The Walking Dead S04E03 ‘Isolation’ episode review

Our review of The Walking Dead Season 4 episode 3 ‘Isolation’. Spoilers ahead…

All those goosebump inducing moments from The Walking Dead Season 4 trailer were taken from this very episode. Hershel (Scott Wilson) saying “Everything they worked so hard to keep out just found its way in;” Carol (Melissa McBride) almost becoming walker bait while collecting water, and Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Co hearing signs of life on the radio before being overrun.

If Season 2 saw ‘herds’ of walkers, this episode shows an entire colony closing in. But apart from this awesome, overwhelming shot, actual cadaver encounters are thin on the ground compared to last week’s outbreak. Instead, the focus shifts to the deadly flu that’s plaguing the prisoners, and we’re shocked that one of our own has fallen victim when Glenn is admitted to the isolation ward. It also gives us hope that they’ll find some meds to stave off the disease – surely they can’t end his journey with, in his own words, “a glorified cold”? But then this episode has already taken some unexpected turns…

Robert Kirkman’s script jabs a finger at your chest and asks, what would you do to survive? When Carol is outed as Karen and David’s killer, we’re forced to reassess our feelings for the usually meek and mild group member. Her arc has taken her to some pretty dark places as a former domestic abuse victim who lost her child, but now she’s teaching kids how to use knives, defying Rick’s orders and fetching water without back-up, and then going as far as murdering two innocent but sick people. The way actress Melissa McBride handles the material – with convincing remorse one minute and stoic resolve the next – makes us conclude that she’s not a particularly bad person; she’s just a survivor.

THE-WALKING-DEAD-Season-4-Episode-3-Isolation-1Another standout performance this week came from Chad Coleman as the grieving Tyreese. After losing his girlfriend and earning one hell of a shiner from Rick (he started it), his sister Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) succumbs to illness and he’s forced to put on a happy face and offer her hope when he’s blatantly running on empty. And he’s not the only one, as Beth delivers pragmatic advice to her sister. “We don’t get to cry,” she affirms, before being betrayed by her own suppressed emotions.

It’s good to see these often sidelined characters gaining more of a purpose, but going forward we’d love to spend more time with Michonne (Danai Gurira). Except for a funny line about catching fleas from Daryl, she’s as enigmatic as ever. And where does she keep disappearing off to? We suspect she’s tracking the Governor (David Morrissey); seems like he’s due a visit…

The Walking Dead Season 4 is currently airing on FOX on Fridays at 10pm. The Walking Dead: The Complete Season 3 is available now on DVD for £28 or on Blu-ray for £30 from Amazon.co.uk.