It’s easy to pick apart everything The Walking Dead survivors do and proclaim that it’s the dumb thing. Far too often we’ve watched the protagonists make head scratching decisions, whether it’s driving without looking at the road, walking in a secluded wooded area without paying attention to the telltale sign the approaching dead, and trusting people who had "evil bastard" written all over their faces. It’s far too simple to forget that every stupid decision has its reasoning. After all, these characters are survivors for a reason.

“Indifference” is, in part, a deeper discussion of the motivations of characters who make these mystifying decisions and gotten labeled stupid, uninteresting, or unworthy of survival by many fans. In the past, the show has passed off some truly idiotic actions as things that people just do. However, in this episode the characters finally get to explain why they do the things that infuriate viewers. For me, it was the perfect way to flesh out characters that usually don’t get the chance to shine. For other viewers, it may seem like a whole lot of talking.

Take for example Bob’s deep infatuation with a nice bottle of alcohol. In his first episode, he was able to muster the strength to put a bottle down and it lead to death and destruction. Tonight, he isn’t able to gather that same strength. This time he gets the chance to explain himself. He’s already seen two groups of people die and he isn’t ready to face the quiet moments alone.

Michonne, for all her character growth this season, has also been making some questionable decision. Her treks into the wild to look for The Governor may seem foolhardy to viewers and her peers, but to her she’s doing what needs to be done. At least by the end of the episode, she realizes she needs to let go of the anger that’s sending her on those lonely missions.

But it’s Carol’s decision to kill Karen and David that gets the most attention tonight. Carol has always been a motherly and meek type, despite the darkness that has always been around her. In the first season she was only too happy to bash her dead husband’s face in. But her change in morality this season is startling. She’s a colder character, but not without her reasons.

Most of the episode was a peek inside Carol’s brain. In the beginning, Carol and Lizzie have a heart-to-heart through glass. Carol wants Lizzie to be the sort of survivor Sophia never got to be by doing whatever it takes to survive, even if it means killing somebody. After seeing her daughter become a walker, it’s no shock that Carol wants Lizzie to see the gravity of her situation, but Lizzie tries to explain why she isn’t afraid of becoming something else, whether it’s an older woman or a walker.

“We all change,” Lizzie says. “We don’t get the stay the way we started.” The quote might as well have a giant neon sign saying “Carol’s Thesis Statement.” Carol is not the same person she began as.

However, so far the only person to notice that is Rick. He’s haunted by what Carol did and what’s she’s become. They travel together on a food run, mostly in tense silence. While in a neighborhood, they run into a pair of hippies, Ana and Sam, who truly earned their title of dummies. Neither have the survival instincts of Carol and Rick. They hide in a house for two days just to stay away from one walker. They’re not fighters or survivors.

After Rick invites them to join the group at the prison, he asks Carol, “Do you think it was right to invite them with us?” “I think it was the humane thing to do,” she answers. “But do you think it was right?” He asks probing questions into the current state of her morality.

In the end, he decides that she needs to leave and be on her own. He wouldn’t trust her around his children anymore, which is really all it takes to get kicked out these days. Was it the right decision? For Rick, probably. Carol’s actions have put him in a bad spot. Tyreese will surely want to ring her neck, while others would definitely side with her. It’s action enough to start a civil war within the prison.

But is it the right decision for the show? The Walking Dead has never been afraid to kill off their characters, nor should they. Carol’s not just any character though. She’s part of the original group, one of the very few women left, and, frankly, was just now getting interesting. Her decision to teach the children to play with sharp objects, her connection to Daryl, and now her murderous streak is way more interesting than Tyreese’s anger issues, Bob’s alcoholism, Hershel’s crisis of faith, or Maggie’s desperation to have a child.

Getting rid of Carol now is one of those dumb decisions that the characters on this show regularly make. Of course there must be a reason behind it. I just need the motivations explained.

Other Musings:

  • All of the food was stored in cell block D, which was filled with infected people. They’re short on supplies now. It’s definitely going to come into play later.
  •  I loved the conversation between Lizzie and Carol. From our perspective, they’re both a bit batty but they do their best to explain their thought process.
  • Lizzie: “They’re something. They’re someone… We all change. We don’t get to stay the way we started…You said I’m weak. I’m not. So I’m telling you what I think.”
  • Carol: “Don’t call me your mom.” Lizzie: “It was an accident.” Carol: “Just don’t.”
  • Lizzie: “I’m not afraid to kill. I’m just afraid.”
  • At one point, Daryl scratches his crotch while talking to Michonne. Gross.
  • “Pardon Our Dust” is written on a car. Writing in dust should have been banned with the apocalypse.
  • The walkers jumping out of the over grown bush was pretty scary.
  • Much of the storyline with Daryl and company was about not letting go. Tyreese refused to let go of the walker in the bush, Bob refused to let go of his bag with the alcohol, and Michonne finally let go over her anger at The Governor. It was a bit heavy handed.
  • Zombie kryptonite is going down stairs.
  • I got a big laugh from Hippy Sam throwing fruit at Rick and him just watching it fall down the stairs.
  • The hippies call walkers “skin eaters.” Nice callback to the fact that different groups call them different things. (Although let’s please forget about when they called them “geeks.”)
  • Michonne: “Anger makes you stupid. And stupid gets you killed.”
  • Hippy Ana asks Carol if she lost one of her children. “No, thank God.” The look on Rick’s face is epic. It says, “this woman has lost her damn mind more than I have lost my damn mind.”
  • Bob: “I was done being a witness. Two times. Two different groups. I was the last one standing.”
  • Carol: “You can be a farmer, Rick. You can’t JUST be a farmer.”
  • Carol calls Rick out on his shit. He says, “I never murdered two of our own.” “Just one.” “He was going to kill me.” “They were gonna kill us all.”
  • Rick: “Why don’t you say her name?” Carol: “She’s dead, Rick. Sophia…Somebody else’s slideshow.”
  • Rick: “You’re not that woman who was too scared to be alone.”