Don't let the headline lead you astray — we actually enjoyed this week's installment of The Walking Dead, just as Glenn and Maggie enjoyed each other's unwashed bodies in the prison's newly anointed Sex Tower.
But the show did something absolutely unforgivable last night, with a plot twist that drove the thumbscrews through my heart. Or shall I say, "heartscrews." So yes. Screw you and your screwy, screwy heartscrews, Walking Dead. Spoilers fucking on.
About a zillion things happened last night in "Killer Within," most of which made for ripping television. Michonne was caught investigating The Governor's National Guard shootout, and it was fun to see two obviously crazy people politely plan to kill each other while "Powerhouse" began playing inside their respective skulls. Also, Michonne wants to reenact the ending of the Shawshank Redemption with Andrea. How nice!
Also, the show finally figured out that Michael Rooker is a good actor and gave Merle some depth. The surly scoundrel warmed our hearts when he tried to drop everything and search for Daryl. He also made our genitalia atrophy when he hit on Andrea. (Remember, he's putting the moves on Andrea after accusing her of being a lesbian in a pill-addled rage! That's some Level 10 Mystery Method shit right there.)
So yeah, good job, Walking Dead — you've made several million people imagine intercourse with the show's resident screaming yokel. (Incidentally, lovemaking with Merle Dixon does not occur in a normal bed — it takes place on a coleslaw-stained spruce bench, with Slim Whitman on a staticky AM radio for ambiance and hush puppies in places where hush puppies do not belong.)
Heck, even Lori's left-field death by Caesarean section in the fourth freaking episode of this season was brutal and emotional and sad and Carl will never be right again. That final hug. Oof. In the span of ten minutes, Carl saw his mother give birth, splayed her like a pimento loaf, and then put a bullet in her head so she wouldn't try to devour him like Saturn the Titan. Even in neolithic times, this would be astoundingly depressing. Seriously, an inauspicious event like this in caveman days would be cause for the entire clan to lie facedown under a wobbly menhir or a nearby auroch stampede.
Note that we don't see Carl shoot Lori. Of course, that would be totally screwed up if The Walking Dead gave us zombie Lori with a umbilical lasso. But hey, we didn't see Andrew die two episodes ago, and he returned to ruin everybody's day. Also, Merle disappeared for a season to work on his night moves. In the zombie apocalypse, you must die on camera or you didn't die at all. (Also, I wonder where The Governor's daughter is? Are they going to throw us a loop here, comic book fans?)
When Rick hears that his son has moonlighting as an obstetrician/divorce attorney without the proper certification, Sheriff Grimes does the "Stupid, stupid, stupid, I locked my keys in my Camry" dance. He's so shocked he barely seems upset. And who can blame him, when THE WALKING DEAD KILLED GODDAMN T-DOG. T-DOG. T-DOG. T-DOG.
T-DOG, THE UNANSWERED PROMISE. T-DOG, THE NEWLY MINTED MUSCLE. T-DOG, THE SILENT FRIEND. T-DOG, THE BODHISATTVA OF SORT OF BEING ONSCREEN. T-DOG, THE RELIGIOUS GUY WHO WE DIDN'T KNOW WAS RELIGIOUS UNTIL 30 SECONDS UNTIL HE DIED BECAUSE SOMEONE ACTUALLY TALKED TO HIM. T-DOG, THE GUY WHOSE THREE SEASONS WORTH OF DIALOGUE COULD COMFORTABLY FIT ON A CAMPBELL'S SOUP CAN. T-DOG, WHOSE ONLY WEAKNESS IS CAR DOORS. T-DOG, THE MUTE BACKBONE OF THIS SHOW.
I'm too distraught to actually discuss T-Dog's passing, so I've turned to art therapy to describe his demise. Note that he and Lori are represented by elk, prancing free through the hologram glades of elysium.
Lori's death was some tear-jerking stuff, but as a main character, her heartstring-tugging croak makes sense. But T-Dog? That just smarts. It was like watching Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, only to have the script rewritten such that Brutus jumps off-stage and stabs the guy selling Jujubes in the lobby.
We've been waiting so long for T-Dog to become a fully rounded character. This seemed like an extremely real possibility with this season's first two episodes, until the writer's room just Gumball 3000ed him into a shallow grave for cheap thrills. Rassum and frassum. Well, Oscar and Axel have gained the survivors' trust. May each of them deliver a 30-minute, commercial-break-annihilating eulogy at T-Dog's funeral next episode. If T-Dog can't get a biography (or lines) in life, he may as well earn them in death.