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(SPOILER) A 'Deadly' Recap

(The Verge)- *SPOILER ALERT*- Do not read any further if you have not caught up with the current season of “The Walking Dead”!
Season four of AMC’s “The Walking Dead” premiered about three weeks ago.  In this current season, a few months have passed since the season three finale, when residents of Woodbury have joined with Rick and the gang at the prison.
Since the merger, some big things have been happening at the prison:
1. Rick is not in charge anymore.
This was a long time coming. We see that Rick has given up the “sheriff” identity, turning in his gun (and confiscating Carl’s as well), trading it instead for a new career path of farming and taking care of other household (prisonhold?) tasks.  This is most likely a response to the overwhelming pressure that he has sustained over the last six months. Dealing with Lori’s death, his son growing up, raising a newborn, and (to top it all off) being put in charge of a considerably larger group of people?

Image taken from: static2.businessinsider.com.
Image taken from: static2.businessinsider.com.

Yeah, Rick gets a pass with me on this one.  I think it is time for someone else to step up and be more than a follower in this dystopian prison society they have created.
2. Carl is in “rehab”.
No, not really…but kinda.  We find out in one scene, when Rick is farming, that Carl no longer carries his pistol. He is visibly uncomfortable when he finds out that Carol is teaching the children of the prison “survival” techniques (using a knife, etc.), and when he is actually called to use a gun to save the life of Michonne, one of the original members of the prison, we see that he is clearly distressed and confesses to Rick that he is sorry for having to resort to shooting.
What?  This is not the same Carl that we saw last season.  Where is the Carl that shot his mother?  Where is the Carl that decided to clear out a whole prison block of zombies by himself in order to find the prison medical supply when Herschel needed bandages for his leg?  Where is the Carl that shot the boy from Woodbury in cold blood when he was surrendering his weapon?
I think part of this is connected to Rick’s stepping down as leader. In season three, after Herschel tells Rick about Carl shooting the boy from Woodbury, we can see that Rick is deeply concerned about his son. Carl was simply becoming a product of his environment: cold, calculated, and willing to do whatever he thought was necessary to survive. For most of the characters struggling to survive on the show, this seems to be perfectly acceptable behavior…but not for someone who has not even hit puberty yet.
Rick made the fatherly decision to take away Carl’s gun, and so far, it seems to be for the best. It is something to keep in mind, however, as to what would happen if Carl felt threatened.  If I had to guess, he still has that killer instinct, be it towards zombies or other humans. We see that in the latest episode, Rick finally decides to carry his gun again, and he returns Carl’s gun as well, believing that he has earned back the right to his weapon.
A photo of Carl from "The Walking Dead." Image taken from: comicbook.com.
A photo of Carl from “The Walking Dead.” Image taken from: comicbook.com.

3. Daryl Dixon is still the most savage human being alive.
Okay, so nothing actually changed here, but it still had to be said.
Like, did you SEE when he got out of the car when they were stuck?  Daryl and Michonne killed at least a dozen walkers each in less than a minute.
4. Carol is losing herself.
I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing.
AMC has a knack for creating programs that show a ridiculous transformation among their characters (“Breaking Bad”, for example).  Carol began as the skittish wife of an abusive drunk husband, who was really only living for her daughter.  As the show moved forward, Carol lost both her husband (yay!) and her daughter (no!).  She is now essentially alone in the world, save for the “family” that she is with at the prison.  We see that she has gone from the only one who actually does laundry in the group to an able-bodied soldier who is proficient with several weapons and has a working knowledge of minor surgical procedures.  Even if that was all that happened, that’s still a hell of an upgrade.
But of course, that’s not all, folks.
There is a strain of a flu-like sickness going around the prison that appears to spread through close contact. Long story short, when you come down with the flu, you bleed through your eyes and mouth, and poof you die and become a zombie.  The flu is extremely contagious, and at first, two of the members of the prison (Karen & David ) were infected. They are quarantined in the solitary confinement cells of the prison, away from the rest of the group.  Someone, who is unknown until the last moment of the most recent episode, shoots the two of them in the head before the virus can fully take hold.  That same person then proceeds to drag both of the bodies outside the prison, and burn them.  There were many theories, such as Carl doing it in an effort to protect his newborn baby sister from potentially coming down with the virus, Herschel doing it as a measure to prevent any further loss, as he’s been a bit careless lately, etc.  But all of those theories, well, were just wrong!
Image taken from: images.amcnetworks.com.
Image taken from: images.amcnetworks.com.

Carol did it. Carol, the sweet, innocent woman from seasons one and two.  My jaw dropped when, after Rick asked her if she was the one who killed Karen and David, she simply stopped, turned and coldly said “Yes.”
Transformation: Complete.
5. This season is going to be wild.
That’s a cop-out, but c’mon, think about it!  There’s a virus killing people at an alarming rate, Carol killing people who aren’t even zombies, Rick and Carl are pacifists…wait, no they are not, Michonne is looking for the Governor, and Beth does not cry anymore.
There’s a lot going down on Sunday night on AMC!