How the game has changed for 'The Walking Dead'

By Shannon Toohey,
The Walking Dead leaves fans emotionally drained

Walking Dead fans were shocked by last night’s emotional roller coaster. The fans who stick around to see the zombie kills were forced to step back and take a hard look at the lives of these characters that we have grown to know and love so well. The drama-loving fans had their hearts torn in different directions and in many cases ripped out by the end of the episode. The prison group is separated and a herd of walkers overtakes the prison, causing chaos. The result is almost unbearable. Episode 304 of The Walking Dead is a game changer. This is how the game has changed. For those who haven’t seen it, spoilers lie ahead.

T-Dog is dead. We knew it was coming. Many of us had been ready for this moment since the end of last season. T-Dog was in the cards for death, and we had started preparing for it. The decent thing about T-Dog’s death is that he died a hero. He sacrificed himself to a group of walkers so that Carol could escape.

With him gone, the group is down an essential fighter. IronE Singleton brought strength to the character and a presence hard to replace. Around this time in the episode, the viewers began to miss the days when the group would caravan from location to location. They didn’t have shelter, but at least they were all in-tact.

Honoring Lori Grimes. Lori goes into labor with only Maggie and Carl at her side. She makes a choice that she has written in stone all this time. She tells Maggie to cut her open and save the child. After all the wrong we’ve acquitted on Lori, sacrificing her own life for her baby may be the bravest thing any mother can do. She may have displayed examples of poor parenting, and maybe poor decisions altogether in the past, but now is the time to forgive her. She was a fierce and passionate woman, and we know that she genuinely loved her husband through it all. All season she has done nothing but good. Lori’s death was gut and heart wrenching.In the end, she was there for her son. She tells Carl in brief monologue “You’re going to beat this world…but don’t let it spoil you.” They cry in each other’s arms.

Lori’s last words seem to be intended for an absent Rick when she gazes up and says “Goodnight love.” The most heartbreaking words she could have ever said.

To kill off Lori in episode four was a big indicator to us that the game has changed. This was a curveball thrown by the Glenn Mazzara, Gale Anne Hurd, and Robert Kirkman, writers of the show. As they intended, the fans are at a loss for words wondering where we will go from here. Sarah Wayne Callies showed raw emotion until the very end and her talent will truly be missed on the show, by fans and those who took Lori Grimes for granted. Nevertheless we can take closure in knowing that Lori had a rough time coping with this world and deserves to finally be at peace.

Now it is all about what is next for Rick. This world is all about moving on for survival, but we can expect Rick to fall to pieces. Rick’s wife and conscience is now dead. He never truly showed her the forgiveness that she deserved at this point. With only a brief glance and growing smile across a field through chain-link fence as a last interaction, Rick will be carrying much guilt on his shoulders. It seemed he was just getting ready to let her in, before she was ripped away. We should expect Lori to live on in Rick, remaining part of his conscience. He now has a newborn and is not sure if they are even related, and his older son is growing at a frightening pace. With group morale at an all time low, Rick has a lot of sorting and recovering to do.

Carl in himself will be a change to the game. He now has had watch his mother die in childbirth, and then shoot her in the head to make sure she did not reanimate. He has been hardened in unimaginable ways. He is a new kind of adult. He is a soldier. Carl’s childhood is behind him, and it certainly wasn’t all filled with play dates, friends, trick-or-treating and Santa Clause.

Woodbury brings its own set of challenges, though not as emotionally draining. The Governor has been acting strange and our lovely Andrea seems to be falling into his seductive trap. We can see right though Governor and hope that Andrea takes a hint from Michonne and backs off quickly. Although, Andrea does have a history with getting “involved” with powerful men. (Recall the incident in the Hyundai with Shane?)

It was a doozy. Next week everything will have changed. Additionally, we will find out what happened to Carol when T-Dog let her escape. Also, will Merle disobey the Governor and be reunited with Daryl? Episode 305 airs Sunday on AMC.

This one’s for Lori Grimes. We’ll keep an eye on Carl this time. Rest easy old girl, we forgive you.

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