Well, that’s one way to just push us right back into the action!  Before the credits even rolled, Michonne had two new pets and had put Herschel’s disembodied head out of its misery.  Yes, just when she’d begun to feel ready to leave her vendetta behind and let her guard down with those around her, she was put through another tragic and horrifying ordeal from which most people wouldn’t be able to recover.  But, she knew what to do, as long as she had her katana and her wits about her.  She looked weary and angry and dead in the eyes, but she marched on, choosing not to follow footprints that clearly belonged to the living, but opting to wander aimlessly through the woods for a bit, surrounded by walkers who couldn’t detect her thanks to her undead bodyguards.  

But it was during a brilliant dream sequence that we finally found out what we’d suspected all along; Michonne had a child, and a lover and a pretty great looking life in Atlanta before the world changed forever.  Her kitchen knife soon became a katana, and the light banter about artwork soon became grim talk about how they (She, the baby, her boyfriend Mike and his friend) would survive if they left “the camp”.  Then, the baby was gone from her arms, and the guys seated at the table went from sharply dressed, to disheveled to missing arms and jawbones.  These were the pets she’d had when we first met her, and they weren’t just random walkers.  But what had become of the baby?  More on that in a second.

Startled by her dream, Michonne walked on with a growing herd around her, until she was snapped out of it by the sight of a zombie who could have been her twin.  Suddenly, she saw the choice before her–life of death–and she chose life.  Her skill and her adrenaline allowed her to slay the entire herd in seconds and finally let her emotions loose as well.  After that, she went back to the tracks she’d passed up and followed them to the small suburban area where she hoped she’d find some of the prison group.  We’re not sure who was happier when she knocked on the door…Michonne, Rick or Carl, all of whom had a hell of a day.

Rick was barely alive, but Carl wasn’t exactly coddling his injured father, who most likely had a collapsed lung, among other issues from the Governor’s beating. He was playing the angry teenager to the hilt; blaming Rick for the fall of the prison, the loss of his mother, his sister, Shane, Herschel and just about everyone else this boy has lost in his young life.  He’s so sure he can do everything by himself, and do it better than his dad.  When they go into a BBQ joint that was run by “Joe and Joe Jr.”, they find a note that says “Do what I couldn’t do.” signed by Joe Jr.  That’s when we meet Zombie Joe, a pretty big dude who stalks out of the kitchen and can’t be brought down by a weakened Rick’s blade alone.  Carl uses a bullet, for which Rick scolds him.  (You had to know that would come up later, right?)  When they looted the kitchen and Carl found more booty than his pop, he said “I win”, like the petulant child he still is sometimes.

After they found and cleared a house to sleep in, Rick fell into a deep sleep, which may or may not have been a short term coma.  Carl found heaven in an abandoned teen’s bedroom, bummed out only by the fact that the flat screen and gaming console he discovered couldn’t be used.  Their cords were great for keeping the door secured, though.  He was cocky the next day, emboldened to take a couple walkers on a trek through the neighborhood, teasing them like hungry dogs.  That is, until he nearly backed into another, bigger walker, and damn near got eaten.  He used a bunch more bullets to off all three zombies, and puked up his breakfast as well.  He still called it another win, and looted another house, until a walker emerged from a closet and, after his gun failed him (see?!), he escaped again, minus a shoe.  Only Carl would survive that series of events, right?  And he even managed to keep his hat.

After a gourmet meal consisting of a giant vat of chocolate pudding on a roof top, he went back to Rick as night fell, and unloaded on his sleeping Dad, saying he didn’t care if he died. Big words for anyone, and when push came to shove, they were a lie.  In the night, he thought he heard Rick making zombie-like sounds and was prepared to off him if he’d turned, until he literally became a snot-nosed kid, crying in agony and fear.  Luckily, Rick hadn’t died and turned; he was just wheezing and delirious.  In that moment, it turned out Carl was no different than Joe Jr.  He couldn’t kill his dad either.  Sure, he’d had the strength to put Lori out of her misery, but maybe that had drained him.  He didn’t really want to be alone, for all his big talk.  The next morning, Rick told him he’d become a man.

Sitting in a cleared out Joe’s BBQ, Michonne had a heart to heart with her boyfriend from beyond the grave, and seemed to forgive him for how their son had died, assuring him she knew he wasn’t himself when he did it.  We may learn the grisly details, or we may not.  But we do know that she was quietly thrilled to find her new family, sobbing quietly as she saw Rick and Carl through a window, right before Rick peered out and told Carl, ‘It’s for you.”

Next week, it looks like we’ll catch up with most everyone else, and things don’t look good for a bunch of them.  Glenn, in particular, is hanging on for dear life.

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