walker away from Glenn.

    What's at stake? Lizzie's life, Glenn's life, and probably Hershel's life since he's not moving around so well right now.

    Who wins? Hershel, who ends up saving Lizzie by throwing the walker over a railing. Maybe he should have knifed the thing in the head, too? But that's not part of the official rules.

  • Passages
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    R.I.P. Dr. Caleb Subramanian, 1980-present (est.)

    You were a smart doctor. But you got sick. At least you knew it and prepared your medical colleague Hershel for the worst. Fare thee well, non-veterinary doctor. We will miss the way you pronounced big medical words.

  • Love, Hate & Everything In Between
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    That's Mah Boy!

    People may be sick and dying -- or worse, getting attacked by sick, dead things -- but if you don't stop and acknowledge that your son is growing up and that these precious moments will soon be just a memory, what kind of dad are you? Take a moment to work together, to love, and to bond over securing a fence against a horde of walkers. It's something your son will always remember. (Cue "Cat's In The Cradle.")

  • Fight! Fight! Fight!
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    Carl And Rick vs. Walkers In A Shooting Gallery

    When the fence finally gives way, Rick and Carl scramble away, even shoulder-checking a few walkers on their way. They come upon a gigantic stash we've never seen before -- we're talking several Dumpsters' worth – of gigantic guns and ammo. Rick gives Carl a 10-second assault-rifle lesson and soon it's time to fire. Blam! Blam! Blam! Walkers go down! Carl even tosses his dad a clip when it's time to reload. Just like in the movies.

    walking dead S4E5 shooting

    Winner: Rick, Carl, and lots of firepower.

  • Hell Yeah!
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    Hershel The Hero

    Just a little while ago, Hershel couldn't even bear to stab a dead person in the head to keep them from returning unpleasantly, but now, with his back against the wall and children to defend, he turns into a shotgun-blasting, walker-wrestling bad-ass! He even tussles with old Henry to get an oxygen mask to save Glenn. With the help of a well-aimed gunshot from Maggie and some more slick intubating skills, it works! Surely Hershel will be on an emotional high from this triumph for a long while!

  • Wrap It Up
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    Just in time not to have to fight any walkers, Daryl and Co. return. Bob mixes up some sweet, sweet meds.

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    Hershel, flush with victory, is…hey, what's going on? Why are you crying, Hershel? Aw, man, this is about your faith being tested again and whatnot, right? You'll feel better in the morning, I promise.

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    Daryl asks about Carol and is told to go talk to Rick. Rick's not ready to have that conversation, though.

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    Hershel, feeling much better, says, "Hell yeah!" when he's offered a ride by Michonne. Their ride stinks of dead bodies piled in the back, but a ride is a ride.

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    Look, Farmer Rick made peas! Holy crap, peas! Son, it was all worth it! Look what I made!

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    Carl: "Okay, Dad. They're just peas, don't piss yourself. I mean, geez. I shot like 50 walkers last night. Where's my high five? These peas taste like dirt. I'm so over them."

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    Meanwhile, outside the fence…oh no, The Governor! Just standing around staring with his one eye, not at all conspicuous or anything with his black clothes and gigantic eye patch. I was hoping he would never return, but of course this apocalypse is unfair in so, so many ways.

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