The Walking Recap – TWD S4E09 “After” (Mid-Season Premiere)

Fuck yeah, TWD is back on!

Excuse me as I get unreasonably excited about this.

RECAPS are SPOILER-FILLED. Complain in the comments and I’ll fucking sic Michonne on you.

After approximately five trillion years of break since the midseason finale, we get to see our homies and how they’ve fared since the farm got overrun the prison done got blowed up.

But seriously, did anybody else flashback to when the farm was lost when the prison was lost? Not the action of the moment itself, but the loss of the community, their sense of safety, their makeshift home, the, y’know, massive casualties, and the group being left scattered?

Well, we pick up with the prison again. Walkers are roaming over the wreckage, some are eating corpses, but mostly, we care about Michonne staring at it all from the treeline. She saunters up to the remains of the gates in true Michonne-don’t-give-a-fuck style, cutting down walkers on her way. Bitches gotta survive, so Michonne is starting from scratch and getting her ass some brand new pet walkers. She came back to the prison for rope for their leashes. And the use the spikes to trap a pair of walkers for easily disarming (see what I did there?).



Unfortunately, as she’s heading back out with her two new besties, she happens upon what might be the worst moment in the show since they killed Sophia. Behold the undeniable proof of the heartlessness of the writers.



Cut to Carl and Rick, being a dick and trying really hard to limp faster to catch up to his son, respectively. Rick can’t bring himself to tell Carl that it’ll be alright, and Carl is just full of all of the preteen angst. They come across, like, a Cracker Barrel or something, and Carl backtalks his dad into letting him come inside to clear the place out and check for supplies. They come across one walker, who was a dude named Joe Jr. who apparently got bit but couldn’t bear to kill himself, so he barricaded himself in the kitchen so he at least wouldn’t still roam around biting folks. A nice though, Joe Jr., but the kitchen is probably the most useful area to any survivors. So, the note the guys find that asks anyone who finds it to please finish Joe Jr. the Walker off? No problemo.

Except… Problemo. How to kill the poor dude turned into a point of contention as Carl just wants to shoot him in the head and be done with it, but Rick tells him that he needs to conserve his bullets because he might need them later.

All while hefting a conveniently placed hatchet... and not hitting hard enough to properly embed it into the thing's brain.

All while hefting a conveniently placed hatchet… and not hitting hard enough to properly embed it into the thing’s brain.

But we cut to Michonne instead. She emerges from the woods with her buddies and spots a muddy trail sporting fresh, but evenly spaced footprints. Someone living has passed through here, someone injured, and recently. Rather than follow along the path, though, she just ducks into the forest across the way and keeps going.

Awesome. So, Carl feels like he’s right and he takes the shot and they stock up on supplies in stony silence. Rick gets a bunch of stuff, Carl gets a bunch of stuff, and Carl says that he won. But… Rick got water. Carl did not. So, really, if you know anything about things, Rick just won.

But we cut to Michonne instead. She emerges from the woods with her buddies and spots a muddy trail sporting fresh, but evenly spaced footprints. Someone living has passed through here, someone injured, and recently. Rather than follow along the path, though, she just ducks into the forest across the way and keeps going.

Also, the walkers on ropes are a pair of white dudes. I feel like there's a joke in here, somewhere.

Also, the walkers on ropes are a pair of white dudes. I feel like there’s a joke in here, somewhere.


Back over to Rick and Carl, the guys are scoping out plantation style homes (I also feel like there’s a joke in here…) to move into. Rick is still limping along and convinces Carl that the one they’re the closest to will be just fine, probably because he’s getting awfully tired of limping twenty feet behind his broody son. The only sound in the house is Rick’s laboured breathing… Until Carl loses his shit and starts shouting and banging against a wall, insisting that any walkers would have come to then by now. So, they split up (SIGH) and Rick looks through the kitchen, grabbing steak knives for weaponry for the future, and Carl checks out the upstairs bedrooms, including one which is a teenaged boys non-sex-related wet dream.

Bro. You ain't even got electricity. Put the XBox away.

Bro. You ain’t even got electricity. Put the XBox away.


His elation lasts for four seconds before reality sets back in, probably because he can smell himself, and he knocks the game aside to plunder the cables behind the TV so that he can secure the door downstairs. Rick tells him to help him push the couch against the door as well, and Carl insists that the cable will hold, but Rick finally gets him to help. They settle in for the night.

Way over in the Before Time, Michonne is slicing up crudités for her boyfriend and his brother in their lovely home, a toddler balanced on her hip. As soon as she sets the tasty snacks down onto the table, though, the men’s clothing and demeanor changes from discussing the arts to debating leaving their camp. Michonne blithely responds to their concerns with smiles and Mike (her lover) is saying that he’d have left if not for their son. She visibly sidesteps any negative feelings on her part and asks who’s going to open the wine, only to see that the two men now sit with bland, empty expressions… And no arms.

