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In the mid-season four premiere of the hit AMC show, The Walking Dead there wasn’t any shortage of the undead, blood and gore.
Viewers were left with quite the cliff hanger back in December when episode eight of season four aired before going on a two-month hiatus. In episode eight, “Too Far Gone,” the villainous Governor rallied some troops to go and storm the prison where the rest of the survivors were living while holding Hershel and Michonne hostage. After the storm of the prison, not only are Hershel and the Governor left for dead in some of the most gruesome ways (beheading for Hershel and a katana sword stabbing for the Governor), but the prison is overrun by walkers and the survivors are then displaced and separated in the struggle to run for safety elsewhere.
In the mid-season premiere episode “After,” one sees a haggard, beaten and badly wounded Rick and a very angry Carl walking through the woods. Rick was severely injured during the raid on the prison where he battled hand to hand with the Governor. With what is sure to be a few broken ribs and a badly bruised eye, Rick can barely keep up with a fuming Carl, who is infuriated at his father for losing his baby sister Judith in the chaos. The father and son end up at an abandoned diner where they scour the place for supplies.
In the meantime, Michonne is on her own after the prison fell. Surrounded by walkers, the katana wielding battle mistress has no problem taking the heads off of any walker that gets within two feet of her. However, to blend in better with the horde of undead cannibals, she ends up taking the arms and jaws off of two walkers and tying ropes around them so that she can mix in with their undead scent and go virtually undetected (one see her character do this trick when she was first introduced back at the beginning of last season).
As Michonne struggles to cope with what has just happened and her loneliness, she starts getting flashbacks of her life before the zombie apocalypse really took over. It is revealed she did at one point have a lover and a child. Unfortunately her happy flashbacks then turn into morbid and distressing nightmarish visions as her lover ends up with his arms chopped off and her baby disappears out of her arms.
Rick and Carl eventually find solitude in a nice home, however Carl is still furious at his father for being over bearing, protective and controlling; Carl is convinced he can take care of himself. The next morning Carl comes to find that overnight his father has entered some sort of coma from being so badly injured. Carl, in rebellion, goes off on his own and ends up in an adrenaline pumping duel with three walkers that he eventually shoots in the head. He goes in search of more supplies in other homes where he finds a giant 112 ounce can of chocolate pudding and happily eats it. Although Carl is quick on his feet and is good with a gun, it doesn’t change the fact that he is still young and a bit clueless when it comes to taking care of himself. With his childhood taken from him because of the apocalypse, Carl never had a chance to be carefree, causing him to think like adult at such a young age.
When Carl returns to an unconscious Rick, he realizes he can’t really survive on his own without his father and that he was wrong in saying he didn’t need his care anymore. In a tender father-son moment of the show Carl and Rick are reunited emotionally.
The episode comes full circle when a still-wandering Michonne sees footprints in the dirt that lead her straight to the home in which Carl and Rick are staying in. The episode ends with her knocking on the door. Rick sees who it is outside and laughs a bit telling Carl, “It’s for you.”
For the rest of the season, viewers will be expecting to see how the group finally meets back up together and what will happen to the rest of the survivors now that their safe prison is no more.