“Home” is definitely an improvement, especially considering the less-than-satisfactory midseason premiere. Then again, I can’t help but feel that this season has substantially lowered my expectations to the extent that even an okay episode is a welcome relief. Honestly – how many walkers can really fit in a bread truck? A dozen? Maybe two dozen, if you really pack them in there. I just don’t perceive this as being such a tragedy for Team Prison. Isn’t this the same group of people that completely cleared out a prison full of zombies on their own? The same people that systematically destroyed every walker in Hershel’s barn? Are they really so compromised at this point in time that a truck load is a problem?
Regardless of whether the clown car is a sign of mental of physical weakness within the group, it definitely foreshadows that a storm is a’brewin’. The group is disintegrating from the inside out, and the Governor would not be such a threat if Team Prison were united. Luckily, Woodbury doesn’t exactly seem to be putting on a united front either; leadership has been compromised on both sides. While the Governor “stepped down,” it seems that he is really just letting Andrea babysit so he can focus all of his spite-filled vengeance on taking down the prison. Rick, on the other hand, presents more of a problem. He’s not focused on anything other than frolicking through the fields surrounding the prison with his dead wife. When the prison is attacked, he snaps out of it, but that doesn’t change the fact that these hallucinations are undoubtedly occurring with more frequency.
Team Prison needs a leader, and Glenn wants the job. Really, though, it is Hershel that has the unique perspective of an outsider while still maintaining his status as a part of the group. He sees how things are going down, and he is helpless to do anything about it. He tries to talk sense into both Glenn and Rick, but neither is willing to listen as each are too bent towards their own agenda. Interestingly, we have seen this triangulation before in the Rick/Shane/Dale dynamic. Rick was clearly a stronger force at that time, though, and he might not be capable of defending his position as leader for much longer.
My final thought concerns the well-being of Lil’ Asskicker (I refuse to ever call that child Judith). The scene with the Dixon brothers rescuing that family served several purposes. For one thing, both brothers were apparently the victims of an abusive father, but for some reason Daryl was able to overcome his painful childhood, while Merle grew into a skeethy individual that quite possibly lacks a soul. However, this scene also reveals that it is very difficult to be on the road with an infant during a zombie apocalypse. Sure, those people were saved by the Daryl this time around, but they are more likely to encounter hungry walkers or looters like Merle than they are to find good Samaritans roaming around. If Team Prison decides to hit the road again, that baby could very well lead to their destruction.