October 25, 2013
, the second episode of the fourth season does exactly that.
One of the better aspects of this week was the relationship between the characters. There were some good moments of contrast; early on the show emphasizes Tyreese and Karen's relationship, then in short time we see Glenn and Maggie together, and then finally we close that sequence with Rick, Carl, and Michonne (there's a very amusing family dynamic there that's probably a nod to the multitude of Rick and Michonne shipper-fuel moments over the past two seasons). The character relationships have been one of the show's weaknesses over time, but Angela Kang is one of the writers that does a better job of that sort of thing, and it really shines through in this week's episode. The quieter moments work very well between the characters, Tyreese and Karen feel like a real couple, and it's a credit to Kang that she's able to really bring those emotions to the forefront (while still working in some great action sequences and some clever ideas for Rick and the gang to execute).
One of the characters who has been receiving some attention this season has been Michonne. She's been limited in screen time, but it's more important time, and the show has taken great pains to develop her character a little bit more. She is no longer just the lone Andrea-saving, Governor-hating bad ass with the fan service katana and one facial expression. Not only does she get to smile and make a joke this episode, she also gets to show some legitimate emotion. She gets probably the best scene of the night, and that's saying something because A) she shared the scene with Beth - a character that is improving this season - and B) the writers have turned Carol into a quietly great character. Has anyone on the show made such a huge turn from season one to season four? Carol, unlike some other survivors, has really grown and changed as a character, even in the last two episodes.
There's a real sense of dread to Infected that's a testament to the show's ability to play with shadows and light and background noise. Guy Ferland does a great job at creating the tension and slowly cranking it up in the early stages of the episode. While there's not an immediate blow-off, the show keeps things simmering, using a lot of shots of zombie Patrick going about his zombie business within the friendly confines of Cell Block D, the zombies milling about by the fences, and the show's opening shot of a mysterious person offering up rat snacks to zombies.