The second episode of season four proves that no one can be happy when zombies rule the world. In a predictable turn of events, anyone who smiled last episode was quickly shown the error of their ways. With perhaps poor Tyreese getting the worst deal from the producers.
The Angela Kang penned episode was full of death and despair as Patrick the zombie devoured a few inmates and lead our heroes to realise that there is something else picking off our survivors. The fact that it is the flu does make one chuckle, but in all seriousness it does prove how deadly something as common as the flu can be when you live in a world without access to simple medicines. It is nice to see the show tackle something like this idea, however it must be said that it was so heavy handed that some of the dialogue is delivered in such away that the whole thing comes off as a little melodramatic.
Talking of melodrama, we get a hell of a lot this episode. Mostly it's centred around Rick. Andrew Lincoln should be commended for being able to actually make the material he is given compelling, because in anyone else's hand it would be laughable. However the symbolic killing of his comfortable farm life lacks any subtly. But subtly isn't exactly what The Walking Dead is about, the Michonne and baby scene proves that point.
However there are flashes of greatness, most of which come from Carol which is surprising. Carol is moving forward in a big way this season it seems and this episode is Carol heavy. She gets some new children, tries to manipulate Carl into not telling his dead about her teaching style and even drops a truth bomb on a grieving child. She has quickly become the most compelling and interesting character the show has.
This week the episode was all about the blood and gore as zombies got murdered by the truckload. As always the special make up effects where excellent and the show continues to make these shuffling corpses look believable. However the show lacks any real tension in these scenes of mass zombie attacks as we know our heroes will live, mainly due to their amazing skills with any weapon. Seriously Carl literally quick scoped a zombie. Granted the opening pre-credits scene had some genuine tension, but the show ditched an interesting and possibly terrifying scenario for flashes of action and buckets of blood.
It looks as if the problems of the show haven't truly vanished yet. Yes, this is only the second episode, but we already have an emphasis on action. It doesn't help that the more emotional and character moments where far too cartoonish to actually be truly engaging. But the show still has a lot of potential, especially since a mysterious zombie feeder has been introduced. "Infected" wasn't bad by any means and it will entertain many, but after last weeks episode this is a step in the wrong direction.