The Walking Dead “Isolation” Recap and Review: The Super Bug


The third episode of The Walking Dead season 4 offered a deeper look at how far reaching the flu’s effects have become on the prison camp members, and the lengths a few of them are willing to take to help aid the sick and the healthy. The flu outbreak has turned into a mini-pandemic, and now the prison camp leadership must find a way to help alleviate the disease in those survivors who haven’t been killed by the it yet. They also need to figure out who amongst them torched Karen and David during last week’s episode, which has led to turmoil spreading amongst those survivors who had ties to the torched victims. Once again in the world of The Walking Dead it has been made clear that one must not only fear the walkers, but also other humans.

(Spoilers below proceed at your own risk)

The prison yard becomes the graveyard

“Isolation” picks up right where the previous episode left off. The prison yard is full of freshly dug graves thanks to the violent flu attack on the camp’s population. It’s clear that this new travesty is having a dire effect on the survivors as they dig grave after grave to make room for the dead bodies. Just when you thought the prison camp survivors were semi-safe from the grotesqueries of their new lives, the super flu hits and wipes out any hope for them being happy and at peace. Such is life for our beloved cast of characters living in a zombie apocalypse where happiness becomes a forgotten emotion.

While the graves are being dug Rick, Daryl, Carol, and Tyreese are still discussing the tragic murder of Karen and Dave at the hands of an unidentified assailant. Tyreese is emotionally destroyed thanks to the grisly murder of his new lady love, so he does the manly thing and begins to fight both Daryl and Rick. Rick catches a few shots to the face that immediately wake up his inner-beast that he’s been trying to suppress this entire season, which leads to him savagely beating Tyreese’s face to a bloody pulp. The look in Rick’s eyes while he’s smashing his fists into Tyreese’s face is both frightening and secretly awesome. This particular scene proves that Rick is constantly trying to keep his dark side at bay, but each new difficult situation he’s faced with is slowly making him realize that he needs his demon side to survive.

Don't poke the Rick unless you want to get dealt with
Don’t poke the Rick unless you want to get dealt with

Thanks to the rapid spread of the flu Herschel calls for a mission to a small college 50 miles from the prison that may have an abundant supply of antibiotics to help aid the sick. Daryl, Michonne, Bob, and the highly volatile Tyreese all volunteer to go on the mission while Rick and Herschel remain back at the prison camp to attend to the sick, and to solve the murders of Karen and Dave. Herschel takes the lead in the caretaker department, reinforcing his penchant for placing the group above his own needs, while Rick returns to his police work and spearheads the murder investigation.

The first half of this episode made it poignantly clear that the survivors are facing one of their biggest challenges to date, and each main cast member is beginning to take on their respective roles from past seasons to help get to the bottom of the sickness, and the murders. No matter how hard they try Herschel, Rick, and the others must all rely on what they do best to help push through their latest challenge no matter how hard they want to change who they fundamentally are.

Quarantine, Zombie burn outs, and Itchy trigger fingers

The second half of “Isolation” follows three main threads – the antibiotic search party, Rick’s investigation, and Herschel’s penchant for helping the needy.

The search party ran into a major snag when they encountered a highway full of walkers who overcome their car. When Daryl tries to speed away the car gets stuck on a pile of zombie guts and can’t get traction, providing the gore that so many fans of this series love. Thanks to their zombie burn out the search party must make a dangerous escape into the woods, and they do, but without Tyreese. It’s later shown that he did survive the attack thanks to his inner rage that helped him to smash hordes of zombie heads with his war hammer. For now though it remains unclear how and when he and the search party will make their way back to the prison thanks to the impromptu zombie road block.

While the others are running for their lives en route to scoring some meds, Rick is left with the task of identifying who killed Karen and Dave. It was interesting to see Rick performing his former job that he used to do in life before the outbreak. He almost seemed awakened by the task, and not as distant as he’s been throughout season 4 and the end of season 3. Along the way he must make a daring rescue of Carol who stubbornly tried to repair the prison’s water supply line by herself, once again showcasing his drive to protect. This frantic scene also highlighted the fact that Carol is officially one badass bitch now, and that she’s willing to do anything to protect the group.