And the baby in her arms is suddenly gone.

Lot's of "NO!"'s ensue. Understandably.

Lot’s of “NO!”‘s ensue. Understandably.


She wakes up in the present, having slept in a car and with her pet walkers tied to the door handle. Even the unflappable Michonne is… Decidedly flappable.

Also waking up to a bright new day is Carl. He leaves his father to sleep on the couch and pours himself a bowl of cereal with no milk… And then a second one once he realises that his father was right and that he should have eaten something the day before. He goes up to the kid’s room upstairs and read comics on the bed/nook thing. He pretends to be normal for just a little bit. Then he takes his bowl back downstairs.

Um. Eating out of the bowl and cleaning up after yourself are not things I put in the "Normal" column for a teenage boy.

Um. Eating out of the bowl and cleaning up after yourself are not things I put in the “Normal” column for a teenage boy.


Ah, but these manners are merely a plot device as Carl has to walk past his still sleeping father on his way to the kitchen… And it’s weird as shit that Rick still hasn’t woken up. Carl investigates in the most compassionate way that he can mustre; a kick to his father’s dangling foot. When Rick still doesn’t respond, his gentle nudging and hushed calls escalate into shouts and shaking… Which calls the attention of a pair of walkers to their front door, against which the couch has been pushed, and said couch upon which Rick is power napping.

And you're little AUX cable holding the door shut? Haha, no.

And you’re little AUX cable holding the door shut? Haha, no.

Carl now has to go outside and lure them aware from the house before he can dispatch then, since he only knows how to do it with a gun and booms are a bad thing if you’re trying to stay hidden. You know, like how yelling is also not a good idea. So, the little fucker backpedals himself away for a good block before he finally is almost gotten from behind because I guess he forgot that there are literally hundreds of millions of other walkers in the world, not just the two emaciated ones he’s immediately concerned with. Luckily, and way too many bullets later, he’s able to not die, instead just being covered with corpses and being way too close to having his hand just grazed by one of the walkers as it falls, and then struggling to get out from under the pile of stank.

Michonne, meanwhile, if meandering about int he forest in the centre of a horde, when a young, female, black walker with long braids catches her eye.



She does a double-take and sees that it was actually a white walker. Not THAT kind of white walker, but hallucinations are still a cause of concern, ESPECIALLY when you’re surrounded by zombies.

Carl, meanwhile, is shouting at his still passed out father about all of the people that he let down, and how he was able to save Rick from the pair of walkers banging at their door, and he ends with a firm and outspoken belief that he’d be fine if Rick died.

Of course, he cried a little bit first. Wuss.

Of course, he cried a little bit first. Wuss.

He leaves his back o’ food at Rick’s feet and heads out on his own. He spots another entirely too big to be properly fortified and guanrateed not full of walkers house and saunters up to it, pausing only to take a solar stake light from the grass as a stabbin’ tool. He slams into the door to break it open, instead bouncing off of it and proceeding to break in by using the solar stake as a pry bar, which works because all houses in the south are made from balsa wood, cardboard, and Popsicle sticks, and all adhered with spit. The place is a wreck inside, but still unreasonable stocked with canned corn, saltines, and a GIANT FUCKING CAN OF PUDDING PLACED WAY UP HIGH.

He hasn't cleared the place out yet... But he's going for the pudding.

He hasn’t cleared the place out yet… But he’s going for the pudding.

Once the pudding is secured, he checks out the upstairs bedrooms. There is a dead, half-eaten canary in one, apparently nothing of import in the second, and, of course, door number three has the obligatory walker prize. Carl trips with his finger on the trigger, sending off two shots to harmlessly hit the ceiling, and the third shot hits the walker, but in the neck, only slowing it down for a moment. See that? The rule of threes makes everything funnier!

And he didn’t even reload his gun before deciding to abandon his father. What a sport.

Carl tries to escape via window in room #2, but the window sticks and the walker follows. He gets in a good hit to the thing’s head with a lamp, but the walker grabs him on his way to the ground and Carl scrambles to escape. He loses his shoe.

I mean, this almost happened... But now you gotta worry about tetanus.

I mean, this almost happened… But now you gotta worry about tetanus.

He scrambles out of the room, kicks some of the books out from the doorway and is able to slam the door shut just in time. The walker bangs harmlessly against it and Carl finds a piece of chalk and a pair of scissors on the floor. He takes up the chalk and writes on the door, “Walker Inside. Got My Shoe. Didn’t Get Me.” I don’t know who he’s bragging about it to, but at least he left a warning. He smiles again and leaves, leaving those scissors right on the ground, despite the fact that they’d be a decent stabbin’ tool… Or at least decent for a haircut.

