The Walking Dead Airs on Sundays at 9/8c (Photo : AMC)
The Walking Dead begs the question: What does morality become when each of us is stripped of our necessities, and how do we define ourselves with the knowledge that we will become undead cannibals at the moment of our passing?
In Season 3's latest episode, "Sick," Rick's savagery is put on display, showing just how far a decent man will go to protect his family. The first scene picks up directly after the last frame of the season premiere, as Rick saws off Hershel's infected leg after a zombie sheered the flesh off of his leg during a frantic retreat from a horde of the undead in a dark hallway. The group confronts a commune of prisoners in the prison cafeteria who have been living off of the facility's vast supplies, unaware that the dead now walk the earth.
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After rushing Hershel back to the secure cell block that Rick's group now calls home, Carol is able to stop the bleeding. Lori assures Rick that he must do what's best for everyone, even if that means killing the newly discovered prisoners in the cafeteria, and that he should have a "clear conscience." It is clear that much has changed in the dynamic between Rick and Lori since Rick took Shane's life at the end of Season 2.
Rick makes a deal with the leader of the prisoners. In exchange for half of the provisions in the cafeteria, he promises to help clear out a cell block for the former inmates to live in. In the process of clearing out walkers, the leader brutally beheads a fellow infected prisoner after he is bitten and pushes a walker towards Rick. In response, Rick slices a machete through the prisoner's head and tracks down another who runs away. The inmate corners himself into a basketball court crawling with zombies and, as he turns around, Rick locks him inside. While we have seen Rick's violent side before, "Sick" magnifies the depth of his protective motivations that nearly cast him in the light of an anti-hero.
At the end of the episode, Hershel wakes up and Carol practices surgery on a dead walker to prepare for Lori's baby. An unknown character, perhaps a spy from Woodbury, is shown spying on her as she cuts in the zombie's belly.
As anyone who has read the graphic novel knows, this season is ramping up to a surprising and exciting crescendo.