'The Walking Dead' Season 4 episode 4 'Indifference' recap: Is Carol really gone?

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The reveal in "The Walking Dead" Season 4 episode "Indifference" that Carol was the one who killed Karen and David didn't come as much of a surprise, but it was hard to believe that this character fans have come to love had strayed so far from a normal human outlook on life. A constant theme in Season 4 is the way that the zombie apocalypse has forced the characters on "The Walking Dead" to change, and for Carol it turned her into a hard person who is willing to sacrifice anything to keep those around her safe.

Rick fell down a similar dark hole in Season 3, but he managed to come back from it. While there's always a chance Carol could have come back from the place she's in, it seems like her murders and cool response to them pushed her beyond a place where she can find safe refuge at the Prison. Rick hasn't been making many decisions in Season 4, but he finally made a brutal one in "Indifference": he made Carol leave.

Honestly, that was a bit of an unexpected turn of events. In past seasons, someone would have been more likely to kill Carol off or put her on trial than calmly tell her she couldn't return to the rest of the survivors at the Prison. What was even more surprising than Rick's decision was the levelheaded way Carol accepted the news, as if deep down she knew she had strayed too far and that it was best for her to leave those she was closest to for their own safety.

It seems hard to believe that Melissa McBride's character is gone for good, though. So assuming that it's a matter of when she's coming back and not if, it's scary to think who she will become when she next sees Rick & Co. Could she team up with the Governor? Find some other group even more terrifying? Or reinvent herself like Rick suggests and become a new person -- potentially in the same way Bob Stookey is trying to do?

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Of course, Bob is having a hard time separating himself from his path. Though Daryl, Michonne and Tyreese managed to get the medicine they needed and a working car against all odds, Bob revealed that his one motive still is only to get a drink in his hand. That caused Daryl to get the angriest he's been in a while (his head-to-head move was seriously intimidating) and go as far as to say Bob never should have joined with the Prison group to begin with.

Though it was titled "Indifference," the fourth episode in "The Walking Dead" Season 4 was really all about change. That was underlined in the pre-credits scene when Lizzy explained to Carol that she sees walkers as being just another stage of life. As she noted, when she grows up she won't be the same person she is now, just like the walkers aren't the same as they used to be. While it's hard to buy in on her stance on walkers, the parallel between that evolution and the one characters like Carol and Beth are undergoing with their personalities is pretty clear.

Odds & Ends

- The second most shocking moment of "Indifference" came when a woman asked Carol if her daughter had died by walkers, and Carol said, "No." As she later explained to Rick, she feels like she's a completely different person than the woman who was Sophia's mother. That seemed to be the catalyst for Rick in deciding to make Carol leave while on their run.

- Rick commented to Carol about how Tyreese would flip when he found out she was the one to kill Karen, but how will Daryl respond to finding out not only what Carol had done but that Rick sent her away? Daryl and Carol shippers will be pretty upset if that relationship goes unconsummated, no matter how hard Carol gets as a person.

- Michonne finally, finally acknowledged that the Governor's trail has gone cold and realized that she needs to leave her hunt for him behind her. Of course, that seems like a perfect opportunity to reintroduce him into the story.

- Rick keeps bumping into various other survivors during his ventures outside of the Prison, and it's interesting that the ones shown are on opposite ends of the spectrum. From the dirty, traumatized woman in episode 1 to the giggly, enthusiastic couple in episode 4, it goes to show that people are still being affected by the zombie outbreak in completely different ways. Of course, the people he meets always seem to die, so it seems like only the folks at the Prison seem to have struck the right balance.

"The Walking Dead" airs Sundays on AMC at 9 p.m.

Photo/Video credit: AMC