He then proceeds to eat the whole fucking can of chocolate pudding, on the roof of that building, as that trapped walker reaches for him through that partially open window. Carl not only has all of the bad ideas, he has them ALL AT ONCE.

Diabetes is a real problem even if there are zombies, Carl, jeez!

Diabetes is a real problem even if there are zombies, Carl, jeez!

Next shot, Michonne hallucinates again and loses her shit, chopping up her little traveling band of a couple dozen walkers.

That actually looks cathartic as shit.

That actually looks cathartic as shit.

After crying for a minute, she returns to the muddy road she had found earlier and reexamines it. This time, she decides to follow the prints, to stay on the road. She walks with determination.

After eating his weight in pudding, Carl goes back to his dad, apparently realising that, sometimes, his Rick’s advice is worthwhile. He’s woken up by a twitch and sees Rick’s hand spasming, as the older man’s breathing becomes more laboured, wheezing. Carl panics and backs away, raising his gun, but Rick crawls towards him, reaching out to him. As he slowly comes closer, Carl loses his resolve, starting to cry, lowering his gun, and telling his dad that he can’t, that Rick should just do it already.

Thank you for NOT being a budding sociopath, Carl.

Thank you for NOT being a budding sociopath, Carl.


Then Rick speaks. “Carl. Don’t go outside. Stay safe.” And he flips over onto his back and collapses again. Carl moves to support his dad’s head and admits that he’s scared.

Michonne, meanwhile, find’s good old Joe Jr. and takes a quick breather to talk out loud to Mike, telling him that she misses him and that she doesn’t blame him for what happened to their baby. Even as he dialogue makes it sound like Mike turned and was the one to bite their son. After a moment, she heads back out, following the trail.

Rick and Carl are talking, Rick finally awake, and he gently chastises his son for going out alone. Carl tells him it was totally worth it. I ate…112 oz. of pudding.” And given his feat of gastrointestinal fortitude, Rick dubs him a man.

Outside, Michonne has caught up on their trail and she lets her katana slide back into its sheath when she spies them eating, I dunno, uncooked pasta or something, through the window. She starts to happy-cry. She even looks upwards in one of those, “Thank you, God,” moments.



Oh. Oh, and then she knocked. Thank GOODNESS. The guys, inside, are understandably jumpy, and draw their guns, training them on the door. Rick cautiously checks through the peephole and then pulls back with disbelieving laughter… And Carl is still frozen in place, gun raised and three THOUSAND petcent sure that his father and finally and irrevocably lost his mind. Then Rick says what was probably the best thing to say, except for maybe actually telling him directly who is at the door so that Carl doesn’t have to work so hard at keeping the pudding-related diarrhea at bay when combines with fear.

"It's for you."

“It’s for you.”

This… Was a very sweet moment. The kind of thing which we don’t get to see very often on this show about rotting corpses ripping apart the severely traumatized and malnourished and increasingly heartless survivors of the apocalypse. So, I actually really appreciate this. The fact that Rick tells Carl that the knock is for him feels like a nod to the episode “Clear,” easily my favourite episode of the series so far, and the bonding that occurred between Carl and Michonne, plus the fact that the katana-wielding bad-ass seems to be the only person who can keep the little shit in line, particularly because she doesn’t let him know that she’s doing it.

Oh. Oh, wait. Did you want to see any of the other characters? Did you want to see about survivors? Or any further information on the fate of Judith? I mean, yeah, it looks bad, but you never know with this show. Or did you want to see Glenn and Maggie find each other again? Watch Daryl shoot walkers in the head and see those arm muscles tighten and them veins a-poppin’?


Next week’s preview showed us a little bit of Daryl, some drama with Glenn and Maggie (<-WHICH I CANNOT HANDLE), and it’s going to drive us all back up a wall, I’m sure. Because, apparently, I watch this show specifically to give myself something to obsessively worry about.



But again, let’s focus on the sweet ending to this episode. Let’s be alright with the fact that a lot of our favourite characters didn’t show up in the episode because that, at least, means that they’re still alive. So, that’s awesome.

Yes, let’s focus on the good things in this show. The happy times. The silver linings.

Because we all know we’ll be emotionally wrecked, like, two scenes later.

But the real moral of this week’s episode? CARL STILL CAN’T STAY IN THE HOUSE.

See you all next week, right after I recover from my panic attack from the Glenn/Maggie scene they showed in the preview.





About pattyinreallife

I'm a graphic artist, writer, film-maker, and avid baker. I sing in the car and laugh at the worst/best moments. I am the coolest nerd you will ever meet. Try not to let your jealousy show too badly.

Posted on February 11, 2014, in The Walking Dead, TV Show Reviews. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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