Can it really be a grumble thread if there’s nothing to grumble about? Last night’s episode was another strong one, from the big action set piece in the cell block to the whodunnit of someone feeding rats to the walkers and burning the bodies of the infected to the shattering ending where Rick sacrifices the pigs, a moment universally praised on Twitter as more affecting than any human death depicted on the show. It reminded me of the scene from season two where Shane shot a peripheral character in the leg so that he’d be overrun by distracted zombies while Shane limped away to safety, but that was all about showing the ruthlessness of an especially ruthless character. Shane always had that in him; the zompocalypse simply brought it out. It plays more like a crime than a tragedy. Rick using the pigs as zombie chum is tragic because it’s a betrayal of the innocent by someone decent who’s been forced by circumstance into unimaginable ruthlessness. Andrew Lincoln played it well too — big emotion would have made the scene ridiculous but understatement makes it feel like he’s doing all he can to hold it together amid the horror of what he’s doing. Between all of that, the continued absence of the tedious gang-war storyline with the Governor, and the fact that I’m 99 percent sure someone uttered the word “zombie” during the cell-block scene (didn’t they?), that was a satisfying hour. Now all I need is for someone to explain to me what Rick accomplished, or thought he was accomplishing, by distracting the zombies for 10 minutes or so with some pig chow and I’ll be happy.
Since there’s no “Walking Dead” grumbling today, how about a little “Homeland” grumbling instead? (Spoilers ahead in case you’re a fan of the show.) Anyone want to clue me in on how Carrie and Saul were supposedly in cahoots on her institutionalization? When he told that congressional panel that a bipolar agent had slept with Brody, she was alone at home watching — and got visibly upset. After she was sent to the psychiatric hospital, Saul came to visit — and a heavily medicated Carrie told him, almost in a whisper so no one else could hear, “F*** you.” She seemed genuinely surprised in last night’s episode when Dar Adal showed up after her release hearing to ask the judge to keep her locked up. But why would she be surprised by that? The whole point of her plan with Saul was to keep her locked up, at least until the Iranians came calling, and obviously Saul would have to enlist his deputies in doing that so that they wouldn’t suspect he and Carrie were in cahoots. Long story short, there’s been lots of little moments where Carrie seems genuinely mad at Saul for all this, with no one watching; she even went and sat down with a reporter, as if she was about to blab state secrets, before the CIA arrived in the nick of time with an institutionalization order. Why would all of that be true if she and Saul were conspiring from the beginning?
One possibility: They weren’t conspiring from the beginning but somehow hatched this plan together after she’d already been sent to the hospital. I guess that’s possible, but in that case, when did it happen? Offscreen maybe, after the “F*** you” line? Why would Carrie agree to work with Saul to trap the Iranians after he’d already had her involuntarily committed? For that matter, if this is all a big scam that she and Saul are running on the Iranians, why didn’t she accept Franklin’s offer to meet with his “client” the first time he came to see her in the hospital? Why play hard to get? The big problem with the theory that she and Saul hatched this plan only after he’d had her committed is that it would be exceptionally dangerous to national security to then ask her to meet with Iranian terrorists. She might be so mad at him and at the agency for institutionalizing her that, instead of luring the Iranians into a trap, she might really turn into a double agent for them. I’m willing to suspend belief here but give me some crumb of evidence to think that this is all consistent and that Carrie and Saul were colluding all along. Am I missing something obvious?