Herschel on the other hand is hell bent on tending to the sick even though there’s a great chance he’ll become infected himself. He’s been quarantined away with the children and elderly, but that doesn’t stop him from trying to sneak outside to collect elderberries to use as a homeopathic remedy. Along the way he runs into Carl who is back to sporting his pistol and Sheriff’s hat. It’s clear that Carl is itching to shoot something so he offers to assist Herschel with his berry gathering. While scouring for the magical fruit the two run into some zombies and Carl instantly decides he must kill them, but Herschel talks him out of it to avoid the unnecessary violence. Herschel’s fatherly advice worked, but it’s clear that Carl is suffering from blood lust, so there’s a great chance he’ll kill something this season in cold blood, or out of misplaced rage. Keep an eye on that kid for sure!

Against the wishes of his family Herschel does indeed enter the quarantine to help aid the sick. There he’s almost guaranteed to catch the illness thanks to Doc S. coughing blood up on his face. He also visits Glenn who has come down with the illness affecting the prison, which was sad to see considering Glenn’s ties to Maggie, Herschel’s daughter. Things are not looking too promising for the sick, and Herschel’s help is only delaying the inevitable, so the only way the illness is going to be staved is if the search party can return with the goods, but their situation is also bleak considering that they’ve been chased from their only vehicle.

Herschel consoles his son-in-law risking exposure
Herschel consoles his son-in-law risking exposure

Rick realizes whodunit 

Through his investigation Rick realizes that the killer has to be a woman and instantly looks to Carol as the suspect. The reason being is a handprint left at the crime scene, which is far too small to be from a man. Knowing Carol’s new passion for saving those most dear to her he nonchalantly asks if she killed Karen and Dave, which she confesses to without batting an eye. The episode faded to black right after this confession, so it’s not clear how Rick will deal with Carol’s revelation.

One thing is for sure and that’s the fact that Carol has become a very interesting character to behold. Her transition from a weak and battered woman is complete, but is her new personality going to pose a danger to the group? Hopefully next week’s episode will focus on how Rick is going to deal with Carol, and if he will expose her deed to the council. The drama is officially back in The Walking Dead!

Final Thoughts

“Isolation” began in mystery, but ended with a revelation that has potential to shake the prison camp survivors to the core. The fates of Glenn and the other sick individuals rests on the ability of Daryl’s search team to find and return with medical drugs, but they too are facing adversity thanks to the walker horde who waylaid them. Herschel has put himself at great risk to continue providing the care that he’s become known for to the sick, and Carl just wants to kill something. Rick knows who killed Karen and Dave, but how he handles that knowledge remains to be seen.

Carol is more than meets the eye
Carol is more than meets the eye

One things is for sure and that is the fact that things are bound to get explosive by the time season 4 ends next spring. Will the survivors be back to battling walkers, or will they be battling themselves? Only time will tell.

[schema type=”review” name=”The Walking Dead: Isolation | Review Summary” description=”The Awesome: Zombie body burn outs, Rick’s rage | The Not so Awesome: Carl’s creepy demeanor” rev_name=”The Walking Dead: Isolation” rev_body=”Isolation helps to drive the season 4 plot along by focusing on the flu outbreak, and the investigation into the murder of Karen and Dave. By the end of the episode it isn’t clear how the survivors can endure the sickness decimating their ranks, but the identity of the killer does get revealed. Overall Isolation did a fine job setting up the drama that will inevitably take place throughout the rest of season 4. There’s no doubt that it’ll lead to a few more main characters meeting their maker.” author=”Matt Heywood” pubdate=”2013-10-28″ user_review=”8″ min_review=”0″ max_review=”10″ ]



[#ff entbuddha] “Making you a better geek, one post at a time!”

Photos by Gene Page/AMC

Tags : Episode ReviewThe Walking Dead
Matt Heywood

The author Matt Heywood

Matt Heywood is the founder and EIC of where he strives to make you a better geek, one post at a time! When he’s not scouring the Internet for interesting nuggets of awesomeness he can be found in his secret lair enjoying the latest and greatest video games, taking pictures of toys, or talking Star Wars on EB’s Star Wars Time podcast show.