This is why we love-hate The Walking Dead. For all of its resolute strengths -- Michonne's tears, Rick torching his fave (ok, only) shirt, an infant playing with Red Solo Cups, perhaps the cutest thing ever seen on cable TV -- last night's "Infected" ep was One Big Question Mark, a show that dangled threads but refused to tie any of them, an hour with scant plot oomph but rivers o' blood.
Oh, there were plenty of COOL things to witness -- including Exploding Eyeball Fence Guy, which reminded me of the old Toxic Avenger camp flicks -- but nothing actually happened. There's a Sudden Super Flu inside the prison; there's a gathering horde of zombies outside the prison. And there's a traitor in our midst, stirring up the undead masses with fresh ratatouille. Our heroes can't stay; our heroes can't go. So now what??? Um, can you wait until next week?
We care about these folks, so we stick around, watching tough SOBs get tougher. Once a weak, trembling woman, daughterless widow Carol has since turned into Linda Hamilton circa-Terminator 2, a font of some of the best writing on the show. In that Terms of En-dead-ment subplot with the two Dad-less girls, Carol -- unlike flip-flopping Rick or even lovesick Glen -- proved to be the model of post-apocalytpic survival: compassionate but realistic. I used to hate her. Now? L-O-V-E. I wouldn't be surprised if massive future plot twists hinge on her.
As for Farmer Rick and percolatingly psychotic son Carl ("Dad, when can I have my gun back?"), their attempts at a violence-free life lasted exactly 1.5 eps, which makes for an oddly impatient story arc but far more bang-bang television. Carl is shooting things again! Might as well give him his hat back, too!!! Oh, and as for Rick, his simmering hatred of pork products led to a grisly PETA-unapproved end for several adorable piggies, used to lure, briefly albeit, zombies away from the prison's bending security fence. Yikes, how brutal was that?
But the best thing about this episode? The return of the real Tyreese, whose trembly approach to zombie-slaying last week was bordering on the Barney Fife-ish. After serenading his Cellblock D gal pal and picking her some flowers (and, let's be honest. basically sealing her grisly fate with a morbid soliloquy about the ephemeral nature of life), Ty was back on the singles scene again and he's mighty ticked off about it. Who can blame him? Not exactly eHarmony in that place.
Will Tyreese's frustrated libido turn him into an exploding ball of rage? Will Carl bury his lush Shaun Cassidy locks in his pop's old sheriff hat? Will Glen and Maggie make me happy and get eaten? Lots of questions, boys and girls. Lots of questions. And if showrunner Scott Gimple & Co. are smart, they'll start giving us answers, too. Now...who's up for a BLT?