Prison Life In The Walking Dead

To survive it is often necessary to fight and to fight you have to dirty yourself.

-George Orwell

 Do whatever you gotta do to keep this group safe…and do it with a clear conscience.

-Lori Grimes, to her husband Rick

The pre-credits scene of episode two of The Walking Dead, “Sick” opens where episode one left off; as Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and the survivors in the walker-infested prison are amputating Hershel’s (Scott Wilson) leg, the survivors are surprised by a group of five prisoners who emerge from a side room. Removing the barricades from the door, the survivors kill the approaching walkers and race against time, wheeling Hershel to safety.

Back in the survivors’ safe cell block, while the group struggles in providing Hershel with medical attention, the prisoners followed the survivors and arrive at the cell block’s entrance. In a tense, armed standoff, the two groups communicate for the first time. The dominant prisoner, Tomas (Nick Gomez) – a Latino gangster– demands rights to the survivors’ cell block (“C”); the survivors flatly refuse. Rick, although suspicious, tries to diffuse the tension but learns that the prisoners have been shut away for ten months, and while aware of walkers, they are unaware that society has collapsed (no phones, computers, police, etc.). To make his point, Rick leads the prisoners outside to the yard to view the walkers – both animated and dead. Emerging into the sunlight, the two groups strike an uneasy deal; Rick and the survivors will help the prisoners clear out the prisoners’ cell block from walkers in exchange for half the prisoners’ stored food; in return, the prisoners will stay to themselves and avoid all interactions with the survivors. As Rick, T-Dog (IronE Singleton), and Daryl (Norman Reedus) return with heaping boxes of canned goods, the women struggle without medical supplies in tending to the unconscious and barely alive Hershel. Rick wisely takes no chances; in the event that Hershel dies and is re-animated as a walker, he orders Glenn (Steven Yuen) to handcuff him to his bed.

Off to the side, in a chilling conversation, Rick updates his wife Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies). Admitting to her that the prisoners’ pose a possible threat, he calmly reveals he may need to kill them. Lori reacts with approval.

Later, Rick and the others return to the prisoners’ cell block as agreed upon. Rick briefly instructs them on battle tactics (maintain formation, head shots only), but when the action starts, the prisoners, armed with pipes and crowbars, break ranks and go berserk in what can only be described as “prison freestyle”. After Daryl corrects their wild techniques, they kill more efficiently; but one hulking prisoner, Big Tiny (Theodus Crane), edges to safety at a side room and is scratched by walkers. Afterwards, both groups consider what to do before Tomas suddenly bludgeons him to death. Continue reading