The Walking Dead continues its obsession with titles beginning with I this week and also delivers the most emotionally satisfying episode of season 4 so far.
"Indifference" manages to balance the shows elements quite nicely. There is a lot of character development, zombie action and plot progression. Matthew Negrete's script focuses on the idea of characters learning that in this new world they need to let go of things and move on. It is somewhat cathartic to see some of these characters get over their emotional problems.
The episode's focus is split between Rick and Carol's hunt for supplies and Daryl's group at the veterinary college. Rick and Carol's adventure is far more interesting than Daryl's, but that doesn't mean that the trip to the college is any less entertaining.
But the scenes between Andrew Lincoln and Melissa McBribe are tense and beautifully acted. Essentially Rick tests Carol and finally decides to deal with her. Carol's reasons for killing those two infected people at the prison are actually quite justifiable and for most of the episode you assume that Rick is going to actually live with it and no longer make decisions for the group. But this is the point of these scenes as Carol is the catalyst that makes Rick let go of his indecision and step up as a leader. This whole plot ends on a powerful moment as Rick banishes Carol from the group. It is the best ending of an episode the show has had in a long time and the lasting effects of the decision will make for interesting viewing. McBride is on fire in these scenes as she embraces the indifference of the title and excepts Rick's decision. She seems happy in the knowledge that she has pushed Rick into finally taking charge. The scenes between these two characters are exactly what the show needs and although it is essentially a reused plot (Rick + someone go on a trip and he learns about himself) it still packs a punch.
Meanwhile Daryl, Tyreese, Michonne and Bob all learn a few lessons along the way as they battle to find the medicine the infected survivors at the prison need. The Governer is heavily mentioned and it is nice to see Michonne show a range of emotions. The Daryl/Michonne friendship is quickly becoming the most fun one on the show. Chad Coleman's Tyreese is still a little over the top, but for the most part you can sympathise with his anger. But Bob is perhaps the most compelling character in that group. This is mainly due to Lawrence Gilliard, Jr's performance. He manages to play the alcoholic and not over do it. It is also nice that not everyone can let go of their demons and it makes the narrative seem like less of a "look what we learnt" Sesame Street episode.
"Indifference" marks a step up in quality for the show in general and hopefully it will continue into the coming episodes.