October 25, 2013
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.
When the blow-off does come, it's impressively choreographed and executed. The Walking Dead is a show that has a very large cast, and the amount of extras the show has access to is even more impressive, probably because everyone loves zombies and there aren't a lot of acting gigs in Georgia (until the past few years, of course). When they need to have a mass of walkers or a mass of panicking civilians fleeing walkers, they've got it. Ferland and company make great use of their extras this week, with multiple scenes featuring dozens of people scrambling and fleeing and zombie shuffling that feel very chaotic without being too overwhelming visually. It can be easy for small details to get lost during a riot, but Ferland does a good job of keeping sight lines clear and focusing on the action, even if the action is behind a bunch of screaming, flailing people or is a morass of angry zombies.
The Walking Dead has done a good job of adding to the threats that the prisoners face without it seeming like piling on. Not only do you have zombies, the Governor, the standard problems with finding clean water and adequate food, and the newly-discovered flu plague, now there's the potential for sabotage from inside the camp, if the clues (and dead rats) are to be believed. There are lots of new questions, and not many solid answers yet.
A Walking Dead season with action, great character work, AND a legitimate mystery? Perhaps the move to Scott Gimple as show runner will yield even more positive results than the move to Glen Mazzara did in season three.